Universal has filed a patent for an “amusement park tunnel” concept it’s thought might used in an upcoming Nintendo attraction.
The application with the US Patent and Trademark Office calls for “a vehicle ride path in the tunnel” and “a system to project images onto the one or more walls of the tunnel.” Universal has already used so-called “immersive tunnel” techniques on King Kong attractions at its parks in Orlando and Hollywood. Yet the idea it wants to protect is more elaborate, comprising both a larger projection surface and potentially longer tunnel. Elevated tunnel sections are also shown in some drawings.
The patent describes how a tunnel could be used to give the illusion of speed or a transition. Projectors or LCD screens might display “the sky, clouds, trees, buildings” and more. Special effects could also be incorporated into the tunnel, such as wind and light effects.
Whilst generic vehicles are shown in the patent application, a detail in one drawing has got some industry observers excited. The image shows a large tunnel with a wide lip edge that resembles the “Warp Pipe” tunnel system used in the Mario Kart video game franchise. This has lead to speculation Universal might be working on a Mario Kart ride concept for its theme parks.
Super Nintendo World will open at Universal Studios Japan in 2020, to be followed by Nintendo themed lands at Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood.
Further commentary on patents filed by Universal in possible relation to Nintendo themed attractions can be found here.