Universal Studios Japan's Super Nintendo World Sticks Out

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Super Nintendo World won’t open at Universal Studios Japan until next spring. But recent snapshots show how construction is coming along. It looks like this area of the theme park will be impressive and noticeable.

Twitter user L.C.A. Studios has been documenting progress. It’s possible to see the Super Mario flagpole from different parts of the park, including Waterworld.

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It’s kind of distracting for that stage show! Peach’s Castle seems like it could also be visible from the stands.

The new Mario-themed park will be located behind the Jaws attraction and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in what used to be a parking area.

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See how it looms over Jaws?

It also looks like Super Nintendo World might be visible from Hogwarts, which might ruin the ambiance.

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There appears to be an olive green barrier, but I’m not sure that it will be enough to separate the two worlds visually.

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I also wonder how the Super Nintendo World will be blocked from Waterworld. Will a big wall be built behind the stunt show?

It’s cool that the Mario Land is a proper, full-on theme area. But as amusement parks go, it highlights one of Universal Japan’s great weaknesses.

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Many years ago, I hung out with Boing Boing’s Cory Doctorow at Walt Disney World. He made an excellent point about Disney theme parks: In each area, you cannot see other parts of the park. This increases the feeling of immersion for parkgoers.

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I had never thought about this—which is probably the point. But after he said that, I noticed how Universal Studios Japan struggles with immersion. Throughout USJ, different areas are often clearly visible as are buildings outside the park.

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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has been the most immersive area at USJ until now, at least. That is, unless the park doesn’t somehow create a visible barrier between Hogwarts and Mario’s flagpole.

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About the author

Brian Ashcraft

Originally from Texas, Ashcraft has called Osaka home since 2001. He has authored five books, including most recently, Japanese Whisky: The Ultimate Guide to the World's Most Desirable Spirit.