At this year's E3 Nintendo and Bandai Namco blindsided fans by revealing a virtual reality take on the popular Mario Kart series. Nintendo has steered clear of VR since their ill-fated experiments with the Virtual Boy, so the announcement was definitely a shock.
The VR experience is based on the Bandai Namco-developed Mario Kart Arcade GP, and will be exclusive (for now) the company's VR Zone Arcade in Shinjuku, Tokyo. The arcade provides an immersive VR experience, in which players sit in special chairs and cabinets while gaming on HTC Vive headsets. During E3 Bandai Namco released a trailer for the arcade featuring brief glimpses of several games, including Mario Kart Arcade GP VR, but didn't provide any additional details.
Well, now a more detailed look at Mario Kart Arcade GP VR has been released. The video, which you can check out above, is only 30 seconds long, but it's eye-opening nonetheless. We see the game will be played from first-person perspective, and that you actually "pick up" and throw power-ups, which will be hanging from balloons. It also looks like Mario Kart VR won't be for the weak of heart – soaring through the air, dodging Thwomps, and being attacked by gangs of Piranha Plants looks intense. What's it like being hit with a blue shell in virtual reality? I'm not sure I want to know!
Will Mario Kart Arcade GP VR eventually make its way to North America? It's hard to say – arcades are a much less viable business here, although some of them are starting to introduce VR tech. Of course, Nintendo and Universal Parks & Resorts are also working on a Mario Kart ride for the new Super Nintendo World. One way or another, Mario Kart is about to get a lot more real!