For the first time, BANDAI NAMCO is bringing to the United States a number of popular VR experiences once only available in Japan and UK-based VR ZONE arcades. Included in the line-up is the much-awaited Mario Kart Arcade GP VR.
VR ZONE Portal Washington D.C. is officially opening up shop today at Union Station near the national mall. Bandai Namco’s ‘Portal’ naming scheme indicates that the venue is smaller than the full-sized VR ZONEs in both Shinjuku and Osaka, Japan.
VR games available to the public include Mario Kart VR, Argyle Shift, and Ski Rodeo, and appear to be on a first-come, first-serve basis with no reservations required.
The star of the show is undoubtedly Mario Kart VR though, which pits four players against each other using HTC Vive headsets, Vive Trackers, and motion platform outfitted with a steering wheel, acceleration and brake pedals. Users, playing as Mario, Peach, Luigi, or Toad race around the track grabbing classic items like banana skins and shells while dodging Bowser—essentially what everyone wants from a VR version of Mario Kart.
“BANDAI NAMCO is thrilled to be a part of the innovative, cutting-edge project that is VR ZONE Portal. The launches in Japan and the UK brought great success, and we hope to follow suit in Washington, D.C.,” said Steve Ignarski, National Sales Manager for Bandai Namco Amusement America. “Mario Kart VR is a long-awaited title and we have no doubt it will be well-received in the states, due to its incredible, immersive game-play and outstanding equipment from HTC Vive.”
There’s a catch however. All three VR experiences will be featured for only six months, meaning the VR ZONE Portal in D.C. is a limited time engagement that will close up shop presumably sometime in March 2019. Check out the VR Zone Portal Washington D.C. Facebook page for more info.