Gaming

AR Mario Kart anchors Universal’s Super Nintendo World in February

It’s been over five years now since Nintendo first announced plans to collaborate with Universal Studios on a real-world theme park. Now, Universal has announced a February 4, 2021, opening for the Japanese edition of Super Nintendo World in Osaka and is showing off some of the attractions in detail for the first time.

Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge is one of the highlights of the new Nintendo-themed area of Universal Studios Japan. Housed inside an intricate model of Bowser’s castle, the ride puts four attendees in a replica kart, complete with augmented reality glasses to help them be “fully immersed in the game.” While the kart is on rails that prevent free driving around the track, augmented reality glasses should let players actually see shells being thrown to take out opponents.

Universal also announced a Yoshi’s Adventure ride, featuring Captain Toad and a quest for hidden colored eggs. Both attractions last about five minutes.

Attendees at Super Nintendo World can also purchase a “Power-Up Band” for ¥3,200 (about $ 30) to “keep score” as they punch ?-blocks, collect virtual coins and keys, and “using their entire bodies in dynamic activities throughout the land,” Universal said in a press release. At the end of the quest, Power-Up Band purchasers will face “a dramatic boss battle with Bowser Jr.”

Delays and international launches

Universal Studios Japan originally planned to open Super Nintendo World in the summer of 2020, to coincide with the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Both events were postponed, though, as the coronavirus pandemic spread around the world this year.

Universal Studios Japan is still operating at a reduced capacity due to those pandemic restrictions, with policies that “ensure ample personal space and wait times for popular attractions are comparatively short,” according to the company. Japan had had a relatively low coronavirus death rate across its population through the summer, though confirmed case and death rates have recently been increasing, particularly in the Osaka area.

The first teaser attraction for the Japanese Super Nintendo World, a themed Mario Cafe & Store, opened last month, complete with the requisite exclusive merchandise and themed food items. Construction of a similar Super Nintendo World section for Universal Studios Hollywood began last year, ahead of an opening expected sometime in the next few years. Super Nintendo World will also be part of Universal’s upcoming Epic Universe park in Orlando, Florida, sometime after its planned 2023 opening.

Listing image by Universal Studios Japan

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Gaming & Culture – Ars Technica

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