Mario Kart is one of the most popular games on the DS, but imagine using a virtual steering wheel to control your car. A patent has turned up showing just that, taking the DSi's touchscreen control to the next level.

In typical patent jargon, the document says:

In one exemplary illustrative non-limiting implementation, a video game or other application displays an image of a steering wheel. Such display may be on the same screen as one that displays other information such as a race course or other environment through which the vehicle may be maneuvered in a simulated fashion, or it may be on a different screen. The steering wheel display is, in one exemplary illustrative non-limiting implementation, displayed on a screen that is touch sensitive. The touch-sensitive functionality of the screen is used in at least some exemplary illustrative non-limiting implementations to allow the video game player to control the position of the steering wheel displayed on the screen. The displayed vehicle steering wheel position, in turn, is used to control the travel motion or direction of the vehicle being simulated. The resulting simulation provides a realistic input control interface obtainable using relatively inexpensive and compact input devices such as those available on conventional portable or other video game play and/or simulation platforms.

It'd do what the Wii did to racing games with the steering wheel peripheral. It's instantly more accessible to non-gamers, which is what Nintendo's all about these days. Sigh. [GoRumors]