Talking tech since 2003

At this year’s South by South West, Nintendo and Pennzoil teamed up to make the experience of Mario Kart somewhat of a reality. Attendees at the show, including Jeff, our own editor-in-chief, had the opportunity to race go-karts around a track Mario-Kart style. But how did they do it?

Well, drivers were put into electric go-karts that had Go Pro Cameras mounted above their heads. The karts also had RFID tags in the form of racing decals on the side, so that karts could be affected by game rules, including green shells and booster pads located throughout the track.

For example, if you run over a power-up decal that looks like a mushroom, you’d get a temporary jolt of speed, just like you would with the in-game power-ups in Mario Kart. Running over a booster pad would provide a similar effect.

However, if you ran over something like a turtle shell, your kart would get its speed knocked down a peg or two. And since this partnership is in part a large promotion for Mario Kart 8 for Nintendo’s latest console, the Wii U, some features from that game were also in place. Specifically, the anti-gravity features that keep racers attached to the fictional tracks in Mario Kart were power-ups on the real life track at SXSW, and would flip the video feed of the driver who runs over it for all watching on the nearby big-screen.

Sadly, for safety concerns, the banana peel was left out of the design of this track, as it was initially planned to cause the driver to lose control of the kart for a few seconds.

Overall, what Pennzoil and Nintendo put together in a short amount of time proved to be a success with the show’s attendees. Let’s just hope Mario Kart 8, which comes out in just a few months, is as fun.

You've successfully subscribed to BestTechie
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Great! You've successfully signed up.
Your link has expired
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.