The wonderful place that is Nintendo World!
At the end of last year, I was privileged to be holidaying in New York City for the third time in my life. There were many things to look forward to, but there was one thing to do at the top of the list. Was it to see the Statue of Liberty? Eat a hotdog from a street vendor? See a Broadway show? It was none other than returning to my home away from home, the Nintendo World store.
Nintendo World is the only store of its kind. The location first opened up in 2001 as a Pokémon Center, a location that’s dedicated to selling Pokémon merchandise. The only other Pokémon Centers at the time were located in Japan, so this gave the Western world a slice of the merchandise pie, even if it was one location. In 2005, the Pokémon Center was remodelled, and three months later the store became Nintendo World, the only store in the world to sell Nintendo merchandise exclusively of all kinds. Remnants of its Pokémon Center former self were incorporated into Nintendo World and can still be noticed today, with the doorhandles shaped into a PokéBall, and a portion of the second story dedicated to Pokémon merchandise.
What does Nintendo World have in store for the intrepid Nintendo fan? Two floors of clothes, of soft toys, of figures, of amiibo, of games and of gamers.
Nintendo World still hasn’t given up its Pokémon personality in other ways, with a large portion of downstairs dedicated to Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire demos. Throughout my many return trips, I saw strangers sitting down and talking with each other.
An abundance of Nintendo apparel was also found on the first floor, articles of clothing that can’t be bought anywhere else. It’s a treasure cove of exclusivity that you have to exchange your money for the treasure. It’s still some pretty cool treasure, so it’s worth it.
Not to mention the fact that Nintendo World sees ample stock of amiibo, which on return visits included the ever-elusive Little Mac amiibo.
Also found downstairs were an abundance of 3DS consoles and title for sale. Not pictured were the large amount of people I StreetPassed. Every time I cleared the ten in my plaza, another ten StreetPasses flooded into my 3DS.
Nintendo World was ready for the Christmas season with this Donkey Kong: Jungle Freeze display and was given a festive twist. Past Donkey Kong and up the stairs saw even more Nintendo treasures waiting to be discovered.
Besides the Pokémon Center section was the museum and Wii U sections. On display were a visual timeline of Nintendo handhelds. Included in this timeline was a Game Boy that was bombed in the Gulf War and was still operable.
Across from the handheld exhibit was the location of the Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS National Open Tournament. Here were collections based on various characters, which would see any Nintendo fan go green with envy.
Also on this floor, Wii U demo stations could be found, which were playing Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Mario Kart 8, and Captain Toad Treasure Tracker among other games. In addition, Wii U consoles and games were available for sale, including eShop download codes for games and Virtual Console titles, like Earthbound. There were many people scrambling for the Super Smash Bros. stations. They didn’t know who they were playing with, but they were smashing and chatting with each other as if they were long lost friends.
People coming together under one banner, that’s the power of Nintendo World. No matter where you come from, everyone who picks up a controller is welcome with a smile, by customers and staff alike. The cashiers don’t mind having a little chat with you as long as it isn’t extremely busy, and even the security staff have a vested interest in where they work, noticing I had a new Nintendo 3DS, which hasn’t been released outside of Oceania.
Nintendo World is home, and I wish for every Nintendo fan to come home at least once in their life. Not just to buy merchandise (which is still a good reason to go to Nintendo World), but to come to what could be considered the largest consistent Nintendo gathering in the Western hemisphere, if not the world.