We don't really grow up. Our toys just get bigger.
Just like video games, car infotainment systems have evolved massively in the last couple of decades. In 2019, the two worlds have come crashing together with new innovations such as racing simulators and collaborations with automakers. While we enjoying playing Forza on a wheel and pedal setup, wouldn't it be a lot cooler if you could play the game on an actual car? This dream is edging closer to reality.
At the 2019 Mobile World Congress, Mercedes-Benz showed the capabilities of its new MBUX infotainment system by allowing attendees to play a knock-off version of Mario Kart on the dashboard of a new 2020 CLA.
Mercedes is no stranger to the Mario Kart franchise, having introduced three of its iconic models into the game back in 2014. The demo wasn't actually Mario Kart, but an open-source version called SuperTuxKart. The game may not feature iconic characters like Mario, Luigi, and Bowser, but all of the essential controls are present - the player has the ability to steer, drift, and pick up items to use against opposing racers.
The MBUX system allows you to control the in-game car using the real-life steering wheel and pedals - the paddle shifters even control the drift and item functions. These aren't the only elements of the car integrated into the game either. Since the whole car is connected to the game, the air vents blow air depending on your speed in the game, the ambient lighting goes from red to green when the race starts, and the seatbelt tightens when you crash.
Of course, all of this only works when the car is in park and it won't be available on your new Mercedes just yet. This display was just a demo to show what the MBUX system is capable but Mercedes says it is interested in making car-based gaming like this available in the near future. MBUX already enables owners to purchase new features such as navigation and Apple CarPlay, so it doesn't seem out of the realm of possibility for Mercedes to offer video games on the system.