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It Can Finally Be Told: The Whole Story Behind Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic

So here’s something that pretty much EVERYONE knows by now: the Super Mario Bros 2 that was released in the US almost 30 years ago was not the Super Mario Bros 2 that came out in Japan. Since the actual sequel was deemed too difficult for Americans, we instead got another game called Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic, with various graphical changes made to make it resemble a Super Mario title. Even though it certainly didn’t play like the one that came before.

Still with me? Good. As for Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic, most only seem to remember/know the latter half of the two-part name, plus many have come to believe the game is based upon an anime, due to the original copyright including both Nintendo and Fuji TV. This is incorrect; it was actually produced to promote a live event that Fuji TV orchestrated, which is the former half of the game’s namesake, Yume Kōjō. In English, it means “Dream Factory.”

Yet that’s pretty much all that’s been known. After realizing Doki Doki Panic was not an 80s anime, which I’m particularly fond of, I sought the real deal but quickly hit a wall. Other than broad strokes, any specifics regarding this Yume Kōjō event were a total mystery. Until now. And we can all thank the Gaijillionaire, who runs a very young and very promising YouTube channel; he recently acquired a book that tells the whole story, and is encapsulated above.

It all begins in 1984, when a pair of television execs and a manga artist decided to go to Carnival in Rio de Janeiro (so repeating this tale seems particularly timely, given that the Olympics is happening there at this moment). The fun they had inspired the three to conceive a party for their homeland, which would end up resembling a mishmash of the World’s Fair, Consumer Electronics Show, Electronic Entertainment Expo, and Disneyland.

Dreams and imagination would be the centerpiece for celebration, and thus Yume Kōjō, which also had the given English name of Dream Machine (despite the actual translation being Dream Factory, once again) was born. Multiculturalism was also a core component, hence why Fuji TV created an Arabian family as the event’s mascots, who as you might have guessed are the same characters in the aforementioned game.

Though perhaps the most iconic part of the marketing blitz was the usage of theater masks, based upon Italian art styles (and not Kabuki theater, as also commonly assumed). They appeared on almost all tie-in products and would be worn by both festival participants and guests. This explains why they are so prevalent in the game, with most enemies wearing them, and even one enemy being itself a mask.

Gaijillionaire manages to pack aTON of info pertaining to Yume Kōjō in just 20 minutes. Everything from pointing out how one of the bands that was formed specifically for the event would live on afterwards and get its name from the blimp that was always hovering over the event, which also appears in the title screen of the game, to the wacky collaboration between Sega (yup, even Nintendo’s competition was involved) and Nissan, that basically had attendees control real life F-Zero-eque vehicles via remote control via OutRun cabinets!

The video is a definite fun watch, as are all of Gaijillionaire’s offerings. Including the following, which is contained in his thank you video for reaching 250 subs…

He even did a thank you message when reaching 10; I don’t why I find that so endearing! Here’s another vid that I really dig, of him visiting a Japanese used game shop that’s not located in Akihabara, cuz the ones there are becoming increasingly cost prohibitive to non-tourists. I will say, when I went to Japan, I got a ton of games and only one was from Super Potato (which was mostly just to say I got something from there)…

Time for one last vid, and something else related to Super Mario. In this case, part 3, and how a character from that game recently made a cameo in… a children’s book that’s sold exclusively at 7-11’s?

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