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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Wii countdown clock

If you've ever been to Gamestop or EBGames shortly before the Wii was released, you have probably seen that big blue clock on the wall. It says "Experience Wii" on it in white text, and counts down to the Wii release date.
Well I was curious who owned it (Gamestop or Nintendo?) so today I called Gamestop. I already have a Wii, so I didn't ask if they had one of those in stock. But I asked who owned the clock. They said they received it from Nintendo, and that Nintendo didn't seem to want it back. So I asked where it was. It was in the back of the store. He then asked me something that I loved hearing: "Do you want it?" I then said yes. He asked me for my name, which I answered. He then said to be there by 4:00 PM. So I went to Gamestop and asked the guy I called for the clock. I told him my name, and he then replied, "You're the one!" He then went into the employees-only section and came out with the clock. I thanked him and went home with it. Now the owner is neither Gamestop nor Nintendo - it's me.

EDIT: I just found on the Internet that someone else got one as well. You can see it at


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Unknown said...

I was just curious about how you managed to reset the clock, I saw one ebay, and assumed it just shut off when it hit 00:00:00:00. though I'll give more consideration to buying it if there's a way to reset it.

Flarn2006 said...

@Unknown: Really simple; there's buttons on the back that let you set the current time and date like a clock. And then, it'll count down the time until the hard-coded target date/time, as determined by the internal clock you set. You can of course have it count down to whatever date you want despite it being hard-coded; you just have to do a bit of math and set the clock "incorrectly", offsetting it by the difference between the hard-coded date and the date you want it to count down to.

In fact, they even had to do that for the store display, because the hard-coded target date was actually not the Wii release date like you probably thought. I believe it was programmed for New Year's Day of some year. So that means technically, when you saw that clock at the store, it was really just counting down to a new year, but with the current date set wrong.

Unknown said...

good to know. Not that i'd risk trying it, but I'd be willing to bet that with an eprom burner, you could dump the memory, and make a new one with the date changed. Also, when it hits 00:00:00:00 does it just sit there, or does it shut off.

Flarn2006 said...

@Unknown: Reminds me of when I figured out how to flash my own firmware to a Wi-Fi smart plug. Saw it used an ESP8266, which happens to be popular with hobbyists, so I had to try.

It's possible it might work here, but there's really no reason to do it except as a curiosity or a technical exercise, cause you can do the same thing with the buttons on the device; it would just require a bit of math. Which might not be the most convenient, but it's a lot less involved than the alternative!