Thank you Mario! But Universal Studios Japan’s expansion opening date is in another time period.

From the beginning, the timetable for the opening of Super Nintendo World, Universal Studios Japan’s video game-themed expansion, was a little hazy. At first, it was supposed to open in “Summer 2020,” but then the pandemic hit, wiping away those plans and forcing Super Nintendo World’s opening to be postponed. In late November, though, USJ announced February 4 as the grand opening date for Super Nintendo World to the Mario-loving public, and we we finally had an exact day to mark on our calendars!

Um…we hope everyone marked their calendars in pencil, because it’s time to get out those erasers. USJ has just issued a statement saying that Super Nintendo World’s opening is being delayed again.

▼ The rhythm Nintendo fans’ hearts are suddenly beating to

The reason, as usual, is the coronavirus, which is basically the Bowser-style recurring villain of 2020/2021 at this point. With Japan seeing its largest spike in infections since the pandemic started, on Wednesday the central government declared a state of emergency for Osaka Prefecture (where Universal Studios Japan is located), following earlier declarations for Tokyo and the neighboring prefecture of Kanagawa, Saitama, and Chiba. Also included in the expanded declaration are Kyoto, Hyogo, Aichi, Fukuoka, Gifu, and Tochigi.

Universal Studios Japan is not being forced to cease operations entirely, but in its statement the park says that it will be complying with government guidelines by severely limiting admission to the facility. Ostensibly, that would suggest that USJ could let guests into the Super Nintendo World area, but with the incredibly high level of anticipation for the expansion, it’s not unlikely that guests would densely cluster in that area. Conversely, it could also be that after so much build-up for Super Nintendo World, USJ doesn’t want to waste the excitement with a limited-capacity, dampened-grandeur grand opening.

As with Super Nintendo World’s first delay, this one is also of indefinite length, and USJ has said only that it will be deciding on the expansion’s new opening date after the state of emergency is lifted. Currently, that’s scheduled to happen on February 7, but that, of course, is dependent on what happens with Japan’s coronavirus numbers between now and then, and a further extension of the state of emergency is entirely possible.

It’s not happy news for Nintendo fans, but maybe the best thing to do is look to video gaming’s history for perspective. Long ago, it wasn’t at all unusual for video game releases to get delayed because of computer chip shortages, and if you weren’t living in a title’s home market, you sometimes had to wait months, if not years, for certain games to reach your shores. But eventually, such patience was rewarded, and some day we’ll be able to get into Super Nintendo World and eat those hot, gooey Koopa Troopa shells, even if we don’t know exactly when that day will be.

Source: Universal Studios Japan via Livedoor News/Oricon News via Jin, Japan Times
Top image: Universal Studios Japan
Insert image: Universal Studios Japan
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