News Article

Special Mario Kart 8 Event Racing Towards SXSW on 7th March

Posted by Mark Green

Nintendo of America and Pennzoil strike a deal

Has there ever been a series that so perfectly captures the mayhem of racing games like everyone’s favourite plumber and his red shell collection? The short answer is arguably no, and this May will see Nintendo’s front man return to the track in Mario Kart 8. All new racers, all new tracks, all new karting goodness. The Wii U game can’t come soon enough for many, and we know that some of you can’t wait to get your hands on those starmans and mushrooms, but at the end of the day it’s still a video game. There’s no way the harmless karting fun of the Mario Kart games will ever make its way into the real world, is there?

Well, it turns out there is a way and it’s happening this weekend (March 7th – 9th) at the South by South West Interactive gaming event in Austin, Texas. Working in partnership with the Motor Oil company, Pennzoil, Nintendo of America has arranged to have a live, custom built Mario Kart track stationed right outside the Palmer Events Center where SXSW is being held. Event attendees will be able to hop in the driver’s seat for free and take their karts out for a spin with other racers; while this may seem no different from any other karting rink out there, this one will use RFID technology to link the kart with the track to provide the driver and spectators with an interactive, real-life Mario Kart experience.

In other words, when racers hit a certain part or icon on the track, the RFID will kick in and affect the karts in a certain way, making them speed up briefly or slow down for a time. Yep, Nintendo wanted drivers to safely get as close to the Mario Kart mayhem as possible so it brought in items — it's an idea we've seen before. Sadly, there will be no bananas or green shells available, but the constant speed changes are sure to make the race a challenge. The races will be shown from the driver's perspective to screens throughout the Convention Center so it may turn out to be quite the spectator sport.

This Mario-Kart themed special event isn’t just for Nintendo’s benefit however, as Pennzoil will be using it to promote its new oil, which is the first synthetic gas made from natural elements.

The track will be open throughout the weekend during the afternoons between 12pm and 6pm, so if you happen to be attending the SXSW interactive convention this year, it might be a good plan to check it out; please let the event organisers know if you spot a blue shell. We don’t think you’re allowed to bring your own items in.


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User Comments (27)



MadAdam81 said:

I wish Nintendo of Australia could do some promoting. The V8 Supercar season just kicked off with the (my hometown) Adelaide Clipsal 500, and some Mario Kart 8 promotion certainly wouldn't go astray.



rjejr said:

@MrPancakeLOL - I know, right? Nintendo can recreate an actual real life model of a racing track, karts, and items, but it can't supply a working demo for a game it's been working on probably for years at this point.

Considering the long gap between DKCTF in Feb. and MK8 May 30 it would be nice if in mid April we got something like the Rayman challenge. Even if it were only 1 track and 4 characters to use online. It would give Nintendo a chance to really emphasize Wii U online play.



MrPancakeLOL said:

@rjejr Yeah, that would be nice, I think they should just give us the e3 demo if we preorder the game, have GameStop or EB games give us a download code for the pre launch demo.



GalacticMario28 said:

This sounds like a pretty cool way to promote both MK8 and Pennzoil's new oil. I hope more things like this happen in the future.



Nintendude789 said:

I actually don t live that far from Austin (Southern New Mexico!) But I will not be able to attend cause of lack of car, gas money, and food money.



NavySpheal said:

Too bad it isn't in California, or even in multiple states. Looks fun to watch, however, so hopefully someone brings a camera and uploads it to YouTube.



3dcaleb said:

damn this sounds so fun. if i lived anywhere near it i would be there for sure.



SneakyStyle said:

Dam sounds like great fun, if only Nintendo of Australia actually did anything other then have a 50yr old outdated website. Useless......

But oh well I still love nintendo just the nintendo of australia office doesn't do a single thing ever. Makes me wonder why they even exist made no difference to me or anyone I know in Australia.



ikki5 said:

lol, I read that and though "Mario Kart * release is March 7". I almost died and then I came to reality and realized, March 7th is too soon so I must be reading wrong... lol



HyperSonicEXE said:

There is no WAY I'm missing this! I've been conjuring this idea in my head since I was little.

There are lots of plush Shells and such, I've got a green one that makes sound. Couldn't the RFID chip be implanted in that?



gamr4life said:

Of course it had to be in Austin and not anywhere near me. I think they should set these up all around the country!



JaxonH said:

Too cool! Imagine the RFID tech being in a speed arrow, and if the cart drives over it, it activates a speed boost just like in Mario Kart! Lol, this should be a real sport.



shaneoh said:

I can imagine ways to rig up a track to mimic a MK track. Sheet metal goombas and ? boxes that are easily knocked down by a kart and are linked to sensors and such that broadcast to the kart that it has to slow down or gives it an item. LED arrows in the ground that can be run over for a boost. Animatronic piranha plants, shy guys, and wigglers off the track just for scenery. Only three issues, money, mechanics and licensing.



Genesaur said:

This is a pretty rad way to promote the game. I trust Nintendo would be smart enough to have a demo of the game running at the event, as well... right?

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