South by Southwest is getting underway in the town of Austin, TX, and one of the coolest things happening at the film/music/technology festival is an import from the Mushroom Kingdom: real-life game of Mario Kart sponsored by Pennzoil.
The installation is called Mario Karting Reimagined, and it allows players to sit behind the wheel of a life-size kart and race, complete with special items, just like in the game. It works through RFID technology in the karts which can interact with the track, the other carts, and icons like “banana peels,” “Koopa shells,” and (this one’s new) “Pennzoil,” which naturally gives players a boost of speed. During the race on the thousand-foot track, footage from attached GoPro cameras are processed into an even more familiar Mario Kart experience displayed on nearby monitors.
Mario Karting Reimagined won’t be opened up to SXSW visitors until Friday, when I imagine we’ll be able to see it in action on the internet. Until then, you can check out a little bit more about the project here.