Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit bridges the gap between traditional toys and video games by offering a unique spin on augmented reality gaming.

For nearly two decades, video games have toyed with the idea of “Augmented Reality,” or AR. From the primitive PlayStation Eye to the more advanced Face Wars mini-game on the Nintendo 3DS, AR games have become somewhat common-place on consoles with camera peripherals. However, some have debated how AR could have a future, and while some games like Pokemon GO have broken stride, Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit is a different beast.

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit breaks that video game/periphery/toy barrier by offering a full-sized AR gaming experience unlike any other. Home Circuit‘s AR technology works similarly to other Augmented Reality games: 3D game models are displayed on the game screen, mixing in with the real world and giving the player a sense of the real and virtual worlds becoming one. Playing within one’s own home, the player can feel as if they’re really a part of the Super Mario world, making for a unique game experience.

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Mario Kart Meets Reality

Mario Kart Live Home Circuit Unlockable Cosmetics

But Augmented Reality isn’t the only element that makes Home Circuit a satisfying experience, as the real magic comes from the game’s main peripheral, the Mario and Luigi race cars. Equipped with cameras in front, the kart toys are one of the most interesting pieces of hardware that Nintendo has released in a very long time. The remote-controlled karts capture the world around them, while actively displaying the 3D game models in real-time. This unique mixing of toys and Augmented Reality is unlike anything ever done before, and it’s executed so well that it makes for an incredibly fun experience.

A Truly Unique Experience

Mario encounters the Koopalings while racing

Perhaps the greatest part of Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit is its overall package: it successfully bridges the gap between video games and traditional toy. Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit uses cardboard gates, directional signs, and of course, the remote-controlled race kart with the Nintendo Switch in order to create a video game that is also a play toy. The game is likely to be big among the younger Nintendo crowds, with the item appealing to toy lovers and racing lovers alike.

Future of Augmented Reality

Nintendo Switch

The big question now is, what’s next? With Home Circuit breaking the barrier of what “video games” and “toys” can be defined as, what does this mean for the future of each of those respective game mediums? It’s a wonder of whether Nintendo, or any other games developer, will continue down this new avenue that’s been created. Nintendo has gone down a similar path with the creation of Amiibos, the collectible figures that have in-game usage; but it’ll be interesting to see if Nintendo will go even further, by creating more real-world toys that have an even more significant impact on future games, with more implementation of Augmented Reality or some other sort of technology.

The Japanese gaming company has always loved to push the boundaries of gaming, ever since it introduced R.O.B. back in the days of the Nintendo Entertainment System. And if the recent release of Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit has proven anything, it’s that there’s still plenty of creativity remaining within both Nintendo, and the gaming industry as a whole.

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit is available now on Nintendo Switch.

MORE: Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit Makes Replacement Parts Available Online

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