When we heard Mario Kart VR was a thing, I’m pretty sure every single person on the team were crazily excited that the concept actually existed. Mario Kart is a classic Nintendo game that has brought joy to all kinds of gamer…not to mention has also aided in ending relationships with one well-timed blue shell (my sister still doesn’t answer my calls).
So when I recently was given the opportunity to play the game in Japan, how could I say no?
Shinjuku in Japan is the home of VR Zone – a theme park like facility centred around Virtual Reality and really showing how it should be experienced. Upon entry you are given 4 tickets (red, blue, yellow, green) with the colour on each corresponding to a certain group of games. There are 15 VR activities to choose from and it’s insanely hard to choose which 4 out of the 15 you want to spend your time in.Mario Kart VR was the first activity that I was eager to try and boy does VR Zone know how to really immerse you in a game. The Mario Kart area boasted 12 karts (4 racers in 3 different races). I’m talking actual karts on moving platforms, rigged with pedals for acceleration and brakes, a steering wheel and a wind machine. You can choose from 4 of the iconic Nintendo characters – Mario, Luigi, Peach and Yoshi. Upon choosing my kart, the attendants helped place the Vive VR goggles on, wrist straps and headset with mic for voice chat. The controls were what I expected: use the pedals to go and stop, steering wheel to steer and use your hands to grab items and toss them at your opponents. The race was on!I can not describe what it was like once the headset turned on. You are suddenly at the starting line on a Mario Kart course. You look to your left or right and there’s Peach or Mario staring back at you, then the player controlling that character waves at you or does the Macarena.