Why Mario Kart 8 Will Be Extra Special For Me

Mario Kart 8 is coming out in just over a months time. I’m super excited about it. The April trailer looks fantastic. It’s almost a given that it’ll be great.

Today though, I realised Mario Kart 8 will be more than a game for me. I realised it will be special. And here’s why.

Back in the 1990s, I owned a Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and so did my best friend. We played Super Mario World in two player mode, and to this day we have a friendly rivalry over who found World 98 first. We both played Zelda: A Link to the Past and it’s special blend of magic endured to the point that we were both hyped over the release of a new Zelda that acted as a direct sequel to that game for the 3DS last year. The SNES was the console that basically defined my ’90s, and no console has managed to spin the same level of magic ever since.

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If the SNES defined my 90s, the game that defined it for me was Super Mario Kart. This is a game that my best friend and I would literally (yes, literally) play for almost the entire day. Battle Mode was the best part… him versus me in epic contests that usually saw one of us using a feather to hide in a pool while the other dodged dozens of green shells in the arena. Grand Prix mode was great too, and while I don’t mind admitting he beat me more often than I beat him, the experience was ridiculous amounts of fun nevertheless. We played it so much that even today, playing Super Mario Kart on the Wii U’s virtual console, I still know just where to place those banana peels and green shells to hit the enemy AI in it’s predetermined path around the track. It’s ingrained in my head. I doubt I can ever forget that knowledge.

Since that time we’ve played almost every version of Mario Kart available. We missed the Gameboy Advance version and of course we’ve never been able to play the arcade versions, but we’ve played it together and against each other on the Nintendo 64, the DS, the 3DS the GameCube and the Wii. When Mario Kart 8 hits, there’s no doubt old rivalries will fire up again.

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But with Mario Kart 8, what I’m looking forward to more than playing against my friend is playing against my son.

I realised today that Mario Kart games come out on home consoles roughly every five to six years. This means that the next home console Mario Kart after MK8 will likely come out sometime in 2019 or 2020, on whatever console follows the Wii U. By that time, my son, currently aged two, will be around eight years old. So sometime in the next year or two, when my son is three or four and able to comfortably handle a controller, he’s going to learn to drive in Mario Kart, and we’re going to play it for years to come. And that same Nintendo magic that solidified Mario Kart‘s special place in my heart will, I hope, find a spot in his. And we’ll develop our own rivalries, and maybe eventually he’ll even beat his old man. I bet he’ll feel proud when that happens.

And when we work together to take down my best friend, it’ll be even better.

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Mario Kart 8 will still be just a game, of course. But it’ll be a special game for me, because it’ll be the first Mario Kart I get to play with my new best mate; my son. And that will be awesome.

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Categories: opinion

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