In New York City, everyone loves Nintendo.
No sooner had E3 ended and its attendees hurriedly ushered out the door than it was time to start packing my stuff at the hotel room. Bright and early the next day, my shuttle was to pick me up in time for my next flight across to Washington, D.C., where a close friend would pick me up before the next chapter of my adventures—a road trip to New York for the next few days.
While there, I had some obvious places on my visiting list, like Broadway and Liberty Island, some obscure places like the Ghostbusters firehouse and Famous Roio's Pizza (it's a Ninja Turtle fandom thing), but I couldn't explore the city without having said I'd been to the Nintendo World Store in Rockefeller Center.
And there she is.
Boy, do I wish the Nintendo Experience store back home was anywhere near this cool. The lower floor contains the remnants of the Pokémon Center, which the store used to be before expanding into all Nintendo franchises. Down here you can buy games, console peripherals, plush toys, Skylanders, and other accessory trinkets. The friendly staff were happy to explain a little about the history of the store and the changes made over the years, promising plenty more surprises to come in the future.
The real treat, however, is upstairs, where a meticulously arranged display of Nintendo memorabilia sits in a series of glass cabinets. The cases at the front show every Nintendo console and handheld in order of release, along with some rare variations and limited editions, as well as some of Nintendo's other historical releases including, an original deck of hanafuda cards (their very first product!) and the famous Gulf War Game Boy that was charred and melted in a bomb blast, yet still works and plays Tetris. Yes, there's even a Virtual Boy on display.
The 16-bit generation kicked butt.
The cabinets at the back are arranged by series, and include Donkey Kong, Mario, Kid Icarus, Metroid, Zelda, Star Fox, Kirby, EarthBound, Fire Emblem, Pokémon, Pikmin, Animal Crossing, and even some of more obscure Touch! Generations games. These displays contain original game cartridges, plush toys, figurines, guide books, magazines (especially rare issues of Nintendo Power showing the historical release of some of the classic games!) and many, many other collectibles from throughout each series' hallowed history. It is a true sight to behold, and one could spend hours reminiscing while perusing the shelves on show.
Sadly, there's no Wario display case.
Also upstairs is a gigantic mosaic featuring Skyward Sword Link comprised of fans' photos, gathered on Nintendo's Facebook page during the 25th anniversary of the Legend of Zelda last year. The rest of the upstairs storefront has a large merchandise section with many unique and exclusive shirts on sale, large figurines, books and stationery, toy sets, coffee mugs, Nintendo-themed candies, and many other things. There's also a gaming lounge with plenty of Wii consoles hooked up to big TVs showcasing some of the biggest hits of the last few years. I was very close to purchasing a large statue of Wolf Link and Midna from Twilight Princess, but was talked out of it due to the uncomfortable situation that would have put me in when packing my suitcase to return home to Australia.
Someday, Midna. You will be mine.
I did buy myself a cool Bowser shirt and some metal keychains of Bowser, Wario and Waluigi (villains represent, yo!), as well as some gifts for friends and a healthy stock of U.S. eShop cards, since the ones on sale at home won't work with my 3DS. One day I'll live close enough to return and buy enough stuff to adorn my whole house with Nintendo goodness.
For a fan of any of Nintendo's franchises, this store is a dream to visit and has a little something for the gamer in just about anyone. If you haven't yet had the chance to visit, what the heck is stopping you? Just be sure to pack plenty of rupees—you're not going to leave empty-handed.
See below for my gigantic photo gallery, though even these photos only show a fraction of what's to be seen inside the store.