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Something to look forward to: We've been hearing about Japan's Super Nintendo World for years, but images of the park's interior have been absent—until now. In addition to a few photos of the Mario Kart attraction and the AR headsets that accompany it, an official opening date has been revealed: February 4.
Following its announcement in 2015, Universal Studios Japan broke ground on the Nintendo theme park back in June 2017. It was scheduled to open this year, but, like so many events, the pandemic scuppered those plans.
Photos of the entire park arrived last week, showing its remarkable likeness to a Mario game. Now, we get to see the inside—specifically, the Mario Kart attraction. Contrary to earlier rumors, the ride is of the on-rails variety, rather than using actual go-karts on a track.
As reported by Bloomberg's Kurumi Mori, the ride is called Kooper's Challenge and is located inside Bowser's castle. Every kart has four seats, each with its own steering wheel. One element that has been confirmed is the use of AR glasses, which is likely how riders are given at least an illusion of control—they can even collect items and throw shells at other karts, just like in the game.
"Riders set off from Bowser's castle and race through different scenes including a lava level, underwater, a spooky area, Rainbow Road and more. The course uses AR, projection mapping and other tech for immersion," Mori tweeted.
The Mario Kart attraction is called Koopa’s Challenge and is located inside Bowser’s castle. The castle was really cool with themed walls, doors, banners, ceilings, lights and a giant statue of Bowser. Visitors see all this and a trophy room while lining up for the ride.— Kurumi Mori (@rumireports) November 30, 2020
The other big news is that Super Nintendo World will open on February 4, 2021. That is a bit surprising, given Japan's number of daily Covid-19 cases has reached an all-time high, though it remains much lower than most other countries. There were 2,585 cases on November 29. And of the 148,000 cases, there have been 2,057 deaths.
While Japan is a lengthy flight away, other Super Nintendo Worlds are being constructed in the US. LA's Universal Studios Hollywood will get its version between 2021 and 2022, while Mario and friends arrive at Universal Orlando Resort in 2023.