Jan. 16, 2013 at 3:14 PM ET
You could say that Nintendo's beloved Mario Kart racing games have never looked so real. That's because a group of engineers have made the wacky, best-selling kart racing games, well, real.
Very, very real.
In the long-running video game series, players take Nintendo's famed characters racing around colorful tracks in go-karts -- grabbing power-ups as they go. These power-ups affect the go-karts' behavior in various ways.
Now, the crew at the Austin-based Waterloo Labs has tricked out a group of real go-karts so that they respond to real power-ups inspired by the famed games. And they've put these karts to the test on a real racetrack -- or at least a real go-kart racetrack.
It basically works like this: Stars, bannana peels, Koopa shells -- the team has embedded RFID tags into each of these items which are placed in boxes strung above the track. Meanwhile, each kart contains an RFID reader. The go-karts drive normally until, say, the driver grabs a star. When an RFID-embedded star is near a kart, the the driver gets a speed boost. Meanwhile, an incoming Koopa shell will lock up the brakes and steering.
Check out the video above to see it all in action.
We've seen Nintendo fans bring the beloved racing games to life before, but this effort takes the bananas. For a more in-depth look at all the work that went into making real-world Mario Karts, check out the Waterloo Labs website for the project overview as well as the source code.
- Via TechCrunch
Winda Benedetti writes about video games for NBC News. You can follow her tweets about games and other things on Twitter here @WindaBenedetti and you can follow her on Google+. Meanwhile, be sure to check out the IN-GAME FACEBOOK PAGE to discuss the day's gaming news and reviews.