Date:15 May 2017
I’m a horrible parent. Not only did I deliver no less than two red shell attacks on my 5-year-old daughter, but also took great joy in her wasting away a sunny Cape Town Saturday afternoon indoors. I’m not ashamed of either action. Also, she had the shelling coming.
I was about 10 years old the first time I played Super Mario Kart on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES, but we called it SuperNes) and it still remains, in my opinion, the greatest game ever designed. From the then revolutionary shoulder buttons (SNES) to the first-ever four-player interaction on a console (Mario Kart 64), the intuitive controls, inclusive fun and superior game mechanics keep it at the very top of any “best video game” list.
I remember long sessions spent in front of the TV battling my neighbour Wayne as we moved through the ranks and unlocked various modes during school holidays. Wayne owned the SNES at that time and never let me choose Toad – the character with the most balanced driving characteristics. That the characters had different driving styles may or may not have been a concept of our youthful imaginations. Wayne passed away two years ago and would’ve loved this game. I play with Toad all the time now.
The game also brings out the best parts of the Nintendo Switch. I can slip off the JoyCons and hand one to my daughter for some quality bonding time wherever we are.
In all, the fun is still alive in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. It makes me feel like a kid again and I can carry it with me wherever I want. The game mechanics are as thrilling as ever and the terrain-dependent dynamics are still class-leading. I do wish that I had to unlock all the tracks and racing modes to give the game some more longevity, but it’s also great to be able to share the core experience with my family from the get-go.
This is still the best racing game on the planet, now on the best console.