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’s already immensely popular in Tokyo, is about to hit Melbourne and Sydney, and is now due in Perth in November.
Organisers describe Mushroom Racing (as it’s called in Australia) 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, in Australia the events take place on enclosed circuits. The Melbourne and Sydney events will run from May through July and September through November, respectively. The ticket price in the southern cities includes costume hire, snacks, a DJ and afterparty, and up to 20 laps in the cart.