PBS and NPR for Southwest Florida
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Game Nation Aims to Build Video Game Theme Park in SW Florida

Daniel Ruke

There’s an effort underway to create the world’s first video-game based theme park and resort in Southwest Florida.  It’s called Game Nation and the team behind it will be holding a three day roll out event in the downtown Fort Myers River District in November.

The idea behind the Game Nation concept is a theme park where, instead of just riding rides, patrons create their own characters, whose adventures and challenges they live out in fantasy and video-game based simulations. 

“We wanted something that was totally interactive, that’s submersive; that’s based around you, your character,” said entrepreneur and Game Nation creator Daniel Ruke.  “So as you visit theme parks today, it’s about those characters that you’ve read about and seen and you might dress, or your kids might dress like them and meet them which is an amazing experience, but video games is a more emotional medium where it’s about you and your choices .  And so we recognize that they want to have the power to change the story and evolve that story.”

The effort is still in the early stages, but the Fort Myers-based company is looking to build the park locally.  “Our goal and our focus is to build it in Southwest Florida and we are fastly moving on that,” said Game Nation’s Cole Peacock.  “We have a partnership with one of the larger land companies in the state and we are dedicated to helping the economic turnaround of this region.”

“Building a theme park covers almost every aspect of job creation whether it’s the pure hospitality, whether it’s retail, whether it’s architectural design, whether it’s gaming design.  It is going to be a plethora of opportunities.  One of the reasons we are so steadfast in having it in Southwest Florida is to create dominance in workforce development.   Something that’s not just dependent on one or two industries that we have.”

Game Nation holds a roll-out event in downtown Fort Myers November first through third featuring video game competitions, live music, and sessions to better explain the Game Nation concept and collect feedback.