Star Fox Flying Ride
Star Fox Zero may not have met the level of quality that many fans were hoping it would reach, but that could all be made better if Nintendo’s Universal areas included a Star Fox flying ride. While playing Star Fox titles is all good fun, there’s nothing quite like being thrown around at high-speed as if you were actually in the cockpit of an Arwing.
Whether it’s in the form of a traditional roller coaster that sees two coasters weaving in between one another at high-speed, or a 3D interactive experience as we speed over the surfaces of the planets of the Lylat system with Fox McCloud, it’d be a great way to pay homage to the classic series. Just, please don’t make us use motion controls this time around.
Zelda Interactive Ride
The daily life of the Hero of Time is a pretty stressful one. You’ve got to navigate your way through countless dungeons, listen to Navi all day, perfect the playing of a musical instrument, save Princess Zelda, and yank a giant sword out of stone. Oh, and defeat a ton of creatures along the way, too. So what better ride could you ask for than one that puts you right in the heart of the action of a Legend of Zelda game?
Whether this ride took us through the major events of a game like Ocarina of Time or the darker storyline of Majora’s Mask, or it was just a combination of great moments from the series, we wouldn’t be complaining. The Legend of Zelda series is just screaming out for a ride similar to the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride currently at Universal. Make it happen, we need to meet Gorons and defeat Gannon already!
Mario Kart Challenge
You simply couldn’t have a Universal Nintendo area without a Mario Kart ride of some sort. Considering the franchise’s success at nailing that compelling local multiplayer gameplay, it’s easy to think of just how great a Mario Kart raceway would be.
With Peach’s castle in the distance, Goombas and Piranha Plants plaguing the track, and detailed replicas of all your favorite Mario characters’ rides, fans could hop into a cart and follow an on-rails track as they battle it out for pole position with Mario, Bowser and the rest of the karting roster. With the potential for shells and other weapons to fly past you on other rails, this would be the definitive Mario Kart experience. Alternatively, a themed Go Kart race against other park visitors would be equally appreciated. Blue Shells and Lightning Bolts may have to be omitted, what with health and safety and all.
Animal Crossing Town
Animal Crossing town wouldn’t offer any crazy rides or simulations, but would instead just be a quaint and peaceful area of the park for fans to explore and meet some of their favorite characters. Head into Club LOL to catch a KK Slider performance, go for a hot cup of coffee at the Museum, or grab some awesome merch from Nookingtons.
Heck, perhaps even on certain days, you’ll see a wild traveler wandering the town giving out free bits of merch for wandering visitors. As long as there’s no tying us into a mortgage or digging up weeds, we’re all in.
One of Nintendo’s most iconic characters, Donkey Kong would have his very own wild rapids ride within Universal’s Nintendo area. Seeing fans all climb aboard a little raft, they’d make their way through the depths of DK’s jungle, where the whole Kong family would be hanging from trees, smashing barrels, and doing other Donkey Kong activities.
Throw in some classic Donkey Kong music for our excursion through the jungle and a huge drop at the end to ensure every park attender gets completely drenched. It’d be like visiting the Rickety Rapids from Donkey Kong Land 3, albeit without the necessity to jump from barrel to barrel.
Mario Level Obstacle Courses
Let’s be real, every level or world of a Mario game is essentially an obstacle course that tests your reflexes and coin-collecting abilities. Therefore, it kinda makes perfect sense to set up Mario level obstacle courses for players to try out their platforming skills for themselves.
With moving platforms, tough to reach levels, and a ton of piranha plants and goombas hindering your progress while appearing out of nowhere, you’ll have to reach the ball-pool surrounded flagpole to complete the level and stop the timer. Heck, maybe there’s even a green pipe slide that visitors could slide down to reach the next level. Even better, each level could be timed and each visitor’s time is posted to a leaderboard. Those who finish under a set time could be rewarded with a sweet bit of merch. The perfect reward for embracing your inner Mario.
In every themed area of a Universal Studios park, you need somewhere to pick up some refreshments, buy merch, and just immerse yourself in the world you’ve been transported to. And what better place to recreate than Hyrule’s bustling marketplace? With the catchy music playing in the background, the tiny dog running around, and a shop to replenish supplies, this could be fleshed out so you can pick up some Nintendo-themed food, that Master Sword replica you’ve always wanted, and generally take in the atmosphere.
In different directions could lie Mount Goron, Zora’s domain, and Kokiri forest. Heck, you could even top it off with a live band playing some of the series’ most memorable orchestral scores. Just don’t forget to bring your rupees for all that sweet, sweet merch.
Though a Pokemon Center is nothing new, what with there already being one in Japan… considering the franchise’s recent domination of the pop culture spotlight, it only makes sense that one finally makes its way west. Not only is it going to be a place where wannabe Pokemon trainers can pick up necessary supplies, but also a great little homage to the 20-year-old series.
Filled with all of the Pokemon merch you could ever dream of, a display of rare collectibles, and areas for trainers to battle it out on their 3DS these could be the Pokemon havens trainers have been crying out for.
Nintendo’s substantial history houses some of the greatest games ever to grace TV screens, and because of this, it would seem 100% wrong if there wasn’t some sort of nostalgia trip that talked Universal attendees through the history of the company and the systems that it’s released.
Whether it took the more formal museum approach, or a more interactive trip filled with Nintendo charm and playable chunks of some of the most iconic titles, this would surely be something that would warrant its place in Nintendo’s own corner of a Universal Studios park. It may not be the typical attraction for a theme park, but it’d surely go down a treat regardless.
Legend of Zelda Temple Escape Rooms
Offering some of the best examples of level design in gaming history, The Legend of Zelda has always held its temples at the center of the experience. While it’s all well and good sitting in the comfort of your home and guiding Link around from a third-person perspective, it’d all get a whole lot more interesting if you were thrown into a real-life temple and told to work your way out of it.
Using different items that you’d uncover throughout the duration, players would open chests (complete with sound effects), defeat enemies in a battle of trivia, and uncover all of the pieces of the puzzle to defeat the final boss and escape. If anyone could pull off a game-themed escape room, it’d definitely be Nintendo and the Legend of Zelda team.