Nintendo Theme Park? Universal Licenses Deal with Video Game Giant

David Reddish
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Super Mario World?  Actually, maybe…

Universal Studios, famed tourist destination and Disney rival, has announced a deal with Nintendo Entertainment to allow their classic video game characters in theme parks.  Tentative plans include meet & greet characters, shows and rides based on classic Nintendo games.

A Nintendo theme park has long been rumored since the gaming system became a pop culture phenomenon in the 1980s.  Current plans aim to integrate Nintendo theming into existing parks, rather than construct a whole park devoted to NES characters and worlds.  Though Universal has refused to rule out the possibility, the fesabilty of a new park in either Orlando or Hollywood, homes of the American Universal parks, remains a major issue due to size and land constraints.  Recently, Universal Studios Hollywood demolished the historic Gibson Amphitheatre. a popular rock venue for decades in order to make room for a Harry Potter attraction.

In addition to existing Universal properties like the Universal Monsters, ET, and King Kong, Universal has also contracted with various other studios to include non-Universal characters, including Transformers, the Simpsons, and Harry Potter.  The announcement also marks a major coup against Disney, which has a long-standing relationship with Nintendo, and whose parks have historically been the bigger draw.  Nintendo characters expected to appear in Universal parks include Mario, Donkey Kong, Link and Zelda from The Legend of Zelda series, Mega Man and characters from Castlevania games.