For the past ten years, I worked as a graphic artist for several wholesale to the trade companies. Recently, I worked in the Advertising Department of Paragon Casino Resort in Marksville, LA. During that time, I was a graphic artist and then the administrative assistant to the advertising director. In addition to my work in graphic art and advertising, I developed myself through two degrees. First, I earned a B.A. in Humanities with a major in Mass Communication from Dillard University in New Orleans, LA. Then, I earned an A.S. in Video Game Design from Full Sail in Orlando, FL. I moved in Massachusetts this year and entered the University of Massachusetts School of Law in Dartmouth, MA.
I wake up at 10pm, Saturday night. Fog covers the car windows. Apart from a slight alarm light blinking, I had no indication of whether the battery ran down or not. I unlock the door, and thankfully turn on my interior lights. The funny thing about sleeping in your car is that you still have the moment of, "OK, where the Hell did I put my keys?" After a quick fumble, I start the car and the defroster. The fog dissipates to reveal my location, a rest stop off the I-95 in Rhode Island. I search my thoughts and try to piece together the events of the last 24 hours. Driving back toward Boston, I listen to "Nights with Alice Cooper." It's Hell's version of Delilah; not because of the host and the subject matter, rather his soft spoken manner suggests that time has watered down and played out these classic songs. I reassure myself that whatever happens, Animal Crossing: New Leaf rests safe in my 3DS.
Friday evening, I'm off the job. A major project has me burned out from the week. Still, I resolve to make a weekend journey to Nintendo World in New York City for the Animal Crossing: New Leaf event. The major benefit to this is the chance to get the game a day early. My job is an hour drive away from the Milford train station. I make my way through the storm bands of Andrea who moved up from Florida to New England in about a day. It's heavy rain and flooded roads which make me question the wisdom of making the trip for a game. I could easily wait out the day and pick up the game at a local Gamestop. The modern convenience is there for a reason. Then again, wisdom hardly guides most of what I do only what I say. So, it's off through the raindrops, off through the floods, hydroplaning my way to a new day.
My phone holds a few charge through the car ride to the train station. An old from from gaygamer.net strikes up a Facebook messenger conversation which alleviates me of that charged battery during the ride over to Grand Central. At least my 3DS is charged, gotta make to take advantage of all that Streetpass data! I figure, this tropical storm made its way from Florida to New England in a day; by the time I make it to the city, everything will be dry as a fossil. Not so much. I figure a lot of things. I correlate all kinds of nonsense. There's the idea that since I from Louisiana and used to these storms, I'm immune to getting drenched. It's a small consolation to the fact that I'm parading around without an umbrella.
I duck into alcoves to wring the rain water out of my hair with my hands. I make my way down to Rockefeller Center, and then run laps around the block. I always get lost and get my corners mixed up. I usually have a great sense of direction. Something about that place throws me off. I finally find the corner for the Nintendo World store. Inside employees are constructing a mock village behind a black curtain backdrop. There are several activities planned for the day as a side attraction to the actual purchase of the game. There's no line of people in umbrellas, cause there's a tropical storm out. So, I feel a bit foolish and walk away. I need a place to charge my phone, dry off, and possibly eat. This is the city that never sleeps, right? There must be a great place for dinner open late. I turn the corner and see the height of haute cuisine, a 24 hour McDonald's.
Outside the restaurant, an older woman stands outside smoking. Her makeup is off from either crying or the rain. I don't bother asking. I grab a punch of napkins and dry off in the foyer. Gotta make sure I don't look too bad. This is a classy establishment. Why else would the logo be all gold and red? I order my food. The staff seems to be more engaged in an exchange between the night manager and a worker over some gossip on her phone. I take the food and proceed upstairs and upstairs again. How many floors does a McDonald's need?
