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Real-Life Mario Kart Company Loses Big Nintendo Lawsuit

A Japanese company providing Mario Kart-themed tours of Tokyo has been dealt a major loss. According to a report from Kotaku, a lawsuit filed by Nintendo has just been reinforced with a higher penalty.


Nintendo seemingly first became aware of the copyright-infringing tour when videos of participants were uploaded online. Though these videos went viral for their goofy fun on display, Nintendo saw things in a very different light. Nintendo sued the tour company, MariCar, for copying Nintendo's intellectual property for its own gain. 

The original trial didn't work in MariCar's favor. The judge ruled against the company and MariCar was ordered to pay Nintendo 10 million yen, which is roughly 92,000 U.S. dollars. Unfortunately, when MariCar appealed the verdict, it lost even bigger, with the amount changing to 50 million yen, or about $458,000 USD.

Since the lawsuit, the company has rebranded itself, changing its name to Street Kart. It also swapped out the Mario-themed attire for its customers with superhero costumes. Even the verbiage on the Street Kart website has been updated to reflect the fact that the company is distancing itself from it's Nintendo-themed roots. However, this may come too little, too late.


Super Nintendo World is likely a big factor in this case

While it's understandable that Nintendo is trying to protect its copyright, there are other things that likely factored into this lawsuit. Chief among them is the fact that there will soon be officially-sanctioned Mario Kart attractions at Universal Studios locations around the world. This is in addition to rumored rides featuring Mario's cast-mates Yoshi and Donkey Kong.


More than anything else, this upcoming theme park venture is a major reason for Nintendo to want to keep the Mario Kart brand from being diluted by similar attractions using similar designs.

Again, it's completely reasonable for Nintendo to have reacted in the way it did. Still, the chaotic beauty of those viral videos will be missed. Not since Remi Gallard took to the streets of Paris in a tiny go-kart in 2011 have we seen this kind of wacky Nintendo wish fulfillment. Hopefully the official Mario Kart rides will be worth the wait, because it's unlikely that anyone will try to follow in MariCar's footsteps any time soon.