ByLaurie Mazerolle, writer at
My name is Laurie. I run a blog called "The Man Who Plays Games" I enjoy reviewing games and making top 10 lists.
Laurie Mazerolle

Do you like amusement parks? Do you like ? If your answer to both of those questions is “hell, yes!” then you're going to love this announcement from Nintendo that Universal Parks & Resorts is set to bring Nintendo-themed adventure parks to locations in Japan and the US.

If this new global partnership between and wasn't exciting enough news on its own, take a look at what's being promised:

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.

While little else has been announced, Nintendo of America recently tweeted the below image, announcing the first of these theme parks that will debut in Osaka, Japan.

It's happening! Image courtesy of Nintendo of America via Twitter.
It's happening! Image courtesy of Nintendo of America via Twitter.

Exciting, right? With that being said, Let's allow our imaginations to run wild for a moment and picture what these new attractions might look like.

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Super Mario Bros.

With being Nintendo's golden goose, I would be shocked if he was excluded from this new venture. It would be like without Micky — it just wouldn't work. So the question isn't whether or not there will be any Mario-themed attractions, but rather, what Mario-themed attraction are we going to see?

Well, a good start would be exploring some well-known parts of the Mario universe. Places like Peach's Castle, Bowser's Castle, and Luigi's Mansion are goldmines for potential attractions. Peach's Castle could be an interactive sort of place where you could meet a variety of Mario characters, play games and explore. Bowser's Castle could be a house of tricks. You would have to navigate through mazes and avoid some fun, not-so-deadly traps to get to the end.

However, the element of the Mario universe that would perhaps be the most appealing is Luigi's Mansion. One of Disney's most famous attractions is the Haunted Mansion, located in three Disney theme parks. Luigi's Mansion would be the perfect backdrop for a spooky attraction similar to the Haunted Mansion.

It could have Professor E. Gadd playing host as you traverse the different floors of the mansion. He could give you the stories behind the different ghosts, like baby Chauncey and Bogmire the Cemetery Shadow. It could also incorporate the events that occur in the game. For example, the ride could stop and the mansion be plunged into darkness, similar to the blackout in the game. Or you could have one of the possessor ghosts from Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon come in and take control of the ride. There are so many possibilities to explore with this one!


Another franchise that can't not show up. With , there is an opportunity for Nintendo and Universal to create some truly immersive environments for attendees to roam about in. Hyrule Castle could serve as a meet-and-greet location. There could also be a dungeon simulation for people to solve and explore. A maze-like grid similar in design to one of the dungeons from the first game could be utilized (not the one shaped like a swastika). You could find keys, unlock doors, maybe even fight a monster or two. I'm not sure how it would work, but I don't think it's impossible.

If not one of these, then a dungeon from one of the 3D Zelda games. There are several dungeons within the Zelda universe that could be used, depending on what kind of experience is being offered. If Universal and Nintendo wants to go scary, there's the well from Ocarina of Time or the Arbiter's Grounds from Twilight Princess. For a more lighthearted adventure, you could simulate one of the nicer dungeons, like the Fire Temple from Ocarina of Time. And if the experience is more intense, we have Ganon's Tower, where the music builds as you go.

Another staple of the Zelda universe is its plethora of mini games. Since we're talking about games for kids, the moneymaker from the original Zelda is a bit of a non option. Instead, there are things like the Bombchu game from Ocarina of Time as well as several different shooting ranges throughout the series. A few Zelda-themed games like that would fit a theme-park environment to a T.

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Putting the sometimes dark and disturbing final bosses aside, was made for theme parks. The happy atmosphere of his games makes him fodder for all sorts of carnival goodness. There are a few locales in the Kirby world that are ripe for rides. For example, the Great Cave Offensive from Kirby Super Star could be a fun mine-cart-themed ride. As a bonus, you could give people screens with a list of treasures and tell people to check the treasures they see alone the way.

Another inspiration could be found in Meta Knight's mighty warship the Halberd. Meta Knight himself could give visitors (or the latest recruits for his forces, you never know) a tour of the ship, level by level. The ship could even come under "attack" during the tour!

Since we're talking about Kirby-themed attractions, we have to talk about food. One of Kirby's biggest character traits is that he is a little pink eating machine. Within a theme park setting, this could be reflected with Kirby-themed vendors. I'm talking about cotton candy, ice cream, chocolate — everything dentists dream of. Cookies with Kirby's face on them and chocolate Meta Knights galore! The kids will love 'em.


If Nintendo plans on putting multiple IPs to work at one location, The best way to do that is to have something different for each franchise. Case in point? . Now, what can you do with Metroid that you can't do with the others? The answer is simple: Metroid laser tag! In the Metroid games, Samus's most prominent enemies are the Metroids themselves. However, they are not her only enemies, not by a long shot. Should Nintendo decide to utilize Metroid in this way, there are a few ways this could be approached, depending on what you're shooting at.

Bounty Hunters Vs. Pirates

This one is very straightforward. You have two teams. One is armed with power-suit-style arm cannons, the other with weapons used by the space pirates. You send them into a Metroid-themed arena and let them shoot lasers at each other. The last team standing wins. Standard Metroid-flavored laser tag fun.

Bounty Hunters Vs. Metroids

This one keeps more with the Metroid theme of hunting down, well, Metroids. It would work a little something like this: You would have Metroid-shaped targets coming out of the walls and ceiling, and it would be up to a small team of bounty hunters to hunt them down and shoot them. Extra challenge could be sprinkled in by way of different targets representing the Metroid's stages of evolution. Heck, you could even throw in a park cast member dressed as an Omega Metroid at the end to engage in something of a boss fight.

Bounty Hunter Vs. SA-X

Few beings in the Metroid universe have the same presence as the Samus Aran-X, a sinister imitation of at full power. When this thing appears, the hunter quickly becomes the hunted. So how would this work in a laser tag setting? Well, you could send in a lone customer and give them targets to shoot at to gain power-ups for each successful target shot. After a few minutes, you would send in a cast member dressed as the SA-X. At that point, it's a one-on-one game of laser tag between you and the SA-X. The more targets you shoot before the SA-X arrives, the better your chances are of taking the creature down. It would be perfect for providing a heart-pounding and hectic game of laser tag.


Second only to Mario as Nintendo's biggest money machine, it makes sense for to make an appearance in the Universal parks in some form or another. While Pokémon would fit well with many of the above ideas, the challenge is coming up with a way to implement Pokémon into a theme park setting that is unique to the video game property.

One idea is turning the entire Nintendo adventure park into a prime place for players to catch rare Pokémon. Every attraction could be a stop or a gym, with Pokémon-themed game booths, like Whack-A-Diglett dispensing cards as prizes.

Another great attraction could be special gyms themed after those in the games. After beating the gym leaders, players would receive a badge from a cast member in gym leader costume. Collecting all the badges would net you something special, like a shiny Pokémon or an event item of some kind (or even something for your character, because God knows they need more options). While we're at it, you could also have further challenges, like the Elite Four and the Champion. This would be tricky to pull off, as these gyms would have to be exempt from mechanics like Prestige in order to avoid being taken over by Go players.

These are just a few things Nintendo and Universal could do with this joint project. What do you think? What other ways could Nintendo use its IPs in this venture? Share your ideas with me in the comments below! While you're at it, check me out on Facebook and Twitter!

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