For many of us, playing out some kind of real-life Mario Kart fantasy, zooming through actual streets with actual karts, is a dream we may never realize. But MariCar, a Tokyo-based service, makes drivers feel like they’re Yoshi or Wario speeding down the track. However, MariCar may have just been hit will a blue shell, because Nintendo has slapped them with a lawsuit.
The New York Times reports that the service recently ran afoul of the gaming giant due to some particularly egregious similarities between Mario Kart and the offered Tokyo tours.
See, MariCar, the rates for which start at a little more than $50, also offers accessories straight out of the Mushroom Kingdom, like mustache rental, for an extra charge. The group allegedly allowed people touring around with their go-karts to dress up like that of Mario and his friends, making the unauthorized connection to the hit game franchise pretty explicit. There’s video footage of such stunts floating around on the internet.
Given that the Mario likeness, Mario Kart, and generally speaking all things relating to the two are owned and registered by Nintendo, the fact that they’ve become litigious isn’t shocking. According to the report, the Big N had attempted to contact MariCar about the service previously but did not receive a sufficient response.
For its part, MariCar says it had previously discussed its services with Nintendo, and they checked with lawyers who said they probably wouldn’t violate Nintendo’s copyright.
“We cannot even imagine how much it would cost in a court dispute against the world-famous company,” MariCar said in a statement. “We are afraid that our business will be hugely influenced.”
As a result of the lawsuit, traffic to MariCar’s website surged and knocked out their kart communication system, meaning that any drivers who were on the road risked getting lost, and there’s no IRL Lakitu to get them back on course.
Looks like we’re all just going to have to go back to waiting for the inevitable Nintendo theme park.