‘Mario Kart’ is 30 years old, if you can believe it

Released a few years later Super Nintendo, Super Mario Kart is an odd proposition: Nintendo’s mascot, Mario, his brother, friends and foes engage in go-carts, racing around flat, pseudo-3D tracks based on some very Mario worlds. familiar.

Weapons include turtle shell, fire flower and banana. All of them are the crux of the Mario Kart experience now, but at the time, compared to the more installed racing games of the 1990s, they all seemed very silly. And have fun. Super Mario Kart was a critical and commercial hit, with multiplayer races and battles further bolstered by the N64 version, which featured four console ports from the start.

Nintendo has continued to develop the series over the course of three decades and 14 games, offering different vehicles, side planes, handheld versions and just… a lot… a lot… song. The official company celebration of this milestone (pun intended) appears to be the addition of eight new tracks to the latest version of the game, Mario Kart 8 DeluxeBut the racer’s influence extends beyond the dashboard.

It spawns remote control car, Amusement parkmobile spin-offand an army of pretender try (and failure) to recreate the magic of the Mushroom Kingdom racer. Here, on the eve of the franchise’s 30th birthday, some of Engadget’s most avid Nintendo gamers reminisced about favorite Mario Kart moments.

Tortoise shell throwing in Tokyo video game

I wish I was writing about Super Nintendo Land Mario Kart riding, but COVID-19 derailed my plans to visit (in the name of the press, of course). So I will talk about my favorite version of Mario Kart: the arcade version. Get behind the cute cartoon steering wheel, adjust the seat as it’s almost always set up for kids, and play Mario Kart as if it were a surreal driving experience.

Mario Kart Arcade GP DX is actually the third video game version of Mario Kart, made in collaboration with Bandai Namco, which is meant to include Pac-Man and other third party characters. I played it while living in Tokyo, which meant that the race announcements were voiced by Rika Matsumoto, who I later learned also voiced Ash Ketchum in Pokémon anime. (Yes, it’s a pinnacle Japanese experience!)

These machines also have a small camera to take pictures of the racer in the share, and stack Mario hats and other items on them. It’s cute, but goofy. You can save your progress on the card system, the kind you see on many arcade machines – especially in Japan, but that seems a bit too serious to me. I was there, a little drunk at times, and I wanted to beat my friends at Mario Kart, from behind the wheel. When I’m not hanging out at home with my Nintendo console (which is pathetic, at this point, Wii U), this is Mario Kart home away from home. But I haven’t played yet Mario Kart VR. I’m sure I can do a quick run when I visit Japan again for a tour of the Nintendo theme park. – Mat Smith, Head of Bureau of Great Britain

Battle mode with a millennial elder

Mario Kart 8


It hurts a bit to admit that my intro to Mario Kart came from the original Super Mario Kart. Yes, I am a millennial. I didn’t get it on launch day, but I’m pretty sure it was mine for Christmas. I’ve played nearly every part since, with some particularly fond memories of the ridiculous battles I’ve had with my post-college friends. Mario Kart 64 and Mario Kart: Double Dash. But the original will always hold a special place in my heart because of one very cool feature: Battle Mode.

My best friend and I have played some incredible Battle Mode matches over the years. Sure, we’ll try with the Grand Prix mode as well, but there’s something incredibly satisfying about going head to head, trying to pop balloons with each other’s red and banana skins. It was a great equalizer; In race mode, there are at least some skills that come into play.

But Battle Mode is more about getting as many weapons as quickly as possible in the hopes that you’re lucky to get a red shell. You don’t have to be a skilled racer, although it can certainly help escape doom. However, the near-complete randomness of Battle Mode is a big part of its appeal – however, it’s hard to get your friend so mad when you’re so capable of knocking them out in the ring. next.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve also played the traditional Mario Kart Grand Prix levels repeatedly – I still love those spooky house worlds, not to mention the sheer horror that Rainbow Road still evokes after all this time. that year. But Battle Mode is a great little experience when you just want to focus on throwing bullets and nothing else. Given that Nintendo has experimented with battle royale style games with Tetris 99 and Super Mario Bros. 35, it seems like a great time to bring back Battle Mode in the next Mario Kart. – Nathan Ingraham, Associate Editor

Let’s talk about Rainbow Road

There have been plenty of epic hits throughout Mario Kart’s 30-year history, but to me, there’s one course that has risen above its place on the circuit and left a lasting impression unlike any other. other: Rainbow Road. Now, I fully concede that when it comes to pure gameplay, there are many races like Wario Stadium, Baby Park or Koopa Troopa Beach that are more interesting and exciting. And if the only version of Rainbow Road we got was the version from the original Mario Kart on the SNES – which is a bit crude and strange – I probably wouldn’t write this code at all.

But when Nintendo recreated Rainbow Road for Mario Kart 64, The track isn’t just a race; it’s a celebration. The added altitude and reduced gravity make it look like you’re floating on a roller coaster, while neon-lit inserts of familiar faces from previous Mario games bring warmth to the room. cold black void. And then the soundtrack (please check this version, which really does the song’s justice): It has playful woods combined with guitar synths that seamlessly transition from soft to energetic to almost melancholy at times. Rainbow line in Mario Kart 64 is part a colorful tech dream, part Nintendo Hall of Fame, and part victory lap. – Sam Rutherford, Senior Writer

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