If you're a fan of video games, then you've probably fantasised at one time or another about actually visiting your favourite levels in real life. Seriously, I know that these days graphics are good enough to totally immerse you in a fictional world, but who hasn't played Zelda and wanted to actually explore the land of Hyrule, or played a Mario game and not thought about what it would be like to leap around the Mushroom Kingdom to your heart's content?
Well wonder no more, because Nintendo has answered your prayers; and are building their own Nintendo-based theme park where you can go on rides based around their most famous franchises, including the Mario, Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Pokémon and Donkey Kong games, among many others.
The high-profile project was first announced by the Japanese company, in collaboration with Universal Studios, back in 2015, when the two corporations decided to buddy up to create attractions at Universal theme parks based upon Nintendo properties. In November 2016 Nintendo announced that their franchised area, which would open up at Universal theme parks, will be known as Super Nintendo World, and is scheduled to be completed by 2020 at Universal Studios Japan in time of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. There will also be Nintendo-themed areas at Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood, after the construction of the Japanese version.
The companies released a statement claiming that: "The attraction area will also feature a variety of other globally popular Nintendo characters. Nintendo characters and the worlds they inhabit will be re-created at the highest level of quality through the strong partnership between Mr. Shigeru Miyamoto, Creative Fellow at Nintendo, and Mark Woodbury, President of Universal Creative, renowned for creative and technical excellence."
Construction on the park has now officially begun, and this week theme park enthusiast @Ryanthemepark managed to head to Orlando to shared some covert snaps he took of the construction site. Although the building site doesn't look too much like anything from a video game (unless you count the building site that Donkey Kong climbs up that is) it's still pretty exciting to see that work has already started, and that this new park isn't just a (warp) pipe dream.
Speaking at a recent Industry Focus podcast, finance expert Dan Kline stated that the new park will do wonders for Nintendo's stock and brand, and added that: "We know there will be a Mario Kart ride. About a month ago it became public that Universal Studios is building a fourth gate, another theme park, and they’ve amassed a big chunk of land to do that. It’s very logical to think that Nintendo is going to be the cornerstone, the Harry Potter of this new park."
It's pretty amazing to think that we'll soon be able to experience a Mario level for real, or chuck red shells at our friends. Unfortunately though, I've already bankrupted myself buying a Nintendo Switch, so I don't think I'll be visiting anytime soon.