Last week I had the opportunity to visit New York City for a non-Nintendo gaming event. To my elated surprise, I heard in passing that Nintendo had opened a store not far from Times Square. In my previous experiences, themed stores are generally lacking substance, and I was worried that the Nintendo Store New York would disappoint in both the number of goods they offered, as well as the general aesthetic. I was overjoyed to find that my concerns were unfounded. For those of you that may never get a chance to visit New York City, which currently houses the only Nintendo Store, fear not, as I will outline what you’re missing, and give you a first-hand experience from a long time Nintendo fan!
When trying to find the Nintendo store, I had actually passed it once prior and didn’t even notice. The storefront doesn’t have a large Nintendo logo brandished on the door. It actually has two corners of clear glass peeking into a room loaded with clothing racks and video stations. At the time of my visit, there was an entire glass wall covered with the Super Smash Brothers roster, which was tough to see as dozens of people were outside admiring it. Once inside the store, the first items you notice are merchandise racks.
In the age of Amazon and online sales, it’s very common to go into a store and find merchandise that you’ve seen many other places, but that wasn’t the case in the Nintendo New York store. Primarily, much of the shirts and caps promote Nintendo NYC, with a few shirts depicting your favorite characters in one way or another. I was happy to see Navi from The Legend of Zelda, Ocarina of Time, just as much as I was happy to see unique offerings of Mario, Bowser and the rest of the Super Mario crew.
Throughout the store were statues and curios running the entire gamut of Nintendo’s catalog. Captain Falcons helmet, the Master Sword, and Fox McClouds blaster were all on display. Mario, Donkey Kong and Link had full-size statues, along with Pikachu, Luigi and many others. In the same way that you would expect a natural history museum to have bones and replicas of Dinosaurs, all of these details were here.
Where the true feeling of a museum hit home was seeing glass cases housing every Nintendo system ever created. On the second floor, they pulled zero punches when displaying both the handhelds and consoles. By that I mean, they didn’t leave out systems that were unpopular. They had Hanafuda cards, through to the Super Famicom, and even the widely unpopular Virtual Boy. Of course, they also had their heavy hitters such as the Super Nintendo, and the Nintendo Wii. For handheld consoles, they didn’t just have Gameboys and Nintendo DS’s but they also had rare and limited-edition handhelds such as the DS Pikachu edition, and my personal favorite, the Majora’s Mask edition.
The store didn’t simply stop at merchandise and knickknacks, they had full gaming stations, that were overcrowded with giddy gamers enjoying their time playing games like Mario Kart. I didn’t spend much time on the consoles as there were a lot of people waiting to play, despite having several stations for people to test their mettle in the Nintendoverse. The frantic laughs and praises of co-op play echoed throughout the store, which reminded me of arcades from days long past. Despite all the awesome things the store had, there were a few things that I didn’t see that I was hoping I would. I didn’t see any Metroid related paraphernalia aside from a picture. I was really hoping to see a life-size Metroid, or maybe even a Ridley statue. They did have a comprehensive set of Amiibo, but I was hoping to see something that I could really geek out over. I also didn’t see the Power Glove!
It feels almost blasphemous to have R.O.B. and the Virtual Boy, but not to display the Power Glove. Granted the Power Glove was a peripheral and not an entire system, but it’s a part of Nintendo’s past, along with the Power Pad that is more than just a reminder of where Nintendo has been but at how far they have gone. By seeing it objectively, the Power Pad and Power Glover started a path that eventually led Nintendo to the Wii-mote and the Balance Board. Many people may think that Nintendo came up with the ideas for hand and foot movements only recently, but their innovation in the way people play games has been around for a long, long time and I think the Nintendo Store NYC should celebrate that.
Needless to say, if you’re in New York, and you have some time, you definitely need to pop on by. If not, I hope that this was comprehensive enough so that you feel as though you aren’t missing too much. Either way, I hope to see more than one Nintendo store in the United States soon. I am not sure whether or not any others are planned, but for now, I can only say, kudos Nintendo on creating a wonderful, fan-oriented haven for us Nintendo lovers.