Tesla's new Arcade section replaces Pole Position with a fun Mario Kart clone.
Believe it or not, Tesla has been in the center "console" business for nearly a year now. First announced last summer, the automaker has since installed a handful of Atari games in a feature dubbed Teslatari. Among these included classics such as Asteroids, Lunar Lander, and Tempest.
But Tesla has had trouble getting racing games onto the platform. Initially, CEO Elon Musk wanted to include a version of Mario Kart. Unfortunately, Nintendo would not license the franchise to Tesla. It is very rare for Nintendo to license their properties to other developers, especially on non-Nintendo platforms.
So instead, the automaker added a custom version of the Namco Atari joint project Pole Position. The Tesla remake of the arcade game had players driving a Tesla Model 3 on the surface of mars. Standard stuff. But it also replaced the Namco and Pepsi billboards of the arcade original with roadside ads for Tesla. Completely ridiculous. Tesla doesn't advertise.
Pole Position also allowed the player to use the steering wheel and pedals on the Model 3 to control the game. But sadly, it was quietly removed from the Teslatari lineup a few months ago. When asked about the removal on Twitter, Musk explained "Couldn’t resolve all the rights issues. Will add another racing game soon."
Attack of the Mario Kart Clone
So, with no Mario Kart and now no Pole Position, what is an automotive CEO to do? Why, license a shameless Mario Kart clone of course!
That clone being Beach Buggy Racing 2, a mobile game with several tracks that bear a striking resemblance to the Mario Kart games of yore. Of course, that's the entire point. Beach Buggy Racing 2 seems to do a great job scratching the Mario Kart itch on systems that Nintendo does not support.
Beach Buggy Racing 2 has been fairly well reviewed since its initial launch on Android and iOS. The game has enough to differentiate itself from the classic Nintendo franchise. Plus, this exclusive version lets you pilot a Tesla, making it instantly better than Mario Kart. Mario and pals are still driving "gas guzzling" go karts.
The game is accessible under the newly re-branded Tesla Arcade section, along with the original lineup of Atari games. As with before, the games are meant to be played while sitting at a charging station or parked. It can not be played while the vehicle is in motion. The game should be compatible with every Model 3 on the road and newer editions of the Model S and Model X.
The Verge recently took some time to test out controls via the steering wheel and they seem to work well enough. Tesla says they have more games on the way in the future. In the mean time, be sure to check out the hands on preview of Beach Buggy Racing 2.
Video Description via The Verge on YouTube:
Tesla Arcade is pulling the company’s secret video game features out of the shadows and bringing them front and center, starting today. Tesla Arcade is a new video game hub found across its line of electric cars. Earlier this afternoon, Tesla brought a Model 3 to downtown San Francisco to let The Verge try out Arcade and its newest title, developer Vector Unit’s Beach Buggy Racing 2.