This is awesome news for Nintendo fans living in the UK who crave some Mario Kart done up VR style. Last year, a virtual reality version of Mario Kart was launched as an exclusive to the VR Zone arcade in Japan. Now for the first time outside of Japan, Mario Kart Arcade GP VR is headed to the UK this summer and will be available to play at the Hollywood Bowl location at The O2 in London.
Media get the first crack at the game on August 2 and it opens to the public on August 3. If you’re interested, get on the phone and pre-book your spot at the Hollywood Bowl in London immediately. It’s not clear how the bookings will work or how many spots are available, but be assured their phone will be ringing off the hook starting right about now. Waiting in line (if that’s even possible) or just showing up and expecting to play is certainly unrealistic for the foreseeable future.
Bandai Namco have been responsible for arcade versions of Mario Kart previously, so it’s a natural fit that they would take on this one as well. This particular version is aptly named Mario Kart Arcade GP VR and it makes use of the HTC Vine VR gear and technology.
The game accommodates 4 players who will each sit in their very own Mario kart and compete against each other. Players can choose to play Mario, Luigi, Yoshi or Peach. The semi-authentic looking karts are complete with bucket seats, steering wheel and pedals. For the VR aspect of the experience, players wear headphones for audio, a HTC Vive headset for the visuals and Vive Trackers on each wrist for the movements.
It’s also worth noting that the kart features haptic feedback so when you bump into something in the game you’re going to feel that jolt in real life. If you want to win at this game you’re going to need some additional coordination skills as well. It all comes down to the Vive Trackers that enable you to grab things in the game. So when you see that banana, you’re going to move you arm and hand towards it, grab it and then throw it. If all goes well, you will hit the target but can you throw well in real life? The interaction with in-game objects sounds like a real hoot.
If London is too far out of your way, there are indications this attraction may be coming to other UK based Hollywood Bowl locations in Leeds or Tunbridge Wells. Hold off on the celebration just yet because no sources have been listed so it may be speculation only. For everyone else outside of Japan and the UK, you just have to bide your time and wait. With Nintendo seemingly intent on maximizing their IP, let’s hope more countries get their own Mario Kart Arcade GP VR attraction soon.