Nintendo-Themed Attractions Coming to Universal's Theme Parks
Video game giant Nintendo and Universal Parks & Resorts today announced a partnership
that will allow Universal to bring Nintendo-themed attractions to Universal Studios theme parks worldwide.
From the announcement:
Nintendo has created remarkable and imaginative worlds filled with captivating stories and beloved characters. Now, for the first time, those stories and characters will be brought to life in entirely new ways—only at Universal theme parks. The immersive experiences will include major attractions at Universal’s theme parks and will feature Nintendo’s most famous characters and games.
Founded in Japan in the late nineteenth century as a playing card company, Nintendo got into the video game business in the 1970s. Its franchises include Pokemon, Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, and Donkey Kong. Creators of the Wii console, Nintendo today trails Sony and Microsoft in sales of home console units, but its games are considered to skew more family friendly than the first-person shooter games more popular on PlayStation and XBox.
The deal with Universal allows the two companies to develop three-dimensional, interactive experiences in theme park settings that recreate and potentially advance the characters, settings, situations and narratives made popular in Nintendo's games.
Which Nintendo properties would you like to see in a Universal theme park, and where?
Update: A few thoughts: A Nintendo-themed attraction demands interactivity. A passive experience where guests sit on a ride or in a show won't satisfy that audience, which is conditioned to engage with these themes. A successful Nintendo-themed attraction cannot offer identical experiences on each visit, either. Furthermore, it ought to reward repeat visits, as a game rewards its player for his or her experience with the game.
That creates additional challenges for designers that they don't necessarily face with other IPs. The flip side is the inherent potential of having attractions that will remain fresh for audiences longer than those from IPs which would lend themselves to more static experiences.
Finally, while Universal has abundant space to play with (well, relatively) in Orlando and Japan, space is tight in Hollywood and especially so in Singapore. That's another issue for Universal Creative... and for fans who love to imagine what Universal Creative will do.
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My money is on Toon Lagoon.....
Lost continent should really be what goes, Sinbad seems really dated although I think they're doing a minor refurb currently. Poseidon is also fun but dated now as well, that's a pretty sizable chunk of park that could do very well with a rebrand. The only problem is directing traffic during renovation, when Harry Potter is really busy things get tight.
I think they should replace Toon Lagoon, but worry that they will replace their Marvel area of the park as Disney keeps taking over more and more Marvel.
Going to replace KidZone and the plot of land behind MIB/Simpsons.
Sean's right. Insiders like Sean say KidZone or MIB/Simpsons empty plot, no doubt........Great attraction, "Pokemon versus The Minions" LOL
Fabulous news. More marketable characters and new attractions incoming. Love the constant changes and new things being added to Universal.
The creation of original theme park attractions not connected to a pre-existing intellectual property is in its final death throes. Where has creativity gone? I guess folks would rather feel safe and coddled with something familiar than experience anything new. I understand that money is an issue and risking millions on an unproven concept is chancy but that didn't stop the creation of all-time classics like Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion at Disneylan, the Calico Mine Train and the Log Ride at Knott's Berry Farm. Knoebel's Haunted Mansion, Noah's Ark at Kennywood. The creation of theme park attractions is an art form, just like literature, film and music. It needs to be treated as such; it needs visionaries, not corporate shills. Rides that tie-in with films, television programs and such can be wonderful-- the Indiana Jones Adventure is a fantastic example-- but I'm sick of them. Which theme park will be next to shock us with the new?
That's another good place for it, call me nostalgic but I hope ET is safe
Lots of good places in Orlando it could go, it's really hard to pick. I'd go with something that meshes well with the areas around it. So, Toon Lagoon or KidZone.
I wonder what video game franchise Disney will scoop up after this announcement....
Kid Zone...Not sure what the hate is for Toon Lagoon?? Has two great rides, good food and a festive atmosphere. They just need another cool ride to replace that theatre.
Should definitely replace KidZone. I'd like to see a Zelda themed dark ride or water ride (Wind Waker; King of Red Lions is basically tailor-made to be a ride vehicle). I think they can re-skin Woody Woodpecker to a Yoshi theme, complete with coins to "collect" (classic Mario coin noise on-ride).
