A crowdfunding site was launched in Japan to support the karting company Nintendo sued for intellectual property infringement. The global pandemic has significantly affected the Japanese tourism industry, impacting the rental kart company, which was previously called Maricar.
Earlier this year, the company was ordered to pay Nintendo 50 million yen ($458,000) for violating the game maker’s intellectual property. The karting service is now dubbed Street Kart Tokyo Bay, and the official site carries the following disclaimer:
Street Kart is in no way a reflection of Nintendo, the game ‘Mario Kart’.(We do not provide rental of costumes of Mario Series.)
Though, while it claims to have absolutely no connection with Mario Kart, the service’s official Facebook page is, as of publishing, running a clip with tourists dressed as Mario and Luigi.
The crowdfunding page pointed out how Street Kart is aimed at foreigners traveling to Japan, but the novel coronavirus pandemic and the lack of foreign tourists has made things difficult. The crowdfunding page was launched on April 24 on Campfire, Japan’s version of Kickstarter, and ran until June 30. It was even introduced on Japanese news sites like Nico Nico News and Game Impress Watch.
As you can see in the lead image, only four people donated a total of 11,569 yen ($107.57), and the goal of 2,000,000 yen ($18,596.35) was not met. It didn’t even reach one percent of it.
Kotaku reached out to Street Kart for comment, but did not hear back prior to publication.
To be clear, I like karting, but as someone who has driven on the same roads as karting tourists, I can say the experience for me, a driver in an automobile, was, well, unnerving. (Tourists have caused rental kart accidents—here, here, and here.) Legal issues aside, I do wonder if other people in Japan felt the same way or thought that it was an annoyance, hence the lackluster crowdfunding support.