2. Buy from a lesser known retailer
There's actually a slightly better approach than pre-ordering if you're not absolutely sure if your local GameStop will have a system for you on launch day. The official word from Nintendo (Sony declined to comment about the subject) is that they are spreading out their systems to many different retailers, not just the big box giants like Best Buy and Wal-Mart.
"I'd say best is to try other outlets that sell electronics that might not be your first thought," says Jessica Payne, a Nintendo spokesperson. "I'd say band with your friends to do some recon and scout stores in remote areas."
And don't overlook online stores: back during the PlayStation 2 launch, one GamesRadar's staffer actually saw the lines on launch night and instead went home and purchased a PS2 from Buy.com. It showed up a very acceptable one day after launch.