The NES Classic Edition console is available now but some lucky Nintendo fans traveled to the Nintendo NY store in Rockefeller Center where the flagship store hosted an NES 80s Party complete with a DJ, refreshments and the opportunity to be the first to purchase the Mini NES when the clock struck midnight.
For those in the New York City area knows this isn’t the first launch party for a major Nintendo product at the Nintendo NY store, and since its huge remodel in February the Nintendo NY store has been a must-visit for anyone coming into the city looking for the best of Nintendo’s products.
At the NES Classic Edition launch event we spoke to Nintendo NY General Manager, PJ Sadler about the NES Classic Edition, the Nintendo Switch and why this is a very exciting time to be a Nintendo fan.
Note: The following has been edited lightly for clarity.
iDigitalTimes: You’ve had so many events in this store this year and now here we are with another great event.
Sadler: “You know what it is, we remodeled back in February and since the remodel I think we created a space that works for everybody. If you would have come three hours ago you would have had interactives there playing the Wii U and 3DS. But now it’s empty and we have breakdancers so the ability to transform this space really shows that when people come here, they will have a one of a kind Nintendo experience, which was the whole point. We have about 100 events a year and this year we may break that.”
You mentioned the remodel and we’re coming up to the one year anniversary of the remodel. Is there anything special as we head towards that date?
“No, I think this holiday season is going to be really fun. People seeing it for the first time, tourists coming to see the Rockefeller Christmas tree you’ll have a lot of people come out. I’m really excited to see their feeling of the store when they visit or revisit for the first time. Seeing the 3D characters, seeing the space we have now and we work really hard to provide exclusive products in the store and a lot of them are limited. We are trying to give back to the community here in ways they can’t get anywhere else.”
We’re celebrating the original NES but a lot of the visitors and people buying the Mini NES are so young they didn’t grow up the system, what do you attribute NIntendo’s staying power to?
“A lot of people don’t know that Nintendo has been around since the 1889. And it wasn’t until the late 70s, early 80s that we became this modern version that everyone knows Nintendo for. I think when it comes to games, people like us may look at it as our youth, this is what we grew up playing. Now we can bring that to the next generation and show them, honestly, how hard we had it back then because those games were pretty hard. I was playing the first Super Mario Bros. with my son and he was having trouble getting past World 1:1 and one time I Spoke to Miyamoto about this and he was saying that he did a random study that out of 100 people that only 20 people, for the first time, could get through World 1:1. So I think that’s the fun part that showing the youth how hard it was and that they really have to work at it.”
What’s your favorite title of the 30?
“Outside of the go-tos like Mario and Zelda? What really brought the nostalgia back for me was Castlevania . I love that game. It’s a game that my brothers and I played together until the end and I remember feeling like ‘this is hard but we are going to get through it.’ And playing it immediately brought back those memories. And games like Punch-Out and things like that, but all 30 of them brings back something. Like if you were playing in the arcade and you are playing it here again it just brings you back. But it’s so fun that I can share that with my six-year-old because he’s seeing it for the first time and I have these stories I can share where I played this [game] in an arcade. It’s fun that way.”
Any game you hoped would make the system but didn’t?
“You know what, I think they did a really good job with the 30 games they picked. As long as they put Zelda II in there, I’m probably the only one who is going to say this, it was all I needed. That game, I loved that game I must have played that game more than anything else. But 30 games for $59.99 that’s really awesome. Thirty games where a third of which were revolutionary for their time and that we still talk about. How many Mario games have there been since this one? How many people look at World 1:1 and immediately get brought back to another place? I think we did a good job of curating this 30.”
The fans are here celebrating Nintendo’s past but with the Nintendo Switch announcement a lot of focus has gone to the future. It’s an interesting time for Nintendo.
“There’s a lot of things we are doing at Nintendo and it’s not just what we are releasing. Obviously we have the Nintendo Switch coming in March, we have an amazing game called Pokemon Sun and Moon , this little game that will release next week and that will propel us into next year. But you know, Nintendo is doing a lot of other things too. We are extending our IP in ways we’ve never done before. We are doing things that we only really talked about a small bit like Universal Studios and things like that. For Nintendo, it’s a fantastic time for this brand. I’ve been here for almost five years and it’s one of the most exciting times that I’ve had here because we are on the cusp of something. We have this revolutionary product, we are celebrating the past we have this amazing Pokemon game coming out. I mean, let’s talk about these six months it’s one thing after another so it’s a great time to be a Nintendo fan.”
Speaking about the next six months, what is the plan for the store?
“The store will support all of those major launches. Soon we will announce some things in January but the store itself we will support everything. Things like E3 where we bring it to the East Coast and do special things. Whether there’s a launch like the NES Classic Edition we do things like this. We really have a fantastic team that not only launches a product and doing things for the fans, where they say ‘instead of launching a product at midnight, why don’t we have an 80s party? Let’s have fun and celebrate where this came from.’ For us, it’s supporting all the products but in this fun, flagship, only store in the world sort of way.
“So if you’re a local here or traveling from around the world, this is the place. It’s more than just for launches but for moments like this. For like minded individuals talking about Nintendo and just being in a place where we’re like ‘yea, I remember that game.’ You and I were just talking about Castlevania and how hard it is, and that’s everyday here, that’s the discussions that we have. It’s not come in and we try and sell you a million things I’m selling you on Nintendo and if you’re not already a fan then let’s talk because I’m going to walk you through the showcase upstairs, we’re going to play games on the 15-foot television screen. And that’s the experience we want people young and old to come in here and they have this memorable experience.”