A landscape in Japan’s newly opened Super Nintendo World theme park area seems to draw direct inspiration from an original work of art created for a fangame.
Twitter user meatball123 was among the first to notice the eerie resemblance after seeing a cactus decoration in the background of a video for the park’s Yoshi’s Adventure trip. The specific triangular shape of the cactus in that video does not look like something seen in an official Mario game, but it almost exactly matches the background cacti found in World 2 of Newer Super Mario Bros. Wii, a fan-made mod released in 2013.
Meatball123 also notes that as of last weekend, the triangular cactus spirit appeared when it searched for “New Super Mario Bros. Wii cactus “was performed on Google Images, which could explain how the mixing happened. Representatives of Nintendo and Universal Japan have not yet responded to a request for comment from Ars Technica.
Newer Super Mario Bros. Wii was the result of years of effort by the fan developers at Newer Team, who have also created a similar mod for the DS version of New Super Mario Bros.. It has new levels, enemies, art and an original soundtrack based on the Wii original from 2009. Courage officially requires a retail copy of the original New Super Mario Bros. Wii to play on a jailbroken Wii or Wii U console, but there are also pre-built ISOs floating around to allow emulator-based gaming on a PC.
Super Nintendo World’s apparent use of an original fangame asset gets a little extra irony given Nintendo’s strict stance on fangames in general. In recent years, the company has issued a number of DMCA repeal notices for fangames – and even some of the tools used to build them. The cactus find also comes a month after a fan found his personal 3D rendering of Mario that was used on the Super Nintendo World website.
In a slightly similar story, there is some evidence to suggest that the version of Super Mario Bros. available on the Wii Virtual Console, was originally retrieved from a pirated ROM dump found on the Internet.
In the end, this is probably nothing more than a careless snafu caused by a less than conscientious theme park designer. But it highlights how the fangame community and more “official” efforts from IP holders are continuously eating at each other, which can be seen more directly (and intentionally) in the Sonic fangame community.
Universal Park News Today / YouTube entry image