• Welcome. Wa-hoo!
  • Plenty of open space and demo stations.
  • One of two pyramids full of Mario plushies.
  • You have no idea how hard it was to get this picture without the Boo getting shy and hiding…
  • The look of wonder on Toad's face emulates that of a lot of the children I saw in the store.
  • Need a quick charge for your personal electronics? Look for the DK barrel, of course!
  • You don't want to know how he got those chips on his knuckles…
  • Dramatic pose!
  • Behold, the world's largest Amiibo!
  • This touch-screen kiosk explains the interaction between every single Amiibo and Amiibo-compatible game.
  • I'm pretty sure that's every single Amiibo in one place, but the fact that I'm not sure says something about the number of the little buggers than currently exist.
  • The Amiibo pose that launched a thousand wedding cakes.
  • I was kind of surprised this wasn't set up to allow for a cheesy "Look at me, I'm Link pulling the Master Sword!" photo opportunity.
  • Two pieces of Nintendo pre-Arcade history: cards and Pong clones.
  • The dream of virtual reality is alive at Nintendo World.
  • Tell me you don't see some of the Switch design in that two-player Game and Watch.
  • Sad to think that Nintendo will probably never make another exclusively portable system again after the success of the Switch.
  • Japan gets all the cool portables, like this frontlit, Astro Boy-decaled Game Boy Pocket.
  • Hey, remember when Nintendogs was a big thing?
  • This Gulf War-ravaged Game Boy, made famous by Nintendo Power way back when, is starting to show its age—there are some lines on the LCD screen that I don't think were there on previous visits.
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy designed this Nintendo Labo robot at a promotional event, and he looked a little skeptical in this promo photo…
  • The growing Splatoon fandom is reflected in this wall of promotional products.
  • That Super NES Classic Edition box has seen better days. Don't worry, it's just a foam display—the real ones are kept behind the counter.
  • I felt sad for Star Fox when I realized this was literally the only piece of franchise merchandise available in the entire store.
  • This is Nintendo's version of Disneyland's "hidden Mickeys."

Growing up, I loved exploring the heavily branded shopping experiences of the Disney Store and the Warner Bros. Studio Store. These days, I can get a more tech-oriented version of the same basic concept at one of Apple or Microsoft's many retail locations. But to get Nintendo's version of that kind of retail wonderland, I have to go to the company's one and only Nintendo World Store location, in New York City's Rockefeller Center.

For locals, Nintendo World is just another tourist trap. But for hundreds of tourists every day, the half-museum, half-arcade, half-expansive gift shop (yup, three halves) is a kind of mecca to pay homage to the company and its creations. The same appeal might not translate if Nintendo expanded the concept to every mall and shopping center in the country. That said, we think the depth and breadth of multi-generational Nintendo fandom could probably sustain more than a single location in one city.

For those who can't make the trek to this singular store, we took this set of pictures during a recent reporting trip to capture the feeling of being there. Enjoy them as you wait for Nintendo to open up its own theme parks.

Original Article

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Ars Technica

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