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Nintendo and Universal's Theme Park Attractions Will Let Visitors Play "Inside Their Favorite Games"

Beware the Piranha Plants!


In May 2015 Nintendo announced it is partnering with Universal Parks & Resorts to bring "expansive, highly themed environments" to its parks in Osaka, Orlando, and Hollywood. Now, further details have been revealed.

"Imagine the fun of stepping into a larger-than-life Nintendo adventure," reads a press release. "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."

The attractions will be filled with "iconic Nintendo excitement, gameplay, heroes, and villains," it continues, and the "visionaries behind Nintendo's legendary worlds and characters" are working with the creators of Universal's parks.

Each of the three parks will deliver more information on their specific Nintendo areas "soon," but until then an overview of the experience has been released.

  • 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.

According to a report published in March 2016, around 40 billion yen ($351 million) is being invested into the Nintendo attractions at Universal Studios Japan. It is believed the attractions will be similar in scope and size to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter area.

The partnership with Universal is part of Nintendo's efforts expand the reach of its iconic characters and franchises. Nintendo CEO Tatsumi Kimishima previously said this would be a key element of the company's plans going forward since fewer and fewer young people are finding out about Nintendo games through games. Instead, they're finding their way to Nintendo franchises through things like officially licensed Mario toothbrushes.

Nintendo of America president, Reggie Fils-Aime, previously said designers at Universal are factoring smartphones when coming up with their ideas. He indicated that your phones may be key to the experiences.

"These theme park designers are considering that so many of their patrons have a smart device," he said. "They're thinking about what that means to the overall experience. I'm not going to share anything in this interview, but certainly the Universal team is aware of it. Certainly it is something that they are considering as they work with us to create this theme park experience."

In terms of video games, Nintendo's next platform is called Switch and is a hybrid console that supports gaming at home and on the go. More details, including the Switch's price, specs, and launch lineup are expected to be revealed during a presentation on January 12, 2017.

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