No more challenging your friends in the arcade. Instead, step right into the driver’s seat of your very own Mario Kart in what is said to be an “ultra-immersive” experience! Super Nintendo World in Japan’s Osaka has also brought to life Nintendo’s most iconic locations, including Mushroom Kingdom, Peach’s Castle and Bowser’s Castle! One can even ride on the back of Yoshi to explore Super Nintendo World!
Finally, after delaying its 2020 opening date, and again pushing back its February 2021 inauguration deadline, due to the coronavirus pandemic, Super Nintendo World in Osaka, Japan, finally opened its gates to fans on March 18, 2021. The park was originally meant to open last summer ahead of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo but this timeline was disrupted by the pandemic.
From racing around in a Mario cart circuit, to riding Yoshi-themed swings, while looking for Captain Toad during a treasure hunt, visitors have been immersing themselves in the park’s many attractions, sporting red Mario hats and other Nintendo-themed outfits that they can buy over there.
The park’s owner, Universal Studios, plans to open similar parks in Singapore, Tokyo and the US. Universal Studios Japan is currently the first and only Universal theme park to feature Super Nintendo World.
“One can think of Super Nintendo World as a lifesize, living video game where tourists become one of the characters. You are not just playing the game; you are living the game, you are living the adventure,” said Thierry Coup, senior vice president, chief creative officer, Universal Creative, in the global kick-off presentation event on January 14, 2020.
What’s a video game if one cannot be the champion at the end of the day? Super Nintendo World visitors also have to buy a Power Up Band that has to be paired with the Universal Studios Japan app on their phone to enjoy the full immersive experience.
“The Power Up Bands are themed to different characters, so you can wear one based on your favourite Mushroom Kingdom character. Power-Up Bands are wristbands that tally scores, coins, and digital stamps,” added Coup.
After every few hours, the total number of coins earned is used to rank everybody present in the park. This pushes Mario and overall Nintendo fans to unleash their competitive spirit and clock in their best score!
Apart from these, Universal Studios Japan has also launched the “We Are Born to Play” music video, which is a collaboration between internationally known dance music duo, Galantis and global pop superstar Charli XCX. It is said to showcase the activities based on the real and interactive experiences available at Super Nintendo World, and tourists can actually spot themselves in one of the videos released by the artists.
Tourists, who have visited the theme park, say it is a leisurely place for families and children. “It is definitely one of the best places you can spend your time at, especially if there are small children in your family. It is full of animated, amazing sceneries and is sure to mesmerise anyone,” says a 37-year-old Benjiro, a tour-operator from Osaka, who also visited the park with his family on the occasion of New Year.
Apart from a number of rides and swings based on different characters, there are also anger management and relaxation activities in the park. The recreation of question and note blocks from the Mario franchise, very similar to the virtual Nintendo world, is likely to satisfy diehard fans. “Visitors can jump and punch the blocks until their heart’s content,” Benjiro adds.
While it is easy to guess that one might be tired after such fun and frolic, there is a plethora of theme based snacks to munch on in the park too.
Among the quirky eateries are Kinopio’s Cafe, Pit Stop Popcorn, and Yoshi’s Snack Island. The food items are just as creative as one might imagine, and include such delicacies as mushroomflavoured popcorn, tiramisu question blocks, and koopa shell-shaped calzones.
Though Super Nintendo World is only open to those living in Japan right now, Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of the Mario franchise, recently said he hopes the whole world will come and visit it when the pandemic is over.
With so much to see and do in the new Super Nintendo World, the last thing one would want is to be waiting in line. Osaka-based tour operator Benjiro recommends pairing admission ticket with a Universal Express Pass to skip the long queues at some of the park’s most popular attractions like The Flying Dinosaur to enjoy many more rides in the Super Nintendo World!