A man named Triforce waits on a patch of sidewalk just outside the Nintendo World Store in Midtown Manhattan.Here, at midnight on November 18, the self-declared superfan will be the first to purchase the new Nintendo Wii U video game console.Johnson's first memory of a video game is of an arcade cabinet in the local grocer. Kevin claimed the title of Game Master, the best of the group, the Obi-Wan to Triforce's Anakin.The kids fancied themselves virtual athletes, training to become the best at the sport of playing games. The boys would pack bags at the grocery store for tips.His incessant enthusiasm affords him a certain glow. For anyone, really, who makes a habit of standing outside for long periods of time.
But beforehand, the group of arcade fans observed an unusual ceremony, a passing of the throne.The plaza's management does not allow loitering, so Triforce must leave."This is the misconception everyone has," Triforce says.The passport — a real one; I triple checked — belongs to one Isaiah Triforce Johnson. "I got Triforce added to my first name, because it was easier than replacing." Looking at the name, in legal text, my brain wrestles to calculate which displays more loyalty and fandom for one's favorite brand: waiting outside for weeks at a time, year after year, or legally changing your name to one of the brand's most iconic totems. He sat down, pushed in a coin and splayed his miniature fingers across the buttons.
"My father calls me Triforce," he says, adding, "if he calls me Isaiah, then I know he's upset." Who is this guy? Johnson was talking to a friend from Jamaica when four-year-old Isaiah pleaded to be taken home. Johnson plucked a couple of quarters from his pocket and pointed to the cabinets in the back of the store. From that spot, in the way back of the grocery store, the stream of Isaiah Johnson's life channeled in a new direction.
Nintendo, the console, the playful adventure: this was his passion.