If your mind works anything like mine, when you hear the words "Chinese World of Warcraft theme park", you probably imagine a large, cartoonishly-styled farmyard set-up, in which visitors are given a brightly-coloured plastic spade, gold-sack and souvenir hat, and sent out into the fields. And then not allowed to go home. Ever.
The truth though, is rather more benevolent. Well it is if you don't happen to be the owner of any Blizzard IP. Because while it isn't actually officially licensed by anyone at the House o' WoW, ye gods, does this place (which we first mentioned the construction of a while back) flagrantly carpet bomb the very concept of copyright law like there's no tomorrow. There's a Warcraft bit. There's a Starcraft bit. They use Universal and Disney iconography on the promotional videos. They have a picture of Altair on the website. They've even nicked their logo from Universal's Islands of Adventure.
Containing a thinly veiled "Terrain of Magic" and "Universe of Starship", this park could not be more Chinese if it was oppressing your human rights right at this very moment. What does it look like? It looks like this (all photos via The Shanghaiist):
What's it like, aside from the worst nightmare of copyright lawyers worldwide? It doesn't sound too bad actually. From the review that's appeared on The Shanghaiist, it sounds a fairly slick operation, and pretty well stocked in terms of the required large-scale rides. There are big coasters, log flumes, drop towers and simulators aplenty. And as the review points out in relation to the Sky Scraper coaster, "Amusement park rides are a dangerous affair in China, and we weren't entirely sure we'd come back from this one alive. But we did". Two thumbs up there then. Though in a worrying echo of the earlier sentiments of that statement, the park already looks in danger of becoming a bit of a mess if the management don't keep an eye on it:
"One of the most disturbing parts of the park was the general decay we witnessed, unnerving in a park open only a hair shy of two months. Cracks in paint and rust on handrails made the attendants’ habit of screaming “Goodbye!” as the roller coaster surged out of the gates even more terrifying"Above: The original pitch video. There's a drinking game to be had from the sheer number of infringed IPs
So erm, make sure you get over there fast then, Blizzard fans? You know, before it really starts falling apart. Or gets closed down by Blizzard, or something.
July 19, 2011
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