On Friday, Nintendo and Universal Studios Japan took the wraps off a years-long project: Nintendo’s first major theme park, aptly named Super Nintendo World. And who better to present this life-size journey through all things Mario than the character’s creator himself, longtime Nintendo developer and designer Shigeru Miyamoto.
The 15-minute video, embedded at the end of this article, revolves mainly around the garden’s training sessions, which are full of Super Mario melodies and conversational elements. Many park decorations and objects can be interacted with by park visitors wearing a special wristband, called the Power-Up Band, which includes an amiibo-like NFC chip. Tap your sensor near cool objects like a Super Mario Block money, and a new virtual item will appear in the Super Nintendo World app synced to your smartphone. Exactly how these virtual things will affect your visit to Super Nintendo World remains unclear, but Miyamoto-san hinted at amazing attractions and hidden interactive panels for park guests to explore in person. (Plus, those Power-Up Bands will double as Amiibo for compatible hardware, like the Nintendo Switch.)
Only one “length” gets exposure in the video, albeit a short one: a Mario Kart race against Bowser. It’s hosted inside a replica of Bowser’s mansion, and guests will be seated in a row MarioTraditional go-karts that seem to be connected on a track like a rollercoaster, as opposed to being controlled freely. Exactly what visitors will see on that ride is still unclear, but previous reports about the ride’s augmented reality (AR) elements are reinforced with the first official look at the park’s AR glasses, which are attached to the Super Cap Mario one.
Unsurprisingly, the theme park will include a powerful gift shop, which Miyamoto-san confirmed will include exclusive Nintendo merchandise—especially a powerful Super Mario toy whose legs articulate in walking motion without batteries. that you need, just push a hand. (It’s easy to forget that Nintendo’s history as a game publisher is preceded by an amazing array of cleverly designed toys, thanks in large part to former Nintendo developer Gunpei Yokoi, who masterminded the first Game Boy.)
Miyamoto-san also walks viewers through one of the park’s restaurants, which is Toad-themed and includes “windows” into his kitchen (although these are high-resolution LCD panels with CGI animations previous to Toad characters cooking). Some of the park’s food options are shown off, and anyone who has been to a Japanese-themed cafe knows that the country takes specially designed food seriously—which is obvious. immediately in the amazing dishes shown in today’s video.
However, today’s video does not feature other exclusive experiences in Super Nintendo World, particularly those reported to revolve around the popular Nintendo character Donkey Kong or the previous Yoshi’s Adventure ride. We’ll obviously have to wait until the park opens in Japan on February 4, 2021, to see if not-Mario content will be open to the public during its launch window—and even longer for the Nintendo-owned park to receive launches at Universal Studios locations in Orlando, Los Angeles, and Singapore. (Unfortunately, today’s show includes several warnings about the COVID regulations for the Japanese launch.)
Although I am eager to show the video details in gallery form, any Nintendo fan worth their salt owes it to themselves to watch Miyamoto-san giddily show everything in this park. I personally can’t remember the last time I saw the man motivated by a project, and based on what’s been shown so far, I don’t blame him.
Image listing by Nintendo / Universal Studios Japan