MAKE@SXSW 2014As a long-time player of Mario Kart on Nintendo, I felt a strong sense of nostalgia in front of the SXSW Gaming Expo yesterday. There, Penzoil set up “Mario Kart: Reimagined,” a go-kart racetrack where each driver takes on the role of a Mario Kart character.

And just like the game, power ups along the raceway allow you to get a speed boost (or perhaps even slow you down). That system runs on RFID tags and sensors; each driver gets and RFID wristband and the cars have tags in them as well. Sensors along the track can tell when you’ve run over the power ups and act accordingly. In this version of the game, if you get five power ups, you get a nice speed boost to fly by your opponents.

Mario Kart

The folks from Penzoil were happy to give MAKE a behind-the-scenes look at how it all works and we found that it’s a complex operation. Not only do they need crews to monitor the sensors, gameplay, and karts, but they also have a full television production crew to create a downloadable video of your race, complete with 4-Up POV shots and NASCAR-style camerawork. Check out the video above to see how it all comes together and I’ll see you on Rainbow Road!

MattRichardson

Matt Richardson

Matt Richardson is a San Francisco-based creative technologist and Contributing Editor at MAKE. He’s the co-author of Getting Started with Raspberry Pi and the author of Getting Started with BeagleBone.


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