In case you didn't know, Japan has a VR Zone amusement park in Shinjuku, Tokyo, filled with great VR games and one of its most famous is Mario Kart VR which released last year. The title is now expanding beyond Japan and will be available to try out in London, the first location outside of Japan.
It's actually Bandai Namco working in close collaboration with Nintendo that is behind the Mario Kart VR experience. In it, players can choose one of four seats corresponding to a kart for Mario, Luigi, Peach and Yoshi. They are then equipped with an HTC Vive headset, headphones and strap a pair of hand trackers around their wrists and then the game can begin. If you've played Mario Kart before, you'll know what to expect but all in VR! The seats have some extra features to make the experience all the more immersive like shaking when you bump into other karts or fans to emulate the wind blowing against your face.
It's not really Mario Kart without the surprise item to make or break the game and Mario Kart VR has it all; bananas, green turtle shells and giant hammers. Equipped with the hand trackers, players can raise their hands over the item to pick it up and make a throwing movement to fling the item at an opponent. Talking to Wired, HTC’s Graham Wheeler says the hand tracking was the company’s main focus in terms of bringing the Mario Kart world to life. “It just makes it much more natural and much more immersive – you can hold the steering wheel but at the same time have your arms tracked in VR,” he says.
In their article, Wired mention that "Bandai Namco is expanding its VR Zone franchise into other small “portals” in the UK and Europe, including bringing Mario Kart VR to additional locations in Tunbridge Wells and Leeds later this summer".
Mario Kart VR is available at the VR Zone Portal inside Hollywood Bowl at the O2 in Greenwich, London starting today. Costing £7.99 per player, it consists of one track and lasts under five minutes.
There is no word yet on its release in the United States or in any other country specifically but would you like to try out Mario Kart in VR?