Delayed by the pandemic, the first Nintendo theme park has opened in Japan

Sylvie Claire / Mars 19, 2021

 

Delayed by the pandemic, the first Nintendo theme park has opened in Japan

 

After months of delay due to the pandemic, the first ever entertainment zone around the Nintendo universe opened on Thursday at the huge Universal Japan Studios (USJ) theme park in Osaka, western Japan.

 

The Super Nintendo World facilities are directly inspired by the colourful world of the Japanese group's famous Super Mario video games, which until recently was reluctant to explore new ways of exploiting its virtual heroes beyond consoles, via licensing agreements.

 

One of its flagship attractions is a Mario Kart ride, whose experience is enhanced by augmented reality glasses attached to a red visor, like the Italian plumber's cap.

 

A bracelet connected to a smartphone also allows visitors to collect virtual coins by hitting blocks, like Mario.

 

We have recreated the game world perfectly . You'll find Piranha plants and Bowser (Mario's great enemy), and you'll see what it's like to be Mario, said Ayumu Yamamoto, USJ's marketing director.

 

It took almost a year longer than expected to open this place, and we're really happy, he said at a press presentation the day before the opening.

 

Super Nintendo World, which cost more than 60 billion yen according to USJ (460 million euros), was originally supposed to attract crowds last year to coincide with the Tokyo-2020 Olympic Games, but these were also postponed to this year because of the coronavirus.

 

The opening of the park had been postponed to February of this year, before being postponed again when the Japanese government declared a state of emergency in January to curb an upsurge in infections in the archipelago.

 

The first visitors told AFP of their excitement. I've been playing Mario since I was little. I didn't expect to be able to enter the world of Mario, I'm very excited, said Hiroki Kono, a 19-year-old student in Osaka.

 

Due to the current closure of Japan's borders in the face of the pandemic, visitors from abroad will still have to wait until an unspecified date before being able to discover the site.

 

Other similar Nintendo spaces are eventually planned for Universal Studios parks in Orlando, Florida and Hollywood.

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