Universal Plans ‘Real-Life’ Nintendo Gaming At Theme Parks

By December 1, 2016


Over the years, there have been many ways to enjoy Super Mario Bros. But Universal Parks & Resorts could soon bring a new way to play Nintendo games – in real life.

The theme park company owned by Comcast NBCUniversal said it has formed a partnership with game-maker Nintendo to bring many of its games to life in three of its parks: Hollywood, Orlando and Japan.

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.

In Tuesday’s announcement, neither Universal nor Nintendo went into specific detail of what the parks would feature, and which games would make up the experience. It did imply that each park would have areas unique to them, and that news would “come soon.”

universal-inset120116There were no announcements about any of Universal’s other parks. The only other one currently open is Universal Studios Singapore, which actually is licensed out to the Malaysian conglomerate Genting Group. Three other parks are under construction, with the closest one to completion – Universal Studios Beijing – not set to open until 2019.

Universal Studios South Korea opens in 2020, while Universal Studios Moscow opens in 2022.

The Nintendo areas will be “expansive, immersive and interactive” Universal said in a release. It will be designed for people of all ages and gaming experience levels, and each park will separately open their own areas “over the next several years.”

Universal, which regularly competes with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts as well as SeaWorld Entertainment, has made a lot of headway in the theme park race in recent years. A lot of that is led by the partnership with Warner Bros. for its heavily designed Harry Potter-themed areas. Disney has answered with plans to expand its Star Wars offering to levels similar to what Universal has done with Harry Potter.

The partnership between Nintendo and Universal was actually first announced in 2015, but this week was when some of the first details of that partnership were laid out.

Although Nintendo is famous for its videogaming consoles and games, the Japanese company actually dates back to 1889 when it was founded as a playing card company. In the 1970s, it started exploring other games, including newly introduced electronic games.

duckhunt-inset-120116It created a light gun in 1973 that would shoot beams of light at targets, affecting them similar to what a bullet would. That gun was later implemented into its gaming consoles in the 1980s, and was used in popular games like Duck Hunt.

Nintendo, which also owns The Pokemon Co., had revenue of $4.4 billion last year and remains a major player in the gaming industry.

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Michael Hinman

Michael Hinman

Managing Editor at GeekNation
Michael began what has become nearly 19 years of entertainment reporting as the founder of SyFy Portal, which would become Airlock Alpha after he sold the SyFy brand to NBC Universal. He's based out of New York City where he is the editor of a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper in the Bronx.