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A virtual reality Mario Kart game has boosted into OC

A virtual reality Mario Kart game has boosted into OC
Courtesy Nintendo/BANDAI NAMCO

As we anxiously await to see what sort of Nintendo fun is being cooked up at Universal Studios, a bit of virtual green shell mayhem has boosted into Orange County to hold us over.

Mario Kart VR is now playable at Irvine’s K1 Speed. Here’s the gist: You plop onto a kart-shaped rumble seat, complete with pedals and a steering wheel, and strap on an HTC Vive virtual reality headset as well as a set of VIVE Tracker controllers. Then you can steer your way through a four-player race—you can choose from Mario, Luigi, Peach or Yoshi—in which you use your hands to virtually pluck green shells and bananas out of the air and throw them at your competitors. Check out the video below if you’re still a little unclear on the setup.

The game is the centerpiece attraction at the VR Zone Portal, a traveling virtual reality arcade from Bandai Namco that also includes a skiing simulator, a mech-piloting shooter and a pair of non-VR Pac-Man games. The experience first opened in Japan, and it made its U.S. debut late last year in Washington, D.C., before moving over to Irvine on June 12—it’s now the only spot in the U.S. to experience Mario Kart VR. No specific end date is given for the game’s run, though a post on K1’s site estimates it’ll be up for at least a year.

It’ll cost you $12 for a race that lasts about five minutes—or $20 for two. If you’re interested in the other games, you can pay for them piecemeal, or get one go on all of them for $25. All games are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

You’ll find K1 Speed at 17221 Von Karman Avenue in Irvine, open Mon–Thu noon–10pm, Fri 11am–11pm, Sat 10am–midnight, Sun 10am–9pm.

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