Dreams do come true
It's actually happening. Universal Parks and Resorts has announced that it will be teaming up with Nintendo to make real-world Nintendo theme park rides, which is undoubtedly the most exciting thing you'll hear today (even those of you who just won the lottery). Nintendo games and theme parks both play to our wildest childhood fantasies, so the thought of Nintendo properties being brought to life as thrill rides and roller coasters is like 200cc turbo fuel for our imaginations.
Hearing the news got us so amped up for what could be possible that we had to share our ideas with you. With all the beloved properties in Nintendo's stable, mixed with the proven concepts from the world's most famous theme parks, there's so much potential for delightfully familiar attractions. Universal or Nintendo, if you're reading this: please use any and all of these ideas as you see fit.
Donkey Kong Country Mine Cart Carnage Coaster
Mine carts, people. Mine carts. No one game company has done more for the most noble of platforming transportation than Nintendo. When everyone else said mine cart levels were old-hat in the early 90s, Nintendo thumbed its nose and showed that it was just everyone elses mine carts that were the problem, delivering in Donkey Kong Country the finest banging, clanging, freewheeling thrills ever seen in a video game. Later, when everyone else said platformers themselves were old-hat, Nintendo thumbed its other nose, and dropped Donkey Kong Country Returns, with a whole damn world of mine carts.
Nintendo knows that mine cart levels are amazing. It knows that a good mine cart level is the closest you can get to riding an amazing, lethally exciting roller coaster without leaving your house. In fact it knows that a good mine cart level is better than any roller coaster that exists, because it doesnt have to deal with sensible physics or health and safety legislation. And now Nintendo has access to real roller coasters. The boundaries of human recreation have just been smashed clean off.
Pokemon Snap Experience
Another on-rails attraction, this one is more sedate than that Donkey Kong roller coaster, but equally awesome. Before you start, everyone is given a few lures and one Pokeball to throw as they seek to get the highest score in a photography competition. Everyone's given a digital camera with an LCD viewfinder, and then you sit in your cart and try to get a great photo of a Pokemon. At any point, you can throw your single Pokeball. And if it hits a Pokemon, you get a plushie of that Pokemon when you exit the ride.
Everyone submits three pictures to be analyzed when the ride is over and the highest score wins the visitor in question a prize. And, of course, everyone can buy a print-out of their photographic masterpieces with the park's Gold Coins currency. Oh, and the winner? They get a download code for a rare Pokemon for their 3DS game. Yes, this is the best thing ever.
Escape from Zebes 4D
Recreating the climatic finale from 1994's Super Metroid, Escape from Zebes 4D follows intergalactic bounty hunter Samus Aran as she launches her final assault on the pirate base Tourian and Mother Brain. The ride is presented from Samus' point-of-view, and all the seats in the theater shake and jostle as she leaps through the base shooting down Metroids and dodging the automated defenses. And you know every time a Metroid gets blasted viewers get sprayed with a bit of water (aka Metroid goo).
Suddenly, the lights go out, and Mother Brain rises up in her full, horrific glory. Seeing this beast recreated with modern visuals makes you pine for a modern Metroid game not developed by Team Ninja. The rainbow-colored lights of the boss' hyper beam are blinding, but then the adorable baby Metroid intervenes. We all know what happens next, leading to Samus' mad dash back to her battleship. It's all explosions and sirens and shaking - so much shaking - as the entire planet gets ready to burn out in one fiery blast.
Splatoon Water Gun Park
The thing about theme parks is that theyre great to visit in summertime - which also means its usually really, really hot outside. What better way to cool off than by embracing your inner Inkling and drenching equally toasty opponents with squirt guns as you run around a giant, colorful map? Much like a lasertag arena, the Splatoon Park would let you participate for a select amount of time, running around and getting everyone as wet as possible.
To make it really authentic, each player gets a white shirt to wear and chilled colored water to use in their gun. You cant really declare true victory until everyone on the other side is absolutely dripping with your teams colors! Its ok if you accidentally shoot members of your own team, by the way. Hey, Florida in July is hot!
Captain Toads Wild Ride
You step into the car, ready to spend a lovely day touring through the Mushroom Kingdom with your cheerful guide, Captain Toad. Toad is eager to show you all the gems he collected during his recent adventure, but before he can so much as throw a turnip, a giant bird comes and plucks him up, spiriting him away. You speed up to give chase, careening past sights like question mark blocks and flagpoles, bouncing up the cobblestones to Peachs castle before being knocked onto a go-kart racetrack by a wayward Chomp.
The bird flies by with a shrieking Toad as you break through the wall of the track and go over a waterfall to find yourself riding through the streets of Pianta Island. Mario flies by with FLUDD to help push you back on course, but an untimely swipe by a laughing Bowser instead sends you flying into space! You swoop and swirl around the planets of Mario Galaxy until helpful lumas get you back on track for Earth. You return to the Mushroom Kingdom in time to see Toadette bonk the bird on the head and rescue Captain Toad. Quite a wild ride, indeed!
