The Mario Kart ride at Super Nintendo World was built in a game engine, can be easily updated at any time


One of the exciting attractions at Universal Studio Japan’s Super Nintendo World is Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge ride. Blending VR technology with a rollercoaster, Koopa’s Challenge is bound to be one of the first attractions you’ll want to check out and it could well change depending on the time of year you visit.

And now, thanks to a recent press conference where Universal Creative executives were asked how tech was used in the park, it’s been revealed that the Mario Kart ride was built using a game engine. As well as VR being used on the attraction, the technology was also implemented to give the team access to the park digitally and from afar. Global executive producer Tom Geraghty explained “We used the technology, also, in the design process. We built the entire land in VR and the design team could look around at a place and get sightlines and figure out where to move elements.

“Mario Kart was built in a game engine, so while [senior vice president Thierry Coup] was back in the States he could actually drive Mario Kart in a game engine, and give us notes in Japan.”

The senior VP shared some exciting prospects about how the ride could be modified at short notice, too. This could well be used for real-time events or themes in the future: “Because it’s in a game engine, we can keep updating, upgrading, putting new characters [in], changing themes, changing actions on the fly. So if there’s a special event, anything we want to release can be done overnight if we really wanted to. That makes it so much more flexible – it freshens up the experience. Every time you come back you could experience something new and exciting.”


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