We have done a few stories on creating games in theme parks and have experienced becoming everything from a pirate to sorcerer to a toy and space ranger. It is no secret that the BtT Team loves the introduction of games and gamification in theme parks and that we have argued the merits of how much is too much, but what happens when the Park itself is a game or based on game IPs?
From Angry Birds to World of Warcraft, games have stepped into the Theme Park arenas, either legally or via carefully circumventing IP restrictions, etc. Whatever the path, these installations take the idea of gamification to a new level by not including games into the theming but basing the theming around the actual games.
The unlicensed theme park in China based (quite obviously) on Blizzard’s World of Warcraft is a perfect example of a theme park taking an IP and bringing to life in a (questionable) way. World Joyland (Global Animation Joyland) has taken many of its theming and ideas from a variety of resources. The front gate is virtually identical to that of Orlando’s Universal Studios. There are direct rip off images from many Dreamworks and Disney as well as the aforementioned Blizzard titles.
Two of the sections in Joyland are called, “Terrain if Warcraft” and “Universe of Starcraft” and many of the iconic characters and attractions are rip off of the same and other titles. Though it remains to be seen how long this park will continue, since at last count it was still operational, but if you are a fan of a certain game, it may be worth stopping by. If you happen to be in China of course.
With a series of sequels to the popular app titled Angry Birds it was just a matter of time before the IP spread from stuffed toys and cartoons, to the real world. With current activity parks and attraction in locations in Finland, Malaysia and multiple locations in the UK, this odd IP seems to be dominating. Though many are unsure of the attraction or the appeal, Angry Birds owners Rovio are milking the love for their product as much as possible. Recently Rovio has added attractions and parks with many more slated to pop up worldwide.
J-World in Tokyo is an indoor theme park dedicated to anime and gaming. Using legal IP’s such as Dragon Ball, One Piece and Naruto, guests can experience a variety off attractions and rides . Officially licensed from Namco, this indoor park has Virtual reality “Kamehameha” (shooting game), a plethora of interesting and unique games and a 360 degree spinning ride.
Add to this a food court with themed menus and foods and guest/character interactions and you have a mini-theme park all housed indoors and safe from the elements, where guests can “Experience the world of JUMP anime”.
All IP legality aside it seems that these smaller (some anyway) theme parks and attractions are still thriving and popping up regularly. Time will tell how well they hold out and if their IP (legal or otherwise) will maintain them in the way that the more solid IP’s (see Disney, Marvel & Harry Potter) have.