Tag Archives: Mario Kart

Bait And Switch

Hey gamers,

With the recent reveal of the Nintendo Switch, and it’s impending launch day of March 3rd fast approaching, I have been going on…and on…and ON about the system. Picking apart and analyzing every little bit of the Switch hardware, software coming out, and Nintendo’s general hype building in preparation for their big move.

thanos-wait-and-see

AKA The Thanos Treatment.

It’s really looking like a “wait and see” scenario right now, with Nintendo taking their sweet time getting up off their asses to deliver.

In my attempts to analyze the Big N’s strategies involving the Switch, I’ve voiced my opinion that I can’t quite shake the idea they didn’t learn the right lessons from the Wii U, as it looks as if they are repeating them in due process. Mounting launch costs (both console and add on prices), unproven tech involving gimmicks like HD Rumble and IR sensor on the controllers (“Joy-Cons”), and a seemingly rushed launch day that currently looks to be doing more harm than good, and I’ve got this familiar sinking feeling in my stomach I’ve felt before.

everclear

Bad console launches being a lot like what happens when you pregame with Everclear.

With all of that in mind, I’m constantly reexamining my critique of the Switch, to attempt to see the value of what Nintendo is offering. I preordered the thing, dammit, so I’m really not trying to put myself off before launch day. If anything, without straining myself at least, I want to be genuinely excited to finally get the Switch in my hands come March 3rd. A bad console launch is one of the last things a gamer wants to suffer from, right next to the effects of pregaming with Everclear.

everclear-drunk

Picture of a person reacting to the PS3 launch, or someone who’s Everclear Drunk? 

I’ve already come to terms with the idea that the Switch launching so early in the year really indicates a “Soft Launch”, kind of an attempt at Nintendo’s part on rushing the thing to market, to strengthen it’s value and better prepare the machine for it’s destined money making holiday window later this year.

Considering how hard Nintendo royally dropped the ball on software last year for the Wii U, it’s not like they have the luxury of just not making money for the majority of this year, so the earlier Switch date makes sense, at least from a business stand point. Having seen what Nintendo has to offer, it leads me to believe it is from a business stand point only that the Switch will deliver initially, but I have my fingers crossed.

While I still intend on writing an article about what appears to be the only  saving grace of the Switch during it’s launch period (Zelda: Breath of the Wild), I thought I would take one more moment to look at a few of the other exclusive *NEW titles on the Switch, that Nintendo is hoping will get our engines revved.

mario-kart-8-deluxe

*NEW titles, Nintendo.

I mean, come on guys. That is like 95% an already released game, and due to the Switch’s online not even being ready at launch, MK8 will have more functionality on the Wii U than the Switch till later this year.

disappointed-freaks-and-geeks

Nintendo’s Reaction: Nah Uh.

The three titles I’m taking a closer look at today are ARMS, Snipperclips, and 1,2 Switch, all exclusive titles for Nintendo’s upcoming console. I will take a moment to figure out what these unique titles are bringing to the table with the Switch, and whether or not they will help to make the launch day fantastic.

I am now going to take this moment to immediately douse your flames of excitement, by reminding you that only one of these games is day one (1,2 Switch), with Snipperclips dropping a couple weeks later, and ARMS tentatively positioned for Q2 (April, May, June).

Oh yeah, did I mention the Switch will only have 7 games on launch day, only two of which are exclusive? Excited yet?

michael-bolton

Off to a good start, then.

Starting with a look at our first “launch game” with ARMS, this game takes a slightly different approach to the 3D fighter, with a behind the shoulder approach of fisticuffs, relying on combos, grabs, dodging, and strategic weapon usage rolled into an accessible fighter. Think Punch Out! meets Wii Boxing.

I remember the lead designer at the Switch presentation referencing “Rock, Paper, Scissors” when speaking about ARMS, and after the Live Treehouse event, it looks as if roshambo had a stronger inspiration for this title than I initially imagined, as the title has a heavy emphasis on countering with the right move at the right time design.

A basic, but somewhat strategic mix up kind of game.

arms-1

Or a straight up eat shit game, depending on your skill level.

