A Nintendo-Themed World Will Open in Universal Studios Japan in 2020
It will feature popular and well-loved Nintendo characters.
Last October 29, Shigeru Miyamoto, one of the representative directors of Nintendo, was chosen for the Person of Cultural Merit award. This is the first time the award was given to someone from the gaming industry.
The works of Miyamoto has made Japan’s game culture known to the world. One of his most famous works, Mario Bros., continues to be a symbol of the ever-growing gaming culture. It even made an appearance in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics closing ceremony and will soon be adapted into an animated film in the United States. A Nintendo-themed area called SUPER NINTENDO WORLD will also be opening at Universal Studios Japan (USJ) before the start of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. It will feature attractions such as Mario Kart.
SUPER NINTENDO WORLD to be opened in USJ
(R) ＆ (C) Universal Studios ＆ Amblin Entertainment (C) ＆ (R) Universal Studios. All rights reserved. Nintendo properties are trademarks and copyrights of Nintendo. (C) 2016 Nintendo.
Mario continues to be a prominent figure in game culture, the First Cultural Merit award for the gaming industry
Shigeru Miyamoto is one of the leading figures responsible for expanding Nintendo into a global company. He is also the creator of different game series like Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong, and Legend of Zelda.
The Person of Cultural Merit award is an official Japanese recognition given to someone who made a remarkable achievement in cultural improvement and development. With Miyamoto being the first-ever recipient from the gaming industry, It can be said that gaming is now being acknowledged as the face of Japanese culture in general.
Mario, the character Miyamoto designed, continues to be a symbol of Japan’s game culture and Nintendo itself. First introduced in 1981 in the arcade game Donkey Kong, the Super Mario Bros. (Family Computer) sold more than 40 million copies worldwide in 1985, which caused the unprecedented Famicom boom. Even now, Mario’s popularity is still going strong with the newest installation of the Super Mario series, Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo Switch), proving to be a big hit after selling a total of 15.38 million copies all over the world. In recent years, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Nintendo Switch) which was released in 2017, sold 19.01 million copies worldwide. Then Super Mario Maker 2, released last June 28 this year, sold 880,000 copies in Japan and 3.05 million copies internationally within three months.
Aside from the game releases, a Mario-related event still fresh in our memories is when Prime Minister Abe dressed up as the character and made a memorable entrance via a clay pipe in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics closing ceremony. This performance proved that among all the different characters and games Nintendo has developed, Mario is the most well-known and well-loved star not only in Japan but around the world.
Major Mario content for 2020 includes film adaptation in the U.S. and attractions in the USJ Nintendo area
The year 2020 has a lot of big plans for Mario. In the U.S., a Super Mario animated film is in-progress under Illumination Entertainment. Additionally, a Nintendo-themed area called SUPER NINTENDO WORLD is in the construction stage at USJ to be followed by the other three Universal Studios theme parks around the world.
Groundbreaking ceremony for the more than ¥60 billion project SUPER NINTENDO WORLD.
Nintendo properties are trademarks and copyrights of Nintendo. (C) 2017 Nintendo. (C) ＆ (R) Universal Studios. All rights reserved.
SUPER NINTENDO WORLD is a huge area with a multi-level structure that recreates the themes of famous Nintendo games and characters. You can find various attractions, shops, and restaurants here too. In the photo, guests can be seen immersed in the world of Mario.
The centerpiece attraction, Mario Kart, is predicted “to take theme park enjoyment to entirely new levels with the creativity of entertainment giant Universal Studios and state-of-the-art technology.” Among the Mario games, the Mario Kart series is one of the most popular. It’s not surprising that every small detail announced regarding the ride is drawing attention to the project.
More than ¥60 billion Nintendo area surpasses USJ’s majestic Harry Potter budget
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey full version.
HARRY POTTER, characters, names, and related indicia are trademarks of and (C) Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights (C) JKR.(s18)
USJ had a breakthrough as a global theme park when it instantly gathered a huge crowd after the Harry Potter series themed area, Wizarding World of Harry Potter, was created. Bringing the world of the film franchise to real life down to the smallest details, including the facade, attractions, shows, food, and goods, cost ¥45 billion. When it opened in 2014, the number of foreign guests reached 1 million, the most in the history of the theme park at the time. In 2017, it doubled in number, maintaining its popularity not only in Japan but also among foreign visitors.
SUPER NINTENDO WORLD, however, has a budget of ¥60 billion, exceeding the scale of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Considering the quality of the Harry Potter area, the contents of the Nintendo area can be expected to be just as realistic and well-designed, if not more. Furthermore, USJ started Universal Cool Japan, a special event centering on Japan’s pop culture, in 2015 and has been successful so far as it incorporated trending pop culture attractions every year.
As USJ constantly proves itself for having the know-how and being familiar with the demands in bringing a fantasy world into reality, a quality production and performance that will give justice to the budget and the contents of the Nintendo brand can be expected in this new Nintendo area.
Mario becomes a big trend in the upcoming Olympics
Back in 2016, it was announced that the Nintendo area will be constructed in Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort in the U.S., aside from USJ. However, in April this year, it was made public that Universal Studios Singapore will also have their own. With this much interest growing for the Nintendo area long before it opens, USJ being the first park is expected to draw a great deal of attention.
2020 is bustling with excitement for Japan with the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics and the opening of the Nintendo area in USJ before that. Many tourists from different parts of the world will definitely want to visit the theme park while they’re in the country for the sports event.
Apart from these attractions, there are other ways to enjoy Nintendo-related products. Kansai International Airport and Narita International Airport, which serves as Japan’s gateway to foreigners, has opened the Nintendo Check In, in which you can try Nintendo games. Last November 22, Nintendo TOKYO, the official Nintendo store opened in Shibuya PARCO.
According to Kansai University Emeritus Professor Katsuhiro Miyamoto, within 10 years after the opening of SUPER NINTENDO WORLD, USJ will have an economic effect of around ¥6.2 trillion in the Kinki area and ¥11.7 trillion in Japan, that will create jobs for 1.08 million people. While Nintendo’s popularity increases in different ways, the new area in USJ is the biggest contender in capturing the essence of the entertainment giant. Bringing out the appeal of Japan’s game culture will make not only USJ but also Mario and the Nintendo brand as the hottest topic of 2020, boosting both economic and cultural impact.
Provided by Japan Walker™, Walkerplus™, and Tokyo Walker™ (6 November 2019)