ENTERTAINMENT

Super Nintendo World Opens In Osaka, Japan

Mar 19, 2021, 11:20 PM

(CNN) — Children and adults alike waited in line for their turn to experience the world’s first Super Nintendo World and its life-sized Mushroom Kingdom, which opened Thursday at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka.

Many wore the iconic red Mario hat, while others were decked head-to-toe in Nintendo memorabilia.

Minutes after the attendees were let in, lines formed to get pictures with Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach and Toad.

Sisters Mika and Yuko Kobayashi — one wearing a Yoshi headband while carrying a Mario doll — said they became emotional when they first walked into the new park. They’ve been playing Nintendo Games since they were kids, they said. One added that “it’s not an exaggeration to say that Mario raised me.”

Sporting a Princess Peach headband, Sakura Konohana said the park “is beyond my expectations. I feel like I’m in the Mario world.”

While attendees are allowed to interact with the characters — who speak in their video game-sounding voices — they can’t touch them due to coronavirus protocols. So, for now, there’s no high-fiving or hugging. In comparison, Disney parks currently are not allowing character photos amid the pandemic.

Covid-19 restrictions at Universal Studios Japan include temperature checks at the entrance, mandatory mask-wearing, hand sanitizer everywhere, social distancing in line, and signs in front of roller coasters asking riders to refrain from screaming.

This last request isn’t limited to Super Nintendo World. A group of Japanese theme parks asked visitors to “scream in their hearts” instead of out loud last summer in a story that went viral.

Capacity is limited to 10,000 people per day, or about half of pre-COVID visitors, according to park officials.

Noriko Yoshinaka took the first train from Kyoto Thursday morning in order to be at the park on opening day.

“I’m scared when I take off my mask to eat food,” Yoshinaka said. “But the park seems to take safety protocols, cleaning the rides and wiping surfaces every time people touch them, so I feel safe.”

Many fans said they are most excited about Koopa’s Challenge: a real-life Mario Kart race through Bowser’s Castle. Riders have to wear augmented-reality headsets to see the projections of other characters and the track as well as to collect coins and to throw items.

In addition to conventional rides, the entire Super Nintendo World is an immersive game in which guests can compete against other gamers in the park.

Just in like in the video game, visitors can jump up and punch “question blocks” and collect virtual coins. Guests can also purchase Power-up Bands, a wristband that can be linked to a smartphone app, where they can store these virtual coins and keys.

Super Nintendo World cost about half a billion dollars to construct and more than six years to develop. The gaming industry — and Nintendo especially — got a big boost during the pandemic, as people in lockdown increasing turned to Nintendo games for escapism.

For Nintendo, this is an important step beyond its core business of video games and consoles. The company is cashing in on its trove of intellectual property and iconic characters, with Nintendo items in gift shops across the theme park.

“They are in a decades-long strategy of going from being a video game company to an entertainment company” by expanding into mobile games, movies, theme parks and merchandise, said David Gibson, analyst at Tokyo-based Astris Advisory.

This opening comes as the global theme park industry is struggling. Theme parks are re-opening in a patchwork around the world. There are plans to open Super Nintendo Worlds in California, Singapore and Florida. In Orlando, the opening has reportedly been delayed until 2025.

Last year, Comcast executive Stephen Burke said Nintendo “is one of the biggest potential drivers of attendance that you could have of any kind of IP. It’s up there with Harry Potter.”

Super Nintendo World was originally set to open last summer ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games. Both have been pushed back by about a year and along with the Olympics, Super Nintendo World was expected to attract an influx of tourists and boost economic activity.

Japan’s borders are still closed, so international travelers can’t come to the park yet. Osaka’s state of emergency was only lifted earlier this month, and Tokyo is still under the declaration.

At the opening ceremony, Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto said he hopes the whole world can visit the park when the pandemic is over.


The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Entertainment

R&B singer R. Kelly (L) arrives at the Cook County courthouse where jury selection is scheduled to ...
Claire Savage and Michael Tarm, Associated Press

Chicago prosecutor dropping R. Kelly sex-abuse charges

A Chicago prosecutor said Monday that she's dropping sex-abuse charges against singer R. Kelly following federal convictions in two courts that should guarantee the disgraced R&B star will be locked up for decades.
1 day ago
Amy Robach and TJ Holmes attend the 2022 ABC Disney Upfront at Basketball City - Pier 36 - South St...
Associated Press

TV anchors T.J. Holmes, Amy Robach leave ABC amid romance

T.J. Holmes and Amy Robach, anchors at the afternoon extension of ABC’s “Good Morning America,” are leaving the network.
1 day ago
Lisa Loring...
Toyin Owoseje and Amanda Watts, CNN

Lisa Loring, original Wednesday Addams actress, dead at 64

Lisa Loring, best known as the first actress to play Wednesday Addams in the original "The Addams Family" sitcom, has died at the age of 64.
1 day ago
Motown singer and songwriter Barrett Strong, here in 2004, has died. (Louis Lanzano/AP)...
Marianne Garvey and Amanda Watts

Barrett Strong, Motown singer and songwriter, dead at 81

Barrett Strong, one of Motown’s founding artists and most gifted songwriters who sang lead on the company’s breakthrough single “Money (That’s What I Want)” and later collaborated on such classics as “I Heard It Through the Grapevine" and “War,” has died.
1 day ago
Annie Wersching, seen here in 2019, has passed away. (Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)...
Chuck Johnston and Alli Rosenbloom

Annie Wersching, ’24’ actress, passes away at 45

Actress Annie Wersching passed away of cancer early Sunday morning, her publicist, Craig Schneider told CNN. Wersching was 45 years old.
2 days ago
Holding on to their secret and each other, mother and son set out to reclaim their sense of home, i...
LINDSEY BAHR AP Film Writer

‘A Thousand and One’ wins Sundance grand jury prize

"A Thousand and One," a drama about an impoverished single mother and her son in New York City, won the Sundance Film Festival's grand jury prize in the U.S. dramatic competition, while "Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project" was awarded the top prize in the U.S. documentary category.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t Let a Ransomware Attack Get You Down | Protect Your Workplace Today with Cyber Insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Super Nintendo World Opens In Osaka, Japan