A Nintendo-licensed Mario Kart virtual reality game made for a Japanese arcade has released a trailer providing a first look at gameplay. Titled Mario Kart Arcade GP VR, the first-person kart racer is packed full of all the gameplay one would expect from your typical Mario Kart game. There are bananas, red and green shells, maps including Peach’s Castle, but all to be experienced in virtual reality like never before.
Developed by Bandai Namco, the arcade game appears to use HTC Vive VR headsets and custom strap-on controllers built using the as-yet unreleased Vive Trackers. As an arcade game and not for home release, Bandai Namco was able to go the extra mile with Mario Kart Arcade GP VR. It’s putting players into actual vibrating, shifting karts with working steering wheels. To throw an item like a shell, players will have to take a hand off the wheel and mock throw that item. The player’s hand even looks like their in-game character’s.
Mario Kart Arcade GP VR is just one of several major attractions designed to bring in customers to Bandai Namco’s new VR Zone Shinjuku arcade. It’s a giant, two-story arcade with 3,500 square meters of floor space, 15 total VR arcade games to play, and a food court too. While the doors to the facility won’t open until July 14, Bandai Namco has been running previews of the games for a month now. Today marks some of the first footage from Mario Kart Arcade GP VR to be made public.
Other VR attractions at Bandai Namco’s VR Zone Shinjuku include games tied to popular franchises including Dragon Ball Z, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and Ghost in the Shell. It’s a fitting mix of video game and anime-themed rides for Shinjuku, the otaku hub of Tokyo. Prices reportedly start at 4,400 yen (almost $40) for an entry ticket which grants four rides, with each additional ride costing around another 1,200 yen (almost $11). The prices may be costly, but it’s not too bad considering these VR games are unavailable anywhere else.
The possibility of an HTC Vive Mario Kart VR game being released on Steam might be popping into some VR enthusiasts’ heads right now, but it’s best not to build any expectations. Exclusive arcade games come and go in Japan all the time. It’s unlikely Nintendo would license the Mario Kart property out to Bandai Namco in this way unless it was meant to be extremely limited in access. The reaction to even a single Nintendo property being released on PC would make the demand for more outrageous. For Mario Kart VR, it’s Shinjuku or nothing.
Mario Kart Arcade GP VR will be available to play exclusively at the new VR Zone Shinjuku arcade in Tokyo, which opens its doors for the first time on July 14.