Mario Kart, one of the most loved franchises of Nintendo, will likely receive a further boost in popularity as it arrives on virtual reality.
Bandai Namco will open a virtual reality arcade in Shinjuku, Tokyo next month, and one of the planned activities is a virtual reality version of the 2005 arcade game Mario Kart GP.
Mario Kart VR: Nintendo's First Virtual Reality Game
The official website of the arcade, named VR Zone Shinjuku, revealed a variety of familiar titles that will be offered as virtual reality experiences, including Dragon Ball, Evangelion, and Gundam. Mario Kart, however, stands out because it is the first Nintendo property that will arrive on virtual reality.
The official video released by Bandai Namco for VR Zone Shinjuku provides a glimpse on how Mario Kart VR will play. The arcade will use HTC Vive virtual reality headsets to immerse players in virtual reality, and for Mario Kart VR, each player will be given their own station with a racing wheel and wrist-strapped motion controllers. The screen time of Mario Kart VR is brief, but it does show players driving their karts while using the motion controllers to launch shells at opposing racers.
It is unclear how involved Nintendo was in the development of Mario Kart VR, especially as the company mostly handled only publishing for Mario Kart GP. However, it can be considered as Nintendo's first try at diving into the virtual reality industry, despite the virtual reality title not expected to arrive in the United States anytime soon. Perhaps virtual reality support will soon be added to the Nintendo Switch?
While Mario Kart VR will not be widely available, it offers a unique experience for fans of the racing franchise if they ever find themselves visiting Japan. Players who are able to visit VR Zone Shinjuku can also try out the other activities that were previewed in the video, including piloting the massive mechs of Evangelion, riding flying bikes, going fishing, and mastering the Kamehameha.
There is also a field VR activity based on the Ghost in the Shell anime, and it appears to be a shooting game that resembles laser tag.
Mario Kart In Real Life
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe was successfully launched for the Nintendo Switch earlier this year, as the improved version of the Nintendo Wii U classic proved to be even more fun for players.
Some fans of the Super Mario racing series, however, would love to play Mario Kart in real life. In addition to Mario Kart VR, there are also go-kart tour businesses in Japan that offer Mario Kart experiences, complete with costumes and accessories. However, these companies are being sued by Nintendo for copyright infringement.
The next best thing to real-life Mario Kart would likely be a planned ride for the upcoming Super Nintendo World. The Mario Kart ride, which will run on a rail, will have one player controlling the vehicle and the other focusing on weapons and power-ups.
The construction of the theme park in Osaka has already started and is planned to open its gates before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.