The big stand out question for me while watching ARMS being demoed was whether or not it would have the same lasting longevity as a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors; seeing the light of day only in moments of bored indecisiveness. The game was exhaustively referred to as accessible, which is worrying to hear for a fighting game, as most of the greatest have a mandatory jumping on point of difficulty you just have to struggle with.

Needless to say, I was not able to discern in such a short amount of time whether or not the title had a serious meta-game to it, or whether or not it would basically devolve into a mindlessly satisfying button masher, but one of the reps did mention “frame advantage”, which inspired some confidence.

arms-3

At least, it inspired more confidence than the obviously painstaking creative endeavor of original in-game character names.

I think ARMS has a chance of being the most memorable of this presently discussed launch bunch, even if we have to (sadly) wait a couple months to see if that’s the case. The rep mentioned that ARMS wisely took a page out of the Wii U’s failed play book, by offering up both traditional and motion controls for the title, giving players options in the matter.

Having said that, the rep also drew a comparison to Splatoon, citing the motion controls as the more ideal option with very little practice. Considering Splatoon turned out to be a surprise darling proving gryoscopic controls can work efficiently in a competitive arena, ARMS may yet surprise gamers with a depth of play and addictive quality only the Switch’s Joy-Cons can offer.

OR it may just be a $60 drop in the bucket which will recount the same awkward arm flailing simulator Wii Boxing did at 100% of the cost but…we’ll have to wait and see.

Next up on our “Will they won’t they give a shit about Nintendo launch titles?” quiz comes Snipperclips. Snipperclips is a co-op puzzle experience, which sees two players going through a series of puzzles they must work together to solve, in what I’m guessing will be an unforgiving, tough as nails take on the puzzle genre.

snipperclips-0

Or not. I see Nintendo is fiercely targeting that hardcore dollar again.

Upon first glance, it doesn’t look like Snipperclips is looking to challenge the members of Mensa, or will even give Professor Layton a run for his puzzle making money, as Snipperclips looks to be a cutesy, quirky, quaint, co-op experience you and your closest non-gaming buddy may get a laugh out of, however.

snipperclips-1

Snipperclips, AKA The Couples Game

The main hook of the game has both characters being able to “snip” the other, cutting the partner into a relevant tool that can help solve the current puzzle. The few examples they showed were incredibly simple, from popping a balloon to sharpening a pencil.

There was no time limit, and the players could be reset on the fly, with virtually no way of failing. The game appeared exceedingly forgiving AND seemingly impossible to lose at even, leaving me wondering if the most puzzling aspect of the title was who it was actually aiming to challenge.

sensible-chuckle

Truly, Snipperclips being the sensible chuckle of the Switch lineup.

I concluded very quickly Snipperclips was indeed that ideal couples/family game: the title that is the stop gap between the core and casual gamer of the bunch, the gateway drug to help coax along the unsuspecting Zelda-less heathens of our lives.

While not impressed by Snipperclips, I will at least concede the demographics for this game do exist, and at a $20 price point, despite having no seriously redeeming qualities aside from a charming aesthetic,  Snipperclips may not need to do much else but lie dormant next to a Nintendo logo on a store shelf to sell several million copies.

mario-and-sonic

It worked for Mario and Sonic, anyway.

1,2 Switch is next on the agenda, looking to comfortably fill that token mini-game launch compilation slot Nintendo is so fond of filling. Unlike the benefit Wii Sports had with the freshness the motion controls brought with it, or the appealing promise Nintendo Land ultimately failed to inspire other games to follow up on, 1,2 Switch looks only to be switching it up in terms of what’s left to scrape out of the bottom of the mini-game barrel.

milk

I’m not even reaching when I say Nintendo is starting to milk this concept.

And that is indeed a screenshot from 1,2 Switch, from the mini-game simply titled “Milk”, which doesn’t look like the richest experience from the demos thus far.1,2 Switch does include a variety of other mini-games of varying degrees of attractiveness, including Quick-Draw, Copy Dance, and Eating Contest.

The selection of mini-games packaged into 1,2 Switch shows off the questionable bells and whistles that Nintendo has packed into the Switch’s Joy-Cons, including the HD Rumble, and IR sensor, which help you interact in new, exciting ways you’ve only ever dreamed of.

eat-1

Hah. Too easy. Time for another segment of make up your own joke caption.

