Go-Karting with Bowser
August 2, 2011 10:02 PM   Subscribe

Okay, you're good, kid. You've got skills. But do you know how to wheelie, drift, and draft? Do you know how to make the most of your environment? Do you know how to get the sickest air and make the most of your tricks? Huh? Do you know how to make sure you get the best gear? Huh? DO ya? Don't even tell me you know how to dodge blue shells!

You know what? Lemme just show you how the pros do it:
Luigi Circuit
Moo Moo Meadows
Mushroom Gorge
Toad Factory
Mario Circuit
Coconut Mall
DK Summit
Wario Gold Mine
Daisy Circuit
Koopa Cape
Maple Treeway
Grumble Volcano
Dry Dry Ruins
Moonview Highway
Bowser Castle
Rainbow Road

As a note, I avoided the cheesier glitch-exploits, and things get a lot crazier around Grumble Volcano and thereafter.
posted by Navelgazer (24 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
I challenge all comers at battle mode in the SNES original. I recognize no sequels.
posted by 256 at 10:10 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think this was meant for the blue, but maybe I just need to go to bed.
posted by localhuman at 10:12 PM on August 2, 2011

Aw crap. I thought I was on the gray. Carry on? Perhaps some mild ridicule towards my ignorance and such. Definitely need to go to bed.

Awesome post, though
posted by localhuman at 10:19 PM on August 2, 2011

Man I am so fucking old.

I mean, I like games--a lot--but I just can't comprehend giving enough of a shit about them to figure out some of this crap. Seriously-- what the fuck, people? The hell is wrong with you?
posted by dersins at 10:20 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

dersins: did you notice that all of the videos are made either with Funky Kong or Daisy? That's not an accident. People figured out that those characters give you an ever-so-slight speed bonus compared to others. People give very many shits about being good at this sort of thing, it seems.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:25 PM on August 2, 2011

I played so much Mario Kart 64 as a kid, and I still suck.
I was in EB recently when they were shooting ads for Mario Kart Wii.. They kept bugging me to appear so I sat down, alone, in a trenchcoat and fedora (it was raining) to play. I didn't make it into the ads. I wonder why.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:33 PM on August 2, 2011

What I want to know is how he put menus in those videos, with points where you can click to choose things, and get non-linear playback.

I didn't know that was possible with YouTube.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:39 PM on August 2, 2011

dersins: imagine, like, Pole Position, but add in that you can collect weapons and throw stuff at the other players and it has hills/jumps/terrain, and you can do tricks. It's easy and quick to learn and incorporate these into what was just a racing game--you get the main jist of the thing, and then tips and hints like this make sense and enhance the competition--it gets funner.

That said, I haven't played a kart-racing game since Crash Team Racing on the PS1, and can't get into them myself.
posted by not_on_display at 10:40 PM on August 2, 2011

Mario Kart is generally recognized as the best of the kart racing games, but it's not without its detractors. A lot of it has to do with the item system, some of which against the targeted player has little power to avoid. While it might technically be possible to dodge a blue shell it's not tremendously likely. Additionally, Mario Kart 64's race mode had terrible "rubber banding" AI where opponents received speed boosts to make up for how much of a lead the player got on them. Many racing games have rubber banding in some form, but I remember MK64 being blatant about it. More recent Mario Kart games have eased up on the rubber bands but have compensated by making items more dangerous.

We haven't even gotten into the scourage that is snaking.
posted by JHarris at 11:18 PM on August 2, 2011

We haven't even gotten into the scourage that is snaking.

I returned Mario Kart DS for that very reason. That and those damned purple shells. I mean really, an item that automatically knocks out first place without aiming? That's rubber-banding right there.
posted by lumensimus at 11:25 PM on August 2, 2011

Snaking, as they say, is deep magic. While MK Wii didn't do away with it, they introduced bikes, which every serious player uses. The Bike introduces the Wheelie, which is basically like when Tony Hawk brought in the Manual. A skilled player can string together tons of speed boosts, but you become far more vulnerable in doing so. You can still snake if you're in a kart (and it is a joy to do so on those tracks, really) but everybody serious plays on a Bike, so it doesn't come up.

Blue Shells still do, though, and there should have been an option to turn them off.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:29 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Additionally, Mario Kart 64's race mode had terrible "rubber banding" AI where opponents received speed boosts to make up for how much of a lead the player got on them. Many racing games have rubber banding in some form, but I remember MK64 being blatant about it. More recent Mario Kart games have eased up on the rubber bands but have compensated by making items more dangerous.

I actually think Mario Kart Wii's form of rubber banding is even more obnoxious. When you're in the lead, you pretty much only get crap items, like single banana peels, and are vulnerable to a host of attacks and are hurt by offensive items for the longest time. When you're behind, you get increasingly better items, up to the point that the game literally shoots you out of a cannon, in which you rocket back to the pack, often knocking out the players ahead of you as you go. MK64 pulled these kinds of tricks too, but the item manipulation wasn't quite so obvious.

