Ah, Mario Kart. One of the pillars of Nintendo‘s gaming and commercial success since its debut in 1992, and for good reason. With the impending opening of Super Nintendo World in Universal Studios Japan later this year, many fans will no doubt be flocking over to Osaka just to have some real-life Mario Kart rides.
“But isn’t there a real-life Mario Kart in existence already?“, you say. As it turns out, there actually is. It’s called MariCar (now called Mari Mobility), and it recently lost a legal battle with Nintendo for intellectual property infringement.
According to Nikkei, the lawsuit by Nintendo was initially filed against Mari Mobility in 2017 under the Unfair Competition Prevention Law with a fine of ¥10 million (US$90,000). The fine encompassed damages including using a company name that most closely resembles the game (since back then it was still branded as MariCar), as well as renting out costumes that closely resembled the various characters in the game,
Interestingly, if you were to go on Mari Mobility’s website, it has now rebranded its MariCar service to “Street Kart”, while sporting a fresh superhero-themed look (it could be a matter of time before DC or Marvel come knocking on their doorstep, though).
The top statement in the website also states that Street Kart “is in no way [sic] a reflection of Nintendo, the game ‘Mario Kart'”. Too little, too late, perhaps?
In Nintendo’s recent statement, the company seeks to “continue to take necessary measures” against Mari Mobility and its fraudulent actions.
But should you still be keen on doing some real-life unlicensed Mari– er, we mean Street Kart racing, you can still book tickets on the website, at your own risk.
Or you could just wait for Super Nintendo World to open this summer.
Marion has a serious RPG addiction. Sometimes it bleeds into real life; he forgets to sleep because he thinks he has a Witcher’s body clock. Forgive him in advance if he suddenly blurts out terms such as “Mind Flayer” and “Magic Missile”, because never once does he stop thinking about his next Dungeons & Dragons game.