The Treehouse Event showed off several of the mini-games involved, some of which, like Copy Dance and Table Tennis, were some of the few that had that fine balance between goofy and engaging. Others, like Eating Contest and the game simply entitled “Milk”, left a lot to be desired, as the novelty of the games seem so extreme, I wonder if either would get even a second chance after the 30 seconds of awkward novelty wore off.

12-switch-electric

Another preview of a mini-game from 1,2 Switch, likely entitled “Electrician”, the object of the game is to pretend to perform a menial work task to forget the amount of boredom you’re having with a Nintendo launch title.

Other games still, like Quick Draw and Samurai Training were more imagination than actual gameplay, upon further scrutiny. In both theory and execution, the titles offer some interactive charm, but when you get down to the nitty gritty, both players will effectively be interacting with either game a mere second or so and a single button press.

With all of this in mind, I’m not sure whether to applaud Nintendo for their ingenuity of having the player be apart of this abstract design, or smack my head in disbelief that the big N found a way to sell you the idea of a game, and for you to imagine the rest.

hd-rumble

Ever dreamed of competing in a virtual “how many marbles” game against your estranged family members? Say no more: Nintendo’s got you.

All that said, Nintendo really is selling you more of an experience with 1,2 Switch than genuine, hard data gameplay, as 1,2 Switch heavily relies on the players to complete the idea, through enthusiastic participation and role playing, in a sense.

In fairness, the Treehouse Live event only showed a handful of mini-games, and IGN’s write up of their hands on mentions Nintendo’s reassurance that these represented a small portion of what’s on offer, but I must insist, Nintendo perhaps is starting to scrape the bottom of the mini-game barrel to come up with any more creative endeavors in the min-game launch line up arena.

wii-sports

And to think, Nintendo debuted and simultaneously peaked motion control gaming with the same title.

1,2 Switch doesn’t have the advantage of the previous two mini-game compilations had, not being bundled in with the system, and debuting with a $50 price point, it looks so far through previews of the game that 1,2 Switch is the hardest sell yet from Nintendo’s token mini-game launch compilation lineup. The game seems to lack the robustness Wii Sports managed, and fails to be that hectic insanity Wario Ware has perfected, while still lacking the more abstract design approaches of Nintendo Land.

Despite all of the obstacles I see standing in this title’s way, if we consider the almost non-existent variety of savory Switch games at launch, and the stupid gimmicks I always underestimate the general populace totally eating up, 1,2 Switch may prove me wrong in terms of sales.

amiibo

I mean, if these cheap little things can turn crack addicts out of Nintendo fans, what would fail to?

I’m shooting in the dark here by saying this game isn’t packaged in with the Switch, because Nintendo either doesn’t want to send the message that this is their mission statement for the Switch, or they don’t have a lot of games at launch and need every last title to round out it’s roster.

This might be a little from column A, little from column B scenario, but whatever the truth is between the two, I’m comfortable in pointing out this certainly feels like a glorified tech demo for the Joy-Con functionality, and an attempt to justify the “HD Rumble tax” that helps contribute to the $70 price point that the Joy Con’s are going for…without mentioning the extra $30 charging grip that compliments the controllers.

money-printer

Remains to be seen whether or not the Switch will follow in the footsteps of the Wii and DS line, in being Nintendo’s new money printer, or as useless as Nintend’s printer without paper, the Wii U.

I was about to conclude the article with some final thoughts, but remembered at the last second there was one more launch title worth ridicu…err, analyzing, and let me reassure you, the joy I have in bringing forth discussion about the game and it’s developer staggers me.

konami-bomb

Oh Joy.

Yes, gaming fans, it looks as if Konami has taken time out of their busy schedule of mailing envelopes filled with piss to Hideo Kojima and counting their pachinko machine profits to hype Bomberman R, exclusive to the Nintendo Switch. A throw back to the old school Bomberman titles you kinda remember from the 90’s, you’ll get to relive the classic days of blowing you and your friends up as you walk down memory lane with an *unbeatable franchise.

konami-franchise-2

*Unbeatable in being a cheap to churn out iteration when compared to several way bigger franchises that helps to showcase a minimal effort of commitment to both consumer desires and strong third party support for Nintendo.