Years ago I was on assignment in London and I went to Sega World. . . it was like a variation of Disney Quest. It was fantastic! What about a Sega World/Disney Quest kind of structure in City Walk? Maybe in the old Nascar Cafe. . .
Please give me a Legend of Zelda experience. PLEASE.
Do kids care much about Nintendo? Nonetheless, Disney made some movies that suggested the Nintendo look. This is still a good move for Universal, which sort of suggests that any expansion with DreamWorks Animation is dead for now.
You all are thinking too small. I'm putting my money on a 3rd gate. With the new water park to soon close down wet and wild, there's plenty of space on that plot of land for a 3rd gate. A whole park to Nintendo world would be pretty cool, plenty of possibilities for attractions of all kinds for all ages, rather than cram it all in one section and have a "best of Nintendo" ride a la simulator, as if universal needs more of those.
Nintendo, the Disney of video games, has a multitude of franchises that could fit in various parts of Universal's parks. From the crazy popular Pokemon, to obviously Super Mario. They have plenty of ways to bring children's franchises to the park. But there's also Legend of Zelda and Metroid, which are geared towards the younger adult crowd. If I could see Mario and Pokemon taking up Kidzone, I could also see Zelda and Metroid taking up Marvel.
I find it interesting that most of the comments are talking about replacing existing attractions vs expanding the parks.although that's what it seems like Disney is going to do at the studios when they bring in the Star Wars attractions
By the way if you're going to replace an attraction I would suggest 'Twister.'
TH, Twister is slotted for replacement. Should start work at the end of the year.
If they were going to replace toon lagoon, I'd like to think they would have started doing so already to have a bigger King Kong attraction area.
This is yet another game changer for Universal. The one thing they haven't had was iconic characters. Woody Woodpecker anyone? The Minions are close, but Mario and gang fit the bill to compete with Mickey Mouse.
Great news! Personally I would love to see an entire Nintendo Park, but will take what I can get. KidZone, Toon Lagoon, Marvel.... Any of these three areas could be replaced with attractions based on these classic games, but KidZone probably needs it most.
So Universal's Kong announcement ends up getting undermined by... a Universal/Nintendo announcement. Funny how that works. ;-)
Man I do hope it's a third gate. Not having been to Orlando I don't know the space availability, but here's what I would hope/look for in Nintendo Land
Pardon me for exposing my inner nerd, but I'd like to see the Curious George play area get rebranded as a Super Mario Sunshine play area, granted the spot we're agreeing on ends up being where UOS goes with. It seems like a perfect match in my mind.
I think 188.8.131.52 is on to something. No guarantee this will actually be a land or rides in the theme parks themselves. It could mean Universal's version of DisneyQuest in City Walk, with all Nintendo characters and themes. Like Robert said, attractions based on video games need to be completely interactive. A DisneyQuest style attraction would accomplish this. Unless Universal goes with completely new ride systems (which is certainly possible), the only truly interactive and always changing rides are shoot em ups like Toy Story Mania. Universal already has MIB.
Thoughts on a Mario Kart Ride. Ideally, I would want to re-create the game experience as much as possible. So my initial thought was to have bumper cars on a track with "items" that can be collected and dropped onto the track.
So what's tomorrows announcement.......Universal buys Disney and fires Mickey Mouse??????
Think of the way Disney Quest gives you complete virtual reality experiences that could easily translate into attractions based on your favorite Nintendo games. . . What if you could put on a helmet and be completely immersed in a cartoon video game world. . . everywhere you turn, you'd be right in the middle of the game. A Universal version of an updated Disney Quest 1/2 day experience would really round out the offerings at the Universal Orlando Resort. I love the Disney Quest attraction where 4 of you are in a pod trying to rescue colonists form space aliens. . . that all translates so easily into an virtual reality video game ride. My vote is for a giant indoor Nintendo World at City Walk!!
Them is fighting words, TH.... Twister, although just a walk through / simulator is still one of my all time favorites.
Long time lurker, had to weigh in on this.
I understand Universal charges Helen Hunt to park that truck in the queue area.
Bill, it is going to replace KidZone.
Bill, it is going to replace KidZone.
