I think I mentioned last week that we might take this week off. Then, I got an idea to talk about the games that we received for Christmas. Little did I know that this was the year that we only got Mario Kart 8 for Christmas. Oh, I did find Mario and Rabbids while I was organizing my closet, but I don’t think that one is going to be worthy of a post.
Not so with Mario Kart 8. We’ve played several rounds every day since Christmas. Heck, Christine who barely plays games (I mean, she’ll bug me about a round of Mortal Kombat 11 now and then but that’s it.), jumped in for a couple of circuits with the boys last night. Then, she talked about playing again today after dinner.
Okay, now that I’ve started this article, I’m not sure how I’m going to structure it. Generally, I do a “Great, Good, Decent” review. However, I have branched off more into other formats like top 5 lists. I don’t know if I actually have 5 reasons that I love the Mario Kart series so much. But, let’s find out.
5 – Trash Talk
Before this version, the last time I played Mario Kart was at a faculty party in the basement of one of the staff at the time. This was probably 10-12 years ago, so the statute of limitations has run out. If that sounds sketchy, you’re not alone. As a 45 year old father of three, I’d definitely give younger me a smack bottom for that decision. So, what’s the point of this particular story?
As often happens with this game, I sucked the first few circuits that we played. It always takes me a bit of time to adjust to the strategies. Then, I start winning. That’s what happened here. And, I let everyone know it. Trash talk is just a part of that winning strategy in Mario Kart. Last night, for instance, I shouted, “Whoever just hit me, your mom’s a hoe.” Mind you, this is while I was playing against two of my sons. Luckily, the shell came from a computer player. Otherwise, that could have been more awkward than just my 9 year old laughing and repeating the line.
4 – Easy to Play (Hooks Non Gamers)
Actually, the easy to play line is a lie. The game is difficult and complex for new players. However, twice during this vacation, we got non gamers to play the game with us. The familiar characters and cartooony graphics fool people into thinking that it’s an easy game. Then, once they play, they have fun and eventually adapt their own strategy.
My wife, for instance, who never plays video games (other than the aforementioned occasional round of Mortal Komat), actually asked to play this game again. Sure, some of that is because we have two teenagers and a preteen and family time together is precious. But, still, any game enjoyed by the whole family is a winner. We came close with Minecraft. And, I think she might have asked the other day for someone to teach her how to play that. So, who knows.
3 – Familiarity
I keep insisting that I feel no effects of nostalgia. And, yet, I keep listing nostalgia as a reason that I enjoy these games. Hey, you don’t come here for consistency in analysis? If so, I’m afraid you will be sorely disappointed. Just look at my various articles on Hearthstone for evidence of that.
I mean, the Reno game where he transformed sure lethal into random murlocs is just the latest of my salty rants that ended with, “This game is BS. I’m uninstalling.” That, of course never happened. And, actually, I think the tantrum that ended with my busted phone came more recently.
I don’t have burning nostalgia for having played Mario Kart as a kid with my brothers like I do with some games. I don’t even have fond memories playing in high school with friends like I do with other games. But, I do have my “frat party” memory. Plus, the characters are all familiar faces from my childhood. That’s where the nostalgia really kicks in for me.
2 – Supreme Memes
My kids figured out early that I don’t care much for the strategy of this game. I mean, I don’t care much for any game theory. That’s especially true in this game. I understand that different characters, vehicles, wheels, and parachutes have different abilities. I just don’t care.
Instead, I try to look for the most ridiculous looking builds. That’s how I’ve landed on Dry Bowser on the standard bike with the roller wheels and Peach parasol. Last night I tried another meme with the teddy bear car and wooden wheels, but that turned out poorly for me. Back to the old stand by. It is truly the Supreme Meme build for me.
1 – Playing with Kids
I already eluded to this in my introduction. Since the entire family has been playing, this is one of those games that I’ve been able to play with the kids. Regular readers of the page know that’s my number one reason for enjoying games. Any time the kids show an interest, I will go crazy investing in that game.
When Aiden and Quinn were into YuGiOh, I spent a stupid amount of money on cards for them that they really wanted. As often happens, that phase didn’t last long enough to warrant the money spent. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. Also, who knows. Their interests recycle, so there might be another YuGiOh phase in our future.
When texting Chris, I said, “I’m sure we’ll play Mario Kart 8 non stop during this break.” Sometimes I say those things and they don’t come to pass. So far, this one has. We’ve played at least 3 circuits once a day. I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Sure, we might slow down next week when school starts, but I have a feeling there will still be weekly Mario Kart nights to go with our board game nights.