Back in 2014 we reported on a Tokyo-based group of tourist event organisers that set up a Mario Kart-themed tour of the city - in actual karts!
Well, fast forward three years and the the city is awash with colourful convoys, so much so that the Japanese tourist ministry is bringing in new laws to ensure blue shell-flinging drivers are safe before they hit the roads; seatbelts will be mandatory and the karts will need to meet safety standards.
A loophole in the current system enables operators to classify karts as both scooters and four-wheeled vehicles - since scooters don't require seat belts and cars don't require helmets, tourists have been cruising through traffic without a safety conscious care in the world.
However, the Mario Kart tour craze hasn't been an entirely clean ride. Nintendo itself sued one company earlier this year for copyright infringement (which it lost a month later), while a spate of real-life accidents involving kart drivers ultimately led the Japanese government to enforce more stringent rules.
What do you think of Mario Kart tours? Would you go on one, or would buckling up spoil the fun? Comments at the ready.
Looks so fun and still at work
Be careful of those banana peels and oil slicks guys!
So awesome! ..consider it
pencilledpenned in to the ol' bucket list!
Why would I need a seatbelt? Won’t Lakitu come and pick me up after an accident with his fishing rod in return for a few coins?
If only i can use Blue Shell...
It seems interesting, but I'll see what Nintendo plans to do with their own theme park.
Of course you should have a seatbelt and helmet! In Tokyo traffic?!? Are you kidding me?! But seriously here folks, I don't think there's a MK fan alive that wouldn't love to go zipping through a city Kart racing for real. I call the Dry-Bones costume. I will be throwing femurs as well. Who's with me?
When I was recently in Japan, I saw a few of these groups.
Cool stuff. Always a fun surprise. It’s a shame there’s no easy way for foreigners to jump into something like this. You need a Japanese license, of course.
Honestly, those karts are a huge nuisance. They cause more trouble than anything.
I honestly wish they were banned since there is no security at all and most of the drivers don’t really respect traffic rules or manners.
So this might look cool on pictures and be fun for all those tourist who just want to fool around a little bit but, in truth, is a problem for the rest of us.
This should be restricted to a closed specially prepared place instead of letting them drive throughout the city.
@maruse Yep, I totally agree. I have lived in Tokyo for years and while you often see other tourists happy to stumble across the seemingly endless stream of "MariKarts" it tends to annoy people who actually have to drive with them in traffic. It's not uncommon to hear a taxi blaring it's horn at a line of MariKarts that are annoyingly blocking up traffic.
The part that bugs me the most is the average person assumes this is a official Nintendo run program, and it's giving Nintendo a bad name. I know there was a lawsuit and Nintendo lost it, but I still do get a little perturbed about the whole thing.
Should be on a go kart track rather than the road.
If you need to play 'real' Mario Kart in the middle of city traffic you have attention seeking issues.
They showed this on Sky Sports F1 when there was the Japanese GP
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