When it was announced that the incredibly popular granddaddy of all kart racers, Mario Kart, was getting a virtual reality (VR) adaptation at the VR Zone in Tokyo, fans all over the world immediately started planning how much it would cost for a trip to Japan. For European fans at least, there is now a more local option, as Mario Kart VR is heading to London.
HTC Vive have announced that the official European launch of the Mario Kart VR Experience will take place at the Hollywood Bowl in London on Thursday 2nd August, 2018, where it will open to the media, followed by a public opening the next day.
The experience will become part of the VR Zone Portal located within the Hollywood Bowl at The O2, where it will offer up to four players the chance to climb into a specially design Mario-themed kart before racing against each other as Mario, Luigi, Peach or Yoshi.
The experience is powered by the HTC Vive, along with the Vive Tracker, which will let players physically grab items such as banana skins to throw at opponents and potentially send them spinning off the course. The Mario Kart VR Experience boasts haptic feedback to give players a jolt when they crash into a barrier or another racer to give an extra dose of immersion.
Following the London launch, there are plans to bring the Mario Kart VR experience to other Hollywood Bowl location at VR Zone Portals in places such as Leeds or Tunbridge Wells.
Steve Burns, CEO, Hollywood Bowl Group, said: “We continue to evolve our innovative bowling and wider family entertainment centres, which offer customers a fully immersive entertainment experience in a premium environment. The launch of the iconic Mario Kart VR at Hollywood Bowl is an exciting introduction, as it brings virtual reality gaming to our customers on a large and accessible scale.”
Access to the Mario Kart VR experience can be booked in advance, though spaces will be limited on launch day. Further information can be found on the Hollywood Bowl website. As usual, VRFocus will keep you updated on any further developments.
Update: The article originally indicated that Mario Kart VR would launch on the 2nd August, which will be the media opening, with the attraction opening to the public the next day. The article has now been edited to clarify.