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Latest look at Universal Studios' Super Nintendo World has people talking

With so many iconic characters and settings etched into the pop culture landscape, the world of Nintendo seems pretty ripe for a theme park. It's no surprise, then, that Nintendo and Universal began talks back in 2015 to bring Mario and company to life in three dimensions. The timing was right — Nintendo had just posted their first annual profit since 2011, and with the Nintendo Switch released in 2017 to enormous success, the benefit of the team-up only seemed more obvious as the arrangement came closer to fruition.

There was one catch: making a theme park to Nintendo's exacting quality standards would not be easy. It was known early on that the first of the Nintendo-themed parks would land at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka. Furthermore, the plan has always been to expand Nintendo's presence to Universal's parks in Orlando and Hollywood as well. But theme parks are a complicated business, and the wait was always going to be long.

A specific time frame was finally given for Universal's Super Nintendo World in 2016, when fans were told that the Nintendo area in Osaka was slated for 2020 — just in time to correspond with the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Unsurprisingly, the mass industry shutdowns of this year have forced the release of Universal's Nintendo theme park to be delayed indefinitely.

Don't lose heart, though — work on the project is still happening. Images and even video of the Osaka location are trickling out, and what we've seen looks incredible.

Super Mario's World comes to life

Recently, Twitter user @cabel posted a short video of Japan's Super Nintendo World under construction — and what the video shows borders on the incredible. At first glance, the video could easily appear to be a CG rendering, populated by Yoshis, Goombas, Koopa Troopas, and Thwomps. Shells and coins spin, platforms move, and the whole thing basically looks like a level of a Super Mario 3D platformer.

But look closer, and you'll see someone in work overalls standing near that stack of Goombas Is that Mario? No, it's a real-life construction worker, perfecting the real-life mechanics behind these convincing characters. Keep looking, and from the high angle of this behind-the-scenes video you'll make out the moving platforms the Goombas and Koopas are on, as well as some of the machinery that makes the whole thing work. Still, it's an impressive illusion — one that will surely look even more convincing when it's finished and you're able to stand right in the middle of it.

Super Nintendo World has a long way still to go. The park will eventually be home to a Donkey Kong section, alongside rides centered on Mario Kart and Yoshi. There will even be a way for attendees to use their mobile phones to collect coins and stamps so the experience is even more like living in a video game. And all of it will operate under the shadow of a real-life Bowser's Castle.

With an opening date as yet unconfirmed, it's hard to say how close to completion the park is, not to mention how much longer we'll have to wait for the American versions (which are not nearly as far along in construction). If these videos are anything to go on, though, the experience is going to be absolutely incredible.