I've always liked to think of it as Nintendo's ideal system of aggressive progressive taxation that pretends to be a lottery: everyone is a winner, but Bill Gates usually just wins a rotten old banana peel and the homeless family with two kids on the street-corner tends to win a free ticket to middle class suburban life. Also, every once and a while, someone wins a weird lottery ticket where the only prize is that Bill Gates magically gets punched in the gut (sometimes this makes him fall off a cliff) and a good bunch of his money disappears, allowing Warren Buffett to capture Gates' mansion.

In summary, any discussion of Mario Kart is substantially more amusing when you replace Mario, Luigi, Bowser, and friends with members of the Forbes 400 list.
posted by zachlipton at 11:33 PM on August 2, 2011 [11 favorites]

Having watched a video of DS Snaking, it is not what I thought it was. What I was referring to is red-sparking in a Kart around huge portions of the track, and then bunny-hopping into another long-skid. Pulling this off right, you can skid through entire Wii tracks, but it's not really "snaking" I guess, as the mini-turbos take longer to build up in that game. Still great fun though, though you won't break records like you would on a bike.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:35 PM on August 2, 2011

Its kinda amazing that I was able to play these games for so long without learning how to do this. I suppose because I always played multiplayer, so there was never any reason to do better - my family was just as bad. Same thing happens with Smash Brothers. I'll play something like Bayonetta or Gears of War and be forced to test myself and learn tricks and play the game at least somewhat decently. When I'm playing a multiplayer party game though I never have to.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:37 PM on August 2, 2011

Can anybody identify the music from the "dodge blue shells" link? All I've been able to figure out is that it's from Youtube AudioSwap, neither of my music identifying apps (Shazam and Tunatic) could identify it.
posted by onalark at 12:20 AM on August 3, 2011

I love playing this with my daughter; maybe now we can watch this together and figure out what the heck is going on!
posted by TedW at 4:19 AM on August 3, 2011

Lovecraft In Brooklyn: "and fedora"

posted by Philby at 4:30 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Mario Kart Wii has absolutely none of the finesse and care of Mario Kart DS. That, right there, is the ultimate Mario Kart game. The drifting system was just perfect. I played the hell out of it. After beating all the races I did time trials. And then there were the "developer ghosts": the best time trial results from the playtesters are recorded for you to beat, and they are really freaking hard.

I was so happy when Mario Kart Wii came out... until I played it. It is completely nerfed. All the careful drifting and boosting mechanics were removed to favor "casual gamer with no skill" style gameplay. The blue shell completely randomizes the result of any race, usually dropping the player from 1st to 8th place every time. It is an abomination. It is painful to play.
posted by sixohsix at 6:34 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

I liked Mario Kart Wii OK, but I have to disagree with sixohsix and parrot 256: the best Mario Kart was for the SNES. My biggest issue with Mario Kart Wii was the fact you can't seem to do a head-to-head match race or Battle Mode with only 2 players like in the original. Mario Kart 64 never really did it for me, particularly battle mode which has lost its appeal for me in all the sequels because they made the courses too complex. The simplicity of the first Mario Kart's battle mode was what made it so fun. You got to figure out all kinds of tricks, like the the exact time to shoot a red shell when coming up to an aisle and estimating exactly where your opponent is by the color on his screen. Or the time my best friend got up to go to the washroom and I started the match anyway, so when he returned he was in the middle of the track being perfectly orbited by a red shell. What a great game; even with Mario Kart Wii on my shelf I still downloaded the original from the Nintendo store and play it more than I do the new one.
posted by Hoopo at 9:02 AM on August 3, 2011

Mario Kart: Double Dash!! hasn't received any love in this thread. So I'll go on record saying that getting a cross-over cable and hooking up two GameCubes to play 8 player Mario Kart is totally worth it. You can player 8 player on the DS, but there's some extra magic in trying to quickly peek at the other player's windows to see if they are coming for you.
posted by Gary at 9:53 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

getting a cross-over cable and hooking up two GameCubes

Supposedly you can play most Wii games with that setup as well.
posted by straight at 10:24 AM on August 3, 2011

Not that I don't own and enjoy Mario Kart Wii, but if you get sick of the item system punishing you for being good you might want to have a look at Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing as well. It's a very similar game, but far more forgiving; the item system isn't geared towards fucking up the person in 1st, and you won't find yourself getting ruined just for clipping a barrier or going off the track. The online mode isn't as quick and simple as MKWii's, which is a shame, but it's still very much worth a play.
posted by Lucien Dark at 11:00 AM on August 3, 2011

Hoppo: In Mario Kart Wii, you can do a head to head match with just two player by going to the Rules thingy (in the upper right) on the screen where you pick Race or Battle (those might not be the actual options but it's something like that.) You can set the number of CPU players to None.
posted by capnsue at 11:24 AM on August 3, 2011

Oh, if only you could similarly restrict MK Wii's battle mode to four players. The game insists on putting in 12 players, split into two teams, in off-line games. It's maddening, and ruined that mode for us. Mario Kart SNES and 64's battle modes are like dogfights; Wii's are big confusing scrums where it's rare than even half your scored points come from hitting other human players.
posted by JHarris at 4:45 PM on August 3, 2011

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