Business / Corporate

Nintendo plans life-size video game at Universal Studios Japan

Bloomberg

Nintendo Co. fans will soon be able to enjoy a life-size video game experience in a new attraction at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka.

Super Nintendo World is slated to open this summer, featuring a wearable Power Up Band that lets visitors collect coins and battle bosses while exploring a physical environment. Users will track their progress via a smartphone app, according to the theme park operator, which is owned by NBCUniversal LLC.

“Super Nintendo World will provide an experience you cannot have anywhere else,” USJ Chief Executive Officer J.L. Bonnier said Tuesday at a briefing in Osaka.

He wouldn’t divulge further details about rides or other digital offerings, or when they would be available.

Little is known about the attraction, which is expected to amount to a mini theme park developed with “Super Mario” creator Shigeru Miyamoto.

Universal Studios hinted that it will follow classic Nintendo game themes, revolving around a mission to recover a golden mushroom stolen by Bowser Jr. — a perennial Mario antagonist.

The attraction will also house familiar game locations including the Mushroom Kingdom, Mario Kart, Peach’s Castle and Bowser’s Fortress. Super Nintendo World will also make it to the operator’s parks in Hollywood, Orlando and Singapore, though no dates were available.

Nintendo’s late president, Satoru Iwata, first announced plans for a theme park in May 2015 as part of a broader opening up of the company’s iconic characters for use beyond its own devices.

At the time, the move prompted speculation that the Kyoto-based game maker might follow Walt Disney Co.’s strategy when it comes to maximizing the value of intellectual property. Since then, Nintendo has launched a number of smartphone games, including a free-to-play version of the “Mario Kart” franchise, but making hit titles exclusive to its own hardware remains the firm’s core business.

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