2023 really is the year of Nintendo, huh? Not only have we had the pleasure of checking out some of the Japanese company’s best games – Tears of the Kingdom and more recently, the best 2D Mario to date – but it’s just secured itself a slot in the best-selling consoles of all time. It’s looking to bump those numbers up before the alleged Switch 2 makes its debut in 2024 (hopefully) with the opening of Africa’s first-ever Nintendo store, right in Sandton City.
Stuff had boots on the ground to catch a glimpse of the store’s grand opening earlier this morning, 10 November. First, let’s get something straight. This isn’t the first time Nintendo’s come to South Africa. For years, Nintendo’s gotten by with the help of far-too-few ‘pop-up’ stores that were too small to get the necessary traction. It’s finally rectified that with a new offering that doesn’t quite match the grandeur of its American stores, but nonetheless does its job of getting you to pull out your wallet.
Mario, Zelda, Animal Crossing or Pokémon fan? We’ve got some good news
Nintendo’s first ‘official’ store is about as rad as you’d expect. It’s smaller than we’d have liked (though what we’d have liked would amount to three floors worth of stuff), but it doesn’t waste an inch of the space it does have.
The walls and floating islands are overflowing with consoles, physical games, official merch, and apparel – encompassing the company’s larger franchises; Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Pokémon, and Animal Crossing. Each has its own little corner – chock-a-block with Amiibos of every kind, Mario hats, Pokémon plushies, T-shirts and jerseys, and custom-themed Switch consoles. Seriously, we’d recommend keeping your wallet under lock and key the moment you step into the store.
Example: we don’t need a limited-edition Tears of the Kingdom pro controller – but it very nearly found a way into our basket thanks to how rare it is in the country so many months after the game’s initial release.
It also solves one of Nintendo’s biggest issues – hardware testability. It’s got just about every piece of hardware out on display leaving anyone the chance to pick them up and get a feel for them before making the plunge. It’s most prevalent when it comes to the brand’s officially licenced Hori line-up of controllers which, to the layman, might not look like a brand overflowing with quality.
Nintendo is offering anyone who walks through the doors between now and 19 November a physical flyer that’ll net them a bunch of discounts on consoles, games, and controllers. Just in time for Christmas, huh? We’ve highlighted some of the more generous sales below:
- Nintendo Switch OLED (Red + Blue) – R8,000
- Tears of the Kingdom/Splatoon/ Pokémon Scarlet+Violet Nintendo Switch OLED – R8,500
- Nintendo Switch Pro Controller – R1,400
- Super Mario Bros. Wonder – R1,000
- Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – R1,000
- Tears of the Kingdom – R1,200
Note: These deals will be available until 19 November, so there’s still time to snag them.
In for repairs
While wandering through the rows of games, Switch setups, and Pokémon plushies, we noticed that one corner of the shop was marked “Support”. This, according to one of Nintendo South Africa’s higher-ups Leanne Muller, will be the store’s official repair station, where customers can bring in their damaged or broken consoles and controllers for a second chance at life.
No pricing was discussed, as the nature of each repair will require different parts and expertise but it was able to confirm that issues relating to analogue stick drift – a common issue for Nintendo – will be repaired free of charge. That’s part of a ploy to better promote parity between South Africa’s store and those over in the States.
Expect repairs to take about a week if Nintendo’s got all the parts it needs on hand.
We’re going to stop there. If you’re in the Sandton area be sure to stick your head in – if not for the deals, then for the sheer Nintendo-ness of it all.