Makers at the recent HackIllinois event walked away with first place by modifying a Chevrolet Volt to work as a controller in Mario Kart 64.
Sitting inside of the car, a player can steer using the car’s wheel and accelerate using the pedals. Activating the high beam lights acts as a jump, and the windscreen wipers activate a throwing item.
This was done by connecting to the car’s ODB port with a Raspberry Pi and a PiCAN2. After using software to decipher the outputs from that port, the actions could be mapped to keyboard controls used inside of an emulation of Mario Kart 64.
While this wasn’t the initial plan for the team’s project (a game of car tag, machine learning, and LED readouts were considered), Mario kart was decided upon as a joke.
“…over lunch Saturday, one of our team members jokingly suggested Mario Kart, but controlled by an actual car, and after a minute of laughter and a minute of concerned thought, it was generally realized that that was in fact a viable idea,” the blog post about the project reads.
We have to wonder if this was also inspired by the joke video about modding a Porsche to run DOOM. And, yes, that is the same guy who created the famous video about using a toaster as a controller.