To its credit, Bomberman R does look as faithful as any of the old school titles you may remember, but with swanky new HD visuals. Despite a faithfulness to the original formula, I stand annoyed at Konami for a vast number of reasons, including picking Bomberman out of their huge stable of available properties to go with (see above), while simultaneously failing to generate hype for the Switch.

Out of all of Konami’s offerings, this seems like one of the weakest picks they could have gone with. Especially compared to the rest of what they have; no one’s going out to buy this console for Bomberman.

milk

But when you consider that MILK is an alternative buying choice. IT’S ANYONE’S GAME!

It’s not even as if Bomberman is the only cost effective/low overhead game out of their old franchises they could have developed for the Switch that would have made bigger splashes, either. Ignoring the massive hype franchises like Zone of the Enders, Suikoden, or Silent Hill would have brought forth as launch titles, I feel as if other simplistic old school titles like Goemon, Gradius, or Contra would have spoken to far louder fan bases on either side of the globe.

Hell, even a remixed/repackaged Castlevania would have caught a lot of peoples attentions.Plus, it would have competed with Konami’s former star employee Igarashi, and his spiritual successor to the Castlevania series Bloodstained, which is the kind of pettiness I feel Konami really shoots for.

mgs-konami

Ah Yes. Pettiness the likes of which only Konami can pull off.

Again,  Bomberman R looked fun, even if the demo was the only one in the entire event that had troubles with controller connectivity, which made me unsure whether or not Konami informed their rep it would be an additional five dollars to unlock player two’s controller. The old school charm for Bomberman R wore off pretty quickly of course, as I waited with bated breath for the moment of truth…

bomberman-gems

Paying to continue? In MY Konami game?

It’s more likely than you think.

And before I launch off into an exhaustive rant about Konami’s infinitely stupid ingame practices, I will give them the SLIGHTEST moment of pause, in admitting I was unable to find out whether or not it was easier to earn gems solely in-game, or primarily through real world currency. It’s likely you can just gain the gems through in game play, no biggie.

I still however, wouldn’t put it past Konami to roll out some pay 2 play bullshit in some form, just because they can. Considering the shop tab is one of the only visible on the main menu of Bomberman R…

bomberman-bs

…and that Konami has a notorious reputation for shoving micro-transactions into their other franchises, including allowing you to skip playing their games by paying to “achieve” 100% status, and further destroying huge series with cheap pay to play gimmicks like Castlevania and more recently MGS V

konami-laughing

Hey Fucking Hoh! Micro-Transact Me, Bro!

I honestly don’t even care if I’m being  a knee jerk alarmist here: any chance I get to turn up my nose at any possible Konami misstep I will more than gladly take.

castlevania-erotic-violence

They’ve earned my ire.

I felt as if I had some grand finale to close on, but it’s 6 AM and I don’t care anymore. So there you have it: a slew of reasons why the Switch is testing my patience, and why I question myself when I immediately preorder new consoles, despite knowing video game system launches are fool’s errands, and why I’d be better off just waiting a year and a half for either the first big price drop, or the third killer app worth having.

I guess much like Nintendo, I will never learn how to do it right.

~Pash

 

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Drifting Along On The Winds Of Change

Hey Gamers,

As some of you may have noticed, I was woefully absent during the month of December. This makes the second December in a row I have failed to provide anything meaningful to gaming culture, and for that I apologize.

Things Don't Always Work Out As We Hope Them Too

Things Don’t Always Work Out As We Hope Them Too

I’m happy to say the circumstances that lead to my absence this December as opposed to last December were infinitely more preferred. December 2013 was most certainly a devastation, while December 2014 was absolutely a celebration, though the excessive fun having did leave me out in the creative cold.

