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Your Move: Spend A Little Time In The Mushroom Kingdom

Twitter / Universal Studios Japan Official

One of these days, we’ll all be able to feel comfortable going to places like theme parks again. While today is not that day, it seems like it’ll be soon. And for when that is the case, Nintendo has been working on something special at Universal Studios.

Super Nintendo World is a whole area of the park built up to look like it came straight out of a Super Mario or Mario Kart game. You enter the park through one of Mario’s famous warp pipes, and end up in Princess Peach’s castle, from which you can explore the whole Mushroom Kingdom.

The main attraction, called Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge is a fast ride as if you were inside a Mario Kart game. Each rider gets special augmented reality glasses that project elements of Mario Kart gameplay while you’re on the ride - so you can throw virtual green shells at other racers. The track starts in Bowser’s Castle, but traverses many other locales familiar to those who have played the game before, including an underwater area and Rainbow Road.

The other ride currently open, Yoshi’s Adventure, is a relaxed tour of Super Nintendo World atop the back of Mario’s dinosaur friend, Yoshi. There will also soon be a roller coaster based on Donkey Kong Country and that game’s minecart levels.

Of course, in classic Mario fashion, there are question mark blocks and hidden treasures all over the park. And, with a wristband you can get and link to an app on your phone, each one of these you find and trigger will gain your points and stamps. Points you get contribute to a high-score leaderboard.

The park is already open in Osaka, Japan, and versions of these attractions are already under construction in Los Angeles and Orlando, though there have been delays due to COVID-19. I’m looking forward to a time when we all can go and spend a little time in the Mushroom Kingdom.

Samuel McConnell is a games enthusiast who has been playing games in one form or another since 1991. He was born in northern Maine but quickly transplanted to Wichita.