In California, “Super Mario” breaks the platform with a new amusement park

Fans of “Super Mario” will be able to attack a new castle: the first American amusement park dedicated to Nintendo’s mascot will open in Los Angeles in February, a few weeks before the release of a Hollywood film on the mustachioed plumber.

Largely modeled on its cousin of Osaka in Japan, opened in 2021, this life-size animation will be established within the Universal Studios Hollywood park.

Mushrooms to knock out, piranha plants hidden in the pipes, bricks filled with pennies… The attraction, called “Super Nintendo World”, faithfully reproduces the world of the game, almost 40 years after the advent of the little platform-hopping plumber in platform.

Released in 1985, “Super Mario Bros” remains to this day one of the best-selling video games in the world. These 2D adventures paved the way for a myriad of sequels, which propelled the character of Shigeru Miyamoto to global pop culture icon status.

More accustomed to offering attractions inspired by film franchises, such as “Harry Potter” or “Fast and Furious”, Universal has collaborated with Nintendo to offer an immersive experience.

In particular, visitors can board a carousel dedicated to the racing game “Mario Kart”, equipped with augmented reality glasses, for a trip to the castle of the famous villain “Bowser”.

In this very real setting, they can fire virtual shells from their nacelle at enemies that they see displayed on their visor.

– ‘Ultimate playground’ –

Other games allow the public to put on interactive bracelets, which identify movements and reproduce them on screens.

Everyone can thus accumulate coins or stamps, with the hope of qualifying for a confrontation with the final boss.

The attraction attempts to recreate an “ultimate playground,” according to Universal Creative vice president Jon Corfino.

“We combined video effects, projections, LED screens, real magical and immersive sets, special effects, physical effects, augmented reality,” he explains. “It’s still the same challenges as on a console, but this time in real life”.

On site, fans are already beginning to flock, as the attraction is admitting a few visitors to ensure a “smooth opening” and sort out any final technical issues.

“Being here is like reproducing my childhood in real life,” the very first visitor to the park, Carlos Moctezuma, told AFP, wearing a costume of his favorite plumber.

“It’s a dream come true,” added his girlfriend, Lexsi Houseman, dressed as Luigi — the hero’s brother. “I’ve known Mario since I was in CE1. It was one of my first games on the Game Boy”.

– Movie to come –

The official launch of “Super Nintendo World” is scheduled to take place on February 17. Mario mascots Luigi and Peach, the game’s distressed princess, will all be on hand to greet visitors.

After Osaka and Los Angeles, Nintendo also plans to open a third amusement park in Orlando, Florida.

Universal Pictures, the movie studio whose parent company controls the Hollywood amusement park, will release “Super Mario Bros. The Movie” in April.

This animated feature film, which plays the nostalgia card to the fullest, displays a real luxury cast for the dubbing.

Universal has notably hired Chris Pratt, the star of “Guardians of the Galaxy”, to lend his voice to the paunchy plumber. But his interpretation of Mario, seen in the trailer, disappointed many fans and caused a lively controversy on social networks.

This will be the second time Hollywood has brought Nintendo’s mascot to the screen. The first attempt, “Super Mario Bros”, dates back to 1993 and has largely gone down in history as an absolute dick.

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