Early in 2019, Universal Studios Japan and Japanese game maker Nintendo inked an agreement licensing the latter’s stable of videogame characters to create a new expansion area. This expansion, called Super Nintendo World, is overall like a “Super Mario Bros.” game come to life, with themed locations and animatronics of the various creatures Mario and Luigi encounter in their videogames. Set to open in sync with the Tokyo Summer Olympics in 2020, COVID-19 caused USJ to hold off on the launch at a later date. But as the images and videos now flooding the internet can attest, Super Nintendo World is ready to open soon.
According to IGN, images of Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan being full of park-goers have been making the rounds online. That is odd considering that the one-ironclad grand opening date of this Thursday, February 4, was axed again thanks to a state of emergency declared since January 14 at Osaka, where USJ is. Nevertheless, a series of videos were released by fan site Universal Parks News Today on their official YouTube page, show Super Nintendo World being busy with people. Yes, they have facemasks on, but were the authorities really okay with this? What was really going on?
In any case, the theme park area does look pretty exciting, if you are a Nintendo fan from the early days. Universal Parks News Today posted over 20 videos (including that teaser above) showcasing Super Nintendo World and its various attractions in action. There are two major rides based on “Super Mario” spinoff titles, Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge and Yoshi’s Adventure; the former actually has augmented reality (AR) elements. Bowser Jr. Shadow Showdown is like a giant wall-sized version of classic touchscreen game “Fruit Ninja,” but Mario-fied. The designs and features are all incredibly enjoyable.
There were other things showcased by UPNT at Super Nintendo World: the musical blocks that played notes when touched; live shows featuring animal trainers, a searching activity to look for a Pikmin hidden in the whole area; mascots of Mario, Luigi, Toad and Princess Peach; and the various themed merchandise shops and dining establishments. It is all so mind-blowing that if what was shown was merely a dry run, one can only imagine what it will be like when officially open, COVID protocols notwithstanding. We will have to wait on news for when Super Nintendo World at USJ officially opens.
Images courtesy of The Verge