Mar 24, 2008

Virtual and Augmented Reality and Mario Kart

Have you checked out "Real Life Mario" in my links section. It really is a hoot! It's pretty close to a virtual reality Mario Kart experience with folks, like you and me, taking to the racing circuit in a full body (not just thumbs) kinesthetic way. Each player in this video chose which character he wanted to be, dressed appropriately, designed his own vehicle for speed, acceleration, drift, etc., and finally through a collaborative effort with other Mario Kart avatars designed and constructed their own race track. They video taped the experience and uploaded it to YouTube to share with all the other Mario avatar wanna be's.

During a recent family gathering , I engaged my 11 year old nephew in some Mario Kart DS play. He proceeded to trounce me in three consecutive WFC (Nintendo Wi-fi connection) match circuits. Of course, he was delighted and I was shocked that my defeat was so decisive, since I had been practicing diligently in anticipation of this occasion. Did I mention that the wine selection for the evening was particularly engaging?

Here's another interesting twist on Mario Kart play.
Mario Kart Drunken Dash - Editors of the Eastern Washington University newspaper (of Cheney and Spokane, Washington) recently conducted an experiment using the Mario Kart driving simulation game to illustrate how much alcohol affects the way people drive.

Of course, the results are in keeping with the saying, "Don't drink and drive."

So what logically follows here is the installation of the Mario Kart driving simulation kiosk in every drinking establishment. Before leaving a bar patrons would be required to use the Mario Kart driving simulation (preferably the new Wii version with the Wii wheel: see ). Their performance in the game would determine whether they would be issued a "not licensed to drive" ticket signifying their failure to pass a Mario Kart Grand Prix test circuit or a "licensed to drive" certificate signifying their ability to perform accurately and safely behind the wheel of a real automobile. Granting this certificate would insure safer streets and protect bar owners from those who helplessly blame bar proprietors for their poor judgment at the wheel. With all the college students already engaged in Mario Kart game play (see links) this should be an easy requisite to enforce.

All of this leads me to a huge question: How could Mario Kart Wii lead to an augmented reality version of Mario Kart that would guide drunk drivers home, or prevent drunk drivers by automatically disabling their automobiles if their performance is subpar? I could make big bucks off this idea, don't you think? Is this just the Mario Tycoon effect? Or as is so often the case, did someone already think of this?

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Most Frequently Mentioned Video Game

On Thursday 2/06/08 I conducted a survey asking 39 first and second grade boys and girls which video games they liked to play. Eighty-Five percent (85%) mentioned this game. Click on the PLAY link below to play a version of this very popular game.