Mii Plaza Street(Pass)
Venture into Mii Plaza and discover a disturbing and vivid recreation of a classic virtual Nintendo world - in real life! Lifelike human avatars will shamble about awkwardly as you enter, ready to greet you in a streetpass. Simply walk up to a near-person, yell out your name and, before theyve even responded, tell them what game youve been playing recently, even if its Settings.
The twist: Some REAL people are embedded in Nintendos lifelike near-person Mii actors. If they act convincingly and polite enough, they may be set free as a reward.
Pikmin Explorer Zone
Step into larger-than-life version of a world that looks mysteriously like our own and explore alongside Captain Olimar and friends. Rather than being a finite ride with a beginning and end, the Pikmin Explorer Zone would be more like a playground filled with giant strawberries, cellphones, and other household objects strewn around a lush forest crawling with all manner of animatronic creatures.
Slide down a giant cereal box. Explore massive caves. And watch out for the bulborbs! Best of all, stuffed Pikmin stashes are strewn around at various stations, letting park goers grab the miniature plant people by the handful and chuck them at various hazards and enemies in order to solve light puzzles. Your targets will even react to your attacks, complete with sound effects!
F-Zero GX: The Ride
The F-Zero games have a reputation for being so fast, they'll make your eyes stream with tears and/or blood. Blinking is a surefire way to crash and burn, sending you careening to the back of the race, never to catch up to your future-car competitors. And F-Zero GX on the GameCube is the fastest of them all, with ludicrously punishing difficulty to boot. Ergo, it's perfect for a roller coaster specifically engineered to make attendees feel like they're flying so fast, their bone marrow is going to liquify.
If Universal wants to save some money and reduce the risk of bodily harm, it could utilize the kind of brain trickery seen in Star Tours, where hydraulics tip and shake your seat to match the motions on a gigantic 3D screen. Perhaps a hologram of Captain Falcon could serve as your at-the-helm guide, Falcon Punch-ing his way into your heart with witty banter. But it'd feel like a wasted opportunity not to go all-out with a strap-in roller coaster, with the kind of stomach-obliterating launch speed of Six Flags' Kingda Ka ride.
Kirby's Bounce House
When you're a parent at the end of their rope, taking your kids down to Goofy's Playhouse (formerly known as Goofy's Bounce House) is the reprieve you've been so desperately needing. It's not so much a ride as a dumping ground for energetic youngsters, which is a win-win: children get to literally bounce off the walls in a room that can accommodate their tiny, frenetic bodies, while parents can wait outside and rest their old bones for a spell.
Of all the cute and cuddly characters in Nintendo's roster, none can match the elastic, inviting fluffiness of that pink puffball Kirby. Picture, if you will, a house that transports tykes to Dream Land, with rooms themed around the wooly warmth of Kirby's Epic Yarn or the pastel prettiness of Kirby's Dream Land 3. And here's the kicker: the structure itself could be one gigantic Kirby in his classic suck-'em-up pose, with his vacuous mouth serving as the door. The mental image of kids excitedly filing into Kirby's black-hole stomach is priceless.
Legend of Zelda Lost Woods Maze
What better way to experience The Legend of Zelda's Hyrule that to walk around its environments with your own two feet? Take a location like the Lost Woods and the adventure makes itself. When you enter the Lost Woods maze, the sights, sounds, and music would instantly transport park-goers to the mysterious land of Hyrule. Just think about it. It could be like a scavenger hunt. You need to navigate the maze to pick up keys, unlock some gates, and traverse obstacles, and avoid enemies like Deku Scrubs that shoot foam balls at you.
Best of all, the maze could be set up so that you have to follow the sound of the Lost Woods theme, making the experience feel exactly like exploring the forest in Ocarina of Time. Fail to follow the music, and you get led down a path that takes you to the entrance of the maze. It could totally work!
One of the most meta bits of the Disney theme parks is the concept of Hidden Mickeys. They're like UFOs: even if you've never spotted one yourself, you've surely heard of the concept, and you hope to catch a glimpse of one yourself someday. For the uninitiated, Mickey's iconic three-circle, head-and-mouse-ears silhouette is all over the park, nestled away in backdrops, paintings, and all manner of ingenious hiding spots. For the Disney diehards that've been to Disneyland a hundred times, tracking down all the Hidden Mickeys becomes an attraction in and of itself.
Everyone knows that when it comes to iconic individuals, Nintendo's president and CEO Satoru Iwata ranks just below Mickey Mouse on the global recognition scale. So why not borrow Disney's idea and litter the Nintendo park rides with hidden emblems of Iwata's bespectacled face? Please understand, this would not exclude the possibility for Hidden Fils-Aimes as well.
And, of course, the obligatory Mario Kart raceway
There are plenty more amazing concepts for Nintendo and Universal to tackle - Luigi's Haunted Mansion, Flying Koopas, Jurassic Plessie River Ride, Spinning Yoshi Eggs, an Animal Crossing-themed coffee shop called The Roost Cafe (or Brewster's), and a Hotel Mario just outside the park grounds.
While you've got Nintendo on the brain, check out the our suggestions for eight Nintendo games that NEED to become Mario Kart 8 tracks right now. If you're as stoked by this announcement as we are, channel that gleeful excitement into more suggestions in the comments below. That way, you can tell your friends that you called it when your ride idea becomes a reality.