In a surprise announcement, hot on the heels of the their King Kong reveal, Universal has announced a partnership with Nintendo to bring Nintendo characters and worlds to Universal theme parks.
No details have been given but Universal says the deal includes "major attractions", so this deal won't simply be a Nintendo kiosk with a few games. The announcement also made no mention of which parks the experiences will come to. The Asian parks seem like an easy target to bring these characters to first but I think it is safe to assume that at least one of the US based parks will receive Nintendo attractions.
Most minds will jump right to Mario but don't forget Nintendo also has Animal Crossing, The Legend of Zelda and of course Pokémon. These characters are great for all ages. Just about everyone has some enjoyable memory with a Mario game. They are some of the highest selling games of all time.
To take a look just at Universal Orlando, I could easily see a Nintendo land replacing Woody Woodpecker's Kidzone (hopefully not E.T. too). Woody Woodpecker, Fievel, Curious George and Barney are all extremely dated characters. I can't imagine even one child knows who Woody Woodpecker is at all. Nintendo characters, on the other hand, are evergreen.
Nintendo has been notoriously closed off to just about everything. After the Wii's success trailed off and the Wii U failed in a pretty major way, Nintendo has been forced to think in a more modern way. Recently allowing their characters to appear in smart phone games, and I see this theme park deal as part of their reach to stay relevant.
This is a great pairing for Universal who has been searching for viable kid-friendly characters to promote since the parks opening. What sort of Nintendo attractions would you like to see at Universal?