After a year of epidemic life, many people need to escape. On Thursday, thousands of people found themselves in the fantasy of Mario Brothers in Japan.
A theme park, Super Nintendo World, opened at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka, testing for months of delays and propositions that people would like to collect in large numbers, while coronoviruses to race in a Mario Kart or punch question mark block are walking.
Officials said they are taking steps to prevent the spread of infection. The capacity of the park is limited to 10,000 people. Guests have their temperature upon entry, and must wear masks, wash their hands frequently and keep distance from others.
The inauguration was the latest sign that the world is starting to creep behind closed doors of the epidemic, either as vaccinations increase and the virus is being tame, or people are simply exhausted for the common pleasures of life.
With less than 9,000 deaths, Japan has described the virus’s effects as the worst. But an inoculation campaign is barely underway, so Nintendo Park faces months of operations before the population reaches the level of herd immunity.
The park was originally scheduled to open last summer for the Tokyo Olympic Games, but the date was extended to February. (The Olympics were also postponed.) The inauguration was again delayed as cases of coronovirus intensified in the Osaka region, prompting officials to declare a state of emergency. That announcement was lifted on 1 March.
Now, Mario’s fans can make their way through the familiar green warp pipe at the park’s entrance and emerge within the realm of removing fire-extinguished piranha plants and mushrooms, as the Super Mario Bros. theme song in the background There are 8-bit songs. .
For now, only visitors are already in Japan. The country’s borders have been closed to non-residents for months.
“Once the epidemic strikes, I hope everyone around the world comes to visit us. We’re waiting for you, ”Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of the Mario franchise and a game director at Nintendo, said Thursday during the opening, donating the character’s signature red hat.
The park is inaugurated after the introduction of Harry Potter’s Wizarding World, a theme area inside Universal Studios Park in Japan, Florida and California. It is based on the premier video game franchise, one of the world’s first permanent attractions. Super Nintendo World Park is also planned in Singapore and the United States in the coming years.
Fans and gamers said that such theme parks were long over, especially given the explosion of the gaming world in recent years. Global video game sales reached over US $ 180 billion last year Film and sports industry combined. The new park also capitalizes on the success of the Nintendo Switch, a video game console released in 2017. Around 80 million The units have been sold.
Robert Cefajon, a game developer based in Japan, said, “Because it is coming straight from the imagination of Shigeru Miyamoto, it brings the atmosphere of Super Mario Bros. into the real world.”
“However, it’s a bit of escapism, and it really works,” he said, adding that the epidemic doesn’t completely disappear, with masks and hands to ensure that shared touch screens don’t present a threat. .
Inside the giant playground, visitors can explore Princess Peach’s palace and eat burgers inside a giant mushroom, which people like Toad wear. Attractions are currently Mario-centric, though Some have speculated That a closed door with a familiar design might be a clue that the site would expand to include a Donkey Kong world.
“I can’t tell what world I was in, a virtual or real one, as it is very well made,” said Mo Mo Uyura, a 31-year-old high school teacher from Hyogo Prefecture who attended the opening ceremony .
Although fans ran through the site on Thursday, others, both foreign and in Japan, expressed sadness that it might have been some time before they, too, could have survived in Mario’s world.
“I want to travel to Nintendo World after Kovid is over,” wrote One person on Twitter. “But I wonder when the day will be.”
Hisako Ueno Contributed to reporting.