Brands are incredible things. If properly cared for, they inspire powerful loyalty among their fans. The prime example of this is Disney. Disney is seen as everything good about the world. It appeals to both young and old. It creates shared experiences between wildly different people. Its park is literally called the happiest place on Earth. Disney is a brand that has powerful loyalty.
But there’s another brand out there that is just as loved as Disney but has remained mostly dormant in recent years.
Nintendo is the granddaddy of all video games. It started a modern fascination with video games that has lasted for 30 years. Nintendo is beloved by gamers and non-gamers alike. Mario is recognized the world over because generations of people have grown up with a Nintendo console. The only other brand with a mascot as memorable as Nintendo is Disney.
Both brands have incredible loyalty with their fan base. Both brands are family-friendly while not pandering to the lowest-common-denominator. Both brands have created experiences that stay forever in the minds of their audience.
It’s perhaps because they are so like Disney that Nintendo is finally putting their brand out beyond video games. While the Wii U was two-steps short of a disaster for the company, it did light a fire under Nintendo’s ass to market their brand as more than just games.
Last year, Nintendo announced that they were collaborating with Universal Studios theme parks to create Nintendo themed areas in Universal’s parks. This past week, we got the first hints of this partnership with the release of an announcement video.
While lacking in any actual content of what is going to be in these themed areas, Universal Studios creative Mark Woodbury and master game designer Shigeru Miyamoto made it abundantly clear that these would be ‘expansive, immersive, and interactive.’ Now these buzz words are incredibly exciting to a Nintendo fanboy (I include myself in that camp) but what was most telling about this announcement video was the fact there was nothing to show.
By simply saying that Nintendo themed parks will exist in the not too distant future made Twitter and Facebook light up. The hashtags of Nintendo and Universal were trending for quite a while just based on this announcement.
Nintendo is finally opening up their incredible library of characters and worlds to exist beyond their video games. While their video games are fantastic, this is an opportunity to welcome everyone, gamer and non-gamer alike, who has fond memories of playing on their Nintendo back into that world. Soon Nintendo will stand along side Disney as a premier beloved all-ages, wide-appeal brand. Soon we can all race around an actual Mario Kart track. Soon we can all run across the fields of Hyrule. Soon we can all blast off into the deepest reaches of the Lylat star system.
These expansive, immersive, and interactive parks will be Nintendo’s first foray into pushing their brand well past their normal boarders. But this wont be the first-time Nintendo has pushed beyond themselves. They once were a baseball card manufacturer but when they saw the opportunity to make a drastic move into video games, they took it. That risk rewarded them with unparalleled success. We see history repeat itself as Nintendo makes another drastic move. And once again, Nintendo will have unparalleled success.
I can’t wait to see them succeed.
Are you excited to visit a Nintendo theme park? Why or why not? Comment down below or find me on Twitter @CBloodRojas.