I hate to Disappoint but a 3rd gate is most definitely not going to happen anytime soon. When Wet and Wild closes, it's going to be another hotel going there, possibly 2 more if they can fit it. As for where to put Nintendo, I'm all for replacing Toon Lagoon as well. It's nice but none of the younger people going to the parks know any of those characters anymore (except for Popeye, maybe).
Theme park industry lurker here. Sorry for being Anon...
I'm going to play Devil's advocate here and say that Universal should take a Disney length of time to build Nintendo attractions. The reason why Nintendo is such a huge video game giant is that most of their games truly push the limit of what video games can do. And guess how long it takes them to make a new game?
@Sean: I have faith in Universal Creative. The work they've done in the last bunch of years with Potter and even the Simpsons shows that they swing for the fences with most of their projects.
@the anon poster who wrote: "The advantage for Nintendo is that they have been making games for longer than Disney has been in business let alone theme parks."
I suspect an Islands of Adventure expansion in the future
I suspect an Islands of Adventure expansion in the future
Super exciting. I grew up with Nintendo and always for years thought it would be perfect for a theme park. Super excited about this!
I must say this was far from my mind, but this is some exciting news! I'm definitely a fan of all things Nintendo. This can be very cool because like you said, it demands interactivity. It can either be amazing or a let down, and the way Universal has been making some quality entertainment, I expect it to be the former. I look forward to hearing more.
I think it will be Marvel Super Hero Island, finally getting rid of Marvel from Universal Orlando
I believe this could be utilized for the planned Okinawa Universal project, which was announced not so long ago.
Bob Rumpke writes: "Universal is well on it's way to be the dominate theme park of all time!!:
I don't know how they would make it but I wanna be Able to race and use items in a Mario kart experience and maybe like a super smash bros show or something that's live action mixed with animation , like a combination of the terminator show at universal with mickeys phillar Magic at mk.
Where is the Marvel Island replacement coming from? The Marvel/Uni deal for Florida and Japan is so stacked in Universal's favor they would be insane to give it up. The rumors of Marvel island getting upgrades and expanding seem more likely. Nintendo is at least replacing KidZone.
@James from Anon
FWIW, the Okinawa project will not be Universal branded, or include any Universal-licensed IP.
Whether or not they decide to make Nintendo part of the Okinawa Project, Universal Creative needs to add Nintendo to Japan! Since Nintendo is a Japanese property, I think it's appropriate for the people there to enjoy an attraction at a major theme park that actually originates from their culture.
Nintendo is initially going into the Studios park, not IOA. As Sean Huckel , prominent Universal insider said, it'll be KidZone & possibly also the MIB/Simpsons empty area. Those two areas combined are more than twice the size of Diagon Alley. Lots of room for the Nintendo expansion. Sean's info is generally very reliable.
Orlando, Orlando, Orlando...What about at Universal Hollywood? Where would be the best fit for a Nintendo land in Cali? Possibly the Lower Lot?
"What about at Universal Hollywood? Where would be the best place for a Nintendo land in Cali?" Sadly, nowhere. Like Robert said, the area is a little too small. Also, don't forget that Universal Hollywood is a film studio as well as a theme park. So,as much as I'd hate to say it, it's probably best to keep Mario and Pikachu out of L.A.
Adult men sensitive about anything insinuating negativity about the mouse park.... SMH....
This really is huge news no matter where the attractions end up. This is the kind of IP that Universal has always needed. Simpsons skews to a much older audience now, but Mario in particular keeps refreshing with the younger generation. It's a great time for Uni to get it too, since they have the money and the skills to do a good job of it. Fingers crossed that they will!
The only way Universal Hollywood could ever expand is if they somehow acquired the Lakeside golf course which is directly north of the studio lot. But I'd imagine that it would cost a fortune. Uni hollywood will never have the size necessary to be any competition to disneyland.
Long time lurker on here, but couldn't resist finally weighing in on this one -
I think for nostalgia sakes, they should put something nintendo related in the blue man group building (incase if you don't know, that used to be nickelodeon studios). Kid zone is also a great area to use. For CA, they could replace shrek 4d and/or use any open space on the lower lot for a nintendo area.
Can we please all give Justin a big round-of-applause please? Best theme park theorizing I have heard in a while! Well thought out!
I so want a Resident Evil haunted mansion type ride. Maybe Capcom will give Uni the rights to create the Mansion from RE1 game.
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