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Rainbow Road, here we come! Universal Studios Hollywood put the pedal to the metal this week with a first high-octane look at its "groundbreaking" and "multi-sensory" Mario Kart-inspired ride for the U.S. iteration of Super Nintendo World (opening at the Los Angeles location in early 2023).
"It seamlessly fuses augmented reality with projection mapping technology and actual set pieces along a moving ride track to debut a ride that’s unparalleled anywhere within the theme park industry," reads the release for the attraction — officially dubbed Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge — which is being touted as "one of the most complex rides ever built within the entertainment industry" that allows for a variety of different outcomes.
Riders buckle up in a classic Mario Kart vehicle and a don a pair of head-mounted AR goggles. There's the classic 3-2-1 GO! countdown from the Lakitu and then guests are literally off to the races, barreling through various locations in an effort to nab the Golden Cup and collect coins to defeat Team Bowser and win. Whether banana peels, blue shells, lightning strikes, and other sabotage-related items are part of the overall experience remains to be seen. But, c'mon, what's Mario Kart without a banana peel or two?
Check out a little teaser below:
The Mario Kart franchise, which goes back 30 years to the days of the SNES, now comprises eight different titles across a slew of different platforms (a ninth installment is expected to be announced in the near future). While it did not give birth to the kart racing genre, the series did bring the concept into the mainstream, inspiring other video game developers to tap into their own libraries of iconic characters and have them go head-to-head on a number of different racing tracks.
"When people play this game, they have a big smile on their face," Super Mario creator and Mario Kart producer Shigeru Miyamoto said during an interview in 1992. "That was a big goal for us: a game where both players and onlookers would be laughing and smiling."
He later added: "In a 2-player race, it’s the competition itself that is fun — overtaking your opponent with skillful cornerning, for instance. That’s why, when we were making Super Mario Kart, we were very careful not to lead ourselves astray in understanding what makes the game fun. We focused our efforts on the 1-player experience: if that was fun, then 2 players would automatically be fun, too."
Universal Studios Orlando plans to boot up its own Nintendo outpost in 2025. The world's first version of the park debuted at Universal Studios Japan last year. An animated film inspired by the colorful inhabitants of the Mushroom Kingdom will hit the big screen next spring via Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment. Current attendees of Universal Studios Hollywood can pick up Super Nintendo World swag at the Feature Presentation gift shop.