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The philanthropic gamer waits in line for a Wii U he'll give away

November 14, 2012|By Zara Husaini @zarhus | For RedEye

Wearing just a T-shirt layered over his long-sleeved shirt, Kevin Fair sits outside the FYE store on the corner of Randolph and Wabash. He’s been spending his days there since Monday morning, and he’s prepared to do that all week. 

Fair is waiting for the Wii U, the highly anticipated new gaming console from Nintendo that’s set to drop Sunday. But unlike the others who will likely line up alongside him within the next few days, Fair doesn’t plan on ever using the device. 

The 27-year-old founder of “I Play Games,” an organization for video gamers, plans to give the Wii U away in a raffle at a food drive to benefit the Chicago Food Depository. He hopes the added incentive of possibly winning a brand-new Wii U will motivate people to donate food. 

“It really started with my friend in New York,” Fair, a River North resident, said of his decision to wait outside for the new product. “He’s in the Guinness Book of World Records for waiting in line for every Nintendo product.”

Fair has waited for product release before, but his previous record is 18 hours--nothing compared to what he’s doing this time around. His friend gave him the idea to wait for this product, but Fair came up with idea to raffle it off for charity.

“It’s been really fun,” Fair said of the experience. “I’m doing what I would do at home.”

The technology enthusiast came prepared: He has a backpack full of gadgets to keep him entertained, including a phone and an Acer tablet. His Internet access is inconsistent, but he’s managed to check his email and social media accounts and set up gaming conventions.

As for other provisions, Fair has been relying on friends--the ones who come to visit him and the ones he’s made while camping out in the past few days.

“People really understand and support the cause,” he said, saying people have been offering to bring him food and or drinks. “Sometimes people offer to get me like, McDonald's, and I’m 'OK, you’re stepping it up.' "

His supporters also have been dropping blankets off for him to use during the day, but to his credit, Fair isn’t really affected by the weather.

“I don’t really get cold," he said. "I don’t really need a coat.”

He relies on gloves and a hat to keep him comfortable in the chilly November weather. 

And he's been there so long already, Fair seems to have become part of the scenery.

“Now I’m at the point where some people have seen my so many times they say hello,” he said, and he waves right back.

The staff of FYE also has befriended him. Employees have given him gloves and a place to charge his phone. Legally, Fair is only allowed to wait outside during store hours--after that, the police are allowed to intervene--so he gets in line at 8:30 every morning and stays until the store closes at 8 p.m. 

Fair anticipates a growing crowd as the Wii U’s release date nears, and he’s determined to be the first one in line.

“I got to guarantee I’ll get one,” he said. 

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