I am a certified 90s kid. Describing how my childhood went, it entailed quite a lot of engagements with our neighbors who have of course the same age as mine. We enjoyed afternoons playing traditional Filipino street games outside our respective houses and when boredom strikes, we just simply go indoors to play video games.
I will never forget the moment when I received my first Family Computer from a package given by my cousin from Japan. I was so excited to play with it. So what I did was I plugged into in the 220V socket right away and poof, it exploded. Yes, the device was meant to be powered via a 110V socket or through transformer and not in a 220V direct socket, which is sadly (and I forgot) the Philippine standard.
Before the iPads and smartphones dominated the world, there was Gameboy and Family Computer- both of which, are created by Nintendo. In my younger years, I’ve found myself enjoying classic Nintendo games such as the Super Mario Bros., Tetris, Contra, Kirby, my all-time favorite Pokémon and whole lot more. As the time goes by, my gadget evolved from my first Gameboy color to Gameboy SP to Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS in present time. I’ve never got the chance to own a Sony PlayStation (or any other Sony brand gaming console) ever as I prefer my gadget to be only just from Nintendo and given that I also have my loyalty with the company. What’s surprising is that, majority of my Nintendo gadgets and title cartridges that came along with it were all given by my cousin from Japan. With that said, even though I’m just a kid who only had the ability to read and comprehend the English language (aside from my native language, which is of course, Filipino), majority of my games were in Japanese language (Nihongo) and I have no idea how the heck did I manage to finish these titles in no time.
Flash forward to almost present time, me and my childhood best friend loved the game Pokémon so much. Since I’m a really dedicated Pokémon Trainer (yes, I’m claiming it! Lol), I even got to complete the National Pokedex in my class-A Pokémon Fire Red cartridge (it’s sad that in the Philippines that time, it is really rare that you can purchase an original Gameboy cartridge in the country as piracy is somewhat dominant in the market, I know for sure, some gamers can relate to my concern as well). During the moment when I got the chance to eventually own an original Pokemon Leaf Green (thanks to my piggy bank savings and Datablitz, a reseller of gaming goods in the country that promises guaranteed original items), I then had the chance to transfer my Pokémons to the original one, but while in the process, unfortunately, it got corrupted. Some of the rare ones such as Mew, Ho-Oh and Lugia wasn’t successfully transferred. I was so devastated I threw the class-A cartridge a multiple times. Yep, that’s me having mild tantrums (lol).
Anyhow, during those times, my best bud and I wished we’re able to go to Game Stop (we didn’t have it here in the Philippines, ’til this very moment, btw) every time we hear news through the internet about the Pokémon mystery gift events being held in the USA and Europe.
As an avid Pokémon fan, It was just so unfortunate from our part that in Asia, the nearest place we can attend these special events is in Japan and of course, as a kid, we do not have enough funds to fly ourselves in the land of the rising sun.
There were a lot of times when we stumbled and saw the official website of Nintendo along with its flagship store called the Nintendo World, which I really consider as every Nintendo freak’s heaven. It is apparently located in New York, USA. From the moment we’ve discovered this place, my childhood best friend and I just dreamt about going there someday and told ourselves that we’ll include it in our bucket-list which also includes a Nintendo HQ location visit in either Japan or North America; And so we did.
As they say, be careful what you wish for, because you might just get it. A few years after, my best friend was able to go to New York with his family just for vacation and leisure, got the opportunity to visit the Nintendo World ahead of me. I was both envious and happy for him that time. Good thing he was really generous enough to grant my favor such us getting a souvenir from the Nintendo World Store and I’m so happy I’ve finally got a few.
Then came my turn a few more years before that which I never thought it will. During my last day at the Microsoft MVP Summit in the year 2014, I was able to put an entry off my bucket list, and that’s when I’ve visited the Nintendo Headquarters in Redmond, Washington, which is located surprisingly inside the Microsoft Campus. It was a rainy evening that time and since It’s my last night in Washington, I really took the opportunity to see the HQ of Nintendo in America, regardless of the weather condition. Thanks to my awesome friend and fellow Microsoft MVP, Jim Yu for accompanying me that time. When we arrived, the receptionist was very strict to us and told us that taking photos inside the lobby is strictly prohibited. However, I have taken a few photos before she noticed that I’m taking some photos inside.
Surprisingly, my mission to put off entries from my personal Nintendo bucket list did not just end in the West Coast. A week after, during the time I’ve reached New York City, I was so stoked in the fact that I’m set to see that place I dreamt of going before. Yes, you guessed it right, I was able to successfully set foot at the two-storey high Nintendo World Store in Rockefeller Center- It was indeed a paradise.
Upon entering the first level of the store, I immediately saw the Nintendo 2DS/3DS area along with some cool items such as Super Mario Bros. plushies and the awesome official Nintendo apparel. I really wish I could bring home everything that I’m seeing that time. It felt so surreal.
Argh. Finally, second floor! the Pokémon section of the Nintendo World Store! Wish I could live here forever. The Pokédolls just got real! They have some legendary Pokémon plushies in stock too, thought I was gonna faint that time. By the way, here’s a tip that you can take the next time you visit Nintendo World Store (Now Nintendo New York): The stocks in store varies from week to week, you’re considered as the lucky one if you get to spot your favorite Pokémon plushie during the time you paid a visit. I was eyeing for a Ho-Oh and Lugia that time, but it’s okay, there’s Jirachi, Manaphy, Giratina and a bunch more to replace the legends I’m looking for, I think that would suffice.
Also at the second floor of the store is where the Wii section and the Nintendo Showcase is located. The Nintendo Showcase is some sort of a mini Nintendo museum showcasing the products the company has released since the beginning: from the Game & Watch era, Game Boy era, Nintendo DS era, Nintendo DSi era, Nintendo 3DS and the latest addition to the family during my visit last year, the Nintendo 2DS. There’s also a showcase of the history of Nintendo’s flagship titles namely Animal Crossing, Pokemon, Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Kirby and Metroid.
And that concludes my visit. I was really happy and overwhelmed by the opportunity. So stoked that I even went to the store twice during my stay in the city and I can say, those few hours in store were the moments that I’ll never forget. Of course, I did not miss the opportunity of spending a few bucks to get some souvenir items for me to take home.
I might be older during my visit than the time I started dreaming about this moment, but I guess, as long as you’re still alive and breathing, it’s never too late. Indeed, dreams do come true.