David Blecken
Feb 27, 2017

Nintendo wants real-life Mario Karts off Tokyo's streets

The company is suing a popular go-karting operator for copyright violation.

Source: Still from YouTube video by user 'Kolton'
Source: Still from YouTube video by user 'Kolton'

Many Tokyo residents are likely to have seen, and possibly even complained about, MariCar drivers. The novelty tourist attraction, which receives high ratings from users but some Tokyoites regard as a menace, has customers dress as Mario, Luigi and a host of other unrelated characters and take to the city streets in souped-up go-karts.

The phenomenon looks likely to become a thing of the past. On 24 February, Nintendo issued a statement on its website announcing it is suing the Shinagawa-based company for copyright infringement.

Nintendo states the name MariCar is an abbreviation of its own ‘Mario Kart’ game. It notes that the company also failed to obtain permission to use the character costumes. Nintendo vows to protect its intellectual property, which it has “built up over many years of effort”.

As you might expect, the go-karts are not alone in exploiting Nintendo’s brand equity. Last year saw the launch of ‘Sepia Go’ in China, a mobile game uncannily like the Wii U title ‘Splatoon’. China is also home to ‘Super Smash Bros’. With famously loose copyright laws, the country is much more challenging than Japan for Nintendo to police.

Campaign Japan

Related Articles

Just Published

7 hours ago

Campaign Crash Course: How to maximise DOOH returns

Digital out-of-home media buying is becoming more common and accessible across Asia. So how does it fit with an omnichannel strategy and how can you measure its returns?

7 hours ago

Raya film festival: Watch ads from Julie’s, ...

This year’s top prize goes to snack brand Julie’s, whose ad turned Raya stereotypes on its head and will be remembered for years to come.

7 hours ago

TikTok to marketers: Go native and multigenerational

The platform enlisted KFC at NewFronts in the US to persuade advertisers to spend on TikTok.

8 hours ago

Uninformed consent, addiction among persistent ...

CAMPAIGN360: Around 170,000 children go online for the first time every day, but the industry has yet to find a way to build their trust and target them safely.