Easily the most recognizable video game character of all time, Mario has come a long way from his early days as a jumping character in 1981’s Donkey Kong. As Nintendo’s unofficial mascot, Mario is almost certainly priceless to the video game company as his many iterations and franchises continue to grow and expand. The latest installment, Super Mario Odyssey, swiftly became Nintendo’s fastest-selling Mario game ever following its release at the end of 2017.
But to those who grew up on the N64 back in the ’90s, perhaps one Mario franchise remains the most dear of all: Mario Kart. The fast-paced racing game featured some of Nintendo’s most beloved characters and indeed still provides entertainment in many a frat house today.
But now, thanks to a cool promotion by Google, you can turn your commute into Mario Kart on your own phone in real time… just don’t get too carried away while driving!
If you’re like me, you might use Google Maps every day of your life to help you get around. Whether walking, driving, or just looking for somewhere to grab a drink, Google Maps is an extremely handy app.
But it’s fun, too.
Over the years, Google Maps has been known to drop Easter eggs and fun games to make their user interface more exciting. Perhaps the most famous of these is whenever they let you turn any map into a game of Ms. Pac-Man.
This week, in preparation for Mario Day (March 10 = Mar10), Google Maps has released a new fun feature.
All you need to do is make sure you have the app updated, and then while searching for directions, you can enable Mario Time.
It’s simple: Before starting your route, select the block with the question mark on it in the lower-right corner of your screen. Immediately, your normal arrow navigation gets replaced by Mario, ready to go with his kart revving.
Your ride has never been more exciting. Whether you’re headed to a spaghetti dinner or off to rescue Princess Peach from Bowser, Mario will be riding right alongside you. A disclaimer from Google says they “encourage throwing bananas or red shells at other drivers in real life!”
But wait, there’s more!
Google is encouraging people to share their experiences with Mario as their guide using the hashtag #MarioMaps, helping spread the word about this fun update in honor of Mar10 Day. Here’s what Google had to say about the release:
“Ready to take a drive with Mario? He’ll start rolling out on Maps globally today, and will join you on your road trips for a week. Take a screenshot of your route and share it with @GoogleMaps on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #MarioMaps. But remember, make sure to avoid sharing personal details like your home or work address (seriously, think before you post). Let’s-a go!”
Users have been reacting favorably to the new feature while making some jokes of their own.
@jonnyheintz said, “Heads up, you can be Mario on Google Maps today… Does not provide turtle shells to throw however..” Similarly, @josej_100 tweeted, “Getting directions on my way to school, hoping not to get hit by a blue shell.” @Pikaboi shared an image of a road on Google Maps covered in red and wrote, “mario kart except there’s traffic.”
That’s gotta hurt.
What do you think of this latest update from Google Maps? SHARE this article with all your Mario-loving friends and drive safe!