Universal Studios Japan’s Super Nintendo World Zone to Open in February

    • The life-size video game zone is set to open on Feb. 4, 2021, slightly ahead of the company’s latest projections.
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Universal Studios Japan’s new life-size video game zone, Super Nintendo World, is set to open on Feb. 4, 2021, slightly ahead of the company’s latest projections. 

Life Imitates Art

  • Visitors in the zone will wear a “power up band” that enables them to collect coins and battle bosses while exploring a physical environment.
  • Progress will be tracked via a smartphone app.
  • One of the flagship attractions is a Mario Kart-themed roller coaster that makes use of AR and projection mapping technology. 

Nintendo first announced plans for the park in 2015 as part of a broader goal to allow use of its IP beyond its own consoles and devices. Since then, the company has launched a handful of smartphone games, including a free-to-play version of the Mario Kart franchise, but still makes its biggest titles exclusive to its own hardware.

Super Nintendo World is also set to appear in the future at Universal’s parks in Hollywood, Orlando and Singapore. 

A bellwether for the industry?  Universal Studios Japan’s opening will likely be monitored as a potential model for the entire theme park industry, which has taken a major hit in recent months. 

  • The Japanese theme park is currently operating at 50% capacity, despite COVID-19 cases rising in Osaka. 
  • The Walt Disney Co., for example, saw revenues from its parks, experiences and products business line drop 61% year over year, and recently laid off 32,000 theme park employees.