Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Release Day Lines Are Everywhere And Wicked Long

Alright, the waiting is over. Today, May 12, 2023, is the day. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is here. After years of waiting, it’s time to either buy the game digitally or…get in line and do some more waiting!

Nintendo’s newest and biggest Switch exclusive, Tears of the Kingdom, is the much-hyped follow-up to 2017’s Breath of the Wild. Like that last game, Kingdom features a large open world that players can freely explore to discover new quests and more. But this time around players can also venture above the clouds and below the ground in brand new areas not seen in Breath of the Wild. And Link has new abilities, including one which lets him stick things to other things, letting the legendary hero craft gliders, boats, giant flaming dicks or other useful objects. Sounds exciting! So it’s no surprise that a lot of people want to buy and play this game, which explains all the long lines everywhere!

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Friday morning in New York City, Kotaku’s own Carolyn Petit recorded video of a very long line that stretched for blocks outside of the Nintendo Store. And on Thursday night, as part of the game’s midnight release, a similarly long line had formed outside the same NYC store.

Why the long line? It seems that beyond just high demand for the mega-hyped game, people were likely also trying to get their hands on the exclusive, free Zelda-themed pins the Nintendo Store is handing out to customers. There is also some exclusive Tears of the Kingdom merch on sale in the NYC location, too.

Long lines for Tears of the Kingdom are popping up everywhere

But it’s not just the prospect of exclusive goodies at the official Nintendo store that has people lining up. Elsewhere, people on Twitter documented long lines around GameStops and other stores where gamers were waiting for hours and hours to get their hands on a physical copy of Tears of the Kingdom. Even Best Buy—a store that rarely is busy from my experience—wasn’t immune to Zelda-fever, as documented by Kotaku contributor Ben Bertoli.

Of course, for folks who bought the game digitally or via sites like Amazon, there were no lines. But I can’t lie. There is something special about waiting in a long line for a game you are really excited about. and finally getting to the end and buying your copy feels a bit more memorable and special. I’ll still stick to Amazon and digitally buying games, I’m lazy, but I get it.

If you found yourself in a line (or are currently reading this while in a line) waiting to buy the new Zelda sequel, let us know in the comments!

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