Austin, Texas is an important cornerstone city for video game development in the United States. Companies such as Blizzard, Bioware, EA, and Zynga all have offices located in the newly deemed “Silicon Hills” (a play-on of California’s “Silicon Valley”), so one can expect video game culture to be thriving in a city as such.
In addition to game development, Austin is known for having some pretty hip local retro game stores. One particularly cool store we ran across was a Pokémon-themed store, called Pokémaniacs. This five-month old store can be found in the Lakeline Mall, located in North Austin.
As you can imagine, the store is aimed at selling Pokémon merchandise for Pokémaniacs. The definition of Pokémaniac is subjective though, as Pokémon fans of all ages and variations can be found roaming about. From little kids to adolescents to adults…from fans of the Pokémon Trading Card Game to the video games themselves – this store has merchandise for everyone.
Upon entering the store, I was immediately greeted by Justin (Store Manager, Pokémaniacs). Justin was very informative in his Pokémon knowledge, and was happy to give me a brief backstory behind the store’s history. For those native to or have lived in Austin over the last decade, the first Pokémon-themed store opened up near the Northcross Mall (near Burnet Rd./West Anderson Ln.) about eight years ago. It unfortunately shut down, but eventually re-opened as a temporary holiday store in the Lakeline Mall in November 2015. After its massive holiday success, the store has since stayed open, serving the needs of aspiring and veteran Pokémon masters from Austin. Don’t worry South Austinites – there is also a store in the Barton Creek Mall (albeit, it isn’t as spacious).
After hearing the store’s history, it was time to take a mini-tour! When I first entered, it was apparent that the store had an intentionally designed floorplan, aimed at categorizing similar Pokémon merchandise together. On the left side of the store, there is mostly merchandise related to the Pokémon Trading Card Game. Unfortunately, I did not see a Base Set Charizard card – HOWEVER, there were many other familiar cards. Talk about nostalgia overload!
Clothing and merchandise related to in-game mostly inhabits the right side of the store. Everything from custom made gym badges from each region (Kanto, Johto, etc.) to beanies and hats can be found here. The store even has its own personal model, Snorlax! Look at it rocking a stylish Pokéball beanie – now that is some Pokérific fashion.
Pokémon fans visiting or living in the Austin area should take some time to visit one of the two Pokémaniacs stores in the city; you won’t be let down. Each store’s address can be found below:
Pokémaniacs Store (Lakeline Mall Location): 11200 Lakeline Mall Drive Cedar Park, TX 78613
Pokémaniacs Store (Barton Creek Mall Location): 2901 S Capital of Texas Hwy, Austin, TX 78746