Super Nintendo World is a visual feast of worldbuilding, nostalgia, and gamification

Like a lab rat who can’t shake his cocaine addiction, I mercilessly bashed my Power-Up Wristband™ against a golden question mark block to hear that familiar Mario coin sound. Joined by photographer Iwan Baan, who looked on in curious but loving horror, I bathed in the dopamine fountain of nostalgic immersion.

Super Nintendo World™ at Universal Studios Hollywood isn’t just a new theme park in Los Angeles. It is a time machine that transported me to my basement circa 1993. Upon entry, memories of tightened jaws, sweaty palms, and sugary beverages consumed while passing the controller back and forth with my sister sprang forth. Back then, the air was filled with 16-bit music and feral screams which only abated when Mom’s magic words echoed from upstairs, proclaiming “dinner is ready!”

Super Nintendo World
(Iwan Baan)