‘Mario Kart’ Can Improve Your Real-World Driving Skills

Senior Contributor
07.25.16

Mario Kart is possibly the most beloved racing franchise on Earth, not to mention the source of ruin for thousands of friendships. But it turns out that getting behind the wheel of a kart might help you develop some real-world skills, at least if you use a steering wheel.

A study conducted by New York University Shanghai and the University of Hong Kong got together non-gamers and split them into two groups. One group got to play Mario Kart for a few hours with a steering wheel, while the other got to play a roller coaster tycoon type game. Then, both were tasked with finishing a simple driving sim where they had to stay at the center of the road in high winds. Unsurprisingly, the Mario Kart group did better than the tycoons, and not only that, they did better as they played more.

It seems obvious on the face of it, and there’s only so far we can take the conclusions. After all, it’s not like the Mario Kart drivers got behind the wheel in real life, and they might all be terrible drivers. But the study points out that playing games like Mario Kart improves hand-eye coordination and gets would-be drivers more familiar with the feel of handling a car. And investing in a Wii U and a copy of Mario Kart 8 is a lot cheaper than driving school. Of course, this could mean that a generation of drivers will be trying to fire a blue shell at you and chucking banana peels out their windows, but at least they’ll know how to drive, right?

(Via Yahoo! Finance)

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