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Anyone who has ever played Mario Kart has most likely dreamed of taking their wheels to a real-life race track. Well now, those rainbow road dreams may become a reality as Nintendo just announced it will be taking Mario and friends along with their signature games to Universal theme parks.
This past year Nintendo has been working to expand its colorful world outside of video games, and this time around it has made the biggest move of them all. An official statement released earlier today announced the partnership between Universal Parks and Resorts and Nintendo to bring Mario, Donkey Kong, and an exclusive array of characters to life in themed rides and attractions. The companies have declined further details, but they have confirmed that many well-known games will be featured within the theme parks. While this won’t be a full-on Nintendo theme park (which I’m still confused as to why that never happened in the ‘90s), the gaming company will be lending their popular characters for Universal to create new experiences and spectacles for fans alike.
Back in 2010, Nintendo president Satoru Iwato told Kotaku that the idea of a Nintendo theme park had been debated and discuss numerous times, but “at the present moment, there are no concrete plans” and Nintendo felt they would need an original spin to move forward. Well if Nintendo is sticking to their plan, Universal must be offering a unique take. The release made sure to comment on Universal's powerful use of storytelling and innovative technology, promising the partnership will capture the essence of these beloved characters and bring them to life in entirely new ways.
This isn’t Nintendo’s first move in enhancing their name and product in the modern gaming environment. A couple months ago the company announced its partnership with Japanese mobile game maker DeNa Co and their plans to make games for smartphones and tablets. And along with the imminent death of Wii U and the delay on the new Legend of Zelda, Nintendo desperately needs to find ways to keep itself afloat. While we don’t have any official time frame on this exciting theme park prospect, the idea of a park has been long discussed, so hopefully this partnership can provide Nintendo the tools to get it going as soon as possible.