Nintendo is set to bombard individual retailers, shopping centres, bowling alleys, cinemas and other areas with Nintendo DS demonstration units throughout February and March and into April, the company said this week, and estimates that more than half a million people will have sampled the console by the time it launches on 11th March thanks to its promotional efforts. Presumably that figure doesn't include the countless others who will have imported or played on American and Japanese units, either.
Games on display will include Super Mario 64 DS, WarioWare: Touched!, Polarium, Metroid Prime Hunters: First Hunt, Project Rub, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005, Asphalt Urban GT and Spider-Man 2.
What this means for you is that you probably won't have to stray too far from home to get your hands on a DS and see what all the fuss is about. If we wanted to head out and try one, for example, we'd have several options - Brent Cross shopping centre, which is just down the road, is part of Nintendo's 40-day nationwide DS tour, while there'll be invite-only nights at Topman stores including the big one in London, our local VUE cinema will have DS setups on three weekends in March and plenty of retailers and other venues are preparing to feature demo pods too.
The 40-day nationwide tour will also touch down at Bluewater and The Mall (Cribs Causeway) in the South and The Bullring, Trafford Centre and Meadow Hall in the North. The Topman nights will number 24 nationwide, including flagship stores in London, Manchester and Birmingham, and will be invite-only "Lock In" night-time affairs. Meanwhile all 42 UK VUE cinemas will have DS setups on 11th/12th, 19th/20th and 26th/27th March in addition to further sampling activity at Mega Bowl Bowling Alleys, Laser Quest Arenas and All Sports retailers up to and beyond the launch period.
More than 25,000 in-store sampling kits will also appear in retailers nationwide between now and launch, while GAME will host 15 regional superstore evenings where top loyalty card holders will get to try out the DS specially. Beyond that, Nintendo will also place a huge number of freestanding Nintendo DS demo pods in trade this month. Frankly, it sounds like it's going to be hard to miss them.
You can find more details and pinpoint your nearest DS at, er, www.touchmehere.co.uk. Ooh-err.