It’s no secret that Nintendo has been working on its first theme park in partnership with Universal Studios. But today we learned some more details about just how and when the company is making the leap from the small digital play of video games to the sprawling physical play of amusement parks.
Super Nintendo World is coming to Osaka’s Universal Studios Japan in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (teased this past summer by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a Mario hat) before expanding to Orlando and Hollywood.
Existing Universal Studios’ attractions feature lovingly detailed recreations of the worlds of our favorite #brands. The crown jewel is the massive and meticulous Wizarding World of Harry Potter with its butterbeer, dragon roller coasters, goblin bankers, and infrared wands. But other sections of the parks are nearly as impressive. I still carry around my “Bort” keychain from The Simpsons Park, also featuring actual sad fast food workers at a fictional Krusty Burger. So Nintendo fans should have faith that Super Nintendo World does right by the characters.
What will the actual rides at Super Nintendo World even be? The press release mentions “expansive and multilevel environments filled with unprecedented, state-of-the-art rides, interactive areas, shops, and restaurants.” The concept art shows off an impressive but vague Mario playground. But aside from that, all we can do is speculate. So let’s do that! How else are we going to survive these next four years?
For actual Nintendo theme park ideas, Wii U launch game Nintendo Land is probably a good place to look. Who wouldn’t want to ride an F-Zero roller coaster or a Metroid shooting range? However, we’d like to offer some more… conceptually ambitious ideas.
Mario is Nintendo’s biggest star, so of course he’s going to be featured prominently at Super Nintendo World. But instead of going the obvious route with a Mushroom Kingdom Park or Isle Delfino water slide, we suggest Universal pay tribute to Mario’s working-class plumbing roots with a full-scale recreation of 1980s Brooklyn, New York. Captain Lou Albano would be so proud.
2. King Dedede’s Pleasure Palace
Of all the Nintendo characters that embody pure hedonism, the parka-wearing penguin King Dedede of the Kirby franchise is my favorite. Depending on how family friendly Super Nintendo World wants to be, a “Pleasure Palace” could be a few different, vague things. But no matter what the attraction has to play the slowed-down, pimped-out version of Dedede’s theme song.
3. Fire Emblem Child Generator
Some theme parks already have this questionable attraction where you and a partner pay to have your faces mashed up to show your hypothetical child. Since pairing off characters and recruiting their future children is already a feature in the recent Fire Emblem games, there’s no reason why Nintendo can’t get it on this designer baby action.
4. Isiah Whitlock, Jr.’s Doc Louis’s Punch-Out!! Gym
If you’re a buff dad taking your kids on vacation, you care a lot about the quality of a hotel gym. So a Punch-Out!!-themed gym with pink hoodies and giant fake versions of Glass Joe, King Hippo, and Mike Tyson to beat up could be a real hit. But to really put this over the top, Nintendo should get Isiah Whitlock of The Wire to reprise his role as famous chocolate-crazed coach Doc Louis. That’d be the sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeit.
5. Pokemon Go Park
Pokemon Go maybe isn’t quite what it used to be, but it’s still a huge phenomenon. So Nintendo would be stupid not to stuff Super Nintendo World full of rare Pokemon to catch in augmented reality. I just hope they’re fenced off in one designated area of the park so the rest of us can enjoy ourselves without worrying about bumping into would-be trainers in an already crowded space.
6. Exit Through Wario’s Gift Shop
I’ve already talked about Wario is Nintendo’s brilliant tool for commenting on crass consumerism while still profiting from it. So there’s no better mascot for a theme park gift shop full of cheap and useless crap. Behold! Walls of Waluigi Amiibo! Bulk packages of Devil’s Third! An exclusive Virtual Boy re-release! Wario laughs as you gobble it all down, suckers!
7. Donkey Kong’s Krazy Karaoke Korner
If Super Nintendo World doesn’t have a way for friends to get drunk and belt out the DK Rap, then it’s already a failure.