It looks like Nintendo’s recent AR endeavor may the first of many ambitious augmented reality projects.
Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit was released on October 16 for the Nintendo Switch and has received generally favorable reviews. This game which started development in mid-2017, comes with a simple Mario (or Luigi) RC car, armed with a special camera you will see through on your Nintendo Switch screen (or docked mode). You must also set up these included course gates to sync the technology. Your real-life house becomes a real Mario Kart race since you can now see your simple RC kart come to life and race AI-controlled Koopaling racers in various Super Mario environments. Both Nintendo and Velan Studios (the game’s developer) seem to be very proud of the technology as seen in a recent CNET interview.
According to the CEO of Velan, Karthik Bala: “The breakthrough technology is that we’ve fundamentally decoupled the camera and sensors from the host device (the Nintendo Switch system), which unlocks all sorts of new possibilities. It’s a rich new paradigm to explore in the future!” Nintendo seems to feel the same way since the game’s producer, Yosuke Tamori, went on to say: “I believe that in Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit, it’s possible to see the Nintendo philosophy of developing new, unique integrated hardware-software entertainment.” It’s worth noting that Tamori started out as a graphic designer for the Zelda series becoming a communication manager on Nintendo Labo. It’s safe to say that he is open-minded to unorthodox hardware that no one would think would work.
This is also not Nintendo’s first AR endeavor as the Nintendo 3DS had a special built-in camera and launched with pre-installed AR mini-games which worked with special cards. Games like Kid Icarus Uprising and Bravely Default also had side-modes that took advantage of AR.
Which Nintendo franchises would you like to see have an augmented reality game on Nintendo Switch? Feel free to comment below!
Dave’s first Nintendo platform was the GameCube when he was age 7; however, he was introduced to Nintendo through Duck Hunt on NES.