A bizarre new free DLC from Nintendo puts gaming hero Super Mario in the driving seat of a brand new Mercedes motor in the upcoming Mario Kart 8.
For the first time in the Mario Kart series’ 22 year history a real-life vehicle, the Mercedes-Benz GLA, will be drivable in the Mushroom Kingdom in the Japanese version of the new Wii U game. Mario Kart 8 goes on sale in Nintendo’s home country today with a subsequent worldwide launch tomorrow and at present it’s not believed the free downloadable car will be available in other territories.
Alongside the Merc the usual assortment of zany and colourful customisable rides will be playable with new tricks such as gravity-defying driving and all favourite characters including Mario himself, Luigi, Yoshi and Peach are back for the ride in full HD graphics on the Wii U with 3DS version also available.
This weird product placement comes following Nintendo’s recent decision to license out its characters to other companies and on the flip side of the deal Super Mario appears in a new advert from Mercedes. Early in the promo the plumber is seen in his classic 8-bit form driving a pixelated GLA through the original NES platformer. Things take a rather strange turn when the real-life vehicle pulls up later in the clip and out steps an angry looking and muscle bound Mario who looks truly terrifying.
Product placement is nothing new in video games, going back as far as Cool Spot and beyond. That character itself was actually the spot from the 7-Up logo and as a more recent example Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker featured Pepsi, Doritos, Mountain Dew and AXE body spray (the US version of LYNX). However, dropping a Mercedes right in the middle of Mario Kart 8 is one of the strangest in-game adverts we’ve ever seen!