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Mario Kart VR Races to the U.S. with Vive and Bandai Namco

HTC Vive , a leading VR headset creator, and BANDAI NAMCO Amusement America , the arcade entertainment company, are partnering up. The VR companies came together to bring Washington D.C. VR fans an opportunity to play Mario Kart VR! The gaming giants are setting up VR ZONE Portal experiences like Mario Kart VR to D.C.’s Union Station. Get your throwing arm ready for action everybody!

Take a look at the Mario Kart Arcade Grand Prix VR Promotion Video from VR ZONE SHINJUKU (Tokyo, Japan):

Pick a Player!

The four-player virtual reality experience will set players on a Mario Kart race course where they’ll become Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, or Yoshi! Zip and zoom around the Mushroom Kingdom with hands on the wheel of the Kart and view Mario’s world in an HTC Vive headset. Players can even grab and throw slippery banana peels and those sneaky green shells to make racers spin out.

Lots of gamers grew up with Mario Kart on the SNES, Nintendo 64, and most recently the Nintendo Switch. Now, the game’s fans in the D.C. area get to sit in the driver’s seat as one of Mario’s famous friends or as the character himself! Sorry, but there won’t be any sightings of a Bowsette! Leave that for .

Mario Kart Feels the Vive

Mario Kart VR racers will wear the HTC Vive headset and will get hooked up with Vive Tracker technology on their hands. The Vive Trackers attach to objects, tools, and in this case, will allow players to grab banana peels. The Vive system is also reported to have haptic feedback technology that adds movement and impact sensations to the racing game.

To your great surprise, the concept of Head Mounted Display is also not a new idea. The first head-mounted display was developed around 1960’s. the Telesphere mask was the first example of a head-mounted display, which provided 3D stereoscopic and wide vision with sound.

mario kart vr 2

Excited to share the news, Steve Ignarski, National Sales Manager for BANDAI NAMCO Amusement America, said: “BANDAI NAMCO is thrilled to be a part of the innovative, cutting-edge project that is VR ZONE Portal.” Most recently, fans in Japan and the UK were able to try out the gaming world’s favorite plumber in his own racing game.

Ignarski shares that the game had international “success, and we hope to follow suit in Washington, D.C.” Further sharing that “Mario Kart VR is a long-awaited title and we have no doubt it will be well-received in the states, due to its incredible, immersive game-play and outstanding equipment from HTC Vive.”

Other Immersive Virtual Experiences

VR ZONE Portal is also keeping gamers current with Argyle Shift and Ski Rodeo. The single player mech robot game, Argyle Shift, puts players in the pilot seat. Fight enemies in a massive mech with AI help. This game is said to use motion seats to add an element of immersion not seen before with mech fighting games.

Gamers and adventurers will also have a shot at skiing down a snowy mountainside in the game Ski Rodeo. The VR skiing game simulates slope racing with a special motion base. To turn up the immersion, the game has a moving base that mimics the bumpiness of the slope and also has fans to simulate wind.

The First Head-Mounted Displays – The Telesphere Mask and the Headsight. You might think that strapping a display on a person’s head is a relatively new idea, but it is not. The first head-mounted displays were developed as early as the 1960s. The Telesphere Mask was the first example of a head-mounted display, which provided 3D stereoscopic and wide vision with stereo sound. However, the device lacked certain immersion, because of it being a non-interactive medium. In 1961 two Philco Corporation engineers, Comeau and Bryan, came up with the Headsight. A head-mounted display, much like the Telesphere Mask, the Headsight featured magnetic motion tracking technology, which was connected to a close circuit camera. While the goggles can be named a precursor to modern virtual reality technology, they were not developed for entertainment purposes. Instead, they were developed for the military with the idea that a person would be able to immerse themselves in the remote viewing of dangerous situations.

Where to Find Mario Kart VR

Mario Kart, Ski Rodeo, and Argyle Shift are a VR ZONE Portal VR gaming attraction that will be around for 6 months at Union Station in Washington D.C. As VR experiences like Mario Kart VR pop up throughout the world and now the U.S., it makes me question how long it will be before we see Mario Kart in arcades full time.

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