Because boys never grow up, their toys just get bigger.
Here at Motor1.com, we are all huge fans of video games. I mean, we love all kinds of virtual racing simulators – from the most realistic ones to titles with arcade game-inspired graphics and surrealistic physics. Like, you guessed it, Mario Kart, Nintendo’s mega-hit from the 1990s. You can imagine how excited we were when we discovered Mercedes-Benz has presented a Mario Kart integrated into the infotainment system of the new CLA sedan.
During the 2019 Mobile World Congress held in Barcelona from 25 to 28 February, the German automaker had a CLA on display at its stand. It was there to showcase the latest improvements of the brand’s MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment system, including a number of new applications. Visitors were able to play Mario Kart on the vehicle’s central screen.
In fact, the game in question is SuperTuxKart, an open-source version of Mario Kart. It’s a cross-platform, running on Linux, macOS, Windows, and Android systems, and – apparently – on Mercedes’ latest generation infotainment system.
Interestingly, the manufacturer has involved a lot more than just the steering wheel and pedals in the experience. For example, the air vents blow air and the airflow depends on the speed of the car in the game. In addition, the interior’s LED ambient lighting switches from red to green at the start of the race. Finally, when the kart of the player crashes with a competitor, the seat belt tightens.
While the integration of Mario Kart in the MBUX is just an exercise to show what the system is capable of, Mercedes plans to deliver gaming applications to its customers in the very near future. You can already play a medley of classic Atari video games on the infotainment screen of your Tesla – and soon you will be able to race a tiny kart from the driver's seat of your Mercedes. Digitalization might not be that bad after all.