Pulling up at the traffic lights next to a real-life Luigi, sporting a lime cap and overalls, is bizarre enough. But then Yoshi screeches to a halt on the other side. This is real-life Mario Kart. It has already hit the streets of Tokyo, and now the game is due in Sydney and Melbourne this year.
Organisers describe Mushroom Racing, as it is called for the Australian audience, as “the rally of a lifetime”. And maybe it is. But a more accurate description might be “themed go karting in dress ups.” You get to pick out your favourite character, drive courses dressed as them, and collect stars to win prizes.
While Tokyo’s Maricar lets racers zip through actual roads and backstreets, it hasn’t been confirmed whether or not that will be the case here. In Japan the carts are designed carry one person each, and the carts come with Bluetooth walkie-talkie devices and speakers, so drivers can chat to their friends and curate a personalised soundtrack.