The Nintendo Experience, the Mushroom Kingdom showroom located at EB Games on Swanston St in Melbourne has closed its doors.
Australia has never had an official Nintendo store. The Nintendo Experience was the closest we’ve ever come to anything like an official retail outlet. Nintendo’s Australian headquarters is located in Melbourne, so it made sense to create a flagship store in the same city.
The Nintendo Experience consumed the entire upper floor of EB’s Swanston St store. As reported by VOOKS on Tuesday, the staircase used to access the area has now been roped off. The stock has been removed from shelves and the lights are off. A handwritten sign hangs across the stairwell: ‘Staff Only’.
Ninty used the space for midnight launches and special live events. It was both a retail store and a museum of the company’s history. It first opened on December 6, 2008, and traded daily for nearly fourteen years. I had a dig through the archives. Here’s then-editor David Wildgoose interviewing Nintendo around its end of year reflections, including the store’s opening. In 2009, Nintendo brought the king Charles Martinet, the voice of Mario, to Australia for a signing at the store. Man, we wish we’d been there for that one. (Please excuse the formatting on those older pieces. Time and the shifting of a thousand backend changes have not been kind to them)
The space was revamped only once in 2018 to modernise its fixtures and lighting.
Though the EB Games’ Swanston St store remains, the closure of the Nintendo Experience follows a tough period for the company. It was already shutting down stores in early 2020, before the pandemic, as competitors like JB Hi-Fi took stinging bites out of its business. It seems the Nintendo Experience may have been another victim of these closures.
Vale to the Nintendo Experience. You were a real one.