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Planned Nintendo store in San Francisco's Union Square draws tourists

Planned Nintendo store in San Francisco's Union Square draws tourists


SAN FRANCISCO — Generations around the world grew up with Nintendo games and some still play them to this day, so it's no wonder that nearly everyone Kelsi Sordo spoke to in Union Square was excited to hear the company had plans to open a store in the area.

“I started gaming at a very young age, about six years old, and I've been playing games consoles and stuff ever since,” Tracy Turnbull said.

Tracy Turnbull is visiting from Germany and said if the store were open now she would go in a heartbeat.

“Yeah, the nostalgia of the games that they have, look around and see what's going on,” Turnbull said.

Christian Gonzalez, visiting San Francisco from Miami, agreed, and said he knew not only would he be visiting the store, but so would thousands of others across the country and even the world.

“They're a very well-known name and if you think about things like the Pokémon Center, they have a big fan base and Nintendo has a big fan base, so I think that helps bring people here,” Gonzalez said.

But not everyone is optimistic about its chances. Bay Area resident Ernesto Noboa isn't sure whether a Nintendo store would bring in the kind of business needed to fully revitalize the city.

“A lot of the people who live here are professionals, they live in cities, they work in finance or technology. I'm not sure they have time to play video games,” Noboa said.

Ernesto said the city needs to take a broader approach to attract more people to the area.

“It's going to depend on the stigma of the city itself, where people end up here by chance, or they find out about the city because they've heard about it or they've been told they should come to San Francisco. I think it's about changing the feel of San Francisco and making it a safer city in a broader sense,” Noboa said.

But tourists like Christian say the Nintendo store could go a long way in improving the city's image, and he says he looks forward to coming back to check it out when it opens.

“I'm a big fan of the Switch, so I'm going to check out the lineup and see if I can buy a game, two or three,” Gonzalez said.

Gamers will still have to wait a while for the store to open: Nintendo hasn't said it's due to open until 2025, and it's still unclear where in Union Square the store will be located.

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