If a deadly pandemic hadn’t driven the world completely off the rails this year, visitors to Universal Studios Japan would probably be enjoying Super Nintendo World by now. The Mario-based theme park expansion was scheduled to open in time for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo; COVID-19 pushed the games back to 2021, and even though Universal’s theme park in Osaka reopened in June, the launch of its big new Nintendo land has been delayed indefinitely. Meanwhile, the first of two versions planned for America is similarly up in the air, as the new Orlando theme park it was earmarked for is no longer being built.
Despite not having opened yet, and despite the secrecy of the theme park business, the internet has already helped us learn a lot about Super Nintendo World. Images of the land in action have popped up online over the last few months as Universal continues to test and tweak it, and a music video that was released in January confirmed some of the rumors about specific attractions and features coming to the land. There remains a lot of mystery around Super Nintendo World, though, and that won’t be entirely cleared up until whenever Universal officially launches it.
Until then, the internet will probably continue to dig up new info, one leak at a time. Another one of those happened last night, as video about the land and its Mario Kart ride was found on a website developer’s Vimeo page. The videos were quickly deleted, but not before some sharp-eyed citizens posted them to Twitter. Here’s what they look like.
These short clips seem to support the speculation that the Mario Kart ride will have an augmented reality element. The photos in the second video show guests in the ride vehicles holding up various Koopa shells (yes, including the infamous blue shell); meanwhile the video also reveals through text that “a number of courses full of surprises appear in front of you with the latest technology unique to the park.” That definitely sounds like something that would require some kind of AR glasses or headpiece. If these leaks are accurate, they also reveal that the ride’s name will be (or at least once was) Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge, and that, as expected, the entrance to the ride will be in Bowser’s castle. The text in the second video also notes that there will be “multiple tracks” and that the ride will feature “favorite levels and characters” from the Mario Kart games. It also indicates that the ride will last five minutes, will seat four to a vehicle, and that the minimum height for riders will be 42” with a supervisor, and 48” otherwise.
Any leak like this is dubious, of course. What it shows scans pretty closely to what rumors and supposed theme park “insiders” have mentioned for months, though. Perhaps these videos were made by a hoaxster running with those rumors. Or maybe they’re legitimate, and show that those rumors have been accurate. Either way, this simply makes us even more excited to get a true, official look at what Universal has in store for Mario and the Mushroom Kingdom.