"Life is all about resolve. Outcome is secondary."

- Waka, Okami

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe: A 180 in the right direction

The Mario Kart franchise is one of the video game brands that I hold very dear to my heart. I was seven years old when the first Mario Kart was released on the SNES in 1992. Racers, at that time, were pretty bland due to the technical limitations of the era. Mario Kart offered a fresh take on the genre and injected it with a shot of adrenaline. You were able to choose from various characters from the ever growing mushroom kingdom and race your friends on go karts through cleverly designed courses. These races were anything but typical. Players were able to grab power ups during the races which could completely change things up at any moment. Throw in battle mode that took advantage of this mechanic and good bye childhood. My friends and I must have spent hundreds of hours playing it and its' much improved upon sequel, Mario Kart 64. We weren't the only ones. Millions of gamers have the same fond memories as us.

I kept up with the series over the years, eagerly awaiting each new release.
Not every game was equal, but Nintendo did try to innovate and add something new from time to time. I personally loved the dual racing mechanic from Mario Kart Double Dash on the Game Cube and wish that it would be revisited. Nevertheless, my interest did start to wain over the years and hit it lowest point with Mario Kart 7. I felt like I was just repurchasing the same game again. I wasn't getting excited over the franchise anymore. When Mario Kart 8 released, you would think that I would be excited over any game on a console that was as starved as the Wii U was for me; especially a game with the pedigree of the MK brand. Yet, I really didn't care. I went through the motions and got it anyway. I played through a few races and then I never touched it again. It became forever lost to the backlog. You shouldn't be surprised to hear that I wasn't exactly thrilled at the announcement of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the Nintendo Switch. It was a similar situation to that of the Wii U.

The Switch is a bit game starved at the moment due to it being so new but that didn't impact my thoughts. I thought that Deluxe was a blatant cash grab. I couldn't believe they were going to charge a full $60 for it. Even after finding out what made it “deluxe” (extra characters and stages that were DLC for the Wii U release, new mode, and graphical enhancements) I still wasn't convinced to buy it. Nothing stood out to me. The only reason I wound up with a copy in my library is because my youngest son wanted it for his birthday. Since I had it, I figured I might as well take it for a spin. It was the Mario Kart I grew up to expect of course, BUT LOOK LINK IS IN IT!!! I had that same sort of excited reaction several times as I looked at all the newly added characters. I also had that reaction when I played the new stages. The Excite bike stage, in particular, has become my new favorite level. I would have bought most of this extra stuff on the Wii U had I known it existed. All of this added content and the little bump in presentation made this seem like an entirely new Mario Kart to me. I was completely addicted to the game. I played so much my fingers would be red and hurting. I felt compelled enough to play through all the difficulties, including the newer 200cc mode that is a true test for any Mario Kart player, veteran or rookie. After tackling all of that, I jumped online and spent time playing split screen with friends and family. No matter how I chose to play I had an amazing time each and every time I booted up the game. THIS is the mark of an amazing video game. I lost so many hours playing it, just like the originals, and I loved every single one of them. It is a true accomplishment on Nintendo's part. They changed my mind completely about Mario Kart 8 and the direction of the franchise as a whole.

If you are on the fence about buying it go ahead and take the plunge. It's worth the money and deserves a spot in any collection. And if you don't own a Switch, do yourself a favour and get one. Every gamer needs to give Mario Kart 8 Deluxe a shot. I promise that you won't regret it!
 


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Jeremy
15-10-2017
 
 

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