Tracking the Elusive Wii

A year after the Wii's debut, the game consoles are as rare as a peaceful shopping season for parents

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Trying out the Nintendo Wii at a Wal-Mart in Secaucus, N.J.

Nintendo warned months ago that its popular Wii game console would remain in short supply. What an understatement. More than a year after the Wii's debut, the $250 game consoles are as rare as a peaceful shopping season for parents. It's no conspiracy, the company insists. "Demand just continues to exceed our optimistic projections," says Nintendo of America's George Harrison.

But the desperate can do more than stand in predawn lines. A lively Fatwallet.com message thread shares rumors and tips on Wii sightings. Wiialerts.com will, well, alert shoppers via E-mail or cellphone text messages when the Wii pops up at online retailers, and iTrackr.com does the same for local retail outlets. Wii.findnearby.net tracks eBay auctions. Accuracy varies, but iTrackr did notify us about Wiis spotted at a nearby store. They were gone, though, before we could even call, so move fast.