Nintendo at Universal Theme Parks: A Potential Dream Come True

It is official. Video game giant Nintendo is partnering with Universal Studios to create new rides and attractions at Universal’s theme parks across the globe. On one hand, I was surprised because I did not see the deal coming this week. On the other hand, the deal makes sense because lately, Nintendo seems to be open to experimenting and trying new things. Nintendo struggled to make an annual profit since 2011. The great move piggybacks the recent announcement by Nintendo that the company made its first annual profit since 2011. However, since Nintendo struggled recently with console sales, I believe the company realized it needed to do more to reach out to audiences. The theme park is a great way to do that.

For years, since I was a kid, I have dreamed about going to a Nintendo Land type of theme park. The amazing worlds and characters Nintendo created are just as classic and iconic as some of the beloved creations of Walt Disney. I grew up with Nintendo, and as a kid, I would have loved to be treated to rides and attractions based on Nintendo icons. Franchises such as Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Star Fox, Metroid and Kirby’s Dream Land create nearly infinite possibilities that Nintendo and Universal can explore together for wonderful theme park attractions. The sky is truly the limit.

Universal Studios benefits because Nintendo is essentially giving Universal Parks & Resorts the keys to the kingdom. The theme parks will have unprecedented access to Nintendo and will be able to bring the locations and characters of the world’s most favorite video games to life in a way that has never been possible. What if there was an obstacle course that re-created a unique level from Super Mario Bros.? There could be a 3D Star Fox Ride that is basically Spider-Man: The Ride, or Back to the Future: The Ride meets Star Fox. The Spider-Man and Back to the Future rides were some of my favorite theme park attractions ever. If Universal can translate that same magic to Nintendo properties, the collaboration could be magnificent.

This partnership is a great sign that Nintendo is now willing to think outside the box and try new things. Nintendo theme park rides and attraction are no brainers. Nintendo has characters that are beloved all around the world. In the past, the Nintendo company has probably been a little too stuck in it its ways and traditions. However, this deal, along with the making of free-to-play mobile games by Nintendo, is a sign that times are changing. This is not necessarily a change for the worse. As long as the developers and engineers of the rides are allowed to be creative and innovative, and it comes from an organic place, I believe this deal benefits Nintendo, Universal, and Nintendo fans across the world.

Jeffrey Harris, a pop-culture, entertainment, and video game journalist and aficionado, resides in Los Angeles. He is a staff writer for games, movies/TV, MMA and Wrestling and contributor to and He is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin's Radio, TV, Film program.