Last year, it was announced that Nintendo partnered with Universal Parks & Resorts to bring characters and environments from the popular gaming company to their parks around the globe. Just today, the theme park company announced that Nintendo-themed attractions and areas will come to Universal Studios Japan, Universal Orlando, and Universal Studios Hollywood, but little to no details were actually revealed about the project. Today’s announcement was more to inform fans about the progression, to hype up fans for the upcoming development. In an article I previously published, I discussed what I’d like the partnership to bring to Universal Orlando, so it’s no question as to what I’d like from this deal anymore, or even which properties will come to life because of the few details available (Mario should be a no-brainer though). The new question is what Nintendo’s partnership with Universal could mean for the future of theme parks.

Nintendo is a major gaming company founded in 1889 (the company originally produced cards; they didn’t develop video games until the late 1900’s) by Fusajiro Yamauchi. The company has produced widely popular games, including Mario Kart and Luigi’s Haunted Mansion; developed all-new gaming systems like the Game Boy and Wii; and created now well-known characters such as Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, and Kirby.


Universal, on the other hand, owns major theme parks worldwide, including Universal Orlando Resort, which currently consists of two amazing theme parks; Universal Studios Hollywood, home to the world-famous Studio Tour; Universal Studios Japan; and Universal Studios Singapore.

Though the two companies operate completely different businesses, this comes as a benefit, a bonus. Universal is already known for its groundbreaking rides and attractions like Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Nintendo is already known for its innovative games. A partnership between the two opens the door to all-new ride technology and highly immersive experiences they are both already recognized for.

“Video game ride” patent

In fact, Universal patented a “video game ride,” according to a report in late August, that revealed a completely new ride system, something that has never been pulled off. The patent didn’t outright state that it would be used in this development — or if it’ll be utilized at all — but it did mention that the system could be used for an attraction that may use steering wheels and allow riders to earn points and compete. “The interactive game ride may . . . provide the benefit of a dynamic narrative that changes in response to interest from the game players. [. . .] Alternatively or additionally, the player interactions with the game may also influence the game to provide feedback. In one example, the game is a series of puzzle rooms, and the actions that the players take within each scene or puzzle change the environment and allow different paths to be activated or different physical effects to take place.”

The details in the patent are very descriptive, very innovative, advanced, and astounding. Though the concept may not actually come to fruition, and, if it does, may or may not be employed in a Nintendo-themed attraction, it is definitely showing the advancement of future theme park rides, and the Universal-Nintendo partnership may further progress ride technology as we know it. The deal is already changing the way we view theme parks, as it’s one of the first times, if not the first time, a theme park will feature attractions and a themed area from a well-known gaming corporation (bringing movies to life is the norm, bringing video games to life is not quite).

With the available knowledge, it is not surprising that this development is receiving so much attention. But it is still questionable as to how Universal will develop the projects in the three theme parks. Just how exactly will guests be immersed into the attractions? And, how exactly will these themed environments be set up? This is information we are all eager to know about, and Universal is planning to release additional details in the near future.

Official statement:
Kyoto, Japan and ORLANDO, Florida (November 29, 2016) – Imagine the fun of stepping into a larger-than-life Nintendo adventure. Gigantic Piranha Plants spring to life. Question blocks, power-ups and more surround you. And Mario and all his friends are there to pull you into a brand-new world.

You will enter an entire realm filled with iconic Nintendo excitement, gameplay, heroes and villains. And it is coming to three Universal theme parks around the globe.

The creative visionaries behind Nintendo’s legendary worlds and characters are working together with the creative teams behind Universal’s blockbuster theme park attractions. Their goal: to bring the characters, action and adventure of Nintendo video games to life within Universal theme parks. And to do so in new and innovative ways that capture what makes them so special. All of the adventure, fun and whimsy you experience through a screen will now be all around you – in breathtakingly authentic ways.

  • Nintendo-themed areas are coming to Universal Studios Japan, Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood.
  • These will be expansive, immersive and interactive. They will be highly themed and authentic environments filled with multiple attractions, shops and restaurants.
  • Guests will feel as if they are playing inside their favorite games – this time in real life.
  • There will be something for everyone – regardless of their age or gaming experience level.
  • Planning and creative work on these areas is well underway; they will open separately over the next several years.

The new themed areas come as the result of a global partnership between Universal Parks & Resorts and Nintendo – two icons of the entertainment world. Universal theme parks create incredibly popular family entertainment experiences for millions of people based on compelling characters, stories and innovative technology. Nintendo creates remarkable and imaginative games filled with captivating stories and beloved characters.

Each Universal theme park will announce details of its specific Nintendo areas. The first such announcement will come soon.

About Universal Parks & Resorts
Universal Parks & Resorts, a unit of Comcast NBCUniversal, offers guests around the globe today’s most relevant and popular entertainment experiences. With three-time Academy Award winner Steven Spielberg as creative consultant, its theme parks are known for immersive experiences that feature some of the world’s most thrilling and technologically advanced film- and television-based attractions.

Comcast NBCUniversal wholly owns Universal Studios Hollywood, which includes Universal CityWalk Hollywood. It also owns Universal Orlando Resort, a destination resort with two theme parks (Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure), five resort hotels, and Universal CityWalk Orlando. In addition, Comcast NBCUniversal owns a 51 percent majority interest in Universal Studios Japan, in Osaka and has a license agreement with Universal Studios Singapore at Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore. The company has also announced plans for a theme park in Beijing.

About Nintendo
The worldwide pioneer in the creation of interactive entertainment, Nintendo Co., Ltd., of Kyoto, Japan, manufactures and markets hardware and software for its Wii U™ and Wii™ home consoles, and Nintendo 3DS™ and Nintendo DS™ families of portable systems. Since 1983, when it launched the Nintendo Entertainment System™, Nintendo has sold more than 4.4 billion video games and more than 696 million hardware units globally, including the current-generation Wii U, Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo 3DS XL, as well as the Game Boy™, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi™ and Nintendo DSi XL™, Super NES™, Nintendo 64™, Nintendo GameCube™ and Wii systems. It has also created industry icons that have become well-known, household names such as Mario™, Donkey Kong™, Metroid™, Zelda™ and Pokémon™.


John is an avid theme park fan who has a passion for journalism, photography, videography, digital art, and website designing. His goal is to provide in-depth information about topics that universally matter in entertainment and travel.


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