Police track down, arrest Taiwanese national. Mario presumed innocent.
If you’re a fan of video games, driving, or quirkiness in general, a fun thing to do while you’re in Tokyo is to rent a go-kart, dress up like a Nintendo character, and go cruising around the streets of the capital with a group of friends in a real-life recreation of the beloved Mario Kart franchise. However, things got a little too close to the source material last Friday night.
At roughly 6:20 p.m., a 19-year-old Japanese male (legally still a minor under Japanese law), was riding his bike across an intersection in Tokyo’s Soto Kanda neighborhood, the address which corresponds with otaku mecca Akihabara. Before he made it to the other side, though, he was struck by a go-kart that was making a left turn through the crosswalk. The driver of the kart is described as “doing cosplay of a video game character” at the time of the collision.
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While Mario Kart falls into the racing genre, those who have played the game know that bumping, pushing, and otherwise incapacitating other vehicles on the road is A-OK within the game. Perhaps the driver was operating under the same logic, as after he hit the bicyclist, he sped off, mimicking the game’s racers who don’t bother to slow down after taking out an opponent. No word on whether he also gave the stricken cyclist a Luigi-class death stare before leaving the scene.
However, his escape was only temporary, as officers from the Tokyo Metropolitan Police’s nearby Manseibashi Precinct eventually identified the kart’s driver as a 35-year-old tourist from Taiwan, who has subsequently been placed under arrest for the hit-and-run and has admitted to the charges. Oddly enough, the driver gave his name as “Pilot,” which further suggests that maybe he shouldn’t be at the controls of land-based transportation.
Follow Casey on Twitter, where’s he’s never done real-life Mario Kart, but has driven long distances while listening to the Rage Racer soundtrack.