Virtual Reality Mario Kart Lets You Experience Your Video Game Driving in First Person
If you’ve already been banned from your local Target for go-kart racing with their shopping carts, despair no more! There’s a new way to bring Mario Kart into the real world. At VR Zone Shinjuku in Tokyo, visitors can play a new arcade game, Mario Kart Arcade GP VR, that allows you to feel what it’s really like in the driver’s seat of that veering go-kart. Players are seated in a race car console and equipped with virtual reality (VR) goggles and headphones; you face off against three other players on a hybrid race track that combines multiple Mario Kart roads.
Personally, I am a pretty a ridiculous Mario Kart driver, so the thought of experiencing my driving in VR is…terrifying. But I can’t deny that it looks like a lot of fun in this video, and I love that you have to reach up and throw the items.
IGN also played the game, and their reporter Lucy O’Brien loved the experience. “These karts, they’re outfitted with air machines that blow wind in your face, the whole thing is rumbling,” she said, “so you really feel like you’re there. And, on top of that, you’ve got your friends in your ears screaming and whooping. It’s honestly one of the most incredible Mario Kart experiences I’ve had. I’m still kind of shaking from it.”
VR Zone Shinjuku also features VR versions of other games like Dragon Ball and Neon Genesis Evangelion. While there are no plans to open a similar VR arcade in the United States yet, hopefully they’ll be popular enough in Japan to get us one over here. As Nerdist’s Blair Marnell pointed out, arcades have been on the decline in the U.S., but virtual reality “zones” like this “could lead to a resurgence of interest in arcades.”
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