Nintendo is finally going through with plans to construct a theme park, which is something that probably should have happened a decade or two ago, but hey, better late than never. And seeing as how I happen to live close to one of the Universal Studios locations that will feature Super Nintendo World, I’m especially interested to see how it turns out. As of right now we know of plans for a Mario Kart and Donkey Kong ride, and it’s likely that the large hill themed like a Mario level houses some sort of dark ride. The park isn’t especially representative of all of Nintendo’s properties at the moment, with attractions that represent only two of their franchises: Mario and Donkey Kong. The land dedicated to these doesn’t seem especially spacious either, so I’m not sure how much potential there is to add attractions to these areas.
Luckily it’s likely that Super Nintendo World will expand after this initial Mario-centric phase to include other Nintendo properties(Islands of Adventure, get prepared for Nintendomination), and it’s these properties that I’m really interested in seeing attractions for.
5. Animal Crossing Dark Ride
I think this is one of the least exciting potential attractions we could get, but it’s also easily the likeliest on this list and for good reason: it makes a ton of sense. Animal Crossing as a franchise has enjoyed a steady growth in popularity, going from one of Nintendo’s more obscure IPs to one of their more recognizable. The cute, benign characters featured therein offer mass appeal, and the existence of the mobile game only furthers this. An eventual Animal Crossing attraction seems like a certainty.
The ride would no doubt be very tame. Just a relaxing ride through an Animal Crossing village that checks off a list of locations you’d expect: the island, the Roost(complete with K.K. Rider), Tom Nook’s, and so forth. The plot could consist of watching the villager run about town, fishing and collecting bugs in an effort to pay off his mortage for Tom Nook. Nothing especially exciting, but definitely something that could happen.
The real draw here, however, is that just like in the game, the seasons change depending on the actual time, allowing this single attraction to effectively become four. You’d have a spring, summer, fall, and winter variant, each featuring a different environment to behold with animatronics changing to match the season. Maybe throw in a few different characters in there to rep the holidays, i.e., Jingle for Christmas. Theme parks are supposed to constantly change and give people a reason to keep coming back, and an Animal Crossing attraction that changes based on the seasons seems like a good way to keep things fresh.
4. Kid Icarus Flying Roller Coaster
A flying roller coaster is one in which riders are suspended in the air in order to recreate the feeling of flight. Personally I think this is perfect for a Kid Icarus attraction. The way Uprising’s flying segment had you going along a set path and beholding visual spectacles while entertaining banter played just made the game FEEL like a theme park attraction in the best way.
So why not recreate that feeling? Why not have a flying roller coaster in which we fly through Skyworld, admiring the scenery and getting some banter between Pit and Palutena before delving into the Underworld to battle Hades and get some of his top-tier dialogue in on the action? I mean, just imagine flying around a massive (simulated) hellscape as the God of the Underworld is trying to crush you with his fists while comedically breaking the fourth wall? Oh, it’s too glorious to not happen. Sadly it won’t because nobody is aware of Kid Icarus.
3. Zelda Dungeon Ride
And no, I don’t want it to be like that less-than-impressive Zelda-themed escape room that didn’t feel like an actual Zelda dungeon. I want an attraction that actually has you going through a foreboding dungeon environment, solving puzzles that you would expect to find in an actual Zelda game in order to progress. Perhaps figure out some way to actually give the participant a chance to fight enemies and a dungeon boss at the end. I don’t know how they could make that work; I’m not an imagineer. But holy frijoles, if they did find a way to make this work what a fantastic experience it would be.
As for what the boss should be, I think that’s obvious. It starts with a ‘G’ and has two syllables…
2. Hall of Presidents But For Nintendo Characters
The more I think about it, the more this makes sense. I think Nintendo has a robust, fascinating history that an audience could sit through for a bit without falling asleep. They also have a vast array of IPs and characters that I’m sure fans will want to see represented, but many of which sadly won’t be due to obvious limitations. Even with new lands built to add to Super Nintendo World, I can’t see us ending up with much more than a Zelda and Pokemon area in addition to the Mario and Donkey Kong ones we’re already getting. But an attraction that features top-notch animatronics of a wide array of Nintendo characters could help give small-time franchises a chance to shine.
And yes, I think the Nintendo characters themselves should be the ones giving the history lessons. I mean, sure, there are a few characters like Link and Kirby who shouldn’t actually speak words, but I think most of Nintendo’s featured characters could be given voiced lines. I want to hear R.O.B. talk about how he saved the video game industry, damn it!
1. Pikmin Equivalent of DINOSAUR
Now, Pikmin isn’t one of Nintendo’s larger IPs so the odds of it getting a dedicated ride seem somewhat poor, though there’s a ton of potential. I had a few different ideas but what I saw as the best one was an attraction that functions similarly to Animal Kingdom’s DINOSAUR.
In DINOSAUR, you get in a vehicle while a scientist shows up on a screen and explains that he’s sending you back into the past to perform some menial task like collecting spore samples or whatever, but something goes wrong and the ride consists of you riding around getting the pants scared out of you by dinosaur animatronics that want to devour you before just barely making it back to the present.
Now, for our similar Pikmin attraction, picture this: Captain Olimar is sending a crew of pilots to The Distant Planet/PNF-404 to collect treasure in a “spaceship” that also serves as a landrover. Obviously this is the vehicle the audience rides in. Now, the fun of this ride is not dinosaurs, but rather that you’re as tiny as the Pikmin. At first things go fairly smoothly as you ride around and get to watch the Pikmin run about and help collect treasure for the ship. Wildlife consists mainly of the more unthreatening variety such as Iridescent Flint Beetles and Swooping Snitchbugs.
But then things change. Olimar loses track of time and realizes that the sun is starting to set as he explains that the world becomes much more hostile at night once nocturnal predators come out. The ride has a bit of a tonal shift as the lights go dark and it becomes a matter of evading huge predators like Bulborbs and Snagrets as Pikmin are getting eaten left and right. Eventually you make it back to the landing site where you can see Pikmin frantically climbing in the Onions, which prepare to take off with you into space. The audience escapes, and Olimar congratulates them on a (semi)successful mission.
As a huge fan of the Pikmin series, I adore this idea and would love to see something similar come to life in the future. But I won’t hold my breath.