Anyone who has ever picked up a controller and squealed around the track in Nintendo’s Mario Kart has probably thought about how amazing it would be to get to do it in real life. One company in Tokyo, Japan has been offering that experience for locals and tourists alike. MariCAR Shinagawa offers go-cart rides and tours through the streets of Tokyo. Part of the fun of the ride is that they offer full body one-sies of various that look like all kinds of fun pop-culture characters.
Logically, they focused on superheroes and video game characters.
Unfortunately, many of these carts look a little too much like the classic Mario Kart. The big problem is that they were doing all of this without the express permission of Nintendo. They say the bulk of their business comes from tourists looking for a fun night. MariCAR says that they reached out to Nintendo and their own legal experts to make sure they were not infringing on any copyrights, but Nintendo disagrees. They can be gracious when it comes to their fans, but tough when it comes to infringement. Of course, it’s understandable that Nintendo wants to keep the real world Mario Kart experience exclusive, especially as their upcoming theme park attractions continue to grow closer.
MariCAR has already said that the attention gained from the lawsuit crashed their website and that they cannot even begin to guess the funds necessary to take on Nintendo (they don’t have ’em, guaranteed). It seems like the company is still in business, but if you look at their ads it appears that they have refocused their brand onto just fun costumed go-kart rides around the city.
The company now also states,
MariCAR is in no way a reflection of the game ‘Mario Kart’. Therefore, when riding the go-carts none of the following will be allowed. 1. No racing each other on the streets. 2. Do not throw banana peals or any other garbage on to the streets. 3. Do not throw red turtle shells or any other objects to each other. MariCAR is a very exciting once in a life time experience tour you can enjoy in the streets of Japan.
There you have it.