Monday, November 30, 2020 – 1:45 PM
Built on top of the existing Universal Studios Japan website, Super Nintendo World is designed to be a realistic replica of Nintendo’s most popular games with rides, shops and walks. One of the first highlights will be a Mario Kart ride after recreating Bowser’s Castle. By borrowing an idea from the Super Mario series, visitors can collect virtual coins by wearing a dedicated wristband while exploring the area and interacting with park features via the Switch console.
The show is one of the largest projects ever conceived by an Osaka-based amusement park operator with more than 60 billion yen (S $ 772.6 million) invested. It was originally intended to open in summer, but was postponed during the pandemic. Its onset may still be pushed aside as Japan faces a new epidemic and Osaka, where the park is located, becomes one of the country’s worst-hit cities.
There is a lot going on at Super Nintendo World as the theme park industry grapples with falling revenues, and Japan debates whether to promote domestic tourism. Walt Disney Co is downsizing, while Comcast’s NBCUniversal, owner of the Osaka park, is holding plans to open another Nintendo area at its Orlando location. Universal Studios Japan also uses half of its full capacity to contain the spread of the virus.
The project under which Nintendo characters are licensed is part of the efforts of the Kyoto-based game company to expand its franchise beyond console players. Videos, gadget stores and smartphone apps are designed as a catch to attract new users to purchase gaming machines and software.