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Arts and Entertainment

Mario And The Nintendo Gang Are Coming To Universal Studios

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Six Flags has Bugs Bunny. Knott's Berry Farm has Snoopy. And Disneyland has Mickey Mouse Yoda.

Now, Universal Studios will be adding Mario to its arsenal, which includes Harry Potter and, um, Norman Bates. Nintendo announced Tuesday that it will be delivering its brand to three Universal Studios theme parks in Universal City, Orlando, and Osaka (Universal also has a Singapore location, but it was not mentioned in the press release).

Thus far, the details are frustratingly scant, but Nintendo promises that "Nintendo-themed areas" will be "expansive, immersive and interactive" and that there'll be "authentic environments filled with multiple attractions, shops and restaurants." Planning and design is "well underway" and the attractions are expected to be rolled out "separately over the next several years."

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In a promo spot released by Nintendo (the above video), Mario-creator Shigeru Miyamoto said that the company has been "constantly amazed how the park developers are bringing the essence of our games to life in the real world. Together, we are building it with an eye for what guests will actually experience." Taking all these statements into account, and the fact that virtual reality is enjoying a boon at the moment, it wouldn't be far-fetched to hypothesize that the attractions may have a heavily digital element. Possibly related: media giant Comcast had dropped $1.5 billion in 2015 to own a majority stake in Universal Studios Japan, the operating company of the Osaka location. We're keeping our fingers crossed, however, for some good ol' analog fun with Mario.

As noted at Endgadget, Japanese media reports that the Osaka location will have a $350 million section that will be devoted to Mario, and it's been suggested that the attraction is slated to open in time for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan. A strategic move? Perhaps.

Anyway, here's hoping the new areas will be something like this:

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