The third floor only has one outlet. At this point I notice an odd mix in the furniture. This place is a fusion between a restaurant and a kid's dorm room. There's a 40" flat screen mounted to the wall. Below that, a kid sits charging his phone and playing PS Vita. I make my way beyond a sleeping man and reach a set of booths surrounding what looks like an island breakfast bar underneath lighting for a car table. My face lights up to see a group of kids with 3DS's. Oh, the Streetpass! They're wrapping up a meet up since it's midnight. One kid is dressed in a yellow Pokémon hoodie and a ball cap turned backwards with Pikachu ears. I want to ask them if they're going to line up for the ACNL event. Maybe they're waiting out the rain. But, they're pretty busy packing up and joking about the weird people that either work at this place or frequent it. Not wanting to be "creepy" or "weird," I lower my eyes and focus on munching on fries. One day, it will click that in order to not be creepy or weird I have to actually talk to people. They all clear the room and I reach for my system to check the tags. "Sparkz" is the name of a yellow clad Mii. His greeting is "pee pika pikachu" or something like that. Another Mii greets me with the name of the group "MonsterHunterNYC."
After my run-in with the monster hunting street gang, I finish my "meal" and make my way down to the bathroom. It's less a restaurant here and more a motel or den for vagrants, prostitutes, business men and teens. I don't judge and I don't have time to stop and judge. I need to pee. After that, I find an open wall outlet and start sending out texts. I gain as much a charge as I can before security comes around to poke everyone not eating. With mere wisps of battery life, I shut down my mobile data connection and pray.
Back down to the Nintendo World Store, I still don't see a line, cause (you know) there's still a tropical storm. I pace around and try to find a good spot to nest and initiate a line. The only person who seems to take notice is someone dressed like a delivery guy with a blue rain jacket. shorts, boots, and a black beanie. I catch him peeking out from a longer alcove in Rockefeller Center. After standing outside the doors for a few minutes, I catch the notice of an employee. She comes out and lets me know they are wrist banding people in line. The employees "feel" for everyone "great" enough to come down and line up for the game. People like that guy. She points to the delivery guy / alcove spy. He comes over during the middle of her explanation. She gives me a band and says the best thing is to go home and come back in the morning. Again, most of what I do isn't guided by wisdom. The guy, now in line in front of me, says he's just going to stick around and stay dry where he was. Great idea. I tag along and head back with him. We tag each other with Streetpass. I check for his Mii the name is "B Nuzz."
"B Nuzz" and I chat about the weather. I fill him in on my night so far, and tell him about my run-in with Monster Hunter NYC. I gather that they did indeed come to the store earlier. "B Nuzz" was around since 11:30pm, but he was the only one who didn't "puss out." He tells me about his support of Nintendo and how waiting in line at these events is a regular thing for him. One wait he brings up frequently is a three day wait for the Wii U during which he was twelfth in line. Then, it clicks. This is the world of Triforce. Who's that guy that's always first in line for everything, I ask. I play it a little coy, because I like being an observer. Yes, Triforce was here for the Wii U, but he had since hung up his publicity grabbing waits. "B Nuzz" notices the game I have in my 3DS, Street Fighter IV. Yeah, I haven't played it in a while and decided to pop it in. The guy goes on about his time playing Smash Bros. Melee competitively. His main is Princess Peach.
Around 2:30, a young couple arrive from Pennsylvania, "Bill" and "Kate" are the Mii names. I should say, it's one of "Kate"'s Miis' names. She has two other Miis that tag us with Streetpass from two other systems. "Zelda" is from a black special edition Zelda 3DS, which "B Nuzz" covets. "Peach" is on a European special edition Princess Peach 3DS which is lovingly protected in a Peach snap case. "Bill" plays mostly on a lime green DS Lite wrapped in a zip lock bag to protect it from the rain. They have snacks! Pringles, Fruit by the Foot and Redbull. I'm either too shy, health conscious or old (nah, not old) too indulge. The rain finally passes and at 4:00 the line is now 15 strong plus anyone who came by earlier and got wrist bands. "Kate" tells us that she knows of a rumor of one guy who was in line since Thursday. People from the Bronx come in by way of Rochester. A few more from Pennsylvania arrive from a train. One guy "Dave Reed" comes in from Baltimore. Well, he's a Maryland based musician who has a Mii named after the Ravens player.
