If you like video games, then you’ll love the Nintendo World Store at Rockefeller Plaza. Even if you’re the parent of two annoying 10-year-olds who dreads the thought of going to a place that sells video games, you’ll still love this store. This two-story fun house is jam-packed with stuff to look at and play around with. It’s pretty much the video game equivalent of an Apple store—but with Pokemom. Lots and lots of Pokemon.
I swear, it’s more comfortable than it looks! Ok, I lied.
If you’re old enough to remember what arcades were, then you’ll start seeing the similarities, except this is like an ’80s arcade on steroids. There are wall-to-wall Nintendo Wii’s displayed on large plasma TV’s and rows of DS’s for you to quickly join in and play with. While there are you’re traditional Mario and Zelda games, there are plenty of simple, casual experiences for the older generation, such as bowling and tennis. If you’re one of those people that are scared to play video games, there are plenty of salespeople who will assist you, too.
In the words of Carl from Aqua Teen Hunger Force, "Classic, total classic."
Besides trying to get you to buy stuff, the Nintendo store hasn’t forgotten its history and displays many pieces of Nintendo-related art and pop-culture references since the company first started. From the original Nintendo Entertainment System, to many pieces of fine art, the Nintendo store gives young gamers a glimpse into the past.
A charred GameBoy from the Gulf War still finds a way to play Tetris
While I was there, Ninja Gaiden for the Nintendo DS came out since the store was having a launch event. The producer of the game, Yosuke Hayashi, decided to come all the way over from Japan to sign autographs. Before showing up for the signing, I though to myself: “Does anyone know this guy?” Stupid me. Not only was there a line of about 50 people wanting to meet him, there were also people there from as far as Columbia, South America and, of course, Japan. They weren’t all teenagers, either. There were grown men who were clearly on their lunch break buying the game and standing in line.
A fan gets to meet Mr. Hayashi. At least he dressed for the occasion
Considering the only place I could try out video games for free 10 years ago were at Toy’s R Us and Sears, it’s pretty amazing to see how far they’ve come in expanding the market to other demographics. Maybe, just maybe, this $10-billion industry will be taken seriously one day.