Liam: Mario Kart Wii is apparently the world’s best selling racing game. I can see why, the game is the most charming game in a series renowned for making charming games.
Mario Kart is essentially the racing game equivalent to crazy golf. You and a series of other Mario franchise characters hurtle around a brightly coloured track on go karts. Along the way you avoid various obstacles and enemies while collecting coins and power ups. The power ups are quite easily the best part of the game. Some are fairly explanatory and rather general like invulnerability stars, speed boost mushrooms and banana skins to drop. Some power ups are much more specific, for example if you are in last place and you collect a power up box, chances are you will receive the ‘Bullet Bill’ power up turning you into a massive automatically flying bullet which is usually enough to drag you up from last place. My personal favourite and the bane of every half decent Mario Kart player is the blue shell. The blue shell, when fired, will seek out and blow up the lead kart causing them to lose a great deal of speed and possible the lead. The lead kart can hear it coming but can do nothing about it.
Being the Wii the controls for this game are slightly different to preceding versions. Instead of the typical control pad steering, you ‘steer’ by tilting the wiimote left and right. Many people also have little plastic wheels you clip the wiimote into to make this seem like actual driving. In truth this control system is a little erratic and takes some getting used to. On a game that takes itself seriously this would be a problem, however if anything this seems to add to the charm of Mario Kart in a way that it would with no other game. I’m eagerly awaiting the Wii U version of Mario Kart due out next year, as is the entire Fitzgerald household.
For reasons such as this I think this will be fairly hard to predict. Joel is undoubtedly the better driver and as we go through to some of the harder courses (Rainbow road!) I would expect that will start to tell. On the easier courses though? I have just as much of a chance as anyone else.
Oh and don’t ask why I race as Daisy. I just always have okay. (Daisy rocks!)
Joel: I’ve gotten excited anticipating the release of many games over the years, but I was beside myself in the build-up to this one. I love Mario games, I love racing games, I love the Mariokart series and at the time this came out, I was still pretty enamoured with the Wii’s innovative control system. I’m pretty sure I got it on release day. I was not disappointed.
For the uninitiated, the Mario Kart series has had a release on every Nintendo platform since the SNES. Copies of earlier ones go for an awful lot of money, relatively speaking. The premise is pretty simple if you don’t know – various characters of Mario lore compete in go-karts on tracks styled around the various realms of the Mushroom Kingdom – the home of said characters. There are various lore-consistent weapons and bonuses which can be collected in-race. Each new release came with a number of new tracks and a selection of re-made, re-mastered versions of tracks from previous iterations. That about covers it, but doesn’t really do justice to the amount of fun you can have with a few friends and a copy of this brilliant game.
I’m not sure what else I can tell you about this one really. I could write about the time the boy accidentally over-wrote my ninety-something percent complete save game with a fresh one, but that wouldn’t be very professional of me. I think, really, that if you haven’t played any of the Mario Kart series then you have sorely missed out. If you have any kind of dusty old Nintendo kicking around, it’ll be money well spent to pick up a copy of the relevant version of Mario Kart and give it a bash. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
In terms of predictions, despite my comparatively vast experience of racing games compared to Liam, he is actually uncharacteristically good at Mario Kart. I still think I’ll win, but it will be a lot closer than I’d like to think.