Real-Life Mario Kart Rides? Not So Fast, Says Nintendo


MariCar lets people speed through the streets of Tokyo dressed as Mario, Luigi or others from the Mushroom Kingdom. But a lawsuit by Nintendo threatens the business.

Shizuo Kambayashi/Associated Press

Plumber’s outfit? Check. Mustache? Check. Go-kart? Check.

The only thing this provider of real-life Mario Kart services seems to lack is permission from Nintendo.

A legal dispute in Japan is threatening to shut down a business providing go-kart rides on vehicles that look a lot like those from the video game franchise that inspired untold bouts of hand cramping. Nintendo said in a lawsuit filed in a Tokyo court on Friday that a company called MariCar was offering Mario Kart-style rides without its permission.

MariCar provides Mario onesies, mustaches and LED shoes to its customers. In its lawsuit, Nintendo said the company did not respond to its trademark complaints with a good-faith answer. Video by azrin88

MariCar offers its customers the ability to whiz through Tokyo’s streets dressed as Mario, Luigi or others from the Mushroom Kingdom. Beyond rentable karts, it also provides Mario onesies, mustaches and LED shoes. Those who want to drive around to the sound of Mario Kart’s theme music can rent Bluetooth speakers. (Gold coins are strictly bring-your-own.)

In its suit against MariCar, Nintendo accuses the company of using its characters without permission. Kenichi Sugimoto, a spokesman for Nintendo, said that it had previously warned MariCar about using its characters but “did not receive a good-faith answer.”

MariCar said in a statement that it had discussed its services with Nintendo and consulted with legal experts who judged that its business model would not violate Nintendo’s copyright. It also said that it had hoped to work with Nintendo.

It added that traffic related to the lawsuit had…

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