Nintendo said Thursday it has won a court battle against a popular go-kart operator that allows drivers to dress up as Super Mario and other game characters to zip through the streets of Japan. (Shutterstock/iamtui7)
Nintendo said Thursday it has won a court battle against a popular go-kart operator that allows drivers to dress up as Super Mario and other game characters to zip through the streets of Japan.
Visitors to Tokyo and other major Japanese cities are often stunned to see convoys of karts driven by people -- usually tourists -- dressed up as Mario, Yoshi, Princess Peach and other popular Nintendo characters buzzing around busy streets.
Unlike many countries, Japan has no ban on people driving go-karts on public roads.
But the court ruling looks set to bring such Nintendo-themed antics screaching to a halt.
The video gaming giant said the ruling blocks the "MariCAR" go-kart service from lending Mario and other characters' costumes to its customers.
Nintendo complained its popular racing game "Mario Kart" is known widely as "MariKar", just like the go-kart service's name.
It also argued that the karting company had not been given permission to allow drivers to dress up as its characters, or use photo and video footage from the racing game in its publicity materials.
"We will continue to take necessary steps against damage being done to our brand and intellectual properties, which we have spent years to build," Nintendo said in a brief statement.
Nintendo added that it also won damages but did not discuss the financial amount.
The go-kart operator Mari Mobility, which has changed its official name from MariCar, said in a brief statement that it will review the ruling before deciding what to do next.
The company website says its service "is in no way a reflection" of Nintendo's Mario Kart, and tells customers not to race one another, nor throw banana peels or red turtle shells -- all things you can famously do in Nintendo's frenetic racing game.
Occasional accidents among go-karters on Japan's streets have prompted authorities to require operators improve safety measures, like having seat belts and wearing helmets.