Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit gets unofficial remote play on

Readers of a certain age will no doubt remember some region variation of TV Powww. The syndicated program, which found viewers at home giving directions over the phone to an in-studio operating playing an Intellivision game.

Perhaps the best-known variant is New York’s TV PIXXX, wherein the player would say “PIXX” (a reference to the station’s call letters), in hopes of winning a T-shirt or U.S. Savings Bond. The game was, famously, plagued with the sorts of technical and latency issues one might expect from such an enterprise.

Technology has, thankfully, come a long way since then. Live streaming and cloud gaming in particular have finally started coming into their own in recent years. Founded in 2017, Finnish service offers a clever twist on these verticals, offering remote play versions of games with physical elements. Things like pinball, robot fighting and claw machines feature prominently. Naturally, all of that makes Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit a perfect candidate for what the site offers.

Launched last week, Surrogate is currently offering users the chance to play the game remotely during a number of blocks throughout the week (keep in mind that human beings need to be present in-person on the other side). Using the service, four players at a time can control the RC karts, using feeds from the the remote Switches that offer up the AR overlay.

Image Credits: Surrogate

To accomplish the experience (which, Surrogate is quick to note, is in no way affiliate with Nintendo), the site emulated the Switch using the GitHub NSGadgetPi project, which is built with an Adafruit M0 microcontroller. Beyond that, each of the karts, meanwhile, requires the following, per Surrogate,

  • Nintendo Switch – To run the game.

  • Nintendo Mario or Luigi RC Kart – To be driven on the race track.

  • Raspberry Pi 4 – To run SurroRTG and Surrogate’s custom image recognition.

  • HDMI Capture Card – To capture the video feed.

  • USB Sound Card – To capture the sound.

Image Credits: Surrogate

It’s a fun way to experience the game without spending $99 on a kart (and four times that to get the full four-player in-person experience). Though, as anticipated, there are some lag issues, as a few of our staff members who have tried it out can attest. Getting the hang of it takes a few races, and that can eat up some serious time. Depending on when you play, the waiting list gets pretty long — and getting some press coverage will likely only make matter worse.

Image Credits: Surrogate

At very least, however, things have improved tremendously since the days of TV Powww.

#gaming, #mario-kart, #mario-kart-live-home-circuit, #techcrunch


Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit review

Text: Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit review by Bryce Durbin [Image: drawing of Mario Kart car next to Nintendo Switch]
Text: Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit is a remote-controlled car connected wirelessly to the Nintendo Switch. It's available for $99.99 on October 16. The game it's played with is a free download. [Image: drawing of closeup of Mario Kart toy] Text: The car has a camera above Mario (or Luigi) so you can see from his point of view on the Switch screen. Augmented reality (AR) elements are overlaid on what you see for a reality-bending cart experience. [Image: drawing of in-game play in a living room]
Text: Players build the course using four gates and optional arrow signboards. I found the more complicated you make your course, the more challenging the game will be. [Image: A drawing of a simple race setup in a living room] Text: In one-player mode, you can race against the Koopalings in a Grand Prix, do a time trial, or make a custom course. As you play, you can unlock customizations to your kart. [Image: A drawing of an in-game image of Builder Mario]
Text: Obstacles include in-game mainstays like banana peels and bombs as well as whatever hasn't been swept out of the way of your custom-made course. [Image: In-game image of living room floor including real-life toys and in-game banana peel and bob-omb] Text: Most of the course themes will be familiar if you've played Mario Kart before... [Image: In-game image of Rainbow Road course]
Text: ...but each track I tested had surprises, such as a track styled after the original Super Mario Bros or a course that sometimes becomes mirrored. [Image: In-game drawing of World 1-1 with goomba being struck by kart] Text: It's a strange and delightful game experience. Without the AR layer, it's just a relatively slow-moving RC kart. [Image: a drawing of the Mario Kart toy]
Text: I didn't have the opportunity to race against other real-life players in multiplayer mode. It requires each player to have their own additional car *and* Switch. [Image: Mario and Luigi racers, two Nintendo Switches]
Text: Overall, this is a novel toy that has replay value depending on how much time and space you want to to devote to making custom courses. [Image: dining room scene of child and Mario Kart race track]


#entertainment, #gaming, #hardware, #mario-kart, #mario-kart-live-home-circuit, #nintendo, #reviews, #tc