5:00, 6:00, 7:00, the line grows as we move now out of the alcove and up to the doors of Nintendo World. The citizens of New York pass us by and stop to ask what we're in line for, new game release. One guy strides briskly in front of us and stops to ask "Kate" what this is all about. He's skinny, fashionable, blond hair, blue eyes and a perma-pout. We're waiting on a new game release, it's called Animal Crossing, "Kate" replies. This guy is puzzled. He screws his face and looks into the store. Huh, I don't see any animals, he turns and briskly strides away. There is a time when you choose the world in which you belong. Now, I see this guy. He's probably successful and handsome and all. Then, there's us. We just stood around for at least nine hours to get a game we could have gotten on the next day. Nah, we're the normal ones. These NYC townies and tourists are the real weridos. Like these families from Texas or England or Wherever. They're marching they're kids up and down Manhattan streets at this time of the morning. Yuppies pass by with their sad little 2.5 kids holding poster board signs for the Today Show. I bet those kids wish they were in line for a Nintendo game, instead of jumping up and down like they won the lottery for Matt Lauer. It's not even Matt Lauer on Weekend Today. It's Lester Holt, right? Geez!
As the line grows, the kids from Streetpass NYC show up. It's me! I'm first! A young kid in a blue poncho skips and runs to the front of the line. It's me! He tags us with Streetpass, "Rinaldy∞". He speaks quickly but identifies as the guy who indeed was in line since Thursday. His blue poncho is covered in SiriusXM logos and is swag from the Today Show during his wait. Now that we were close to the time he decides to cosplay. From a backpack, he produces a soaked Nintendo World shopping bag. Inside the bag is a Tanooki tail and ears which he plans to repurpose. Rounding off the ensemble is a dollar store apron hand printed with a blue leaf. "Rinaldy∞" is now Tom Nook. He poses for pics with a Pikachu special edition 3DS and a friend's Charizard special edition 3DS which was modified to work as a North American system. Tom Nook proceeds to hawk off the systems for 50,000 bells a piece. That's the cost of a house. No deal. Soon another cosplayer arrives. It's Streetpass NYC founder, Jordan White, as Mr. Resetti complete with a portable soundtrack. He playfully hassles Tom Nook and solicits for new group members. I get a pretty good surprise when my Twitter a Google+ friend, Benjamin Aquino dropped by. We snap a quick shot and get back in place. The doors finally open.
The purchase comes first. There's the option to buy either the game or the Animal Crossing special edition 3DS. I tweeted a joke once that we would soon see more 3DS system variation than games for the PS Vita. After the purchase, I walk over to a mural where everyone is invited to color a piece and help recreate Animal Crossing artwork. I color a few orange pieces of a house. I jump into a photo booth and snap some shots after nine hours of waiting on the street. I jump into another booth which is a cash cube game. The difference is that instead of cash, we catch pieces of paper with print outs of bugs. Upstairs, there's are tile matching games to represent fossil digging and fishing. For each completed activity we get a special pin. It's simple and chidlish fun, but I wind up clasping to a side rail for support. I'm wiped out at this point. Go home, says "B Nuzz." The second "go home" of the day. This time, I listen.
Then again, not everything I do is guided by wisdom. I still committed myself to a co-worker's lobster cookout in Connecticut. I make my way over to her house and enter a world of family and friends. They're not people I know right off, and of course I'm shy and tired. I end up taking a nap under the sun in a lawn chair. After that, I walk around to eavesdrop on conversations that I could possibly. They're pretty unrelatable, something about this one or that being worth 15 million and considering themselves "middle class." There was one conversation about the proper way to pay down mortgages, just rife with spots for Tom Nook jokes. I'm not in ACNL world, right now. So, I turn to the omnipresent one I can always socialize with in any given situation, Twitter. I stay at the party until 4:00pm and excuse myself to make my way back to Massachusetts.
I'm pretty tired. Formulating a blog post about my day. I'm actually pretty happy to have gone to the event. Happier still that I have new friends. It's great when you can say more about something other than I preordered it at Gamestop and got a bonus or I got it off eBay. Gamers, Nintendo fans in particular, are very adept at creating a sense of community around their passions. I'm very tired. Thinking about the next week at work. So tired, that I'm swerving on the I-95. It's time to pull over. I find the nearest rest stop and sleep.
"Kate" is actually a cool Youtuber. I'll post her video below.