Nintendo

It’s kind of annoying to play the latest Mario Kart for Nintendo Switch when the last time you played Mario Kart was the N64 version. Questions abound: Who are all these characters? Why can’t I fall off the course? And why am I still getting bananas while I’m in the first place?

But you never forget how to ride a bike, especially when the bike is shaped like Yoshi. Even when I was donning my mushroom head as Toad for the first time in years and losing over and over to my friends, I hatefully commented, “Enjoy this time, because my skills will come back and then I’ll dominate.” And that is exactly what happened.

While considered one of the best Nintendo Switch games, Mario Kart has made changes over the years that make the gameplay not as fun as it used to be, and all of those changes seem to punish good driving and make it hard to improve. . These are serious problems here.

Now, before we go any further, I know what you’re thinking: maybe it’s not that much fun because you’re not 12 anymore and you shouldn’t be writing an article criticizing a kid’s game. That’s a good point, and I’m still a bit surprised where all this hair came from.

But I was thoroughly enjoying Mario Kart 64 well into my 20s, and I appreciate the game as much as any kid, especially since I have a driver’s license and keep throwing banana peels at other cars in a desperate attempt to get the game back.

The winning move is not to lead

Person playing Mario Kart video game on a Nintendo Switch
leungchopan / Shutterstock.com

Obviously, Mario Kart was never intended to recreate the competitiveness and endurance of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. They are not hit with green shells. But even in early builds, we often joked about the computer assist providing great question box boosts like stars and the notorious blue shell that kills first place for those who fall behind. God, how he hated that blue shell.

The latest versions have gone too far, especially at the 200cc level. Now, if you’re near the back or last place, you’ll get constant power-ups like endless boost, the shark rocket, or 800 red projectiles, and you’ll be at the front of the pack almost instantly, making everyone do the work. hard done by Formula 1 drivers like me is a moot point.

For example, during a game the other day, I was running 11th midway through the last lap, got a set of three drives, and won the race. Did I gloat? Of course. Did I watch the replay three times? Absolutely. But did I win that victory? No problem. It was so awkward in the locker room afterwards, and I knew all the other characters were mad at me when they wrapped bars of soap in pillowcases and beat me up on the bed.

The blue shell is also a thing, but I’ll give Mario Kart credit for letting the person destroy it in the first place by getting close by firing that powerful air horn. Yes, I know I’m wrong with all the names of these boosters. I’m an adult who shouldn’t be writing an article about Mario Kart to begin with.

And when you’re in first place, do you get rewarded in the form of big power-ups for all the hard work you put in? No, you get bananas, you get useless gold coins, you get things that in no way help you maintain your lead except continue to drive well. Come on man.

Will someone please think of the children?

This dynamic completely manipulates the game to destroy you if you are leading. Sometimes it seems like the best strategy is to stay in second or third place and then use a boost or some weapon at the last minute to win. That’s not the best message there. Will someone please think of the children?

Now, I don’t want to suggest that these changes to Mario Kart are somehow connected to a larger cultural rot where everyone gets a trophy, and we soften the character that comes from falling down and getting back up again, suggesting that all of that would be a nonsense but I don’t know how else to end this long sentence.

It’s a fun game anyway and I kind of enjoy how angry I get when I’m constantly being knocked out of first place when I’m racing at the 200cc level. The sense of chaos that arises when there is no leader who feels safe and no last place is permanent is certainly amusing.

I wish I had known all of that before I bet a million dollars on Mario Kart 8 races. My bookie threatens to shrink me with lightning.