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I am a huge Nintendo fan and I pretty much always have been. I’m a games journalist now and have been for most of my adult life, but the reason I got so into video games was Nintendo. Nintendo has Pokémon, Mario, and The Legend of Zelda – what else does a budding young gamer need? Being a filthy fanboy is ingrained into my identity, as much as I try to hide it. You will pretty much never catch me with a top ten games of the year list without a Nintendo title getting a mention.

When I visited Universal Studios Hollywood specifically to see Super Nintendo World, I was the Nintendo Adult, in the same way that those Disneyland season pass holders that don’t have kids are Disney Adults. I was there, a 31-year-old bald man, alone, to see the Nintendo theme park and jump on the Mario Kart ride. The reality of the situation was stark, and I probably looked a little bit sad and alone on the rainy Californian morning that I jumped in an Uber to Universal Studios.

Even with an umbrella in hand, my trainers were soaked-through and making an awful squelching sound with each footstep, and that was before I’d actually arrived at Super Nintendo World. Being the newest attraction at the park, it’s also located the furthest away. In order to peek inside Super Nintendo World, you need to walk right to the end of Universal Studios Hollywood, down several escalators and long walkways. Unlike the whimsy of Disneyland, there’s a distinct feeling that you’re walking backstage, seeing things you weren’t supposed to glimpse.

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That changes once you walk inside, though. You enter through Peach’s Castle, with Mario 64-style paintings rippling on the walls as if Mario himself had just jumped through. Into the main park, the attention to detail is striking. Yoshi circles a familiar apple tree, Goombas are waddling around, a Super Mushroom bounces between two blocks – this feels like a bite-sized piece of the Mushroom Kingdom in all its splendor.

It feels shockingly authentic, as if Nintendo’s own level designers crafted the world using the Super Mario Maker toolset. Just wandering around lit a nostalgic fire inside of me, and it felt good.

Then I asked what there was to actually do.

I went up to one of the staff who was clearly not happy about the unfortunate weather, and he explained that the list of things to do was, essentially, the Mario Kart ride, and the Toadstool Cafe. There are a few games and things to see, but the interactivity is limited unless you purchase a surprisingly expensive NFC wristband. Despite being a child at heart, I was still a 31-year-old man, and painfully aware of it in that moment. I did not purchase an NFC wristband.

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Still, the minigames felt frankly minor, and the rain had kept the queue for Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge fairly short. Great, since there was no lightning queue or fast pass for this one. The queue for Bowser’s Challenge was, actually, pretty great. The halls for the queue were all themed after Mario games like Yoshi’s Island, and it felt like being given a short tour. Once you get past the Bowser statue, you get to see what amounts to his workshop, with elaborate props everywhere – Mario Kart trophies, Bowser’s own picture on the wall, Mario’s peppered with cartoonish darts, a Bob-omb factory – it’s really lovely to walk around for nostalgic bald men.

The ride was explained by a “tutorial video” which featured Miis and Mario characters demonstrating how things work. Bowser’s Challenge isn’t a simple rollercoaster, it’s much closer to a video game. You strap on a Mario-themed headband, and then once in the “kart,” a visor will attach to it magnetically. The visor tracks your head movements similar to basic VR games, and you can use it to aim shells. As you “play” the ride, Bowser’s Koopalings and various minions flood the track, and you can smash them with shells in order to earn coins. Earn 100 coins to “win” the ride.

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It’s a genuinely lovely idea, but in execution, I’m not so sure. Nintendo’s game design chops are clearly here, but I couldn’t help but think that a more exciting ride would be a better experience. The fact is, the visor and character overlays distract from the lovely real-world surroundings you’re being ferried through. It’s hard to see the forest for the trees. Despite the truly beautiful aesthetics and great concept, it just didn’t live up to the hype.

After my adventure, I exited through the gift shop, picking up some Mario Kart pajama pants on my way out, and waltzed over the Toadstool Cafe. I was about to use the QR code on the sign outside to attempt a booking before a staff member turned the sign around to reveal that the cafe was full for the day. Typical.

With that out of the way, there really isn’t anything more to do than, well… leave? Super Nintendo World at Universal Hollywood is tiny, and incredibly popular, so you’ll struggle to see everything, despite how few things there actually are. But of course, Super Nintendo World is a part of Universal Studios Hollywood, and there’s a lot more fun to be had.

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Since Super Nintendo World finds itself right at the back of the park, furthest away from the entrance, it’s a great first destination, before filtering back towards where you started, taking some time to soak it in on the way. The Simpsons, The Mummy, Transformers, and more rides had minimal queues early in the morning, even after I stood in line for Mario Kart for over an hour. It was easy to hop on and off these rides – from one, straight onto the next – and that really is the best theme park experience you can hope for.

Super Nintendo World itself is beautiful and incredibly realized, executed with precision and designed to make nostalgic manchildren like me delighted. Oh, and kids too, I guess. But it’s also tiny, and despite how lovely it is to see it, it’s hard to say if it’s worth seeing as the main attraction. Despite that, Universal Studios Hollywood is a great theme park destination if you get to visit on a quiet day (though hopefully with less rain than I endured) and are able to hop between rides in less than ten minutes.

You probably shouldn’t go just for Super Nintendo World, but Universal Studios Hollywood is a great destination for a day. Oh yeah, it might be better if you have kids of your own and aren’t just a Nintendo Adult like me.

Disclosure: NBC Universal provided "Influencer Pass" access to Universal Studios Hollywood for one day for the purpose of this coverage. Travel and amenities were paid for by the writer.