Mario Kart: The GOAT of video games?


Alex Bruhm and Will Zambernardi

The sun was setting on Lake Sebago where future Ipswich High track star, Mike D’Agostino, and his extended family were watching an ominous thunderstorm roll in off the horizon. Mike was a wee lad at the time so like any other child, he ran as fast as his little legs could carry him to the basement to hide with his cousin Matthew. Cousins Matt and Mike became extremely bored from sitting around in the dark waiting to be taken to dinner and hatched a great idea. Their idea was to play the new Mario Kart game on the DS that their parents had bought them earlier to pass the time. Within minutes, Mike and his cousin fell in love with the game. When we asked Mike about that experience, he told us “it was a fun time. The game kept us entertained during a power outage until we hit the 99 (the restaurant)”.  

Mario Kart is a go kart racing game with characters and maps based off of the “Mario Bros” game. You can play the game by yourself against the CPU, co-op with other people on the same game system, or with other players online. Mario Kart is a racing game with a twist. The game has power-ups and hazards that can assist or affect the players. This feature is unique because it allows players to stay in the race instead of falling so far behind that they don’t have a chance to win. An example of a power-up is “Bullet Bill”. Bullet Bill is a strong power-up that helps a player that is falling behind in the race to shoot through the course and gain back some ground. The hazards in the game are anything from the gaps in the course where you can fall off and die or the flying rocks in Bowser’s castle that crush you. These hazards add an extra edge for players because at one moment you can be in first place and fall to last or go from last to first all because of how you handle the hazards.

Mario Kart has done something that many other games can’t achieve: the game appeals to many different types of people. This is extremely hard to do because people all have different tastes. For example, some people like action packed shooter games like Call Of Duty, while others stick to sports games like Madden. Yet Mario Kart has been able to attract and entertain almost everyone who plays it. Kevin Swenson said “It’s definitely all around the best game of all time” adding, “I like the game because it is fun, competitive and simple. Also the maps and characters are cool”. This is what makes the game great, but “simplicity” is the most important quality. Simplicity allows players  to learn fairly quickly and have a chance to compete and win either against the computer or other people.

Mario Kart is great at marketing to all ages because they release and make a new game about every 4-5 years. The first big Mario Kart game targeted people who are now in their thirties, with the Nintendo 64 version that came out in 1996 in the United States. The Nintendo 64 Mario Kart is beloved by many including Ipswich High’s own, Mr. Wood. His best moments with the game were from his college days, where he would “get the boys over to the dorm and play the game for hours.” What he most likes about it is the competitiveness and the trash talking that goes with it. The next wave of Mario Kart players are the Wii and DS players. The Wii version is the most popular in our lives because the Wii was the big thing. I think you could compare the 2007-2012 Wii era to the late 90’s and early 00’s Nintendo 64 times because everyone had it and played it regularly. With Mario Kart 8 just coming out this summer, it has attracted not only the kids of today, but people who have fallen in love with the previous games looking for that thrill once more.

In the eyes of the student body, teachers of IHS, and people all over the world, Mario Kart has not only affected them in a positive way but brought people together. As quoted from numerous people, “It is hands down the best game of all-time,” because it teaches us so many life lessons beyond the game. It shows great character in someone when they’ve been in first for the whole race and suddenly get bombarded with two blue shells and not throw the remote through the screen. It teaches resilience when you are in a battle with Bowser on Rainbow Road and he keeps knocking you off. We can go on and on about the lessons that the game teaches you but the greatest skill you can acquire from the game is said perfectly from Ipswich High’s own Jake Wile, “It taught me how to drive.”