After nigh-on a decade of being utterly spoiled as sport fans, the thought of a Usain Bolt-less, Michael Phelps-less Olympics is enough to take the wind out of the sails of any passionate Olympic fan.
Now of course, there are quite literally hundreds of events in next year's games to provide literal hours of entertainment. But outside of the Olympic village, Tokyo 2020 is shaping up to be perhaps the most entertaining ever. Why? Because all across the country, Japan is opening up its culture for an entire world of new visitors to experience. Take, for instance, the new supreme bullet train that it'll be launching to carry travellers around, or the Esports tournament set to be held by Intel and the IOC in the lead-up to the games.
Now though, one of Japan's greatest cultural staples – Nintendo – are also set to add to the fun, announcing that they're going to be opening up the first Super Nintendo World theme park in time for Tokyo 2020.
The park is a project of the Universal Parks group – who we're sure you know are also responsible for Universal Studios – and will be largely modeled on the Toadstool-lined world of Super Mario, who is of course Nintendo's main poster boy. It'll lie within Osaka's Universal Studios Japan theme park, and feature new rides themed around some of Mario's most iconic games and levels. We currently know that the Phase One launch of the park will feature a Mario Kart-themed ride and another based on Yoshi.
A gaming element to exploring the theme park will also be introduced. According to Eurogamer, who quoted chairman and CEO of Universal Parks & Resorts Tom Williams, guests will be given special magnetic wristbands that can be used to interact with rides and games around the environment to rack up 'scores'.
“You will be able to go up and keep score and play with the various games and that also translates to a score-keeping capability, if you choose to do so within the rides and it actually interfaces back with your game console,” explained Williams.
Super Nintendo World expansions are also planned for the Univeral Studios parks in Singapore, Hollywood, and Orlando. Williams was unable to confirm timings on it, but clarified "we are bringing it. You can count on it.”