I went to Seattle's retro gaming paradise, and it blew away my expectations. Here's what it's like to visit 'Pink Gorilla'
Ben Gilbert/Business InsiderVideo games!Ben Gilbert/Business Insider
- Seattle is home to an iconic video game store named "Pink Gorilla."
- The store has two locations, and aims to re-create the organized chaos of Tokyo's gaming stores.
- On a recent visit to Seattle, I went to the original Pink Gorilla location to see what all the hype was about - and it was even better than I expected.
Seattle's Pink Gorilla is a delightful, unique video game store.
Its two locations in Seattle are a pilgrimage for video game devotees, and I finally made the trip during a recent visit to the area.
Now that I have, I'm here to tell you: It lives up to the hype.
It outshines the hype, even.
Here's what it's like:
The original Pink Gorilla location is in Seattle's Chinatown/International district, in the basement of a mall.
Before you even get inside, the outer windows of Pink Gorilla are filled with gaming history.
This R.O.B. the Robot is decorative, but it's entirely likely that Pink Gorilla has one (or several) for sale.
On the other side of the entrance is a massive wall of plush Pokémon and Nintendo characters. This is the first hint that Pink Gorilla is something unique — these aren't just any plushies.
To the left of the plushies is an array of used game consoles, ranging from a Sega Master System to an Xbox One.
Let's go inside!
Of the two Pink Gorilla stores, the original is much smaller. But that doesn't mean it's lacking in totally rad stuff to gawk at and/or buy.
What makes Pink Gorilla different is apparent immediately: it features stuff like the Boss Fight Books series up front.
Many Japanese gaming stores in Tokyo's Akihabara district have these capsule machines ("Gachapon" machines). Put in $1, spin the wheel, and get a prize!
Each capsule has a unique toy, and you get a randomized prize. It's hard to resist for just $1.
But let's get to the games, of which there are so many. One wall was largely dedicated to American and Japanese versions of original NES games.
Each game is wrapped individually, and marked with a price tag. It's clear that the products for sale aren't just haphazardly repurposed from trade-ins.
Beyond just games, Pink Gorilla has a wealth of gaming memorabilia:
These placards from the arcade machines of "Bionic Commando," "Super Dodge Ball," and "Punch-Out!!" are especially rad. All three games ended up on the NES.
Here's a view of the store from the corner opposite the entrance:
My wife and I took a moment away from browsing to play a quick match of "Street Fighter II" on the SNES. Naturally, she won.
For the shelf-diggers among us, Pink Gorilla is a dream come true.
Pink Gorilla also carries rare items, like this gold Super Mario amiibo. It originally cost about $12 at retail — now it goes for $50 or more on the second-hand market.
The store's capacity for large peripherals like this is limited, so it was exciting to see a Super Scope in a box for sale:
Even the tchotchkes are smartly curated — these plushies are all from Japan directly. As a result, all of the "Pokémon" plushies are labeled "Pocket Monsters."
If you're looking for connectors, or adapters, or game controllers, Pink Gorilla has you covered. The store seems purpose-built for facilitating people playing as many games as possible.
Below the counter, an array of adorable little Pokémon figurines tempts customers with a last-minute impulse purchase. Just $4 each, or would you prefer three for $10?
Given the iconic nature of the store, Pink Gorilla sells its own merch as well. It, too, is pretty rad!
The second Pink Gorilla is far larger, and has a far larger selection of stuff — check it out in this video tour from YouTube, featuring one of the store's owners: