You Can Turn Google Maps Into Mario Kart & It's Every '90s Kid's Dream

by Collette Reitz

Sometimes driving can be a drag. If there's a lot of traffic or bad weather, getting behind the wheel can turn into a real chore. Well, you are in luck if you have plans to hit the open road soon, because Google Maps has released a new update that will make your next car trip so fun (and super nostalgic). Here's how to get Mario on your Google Maps to make your next car ride the stuff of '90s video game dreams.

This awesome Mario Kart update officially hits the Google Maps app on Saturday, March 10, 2018 (which happens to be Mario Day), according to the official Google blog. To make your favorite '90s video game character your companion on your Google Maps trip, you'll first need to make sure that your Google Maps app is updated. Once you've updated the app, it only takes a couple of steps to get you riding in style (and searching for gold coins) with your plumber pal, Mario.

First, click on the yellow question mark icon located on the bottom right of your phone screen. Next, you'll be prompted to enable Mario Time. To say "yes" to Mario Time, tap the aptly labeled button that says "Let's-A-Go!" Once you've enabled Mario Time, you can say goodbye to the boring navigation arrow since Mario will take over your route in his iconic go-kart right there on the map.


While you're probably pumped to start all of your Mario adventures with Google Maps, there is a catch. This Google Maps Mario makeover will only last a week: from Saturday, March 10 (Mario Day) until Saturday, March 17. I know, I know, why do I have to bring down your throwback dreams before they even begin? But, in a little bit of good news, the Mario Time feature rolls out globally on Friday, March 9 — so you might be able to squeeze in one extra day of Mario fun.

Google also reminds you that even though you'll have your favorite Mario Kart pal riding with you for the week, you should still remember to stay safe on the roads. That means all banana and red shell throwing is off limits since there are (sadly) no real star power-ups to shield you from them.

Staying safe doesn't mean you can't have fun, though. Google is encouraging their users to snag a screenshot of your Mario Time Google Maps route before you start driving. Then, you can share your map with Google (@GoogleMaps) on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #MarioMaps. One caveat here is to remember that you're (unfortunately) not actually cruising in Mushroom Kingdom, so you'll want to make sure that you don't share personal details like your home or work address.

As someone who never owned a Nintendo gaming console, I was usually relegated to watching my more skilled video game pals drive their way through Mushroom Kingdom (and if I did play, I was pretty salty because I never got to play as Princess Peach). So, the news that I can actually take Mario with me on my travels this week is music to my late-'90s ears.

Yeah, it's kind of a bummer that you can only trek to the spaghetti house (or wherever!) with Mario for a week, but I have a feeling that it's likely going to be the best week of your year so far.

Plus, even better news is that this latest Mario Google Maps global update is all inclusive. Remember how Google's last update back in January hit a roadblock in some areas? The Google Arts & Culture app rolled out a feature that would let you find out what historical piece of fine art shared your resemblance, but some strict biometric laws in state like Texas and Illinois prevented their residents from using the app. It was a total bummer for the people who were left out.

Well, there are no reports yet of restrictions on the Mario Time feature, so update your Google Maps app ASAP, and buckle up for your best week ever in the Mushroom Kingdom.