I decided that I would go to the Nintendo World Store this past Sunday, November 8, 2010 to wish Mario and Super Mario Brothers a happy birthday. All I knew was that there would be free cake and a Grand Re-Opening of sorts for Nintendo’s shop in Rockefeller Center. I left the festivities as exhausted as I was taken aback by what I had experienced.
At 12 pm, I arrived, foolishly stunned at the line that stretched all the way down the block. Of course people had been waiting hours (10:30 at the very front) to be amongst the first to celebrate the birthday of the world’s most famous video game character and franchise. After patiently waiting an hour and talking to the two groups of parents in front of and behind me, I made my way inside the Nintendo World Store, snuffing my nose at the parents who couldn’t bear to wait in the queue, insisting that they could come another time because they wouldn’t miss anything.
I walked in, and was immediately disappointed. Though there were a few fans dressed up as their favorite Nintendo characters (and Sonic…) rather than see a lot of decoration geared towards Super Mario Brothers, I saw the store as I expected (and many regular patrons complained) it looked any other day. With lines snaking throughout the building, I watched on as customers bought Wiis, played Mario Kart DS at a display table, and flicked their wrists to PokéPark Wii: Pikachu’s Adventure. I was a little bored. Then Reggie Fils-Aime walked past me and I lost my shit inside, but managed to coolly approach him and ask for a picture.
With a second wind of positivity, I spotted a curtained-off area next to the Pokémon kiosk, and decided to wait in line. Ignoring the cheering on the second level above me (I was told the voice of Mario was giving the crowd fanservice), I waited in line for another hour, goaded by a member of Team Rocket to tell me my favorite Team from the Pokémon series, and slowly realized what the line was for: I was to share a Mario moment in my life, wish him a happy birthday, and get a free t-shirt from a Hammer brother. A free shirt? This was more than worth it. I went in, and told my sad tale of being terrible at SMB games despite my efforts, and got my pretty, gray, free shirt.
Two hours since my arrival down the block, and now on a Nintendo high I’ve never been on in my life, I decided to challenge the line that led to the second floor. The cheers had long since stopped, but I knew the cake was being served around this time. Another 20 minutes passed, and I finally climbed the staircase towards my sugary goal. With demo spaces everywhere, I made my way towards the cupcake line only to be turned down by an employee stating that there was a cut off. Dejected, I decided to feast imaginatively on the gorgeous, four-tiered SMB cake on display in the middle of the level.
After taking pictures, I glanced at the two hour long lines to take instant pictures in front of a Mario backdrop and decided not to jump in. Instead, I looked at the display cases full of Mario memorabilia and a retrospective of various Nintendo consoles and peripherals.
After taking another string of pictures, I desperately eyed the cupcake line, and in a fit of rage, raced towards the area when I saw that there were far more cupcakes to be given, despite the lies that that fat, greedy security guard espoused to me with such a plain and convincing face. I gleefully hopped behind the three people in front of me and accepted my delicious prize stacked with equally mouth-watering red frosting. In an easy, single bite, I inhaled my pastry and, with spirits renewed, bid adieu to the Nintendo World Store, journey complete, and most definitely satisfied.
Until I woke up the next day, read Kotaku and found out that it wasn’t the voice of Mario that incited the roars of applause, but Shigeru Miyamoto himself, watching on as a 20-year old attempted a five minute speed run of Super Mario Brothers.
What a fool I am.
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Tags: 25th Anniversary, cake, Luigi, mario, Mario Kart DS, New York City, Nintendo, Nintendo World Store, PokéPark Wii: Pikachu’s Adventure, Reggie Fils-Aime, Shigeru Miyamoto, Sonic, Super Mario Brothers, Videogames