Theme parks are big business in Japan, but the two largest are the infamous Disney World and Universal Studios Japan, known as Uniba or USJ. Universal Studios Japan in Osaka is home to some excellent rollercoasters, exhibits and areas with themes inspired by famous movies franchises. The theme park brings to life the worlds of Harry Potter, Sesame Street, Jaws, The Terminator and Jurassic World, as well an hosting a frequently updating array of characters from other franchises from Monster Hunter to Minions.
A couple of years ago Universal Studios announced Super Nintendo World, a huge new project which would focus mainly on the world of Mario and Luigi. Nintendo was generous enough to update us with a few news reports earlier this year, but quickly had to change plans as 2020 became the crazy year it did.
Originally, Super Nintendo World would have opened just before the Olympics, pulling in huge crowds of tourists. Unfortunately we’ll now have to wait until spring 2021 for the opening ceremony, but a few additions to the park are already being made.
Photos of the partially finished park are starting to float around on the internet, but we haven’t had any official images from Nintendo. However, the games company has confirmed that we can expect to see a recreation of key locations from the Mario games, namely Bowser’s Fortress, Peach’s Castle and the Mushroom Kingdom (or at least part of it).
Universal Studios has managed to create fantastically authentic environments in the past, and Hogsmeade Village in particular felt straight out the wizarding world when I was able to visit before. That’s reason enough for me to be excited about the plans for Super Nintendo World, but the technology planned for the area could really be something special.
Visitors will be able to interact with the Mushroom Kingdom by using a ‘Power-Up Band’, linked to an app on their smartphone. By getting involved with activities across Super Nintendo World while wearing the band, you’ll be able to collect coins on your phone and compete against other visitors, turning the area into one gigantic real life videogame! Tap the question blocks, complete challenges, and get that high score!
As the crowds wait for Super Nintendo World to open, the appearance of a brand new Mario Café and shop within the Hollywood area of Universal Studios should help keep the hype going. The two fresh additions to the park will be opening on the 16th of October, with the café offering tasty looking ‘Pancake Sandwich’ desserts modelled on the hats of the plumber siblings, as well as fruity cream sodas and a giant Mario mushroom drinks bottle.
The images of the café released by Nintendo show plans for bright colours, retro game designs on the walls and mushroom stools with a few hats added in for good measure. The shop follows a similar theme with a twist of influence from Princess Peach, and will be selling T-Shirts, pillows and a range of other accessories.
Whether these small introductions to Super Nintendo Land will be enough to keep fans happy remains to be seen, but hopefully it will give us the patience we need to make it to Spring 2021, and a brand new (real world) Mario adventure.