Only A Privileged Few Can Play This Mario Game

Super Nintendo World just celebrated its grand opening day in Osaka, Japan. The theme park is a bright and colorful tribute to all things Nintendo, and while its U.S. locations might not be opening for a while, there are plenty of reasons for fans to be excited for when that day comes. Chief among these reasons is the ability to race in a round of real-life Mario Kart, courtesy of a cutting edge augmented reality ride. 


A press conference regarding the opening of the new park shed some light on the design process behind the Mario Kart ride — and revealed a specific version of the classic game that only a select few can access.

As it turns out, the creative process behind building the new theme park involved a good amount of playing games. As reported by IGN, Universal global executive producer Tom Geraghty explained at the press conference that the team working on the park actually had a virtual simulation of the entire place that they could take with them.

Geraghty said, "We used the technology, also, in the design process. We built the entire land in VR and the design team could look around at a place and get sightlines and figure out where to move elements."


This technology naturally extended to the creation of the rides at the park, including Mario Kart. Because the Mario Kart ride is intended to simulate the experience of being in one of the wacky vehicles from the games, it was important to the team to get the feeling just right. To that end, Geraghty revealed that the higher-ups at Universal essentially got to play a Mario Kart track designed specifically for them.

"Mario Kart was built in a game engine," Geraghty said, "so while [senior vice president Thierry Coup] was back in the States he could actually drive Mario Kart in a game engine, and give us notes in Japan."

That's right; Universal Creative execs essentially get to play through Super Nintendo World's revolutionary new ride at any time, right from the comfort of their home or office. Not only could this help the team to avoid any embarrassing design mistakes, but it makes them the envy of anyone who hasn't been able to visit the new park yet.

Geraghty explained that this tech will continue to be used in the park's future developments. Due to the game's nature as a hybrid simulation/track ride, the designers will be able to swap out various bits of the scenery and obstacles on the ride's screens. Geraghty said, "Because it's in a game engine, we can keep updating, upgrading ... So if there's a special event, anything we want to release can be done overnight if we really wanted to... Every time you come back you could experience something new and exciting."