Universal’s new Mario Kart ride is under fire for size restrictions

Universal’s new Mario Kart ride is under fire for size restrictions

Super Nintendo World in Los AngelesPhoto credit: CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty Images

It’s a classic theological question: Could Bowser (King Koopa) create a theme park ride so restrictive that even he couldn’t ride it?

This question is front and center for many Nintendo fans this week, with new reports that Mario Kart’s next round, Bowser’s Challenge, is set to be the main draw (and only real round) in the new Super Nintendo World of ‘Universal Studio, will only accommodate runners with a waist size of 40 inches or less. So say our colleagues at Kotaku, who report that a number of people have raised concerns online this week about Universal’s decision to impose size limits.

Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge at SUPER NINTENDO WORLD opens in early 2023

An import from the Japanese version of Super Mario Land, Bowser’s Challenge is what’s known as the “dark ride”, i.e. one of those space-saving, thrill-free arrangements where you’re strapped into a car, then swerved onto a track in front of a bunch of 3D screens and real live elements. (In this case, taken from Nintendo’s beloved Mario Kart franchise.) As such, it’s not entirely clear why such tight size restrictions are being imposed; certainly, it looks like an alternative solution could be used. (Disney, for example, tends to use benches and bars for this sort of thing, which fit a wider variety of body types.)

The 40-inch waist requirement is pretty standard at Universal Studios, where it also applies to dark rides like Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Revenge Of The Mummy: The Ride. From personal experience, this 6-foot-4, 290-pound writer will notice that there’s wiggle room on those requirements when you’re actually at the park, but also that the process of forcing yourself into these seats (or using the provided test seat, as with Mario Kart) can be both uncomfortable and embarrassing. Specifically, it all seems deeply unnecessary: ​​there’s no reason Universal shouldn’t update its size on the rides to allow a more diverse group of riders to enjoy the fun of Super Nintendo Land, especially since the opening of the new area has brought renewed interest and attention to the park.

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