Seen Here: Me Ringing In The New Year

Seen Here: Me Ringing In The New Year

That’s kind of like a second apology/I had fun hope you did too. I realized shortly after the new year I owed it to myself, my creative devices, and the gaming community at large to do something…anything of note, so here I am now trying to make good on my claims. I do also wish to give public thanks to everyone who helped contribute to my gofundme, which was a rousing success. It granted me the fantastic fortune of a brand new Wii U, and even Mario Kart 8 to boot (the latter of which I saved as an X-Mas present to myself). The Wii U was right in time for the release of Smash Bros, which I wrote about a couple time in the days following the games launch. The write ups were maybe…a little more dry than I intended them to be, but were rich in Vitamin E…

The E Standing For Entertainment, Of Course!

The E Standing For Entertainment, Of Course!

Err…at least as far as the pictures were concerned. They had a lot of E in them…

Tons Of Vitamin E

Tons Of Vitamin E

 

Vitamin E For Days...

Vitamin E For Days…

I am truly grateful of everyone who contributed to my gofundme, and though I have already sent each and everyone of you a personal letter of thanks, I wanted to say at least one more time….you really made a difference, and you really made me happy.

So thank you.

Falcon Gratitude 2
When I came back from my extended absence last year, I had a series of articles (which I’m quite fond of upon retrospection) looking at A Link Between Worlds and the Zelda series as a whole…something I’ve analyzed several times over. This year, I don’t have anything quite as long winded planned in my return to written reality, but I’m trying to change it up a little bit…by not talking about the Zelda series for a change! For example, would you believe me if I told you I was about to talk about a non-Zelda game?

Non *Zelda* Game

Non *Zelda* Game

Or that horses aren’t even involved?

Weeeell, technically.

Weeeell, technically.

Cheating a little bit here, but if enjoying Mario Kart is playing dirty, I don’t ever want to be clean again. While I really do want to discuss Mario Kart, in all of it’s ridiculous glory, I do reckon I should first discuss Smash U, as it would be the first time I’ve really talked about the experience on ATE as opposed to just alluding to it, which is odd now that I think about it. Smash is up there as one of my fave games to sit down with, and the new ones are no exception. I’m impressed Nintendo had the development capabilities to make both the 3DS and Wii U versions of Smash a reality in the same year, let alone within two months of each, but I suppose we should in fact thank Sora Ltd and Bandai Namco Games for being able to pull it together at just the right time.

Which Bandai Namco Don't Always Get Right

Which Bandai Namco Don’t Always Get Right

 

Like Sometimes Seriously Doesn't Get Right

Like Sometimes Seriously Doesn’t Get Right

 

Like, What The Hell, Dude? Were They Planning A Spin Off Game With These Two Idiots Called The Adventures Of Derp Face And Captain Horseshit?

Like, What The Hell, Dude? Were They Hoping To Launch A Spin Off Game With These Two Idiots Called The Adventures Of Derp Face And Captain Horseshit?

My initial write ups on Smash weren’t poppy enough, I’d say in review, which is really what Smash is: vivacious and pretty (much like the flower). We will ignore that in reality, poppies are used for the production of morphine and codeine, which ruins my comparison…unless you’re totally into that kind of thing, in which case I have no hesitation to likening Smash Brothers as gaming crack, just all around being a video game equivalent of an addictive narcotic.

An Average Example Of A Smash Player Between Matches

An Average Example Of A Smash Player Between Matches

I do in fact, wish to officially review Smash still, so I’ll keep my thoughts on the game more rapid fire and less explicit. To that point: super glad there’s an intro (3DS version lacked one), very pleased the online is functional and appealing this time around, and the balance struck between both Melee and Brawl feels just right. Even as a die hard Melee fan, I’ve surrendered to the notion that we can’t nor shouldn’t want the exact same thing for the rest of time, and Smash U feels fresh and familiar enough to have me hook line and sinker. The variety of play at hand in the new Smash was always a known known, but perhaps the levels of customization there after were an unknown unknown, with stage creation and new fan ideas for mini games being a delightful surprise.

Smashketball? But Of Course!

Smashketball? And How!

While the new Smash being good isn’t a surprise, per say, I think some of the ways that the new Smash is good, are. A consideration to competitive balancing as opposed to the denouncement of it was definitely one, cross-platform release was way more forethought than I remembered Nintendo being capable of, as well as online play actually mattering to the grand scheme of Smash longevity. And yes, while we can scratch our heads at certain elements of the execution, like no current plans for paid DLC (madness, I know), or an easy way to trade custom stages through the Wii U itself (though talks of an update have been mentioned), I still acknowledge an awareness on Nintendo’s part at paying attention to what matters most: us.

