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SYFY WIRE Super Nintendo World

8 things to know before riding Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge at Super Nintendo World

How to maximize your Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge ride at Universal Studios Hollywood.

By Tara Bennett
Mariokart Entrance

Super Nintendo World is finally open at Universal Studios Hollywood! And that means for the generations of Mario Kart players — going back to 1992's Super Mario Kart — they will finally get the chance to live the game through the groundbreaking augmented reality ride, Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge.

The premium ride experience inside the all-new land puts riders behind the wheel of a go-kart racer as Mario. Racing alongside other iconic racers like Luigi, Princess Peach and Yoshi, the whole goal is to gain more points in the end than Team Bowser to win the Golden Cup, and the serious bragging rights that go along with it.

RELATED: 'Let's a-go!': Super Nintendo World holds launch event at Universal Studios Hollywood

Right at the entrance to the ride queue, guests are led into an immersive experience starting with Yoshi's black light domain, where he and his eggs are hanging out to welcome everyone. And then it's on to Bowser's Castle which is stuffed full of Mario Kart and Super Nintendo Easter eggs for gamers and fans of the world.

It all culminates in a wild ride that will have you drifting and shooting Koopa shells at Goombas, Ghosts, and Bowser's minions. First timers are going to be overwhelmed by how much there is to see and experience, so SYFY WIRE has taken our trips through the ride and compiled some fun Easter eggs to look out for in the queue, as well as some tips to try during your rides for maximum point gathering.

Yoshi's Tree

Super Nintendo World

In the early portion of the ride queue, coming out of Yoshi's black light forest, guests enter a pastel staircase where there's a tree and a ledge in the corner. If you are lucky Yoshi will appear in the screens tucked into the tree and then travel to the screens on either side of the wall. 

Bowser's Statue Means You're in the Inner Sanctum

Mario Kart Bowser’s Challenge at Universal Studios Hollywood

The Mario Kart queue is a long and winding one that takes you through several themed sections and two floors before you even get to Bowser's Castle. For those wondering where they are in their progress in getting closer to the ride, the huge Bowser Statue signifies the official entrance to Bowser's inner sanctum. All of the theming skews over to the big guy with a bad attitude as you wind through his lab dedicated to creating dangerous roadblocks and hazards for Team Mario.

Proof of Bowser's Big Crush

Super Nintendo World

As you walk thought Bowser's workshop, you'll see stacks of books and bookcases full of tomes meant to aid Bowser's research into figuring out how to foil Mario and his buddies. But he's also got a throne for when he wants to rest a bit. If you look closely, tucked into the corner of his seat is a delicate picture of his crush, Princess Peach. As they say, love makes you do crazy things.

Follow the Directions

Mario Kart Bowser’s Challenge at Universal Studios Hollywood

Once you make it out of Bowser's bomb factory, you'll be ushered into the MKTV Studio where the monitors will explain to riders how to participate in the game. Everyone is given a tech version of Mario's hat which will serve as the mount for the AR goggles that you can magnetically snap into place once you are seated in the kart. But this room gives you non-verbal instructions on how to steer the kart based on arrow prompts in the game, and how to simultaneously gain points by virtually shooting Koopa shells at your enemies. A key tip: You turn the steering wheel with your hands, but you have to move your head to look at any target in the game to shoot at it. So, look up high and side to side to discover some hidden targets along the route.

Know Your Enemies

Mario Kart Bowser’s Challenge at Universal Studios Hollywood

Some players heading into the ride are are going to be experts on all things Mario Kart and the Super Nintendo characters. But if you're new to the world, there's help for you! As you walk down the stairs after getting your Mario head mount, look at the wall to see all the characters you should be aiming for when you're inside the game. They're laid out for you for a quick study, so when you see any characters from this rogue's gallery while in your kart... SHOOT!

Party of...?

Mario Kart Bowser’s Challenge at Universal Studios Hollywood

At the base of the stairs, it's finally time to get assigned to an individual kart. Every kart holds four players, two in the front and two in the back. Once you get to the attendant, this is where you want to provide the total number of people in your party so they can place as many of you together as possible. 

RELATED: Universal Orlando is leveling up with a Super Nintendo World of its own!

Power-Up Band Synchronize!

Mario Kart Bowser’s Challenge at Universal Studios Hollywood

As soon as you've been seated, snap the AR screen into your head mount and then you are ready to synch up your personal Power-Up band (if you have one) to your game play. Once you touch the band to the center of the wheel, see the rainbow color go to a solid color, then you are synched. You don't have to think about it again until the end of the ride. Your AR screen will keep track of every point you earn. At the end of the game, if all four riders in your kart scored well, there's a better chance that you can beat Team Bowser. But if your kart doesn't score well, Team Mario will likely lose to the big meanie. However, at the end of every ride, one of the four players will win the best in kart. And if anyone in the kart gets more than 100 points, they earn the Golden Cup. All of these wins are tallied as special earned stamps inside the Super Nintendo World section of the Universal Studios app. If you have it downloaded and synched to your Power-Up band, you'll find a bunch of new stamps awarded to you in the App after every ride.

Practice Makes Perfect

Mario Kart Bowser’s Challenge at Universal Studios Hollywood

Right at the start of Mario Kart: Bower's Challenge, you will get a visual refresher about how to play the game. This is a mini training session, so as you see karts race along the walls, start shooting! This is your chance to try moving your head to look at your targets and shoot and steer at the same time. Take advantage of the practice time to get in some experience before you get put on the starting line with all the other kart riders and every shell shot counts! Consider it a warm up session before GO time!

Super Nintendo World Hollywood is now open, and don't worry, the super experience is coming soon to Orlando too!

If all this is getting you super pumped for The Super Mario Bros. Movie, worry not, it's just a few months away from debuting in theaters on April 7. The animated film will be a Peacock exclusive when it comes to streaming.