Format: Nintendo Wii
Release date: 2008
I’ve played many versions of Mario Kart, first on the Snes at a friend’s house, followed by my own copy of the N64 version. The Nintendo DS edition got a lot of play during the various anime conventions that I attended between 2006 and 2011, where you could LAN it up via Bluetooth with anyone else in the vicinity. But the version I truly have the fondest memories of has to be Mario Kart Wii.
It all started on the day I brought my Nintendo Wii into the office. This was back when I had a real job, working 9-5 in a marketing agency as a multimedia designer. My boss, John, and co-workers Luke and Chris, would often stay a little later after closing to enjoy a Grand Prix. The 8 races usually took less than an hour to play through, so it was a nice way to wind down after a hard day at the office. Relaxing. Civil. A bit of gentlemanly competition.
I can’t believe I wasn’t sacked. On the very first day we played, I chose Yoshi, because he was always my character. I kicked the shit out of my co-workers, winning every race and almost putting them off playing ever again. So, next time, I decided to pick one of the slowest characters, Donkey Kong. Give ‘em a chance, y’know? At first I hated it; he is fat and lumbering, and corners like a dumper truck. But I soon realised that being a giant gorilla in a go-kart is ridiculously entertaining, because I no longer needed to drive around my opponents… I could go through them.
Smashing my opponents from behind and sending them into a bottomless pit became my tactic of choice when playing against my increasingly pissed off colleagues. John threw my Wii-mote at the wall multiple times, Chris would give me a look that could curdle milk, and Luke swore in pure rage, going red in the face, and even took up practicing at home on his nephew’s Wii, just so he could try and better me. There were occasions when Luke or Chris might sneak a win, (I don’t remember John ever finishing higher than 3rd), Rich was okay at the game, but preferred playing Fifa, and obviously when Paul played I had a real competitor for once, but he rarely wanted to. So, I left the office as the Mario Kart champion almost every single night. You might think that repeatedly pummelling a bunch of non-gamers at a child’s racing game would grow tedious or dull, but somehow it never did. It was hilarious.