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Super Nintendo World’s Masterplan for a Real-Life Mario Video Game

Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:37 PM
Max Moeller
Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:37 PM
  • Universal will implement “Power Up Bands” to enhance the Super Nintendo World park experience.
  • These bands allow players to level up, collect coins, and track their progress.
  • This idea represents the most realistic Mario experience yet.

In what will be the closest thing to a real-life Super Mario experience, Universal Studios’ Super Nintendo World theme park will allow guests to “level up” via mini-games and other interactions within the park. Essentially, they’re making the entire park experience into a video game.

They’re doing so via Power Up Bands – an accessory for visitors to interact with the alternate world Universal is building. While we’ve known about the Power Up Band for , a new video from the ParkStop YouTube Channel dives into its underlying technology.

Super Nintendo World is a Real-Life Video Game

While entirely optional, the Power Up Band’s experimental features represent just how far gaming has come. Alongside mini-games, Universal is exploring a concept they call “Interactive Gaming.”

Essentially, Interactive Gaming involves players exploring the park and punching Mario’s question mark blocks, solving puzzles, and collecting coins. A mobile companion app tracks everything, and over multiple visits as well. This is a video game to keep coming back to.

Super Nintendo World Mario
Pick between one of six characters to represent you. | Source: YouTube 

Also, players can team up with others to tackle different challenges, or may even compete with one another for a high score. Then, when they collect enough keys from various events, players can fight a boss together. Imagine fighting Bowser in real life with your best friends!

Power Up Bands and the “Player”

Examining the relevant patents, ParkStop notes that the space will be packed with RFID sensors. These ensure players can be virtually tracked as they finish activities. Also, they prevent cheating. You actually have to punch the block to get a reward, but why wouldn’t you want to?

Interestingly, these sensors can also pick up objects like buttons and wheels. Since multiplayer is a thing, we may see classic scenarios like two players turning a wheel at once, or a friend goes down one path to hit a button while another travels through the newly-opened door.


Power Up Bands can also track certain powerups, like a fireball or a supersize mushroom. These would alter a player’s movement within the game. An excerpt from the patent  reads:

“The movements of a virtual representation of a player may be temporarily or permanently exaggerated (e.g., able to jump higher, able to jump farther) relative to the actual movements of the player based on properties associated with the player.”

Mario, but for Real This Time

The patent details a ton of other ideas and possible implementations, but I’m most excited to finally play as Mario in real life. There’s something thrilling about the idea of running through a potential Mario stage, punching blocks, and fighting enemies with his power-ups. It’s a childhood dream coming true.

These features may seem trivial to some, but Pokemon Go was and still is a massive hit. That game explores a much more mundane version of this technology. The Power Up Bands are way more experimental than anything Nintendo has been doing with the Switch, lately either.

Super Nintendo World doesn’t launch in Japan until this Summer, with a Hollywood version next year. Hopefully, all of the kinks will be worked out by then. That way, we can enjoy a bug-free version of Mario in real life.