Theme Parks

After a lengthy delay thanks to the pandemic, the new Universal Studios Japan area called Super Nintendo World is open for business. And if you’re a gamer or just a fan of Mario, this might be the spot you absolutely have to travel to once travel is possible, again.

Laying the groundwork for Super Nintendo World

Way back in 2015, Nintendo got into a partnership with Universal Parks & Resorts. The goal was to bring Nintendo’s various characters and games to Universal’s worldwide parks. It’s a partnership that is obviously beneficial for both parties, as well as fans.

Universal Studios Japan broke ground their new attraction in 2017 with a goal of having Super Nintendo World open in time for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Neither of those things happened due to the pandemic.

Following a soft opening in December 2020, the park was was made available to Universal Studios Japan annual pass holders on February 4, 2021. It finally opened to the public on March 18, 2021 with the first full day of operation, within safety guidelines, of course.

Super Nintendo World changes the game

As one would expect, this new Universal Studios Japan area has taken the familiar concepts from classic Super Nintendo games and translated them to a theme park concept. It will be an odd experience to see them in a real world setting.

At the moment, the only Nintendo franchise represented is Super Mario. That’s not a surprise considering he is the flagship character of the entire company. If Super Nintendo World is going to start somewhere, it would definitely be with him.

There are three main attractions in the area. Yoshi’s Adventure is an omnimover ride that uses augmented reality. Power Up Band Key Challenges, on the other hand, is a treasure-hunting interactive attraction where players retrieve keys to defeat Bowser Jr.

But the main attraction is Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge. Designed to look like Bowser’s Castle, four-person karts follow a rail around a course. Riders wear augmented reality headsets which help them enjoy throwing virtual shells at other carts and various environments.

On top of all of that, there are several shops and restaurants themed to Mario and his friends. Each one of the restaurants sell food and drinks inspired by Mario, Toad, Yoshi and more. Plus, the 1UP Factory features an excellent assortment of Mario-themed swag to take home.

The future of Super Nintendo World

At this point, the entirety of Super Nintendo World is specifically themed to Mario. Guests enter the area through a warp pipe and see iconic locations like Bowser’s Castle, Princess Peach’s Castle and the Mushroom Kingdom.

Universal Studios Japan, Super Mario World

387325 11: Visitors ride the Jurassic Park themed ride at Universal Studios during the opening day of the park March 31, 2001 in Osaka, Japan. Although the park is designed to include the most popular attractions from the two U.S. Universal Studios parks in Hollywood and Orlando, some are specifically designed for the Japanese market. (Photo by Koichi Kamoshida/Liaison)

If the world proves to be successful, it’s not hard to imagine that more Nintendo characters could be represented, as well. Donkey Kong, Samus, Kirby, Fox McCloud, Link and more should all be in the running to be included in Super Nintendo World at some point.

Beyond that, Universal Studios has plans to open Super Nintendo Worlds in their American parks as well as Universal Studios Singapore. So far, construction is already underway at Universal Studios Hollywood but not in the other parks.

Super Nintendo World was an outstanding concept that looks like its become an incredible reality. While you might not be able to go to Japan right now, travel options will continue to become available. And other locations of the park will be open before you know it.

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