Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Why Nintendo At Universal Theme Parks Is A Bad Idea

In a recent press release that was the gist of, "Hey, we're working on it," Nintendo and Universal announced just that. The news cycle is basically reporting some very funny facts about Nintendo and Universal working together on theme park ideas.

Here are the real facts from the press release:
  • Nintendo-themed areas are coming to Universal Studios Japan, Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood.
  • These will be expansive, immersive and interactive. They will be highly themed and authentic environments filled with multiple attractions, shops and restaurants.
  • Guests will feel as if they are playing inside their favorite games – this time in real life.
  • There will be something for everyone – regardless of their age or gaming experience level.
  • Planning and creative work on these areas is well underway; they will open separately over the next several years. 
So, there is some real news in there, though it lives a lot to the imagination and obviously could have had real details instead of leaving everything very open.

Now, why I don't think Universal and Nintendo should be working together just goes back to being how petty Universal can be and the relationship between Nintendo and Universal being, well, crap.

It all goes back to Universal losing to Nintendo over Donkey Kong, see they sued Nintendo way back in the 80's over Donkey Kong being very similar to King Kong. However, Nintendo won and the resentment stayed with Universal well into the 90's when they made Super Mario Bros. the movie, considered by some to be the worst video game movie not directed by Uwe Boll. Though never proven outright, Universal looks like it got its revenge for a decade earlier on the lawsuit. And if you're saying no one could be so petty, just look at Sony being attacked by North Korea over a comedy.

On that subject, part of that leaked revealed from Sony cyber attack was an in-development project for a Super Mario Bros animated film. Looks like Nintendo didn't forget how Universal treated their brand.

Actually, Nintendo was so beat down from the Super Mario Bros film  licensing or doing anything like lending their characters wouldn't resurface for years. I think Wreck-It Ralph might have been the first time they allowed their characters to be licensed out on such a large scale and they didn't even let their plumbers be in the film.

That's another big problem. Nintendo has been a company that has been very in on itself for, well, since the failure of Super Mario Bros. the movie. Only recently have they become much more aware of breaking the mold and stepping out to let their characters get licensed more or have special events or let there be a theme park rides based on their stuff.

Why Universal is a interesting question? After they burned them it's odd to see them return to them.

Though our own Universal has sort of gone through a renaissance in the last few years it was not considered the best theme park in SoCal for a long time, that title going to Disneyland, which it still considered the best; with Star Wars land on the way.

In Japan though, Universal parks are a little bit more active with what's popular teaming up with pop-idols and animes for special events and rides for limited times. So there might be more of a trust their than here.

So it's possible, that they'll make something fun for Nintendo here in LA, but we just don't know how petty Universal could be. And if you're thinking oh, they retired or have left, well, no, many of the same people are still working at Universal. And they are human, so they could just remember they got screwed by a monkey.