The Fans

The Fan...Err, Not Him.

Err, Not Him.

 

Yeah, Them

Yeah, Them

I say this with a certain sense of positive energy, as Nintendo hasn’t always had a healthy awareness of who really matters, as previously mentioned. Nintendo coming out and saying they want to add online functionality, including an easy way for fans to trade custom levels online means they are listening, and ultimately being more self-aware about what meaningfully relates to their games, which is good. What excites me more is that the positive momentum of Smash doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Smash U’s ambitions are just one example of Nintendo “getting it” a little more recently, another example being Mario Kart 8’s video replay system, in which Nintendo has once again showcased it’s the fans who help make the games worthwhile, and imbues them with the power to make Nintendo games more fun well after the game is released.

The Luigi Deathstare being a prime example of how developer tools (even incredibly simplistic ones) in fan hands, can help celebrate the little things about video games everyone loves so much, which is what matters at the end of the day.

Luigi Deathstare

Don’t Look At Me Like That


Okay, okay! Sorry…your death stare is anything but little, Luigi…

Just for clarity here, using Mario Kart as my current example, mindful systems with the intent of fan inclusion, is an acknowledgement on Nintendo’s part (by action at least), the company realizes one positive but big change they can make in moving forward. The Luigi Death Stare, which spawned from the replay system and through “fan creation” unintentionally helped to promote Mario Kart 8. This meme that was spawned from a 10 second clip ended up going viral and peaked so much interest about the game, it was a better advertisement for MK8 than Nintendo could have ever thought up of without the fans.

With Mario Kart 8 still in mind, you can even upload the clips to Youtube (even just aside from the mode “Mario Kart TV” in game to see what’s going on globally), which is a step forward in Nintendo using more topical technologies to acknowledge fans, and with it, a willingness to give us more control in helping to contribute to the games they make. Mario Maker is yet another example of Nintendo understanding just how important fan support, community and creation are in helping grow a healthy product, as the entire premise of Mario Maker is to make new content using an established Nintendo formula for your fellow gamers. Fan creation (and modding) have been key elements of contribution in modern day game design, a concept very successful companies in the field of video gaming adopted a long time ago.

*Cough* To Name Just One Slightly Relevant Example

*Cough* To Name Just One Slightly Relevant Example

I’m aware Nintendo has dun f***** up a lot…with the Wii U specifically, and in ways involving their own products and the community that are hard to accept as reality. In this moment, I must acknowledge that Nintendo has been imperfect in many regards, and is behind the times both technologically and conceptually in a variety of ways. However, it’s times like these I notice a willingness and effort to change, which is an excellent first step to self improvement. When I start to notice these little changes forming a bigger picture, a far more engaging bigger picture, I’m reminded while you can’t always “count” on Nintendo, they will always surprise you. This is exciting in this case, as the winds of change seem to be in Nintendo’s favor.

Let’s just hope that breeze turns into a gust and ends up being a wind storm.

Sounds Fun In Theory, Anyway

Sounds Fun In Theory, Anyway

In closing, while I’m always rowdy and raucous while playing Smash, Smash U is a part of a stable of games that represents a healthiness with it’s ambitions in relation to Nintendo’s future. A relief comes in analyzing Smash, Mario Kart etc, in that while Nintendo has shown time and time ago they know they have a community, these recent instances may be a sign they want it to be a real part of how they develop moving forward. Nintendo has shown they know how to have fun behind the wheel, but they may finally be understanding that they don’t always have to be driving for us to get somewhere good together.

Who knows? Perhaps now, like so many other developers, they realize we (the fans) know how to burn rubber too, and sometimes, having fun means throwing us the keys and saying “Let’s Go”.

Allons-Y

Clara See
11th Annoyed

~Pashford

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When Star Road Gets Real

Hey Gamers,

I’m sure for a portion of you, today’s article name may be equal parts exhausting as it is terrifying.

