Get Your System on Launch Day

Feel that? It's the heat of launch day, a sizzling glow that inches closer each day. If the pre-order mayhem of the last two weeks is any indication, launch day for the Sony PS3 (11/17) and Nintendo Wii (11/19) - you know, when we can get our mitts on the actual systems and not just read about them - will be even more chaotic. Here are some tips to make sure you get one.

1. Pre-order

Pre-orders are already sold out at EB Games, Gamestop, and Toys-R-Us. However, a pre-order does not guarantee that you will get a system, because Sony and Nintendo are not that forthcoming with retailers about how many systems will be allotted to each chain, or at least for each store in the chain.

Nice pep talk, eh? Stay with us and follow this logic: it doesn't hurt to check back - because launch numbers are often up in the air, stores might take additional pre-orders as they learn more about how many systems they'll actually get. For example, our local Toys-R-Us has taken not one, but two separate rounds of pre-orders so far.

The megastores like Best Buy and Target typically don't do pre-orders (the rumor is that they like to pawn off accessories on you in person, although the official word is usually that they like the launch day excitement). But it never hurts to ask. Managers might have set up their own system away from the watchful eye of the corporate overlords.