Everyone miss me? I missed all of you! If you were wondering where I was, I was on a nice little vacation from this fun site and reality. However, don’t think I forgot about my nerdiness and, more importantly, you guys out there reading my material. I had time to take my gaming consoles with me and enjoyed a few games. Then one day sitting on the beaches of Avalon, New Jersey, I pondered the question of what are my favorite games to play in the Summer?
This is, personally, one of my all-time favorite summer games to play. No rules, no storyline, just a fun and entertaining game that featuring one of America’s all-time favorite characters, Mario.
Along with everyone’s favorite plumber, he is joined on the Super Nintendo by the Mario mainstays of Luigi, Bowser, Yoshi, The Koopa Troopa, Donkey Kong (who is, for some reason, is wearing a white tank top) and Princess. In the N64 version, we are able to play as Mario’s evil double (and my, personal, favorite character…for some odd reason), Wario. For the Wii, it added a whole slew of fun characters (Dry Bones, Waluigi, Baby Mario, Baby Peach, King Boo to name a few) and, honestly, the Wii version is my favorite character selection because of the variety I had to select and, to be honest, that’s an awesome feature in this game.
The reason I got hooked on MarioKart to begin with was the outstanding visual effects. I could sit here and talk about the awesome settings one course by one but there’s one course in these three games that NEEDS to be taken into account. I THINK you and I all know what I’m talking about:
RAINBOW F’N ROAD!
There’s something that needs to be said that the best track in the game only features nothing more than stars and a rainbow track. However, it’s STILL the best track in a game and is one of my favorites. This track, alone, makes every game in this franchise playable for years to come.
I know there’s more to these games than Rainbow Road, like Bowser’s Castle, however Rainbow Road has been a mainstay in most of the games that actually succeeded in the franchise. It was that hypnotic road of bright colors behind that black background that got the gamer’s attention and is one of the coolest things in any games I’ve played.
Let’s just hope there’s no hidden messages of any sort in it.
The one thing that makes this an awesome summertime game is its ability to hook players, like myself, in their world without a story. Just plop in the game, plop down on a chair and play as your favorite character.
When I was on vacation this past week, my little cousin came with us and we had him play the Wii for a while and one of the things that he did was play a butt-load of the Wii, whether it was Wii Sports (which we bought for that reason) or MarioKart and, I’m quite sure, that MarioKart was his favorite because it was easy to play and the visuals were stunning.
Now, I’m not saying that it’s good to play this when you have a 5-year-old mind…but it’s great to have a family and play a game without worrying of long cut scenes that, probably, have no effect on you or your family. Your cousin who’s five wants to play, your family wants to play, you want to play! The MarioKart series allows you to just play and have fun!
Sadly, there have been some attempts to duplicate the success of MarioKart. There were some good ones, some bad ones and some ugly ones. One of the ugliest ones I could think of is, and trust me…it hurts me being a fan of the namesake, Sonic Riders. WHY THE HECK DOES SONIC NEED TO RIDE SOMETHING?! HE’S SONIC! The SEGA guys should stick to doing what they know best, trying to refresh Sonic’s image with a new 2D scroller-type game. NOT trying to copy Mario, who appears to be Sonic’s “new best friend” for the past four years, in everything he does. The reason we liked Mario games is because they were revolutionary and not carbon copies of other games. So, yeah, do that.
One of the good racing games that took the MarioKart format shape was Diddy Kong Racing. Diddy Kong, who appears as a playable character in MarioKart Wii, was cool because, unlike Sonic Riders, it was able to introduce a new aspect to character racing games. In addition to carts, Diddy introduced airplanes and it was, quite, awesome. Hell, I’ll go out and say that Diddy Kong Racing and MarioKart 64 were side by side in my favorite games for the N64.
Question time! What character(s) do you use when playing MarioKart? What track is your favorite? Leave it in the comments below.