Nintendo fans, rejoice: The company just provided a first “look” at Super Nintendo World, a Mario-themed expansion to Universal Studios Japan, that chief executive officer of Universal Creative Thierry Coup described as a “life-size, living video game” in a press briefing yesterday. Set to open this summer in Osaka to coincide with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Super Nintendo World will be the most immersive, mobile technology-dependent theme park to date for Universal Parks & Resorts.
Before engaging with the park’s attractions, visitors will first receive electronic wristbands, called “Power-Up Bands,” and sync them with their smartphones via a proprietary app. Visitors will then use the wearable technology to navigate the grounds, create profiles, and compete among themselves to “collect” virtual coins scattered throughout the park. Though it is speculated that these attractions will be partially mediated by Augmented Reality (AR) in a manner similar to that experienced in the Pokémon Go mobile game first launched in 2016, sources have not yet confirmed its role in the park.
In fact, much of the concrete information about how the park will look and feel has been gleefully packaged within a fast-paced electropop music video produced by musicians Galantis and Charli XCX, titled “We Are Born To Play,” that shows players leaving the familiar world behind for Mario’s candy-colored stomping grounds. While it’s still unclear exactly what exactly visitors can expect in the physical park based on the video, the grounds will maintain a number of roller-coaster style rides and a castle that will house a Mario Kart attraction. Otherwise, it’s safe to assume that the park will contain numerous “levels” and architectural elements from the games, including a Yoshi ride.
The news comes five years after plans for a Nintendo-themed park was first announced by the company in 2015. Following Super Nintendo World’s opening in Osaka, the Universal Studios theme parks in Hollywood, Singapore, and Orlando are scheduled to receive similar expansions of their own in the near future.