Last year, I let you know about a new partnership between Universal Parks & Resorts and Nintendo. Today, I am going to update you on this historic collaboration – and share a glimpse at the creative vision behind it.
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’ll enter an entire realm filled with iconic Nintendo excitement, gameplay, heroes and villains. And it’s coming to three Universal theme parks around the globe.
Nintendo-themed areas are coming to Universal Studios Japan, Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood.
These will be expansive, immersive and interactive. They’ll be highly themed and authentic environments filled with multiple attractions, shops and restaurants. You’ll feel as if you’re playing inside your favorite games – 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.
Shigeru Miyamoto, of Nintendo, and Mark Woodbury, President of Universal Creative, recently sat down to talk about the two teams working together. Along with reviewing potential designs for the land, they also discussed what fans can look forward to experiencing as these exciting plans come to life.
The goal of everyone on this project is clear: 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.
Each Universal theme park will announce details of its specific Nintendo areas. The first such announcement will come soon.
A lot of people are saying this is possibly replacing kids zone but I think it makes more sense using its full potential with the acquisitions they have made with dreamworks and I believe they now have rights to older attractions again( correct me if I'm wrong) they can use all these rights to make attractions for a third theme park since universal has recently acquired 415 acres of land. This way we get a brand new park and they can have so many endless attractions for Nintendo, have a dreamworks land possibly move Shrek over to that side and it be nice to get new and improved versions of Jaws and Back to the Future.
Universal's been filing for some new patents, and two of them may be recognizable to Nintendo fans:
Drift racers: A two-rider, car-based amusement racing attraction with the ability to simulate drifting sensations. Two passengers, who could be in time/points competition with another car, will have control over some aspect of their ride vehicle: The driver would have a steering wheel and an acceleration and brake pedal to control the turning/drifting of the vehicle and speed; the rear passenger would have a control interface with buttons that could control the vehicle or bounce the ride vehicle, provide a boost to the vehicle during the race or affect the performance of another ride vehicle on the track, said the patent. For any Nintendo fan, that description brings to mind the video game company's popular Mario Kart game series. In one version of the series, called Mario Kart: Double Dash, each car had two racers — including a driver and a rear passenger — who controlled the use of items during the race that could impact their car or others in the race.
Boom coaster: This is a unique arm that would attach to a ride vehicle to help enhance rides that appear to be on a track system, but are actually controlled by a separate arm. For example, the arm could be C-shaped connected to a secondary hidden track underneath the track guests see. As a result, rides that have story element breaks in the track — say like an upcoming jump from one track to another — could cause suspense. "Because the passenger may believe that the simulated ride surface controls a path of the passenger vehicle, the passenger may fear or anticipate that the passenger vehicle may crash or otherwise incur damage as a result of the elevated gap," said the patent. This has many fans thinking it could also be related to Nintendo via the Donkey Kong Country video game series, which features areas with cars traveling through dangerous mines filled with jumps, dips and turns.
What do we think? I'm loving the interactivity in the drift racers patent. The boom coaster is a little bit more passive but if they're really looking to recreate the mine cart sections from the Donkey Kong Country games (which are so much fun, especially the one in Tropical Freeze where the cart turns into a boat that goes through a sawmill), that system would be the way to do it.
Sidenote: Anyone remember the "Cantilevered Coaster" concept from like, a million years ago?
The drift racers intrigues me in terms of its capacity levels. 2 people/vehicle in a race against another 2 people/vehicle. And just how many will be in this "race?"
They also can't have a train on the boom coaster because they would lose much of the shock factor of the "jumps." I'm thinking 4 across, two rows, back row elevated at most. But yes, it does sound similar to the cantilevered concept.
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These are very cool concepts. I would totally ride a drifting Radiator Springs Racers themed to Mario Kart. The mine cart thing looks like it could be in a Forbidden Journey type dark ride, and that could be very cool. The mine cart levels in DKC were very fun and very memorable. If they do this as well as they did Harry Potter and Simpsons, I'll be very happy.
Ed Farmer wrote:Might Vekoma perchance have something to do with that Boom Coaster concept?
I think Universal will more likely work with Intamin or Premier Rides rather than Vekoma. Even the newest Flight of the Hippogriff at Hollywood is a custom Mack and not the Vekoma stock version. I guess Battlestar Galactica was their first and last try working with the dutch company.
There is also a third patent for a badass suspended dark-ride contraption:
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