Fox News: Blowing past the days of tea cup rides and Ferris wheels, a new breed of theme parks are taking the leap into a world of cyber magic to bring your favorite video games to life.
Recently, an Angry Birds theme park opened in China's Hunan province (left), allowing visitors to take the wildly popular smart phone game app into 3-D play -- literally.
Visitors at the Window of the World theme park in Changsha get to catapult real-live plush birds at evil green pig balloons.
Although the game was created without the permission of Angry Birds publisher Rovio Mobile, Daisy Yang, company spokeswoman for their Chinese licensing partner, told FoxNews.com that they're not angry with the Angry Birds theme park. “We're continually on the lookout for new ways to surprise and delight our fans. So while we can’t get into details, we can say that we’re looking at a lot of great new ideas in a variety of sectors.”
Long before Angry Birds, other video game favorites were taken out of the virtual gaming world and transformed into real-live experiences. One of the first was the cultural phenomena Pac-Man game.
Pac-Man Land, open from 1983-1985, was a pioneer for video-game theme parks. Set at the Six Flags Over Texas, in Arlington, Tex., Pac Man Land guests were greeted by life-size Pac- Man and Mrs. Pac-Man characters. The game area was filled with typical kid-attractions like ball pits, jungle gyms and magic shows.
Things have come a long way since then, as the gaming industry, on its own ride of a lifetime, has matured. According to a report by Gartner, a technology research company, spending on video game hardware and games in 2011 was expected to exceed $74 billion.
With spending like that, it companies are trying to figure out how to capitalize on potential business video games could offer. “As video game brands continue to grow in popularity, there will undoubtedly be more attempts at using their built-in audience to lure more people into parks that would otherwise not care,” Gamespot senior editor, Giancarlo Varanini told FoxNews.com.
Daniel Ruke, creator of Game Nation, told FoxNews.com that the park that will combine video game mechanics with physical themed attractions to create an experience that "immerses you into the game."
Whether you're an enthusiastic gamer or a fan of new and wild park attractions, there are a growing number of video game theme parks that put you in the action.