With coronavirus infection numbers gradually declining, facilities in Japan that shut down in the early stages of the pandemic are slowly starting to reopen. For example, this month Osaka’s Universal Studios Japan began taking visitors again after being completely closed for more than three months.
That should be an exciting development not only for movie fans, but for video game ones too, right? After all, construction for Universal Studios Japan’s gigantic Super Nintendo World expansion, the first theme park area dedicated entirely to the video game pioneer’s characters and worlds, is reportedly almost complete, and the most recent Super Nintendo World preview video promised a summer 2020 opening.
Ah, watching that video now is a nostalgic trip back to the simpler, bygone era of…January of this year. Made when the coronavirus was still primarily just a mainland China health issue, the “Super Nintendo World area opens at Universal Studios Japan this summer!” promise isn’t nearly as feasible now, and so Universal Studios Japan has officially announced that it is delaying Super Nintendo World’s opening, citing potential difficulties in crowd control and implementing other social distancing rules to help lessen the risk of coronavirus transmission.
Though the preview video is obviously a stylized version of the guest experience, and the real Super Nintendo World probably won’t have guests running shoulder-to-shoulder in dozens-strong packs through obstacle courses, Super Nintendo World still figures to be a massively popular part of the park when it opens. Having to limit entrance into the part of the park that pretty much every visitor most wants to see would be a huge challenge, and even if it could be sorted out, a bunch of people saying “I came to see Super Nintendo World, but really I spent almost the whole day just waiting to get in” isn’t the sort of early-visitor buzz USJ would want.