Nintendo addressed the concerns of shareholders at a recent Annual General Meeting, hinting that downloadable content could synergize video gaming with theme parks at Super Nintendo World.
Super Nintendo World themed zones are planned for Universal Studios theme parks in Osaka, Orlando and Hollywood. The first Super Nintendo World is under construction in Japan and it is on track for its opening to coincide with the 2020 Olympic Games.
However Nintendo shareholders raised concerns over potential lack of synergy between theme parks and video games. The worry is that visitors to the theme parks might be satisfied with the experience and hence less keen to buy Nintendo games.
Integrating video games with the theme park experience
Nintendo director Shigeru Miyamoto swiftly (if vaguely) answered the question raised at the AGM. He pointed out that the parents of today’s children played Nintendo games themselves when young and now play with their own children. “I think we can expect to see synergy with our dedicated video game platform business when such families visit these theme parks to experience Nintendo’s worlds that have been carefully crafted and to interact with our characters,” he said.
There is plenty of potential for Nintendo to integrate games with the theme park experience. The company could easily add extra features to popular games such as Pokemon Go on mobile devices or Super Mario Odyssey on the Switch. Exclusive downloadable content available only to a theme park visitor is the obvious way to go.
Disney has setting a precedent of digital game play content within theme parks with its Play Disney Parks app.
Mario Kart racetrack
Details of the Nintendo themed attractions are still sketchy but it’s expected they will include life-size renditions of Mario Kart. A teaser video shows Mario entering a tunnel to make his way into the park. There are glimpses of Princess Peach’s Castle and Bowser’s Castle and an ice world, but a racing track is not in evidence.
However, Universal filed a patent for an “amusement park tunnel” concept last year which hints at an immersive vehicle ride.