VR Fans Line Up For Mario Kart Experience In London
Virtual Reality (VR) has so far been mainly kept for home entertainment, tourism and sports. However, it is now launching itself on to the arcade scene in Britain, after making waves at games venues in Asia.
The first VR game to hit the UK is one of the oldest and the best – Mario Kart. The vintage computer game has arrived in London with a twist, as it enables players to really step into Mario’s world and take on the characters like never before.
Japanese gaming company Bandai Namco has unveiled the Mario Kart VR experience at the VR Zone Portal, located at the 02 in Greenwich.
It launches today (August 3rd) and large crowds are expected to turn up, after the game received such excitement and praise when it opened at the VR Zone amusement park in Shinjuku, Tokyo.
Matt Bradley, VR project manager at Bandai Namco, told Wired.com that it was an obvious decision to bring Mario Kart to Britain as it is such a popular game.
“When you say Mario Kart, all kids know Mario Kart, all grown-ups know Mario Kart,” he stated, adding: “It’s such a strong IP.”
As the normal Mario Kart GP arcade game has always been a sell-out for the business, it made sense to add VR technology to it as well.
The way the game will work at the O2 amusement venue is that there will be four karts comprising moving seats with a steering wheel and two pedals. Each of the chairs will be assigned a character – Mario, Luigi, Peach or Yoshi.
Players will all wear VR headsets that will transport them into their virtual world, a pair of headphones, and hand trackers around their wrists.
The game is so realistic that users will feel as though they are really playing the characters, with the car moving as you press on the accelerator and you race one another.
Crashing the vehicle causes it to shake beneath you; going super fast allows you to feel wind against your face; and using your hand trackers, you are able to grab items such as banana skins and giant hammers.
Some gaming experts have been allowed to try out Mario Kart VR ahead of its launch today, and most have positive things to say about it.
Trusted Reviews said: “The arcade feels like the perfect home for high-end virtual reality experiences, and Mario Kart VR is a perfect example.”
The writer noted that while it is only three and a half minutes long, due to the intensity of the game, the feedback from the wheel and seat, and having to use your hands as well as the rest of your body, “it feels far longer”.
Having said that, he also noted that the VR game is not as complex or detailed as those you normally play on games consoles, so gamers might be left a little disappointed.
However, this is not only due to Bandai Namco not been given all the rights of Mario Kart from Nintendo, but also because it is not a game you would play daily and improve on, but something you will have a go at once or twice.
While it may not be the best example of a computer game or virtual reality itself, it gives users a good first experience of the technology, with the reviewer stating: “Mario Kart VR is a great example of how to adapt a classic franchise into the real of virtual reality.”
If you would like to use VR for your sports company, travel business or commercial enterprise, get in touch with us today to find out how.