Over the last week, I’ve had the pleasure of being in New York for the 2016 College Media Association Conference. My fellow Daily Titan coworkers and I got to explore the city when we weren’t in sessions and listening to Keynote speakers, and of course while I was there I couldn’t miss out on the opportunity to visit this little gamer’s paradise in Rockefeller Center. Since I suppose this is somewhat of a gaming blog I’m building here, I figure it would be a nice thing to talk about on here, even if it’s more of a reactionary thing rather than some sort of opinion on an upcoming game.
The very first thing I noticed when walking into the store, besides this beautiful little statue here near the entrance, was the music that played in the background the entire time I was there. Personally, I like to listen to gaming soundtracks in my spare time – the songs from games I have or am currently playing usually act as a good source of inspiration, nostalgia and entertainment all at once. At the Nintendo NY store, music from all Nintendo games from various points in history rang out through the building to entertain shoppers. As silly as it might sound, that did make it a more special experience for me, especially since I was able to show my extensive knowledge base by naming songs from all over – be it Kirby, Mario 3D world, Pokemon Red/Blue and others – to the people I more or less dragged along with me.
Another impressive thing about the Nintendo NY store was the amount of fanfare that decorated every inch of the store. There were models of characters all around serving various purposes (such as the flagpole Mario decor shown above and a large Donkey Kong model for guests to pose with), there were models of various well-known Nintendo icons (like, of course, the Legend of Zelda’s Master Sword), there were screens with animated wallpapers on them depicting things like various Pokémon or the Luma from Super Mario Galaxy, and more. At the very least, it was great to see the amount of variety in the representation of Nintendo’s various Independent Properties.
Of course, while the environment was wonderful and added to the experience, it wasn’t the reason I went to the store in the first place. No, the reason I went, and the reason I’m sure most everyone goes, was for the merchandise. And boy was that not a disappointment in any sense of the word. For one thing… Well, amiibo. Everywhere. On display and for sale, these things were clearly a main attraction for anyone visiting. There were plenty I hadn’t personally seen before for sale as well, such as Smash 4’s Olimar and Jigglypuff. For people who aren’t into the collectable figurines side of fandom, there were also no shortages of shirts, plushes, goofy products and more from every game in the company’s arsenal. Personally… I spent way too much money on all sorts of souvenirs for myself, my friends and my family, since I didn’t know when I’d get to come see the store – or New York in general – again.
Even if you aren’t interested in buying trinkets and collectable items, that doesn’t mean there’s no reason to step into the Nintendo NY store. Between the background soundtrack and cool decor, there are plenty of things to see and interact with other fans over. On the second floor there was even an entire half a room with Wii U consoles and 3DS systems laid out for various game demos to play yourself or with others! Plus, there’s always the added bonus of being able to buy new Nintendo games while you’re there, so that’s always great.
Funnily enough, my experience with the store wasn’t all perfect, despite how much praise I feel I can heap onto it. While I was there I learned a pretty valuable life lesson: Always call the bank when you travel out of state, otherwise your card could get locked up and prevent you from buying things easily. I actually had to call my bank twice to be able to buy my gifts, which ate up large chunks of time and threatened both to make me late for our staff’s dinner reservations that night and to make me miss out on buying anything at all – the store’s closing time was at 8:00 p.m., the exact same time as the reservation we had a few blocks away! Needless to say it was a very stressful experience, but not one that I can say wasn’t worth it despite the hardships.
Overall, visiting the Nintendo NY store was a very worthwhile stop to make on the list of landmarks to visit in the Empire State. Not only did I get plenty of cool things for those other gamers close to me, just visiting the place was almost like a pilgrimage in itself! A pilgrimage, I might add, I would advise anyone visiting or living around Manhattan to try. Just be sure to plan your trip there before closing hours!