The end of an era.
The Nintendo Experience, the second-floor expansion to the Swanston Street EB Games store in Melbourne, Australia, has reportedly been closed as of last weekend.
The section has been an iconic fixture of the store for Melbourne visitors since December 2008 and featured a wide variety of Nintendo-themed merchandise and games. There were console and handheld demo units, statues of beloved characters and even a small gallery of Nintendo’s history over the years, making it the closest thing Australia had to an official Nintendo store. It was also the place for many midnight launch parties, game tournaments, cosplay contests and events, including appearances by Mario voice actor Charles Martinet.
While the main EB store on ground level and the more recent pop culture retail Zing expansion in the basement remain open for business, the staircase to the upper level has been closed off and the second floor is shrouded in darkness.
Several of my own feature articles over the last decade covered events held here, but over recent repeated lockdowns for public safety and diminished tourism and trade in the Melbourne CBD, I’ll admit it has been a few years since I had last attended the store. It’s currently unknown whether the second level of the store will be refurbished for a new retail attraction or closed permanently.