A Mario Kart Navigation Arrow Will Be Available On Google Maps For A Week In Celebration Of “Mario Day”
If you've opened the Google Maps app on your phone today, you may have noticed it looks distinctly Nintendo-flavored. That's because the games giant and Google have joined forces to celebrate Mar. 10 — aka MAR10 Day — in true nerdy fashion: By bringing everyone's favorite plumber Mario to the Google Maps app for both Android and iOS. The Verge reported that Google is calling the augmentation "Mario Time." Folks who use Google Maps will see a yellow question mark icon pop up next to destinations, and if you tap it, Mario will "become the navigation arrow in his kart and accompany you along your commute," The Verge reported.
Mario Time isn't a game, which may seem disappointing at first, but remember, generally you use Google Maps when you're, you know, driving. Mario Time may not involve dodging other drivers at breakneck speed, but according to The Verge, if you tap the question mark icon 100 times, you'll earn a little gift straight out of Nintendo's games: A 1-UP sound.
Mario will stick around for one week to help guide you to all the right castles.
This isn't the first time Google has gotten its geek on. Back in 2014, before Pokémon Go took the world by storm, Google celebrated April Fools' Day by adding 150 catchable Pokémon to Google Maps. Users who wanted to catch 'em all had to traverse terrains where Pokémon would realistically be found.
Google also paid homage to the 2015 release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens by giving users the ability to turn their Google Maps travel marker into either a TIE fighter or an X-wing. Depending on their piloting preferences, of course.
If relegating your Mario celebration to just one day isn't doable for you, it's totally understandable — and also lucky for you, because several big Mario projects are apparently in the works. Nintendo announced Jan. 31 on Twitter that it's working on a smartphone app called Mario Kart Tour, which will be released sometime before April 2019.
For a little Mario gaming sooner than that, fans will have Mario Tennis Aces for the Nintendo Switch on June 22. According to Engadget, the four-player game will feature more than 15 characters, and will also introduce the Zone Shot, "a special move that lets you use motion controls to aim your shot precisely."
In tandem with the January Mario Kart Tour announcement, Nintendo revealed that Mario is officially going to star in his first big-screen animated film. We know the movie will be co-produced by video game designer, producer, and longtime Mario-er Shigeru Miyamoto, but Nintendo hasn't released much more information than that.
And if even all that wasn't enough, get ready to have an IRL Mario experience: United Studios Japan plans to feature a Mario Kart ride in its currently-under-construction theme park Super Nintendo World, according to Engadget. We don't have a date for its opening, but Jamie Rigg writing for Engadget said the park will likely be ready for business sometime before the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
It is important to note that in order to get Mario Time to work in your Google Maps app, you'll need to have it and your overall iOS completely updated. If you're having problems getting the event to work, double-check that Maps is also updated.
Folks say that things always come back into style, but honestly, it's hard to argue that Mario ever went out of style. Mario is a cultural touchstone that unites gamer n00bs, vintage purists, and even the non-gamers among us. We can all relate to the frustration of jumping at the wrong time, looking for love in the wrong places, and defeating a little evil along the way.