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Mario Kart Live is not Nintendo’s first attempt at remote-controlled cars

Nintendo Lefty RX© Before Mario

Mario Kart Live caused a stir when it was recently announced; It’s a new “toy” from Nintendo that mixes the real world with augmented reality on your Switch console’s display and hits the market next month.

Nintendo has teamed up with developer Velan Studios to create Mario Kart Live. However, it is worth noting that this is not the first time the Japanese giant has explored the concept of remote-controlled cars. The Lefty RX was produced as early as 1

972, an RC set designed by Gunpei Yokoi and later developing the Game & Watch and Game Boy lines.

Although the Lefty RX arrived at a time when RC toys were still quite new and expensive, it kept costs down by only allowing the car to turn left (hence the name, see?) And keeping the internal parts as simple as possible to keep. It cost 4,980 yen (around $ 45), which was much cheaper than Tamiya’s first RC car, based on the Porsche 934 Turbo RSR, which didn’t arrive until 1976.

Like Mario Kart Live, Nintendo decided to bring out the Lefty RX in a single-pack variant that gave you a car, remote control, charging station, batteries, screwdriver, and a sheet of stickers. The car – available in red, blue and gold – contained a rechargeable power cell that was refilled by physically connecting it to the charging station. While other RC cars were expected to perform a wide variety of movements – accelerating, turning in two directions, and even moving backwards – the Lefty RX reduced that complexity (and therefore price) by offering just one button on its remote control . To move the car forward, you pulled the trigger, and to slow it down and turn left, you simply released the button.

This optimized control method naturally had its limits. Since the cars could only turn left, the players could only go counterclockwise. You can create a track with a set of small plastic cones (included in the Lefty RX Double and Triple sets) that accurately predict the “virtual track” you’ll need to create with Mario Kart Live – or you can just Create your own course around your living room.

The Lefty series was later expanded to include the Lefty RX GT Sport and Lefty RX Proto-Type and was incredibly successful in Japan. Mario Kart Live is sure to match or exceed that success, but it’s interesting that this isn’t Nintendo’s first attempt at cracking this particular market.

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