First glimpse of theme park’s Nintendo World expansion looks as awesome as we’d hoped.

Universal Studios Japan is currently in the process of developing an addition to the popular Osaka theme park based on the characters and settings from video game giant Nintendo. Obviously, the Kyoto-based company’s most famous character, Super Mario, is going to be part of the project, but in what exact capacity isn’t yet clear.

Rumors have been floating around of a Mario Kart-themed attraction, and while that sounds pretty neat, I think we all know what fans really want: the opportunity to run and jump their way through a Super Mario level. Thankfully, these photos suggest there’s a chance that USJ (as locals call the park) is going to let us do just that.

Japanese Instagram user and USJ fan l.c.a.studios_usj (who also has a Twitter account) was recently strolling about the park’s parking lot when she noticed a some construction going on.

Considering the scale of the undertaking, she speculated that this might be related to the Super Nintendo World expansion. Shortly thereafter, she spotted a wall of bricks evocative of those used to construct in-game environments in the Mario games.

And lo and behold, when she turned the corner, she saw a life-size Mario stage, complete with pipes and Piranha Plants!

A second look at the photos reveals that one of the Piranha Plants is hidden in certain shots, which makes it seem like the man-eating flora might actually move up and down, just like they do in the game. l.c.a.studios_usj also says that behind the background there was some sort of fireworks-launching device ready to add pyrotechnic flare/flair.

▼ In other news, Universal Studios Japan’s YouTube channel just released a new concept video for Super Nintendo World.

But perhaps most exciting of all is that even though Super Nintendo World isn’t scheduled to open until 2020. While the real-world Mario stage shown here isn’t quite complete, it definitely doesn’t look like it’s three years from being done, either, considering that it’s fully painted and has a more-or-less finished facade. The level of visual polish suggests that Universal Studios Japan is getting ready to show it off to the public very soon as a preview of what the 2020 expansion is going to offer. The big question, of course, is whether that demonstration will be a stage show with USJ performers, or an open-to-the-public event where fans can run through the stage themselves, and I think I speak for everyone when I say we’re all keeping our fingers crossed that it’s the latter.

Source: Hachima Kiko
Featured image: Instagram/l.c.a.studios_usj

Follow Casey on Twitter, where frustration at not being able to read the Japanese text in an imported copy of Super Mario World in 1990 was actually a life-changing event for him.