On the 28th of June, I headed to Dizengof-Center, one of the most interesting places in Tel-Aviv. It’s a giant, two structure building, each with three levels contained within both portions that is so complex it is near impossible to navigate without a map or a guide (there is even a downloadable navigation app, yes it’s that bad). But my goal wasn’t to get lost in this chaotic structure, no, mine was one thing and one thing only, to see the world’s second Nintendo Store.
Mitch has always spoken about the store in New York City, so being the proud Israeli that I am, and the budding reporting I try to be on occasion, I booked a bus trip (because I would be crazy trying to find parking) to go check out Nintendo’s newest store! I arrived 3 days after the grand opening, so the store was a bit more empty than I anticipated based on the photos I saw from others who were there at opening day with their cool Nintendo Switch red shirts. Surprisingly, the store was smaller than I expected it to be, perhaps it was just that they were understocked due to the grand opening, but regardless it still felt smaller.
Much to the same as the store in NYC, there was plenty of merchandise to be found that you couldn’t get elsewhere or only online. All the employees were extremely helpful and friendly, and while I didn’t find anything I personally wanted, I was assured the store would eventually grow with more products being made available down the road. However, aside from the actual electronic products (systems and games), everything in the store was quite expensive.
I was told the store’s goal was to give a direct consumer experience for Nintendo goods, but I personally felt lt has the vibe of any other gift shop, just this was Nintendo themed and full of Mario and Zelda related products. So while it was fun, and a nice experience, I don’t see much of a direct benefit to having such a store, except for special swag. There whispers down the grapevine that prices may improve, but with not owning any current Nintendo system, I am not exactly affected by this, but I am still glad that Nintendo fans out here finally have a place to nerd out.
For me personally, the most important thing was the nod of acknowledgment Nintendo has shown towards Israel as an important market, as Israel has traditionally been often overlooked by game companies. So if you are a Nintendo fan, and are in Israel, you should certainly give it a visit, just be prepared to pay a little to leave with anything.