Pictured: Elton John Being Super Annoying When He Nails The Jump Short Cut Star Road

Seen Here: Elton John Being Super Annoying When He Nails The Jump Short Cut On Star Road

Mario Kart is a delightful series, one of my favorites in fact. Not to say it doesn’t have it’s off moments…and god damn if I can’t ignore the sheer brutality Star Road represents on any given day. As if blue shells weren’t irritating enough, now you’ve got to deal with their cheap shit for 30 minutes straight (average amount of time it takes to finish a single race on Star Road).

At least, that’s how long I remember it taking to finish a single race. Then again, my memories are obscured in pain.

No, The Star Isn't "Just Smiling": It's Laughing At Your Misery

And If You Gaze Long Enough Into An Abyss, The Abyss Will Gaze Back Into You

I suppose this is a rather grim way to reference a game I am always excited to play, but Mario Kart has this odd masochism about it. I enjoy the pain, truly and sincerely, despite the amount of blood I’ve lost in the process of playing it. So when news surfaces about the impending release of a new Mario Kart, it’s as if the anticipation is a painful one, in the best way imaginable. This statement becomes all the more real, when we come to discover that the latest trailer for Mario Kart 8 boasts suffering anew, and showcasing front and center none other than Star Road.

Yes, The Star Road.

And This Time, It's Fucking Alive.

And This Time, It’s Fucking Alive.

The new video I watched posted by IGN, which is a devil’s delight in several ways, had both the 64 version and MK8”s Star Roads side by side. This comes as a reminder of past pains and forthcoming failures, all in one amazingly demonic demo. Don’t get me wrong, this looks gorgeous, but so do succubus before they suck your soul directly out of your asshole at the last moment…or what I normally refer to as lap 3. I know my constant reference to Star Road’s length seems like hyperbole, but I feel as if I’ve successfully dealt with all five stages of grief the course causes faster than I’ve actually finished it.

Lap 2

Lap 2

Which was one of the first things that caught me off guard about the comparison, other than the amazing visuals of course: the entirety of Star Road featured in MK8 seems to be the length of a single lap from the 64 version. This leads me to believe that Nintendo may have actually listened to gamers for a change, but more likely they just blanked out the memories like I did and just straight forgot the 64 version was so miserably long. Anyways, not only did this pacing seem like it could really tighten up the tension of the race itself, but I was not kidding when I said Star Road is fucking alive.

First off, parts of the road are actually moving, as if possessed by some other worldly demon. Trying to wrestle with this bestial turbulence will most certainly breed a special kind of insufferable comedy. Combine this with the shelled or be shelled mentality of a regular Mario Kart sprint, and schadenfreude will be reborn in the image of Mario himself.

I AM THE PRINCE OF ALL KARTERS ONCE AGAIN

I AM THE PRINCE OF ALL KARTERS ONCE AGAIN!

Even aside from the lively atmosphere and even more lively road ways, the transformative vehicles from MK7 are making a re-appearence, and looking to add proper volume to the already engaging courses. The brand new anti-gravity tracks are equally proud mantle pieces, Star Road a perfect example of this, and contribute a pop and circumstance to the level design I haven’t seen in ages. When you consider all of the above blended together into one delicious treat, it doesn’t take me long to remember why it hurts so good.

And How Fucking Metal Mario Really Can Be

And How Fucking Metal Mario Really Can Be

I know I hyperlinked to the video above, but I believe it’s worth saving you the two seconds of work, just in case you think this is worth missing.

Cause it really isn’t, and brings about an irony perhaps even more devastating than Mario Kart and Star Road could ever really wrought. This is one of the only games I’ve witnessed getting people in a legitimate fever to own a Wii U, with almost no peers in this category during the consoles entire existence. Not only that, but despite the Wii U’s under-powered hardware, the game may be one of the most gorgeous racers I’ve seen this gen. The fact that Nintendo can put out games they may turn out this good, in all of their entrancing splendor, is almost aggravating. Much like myself, I feel as if this show of quality almost angers the devoted and would be devoted more than pleases them, because it reaffirms that Nintendo can still do amazing shit.

They just don’t make a habit of it any more.

~Pashford

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