Modern Age Mechanics in Mario Kart

Have you ever watched someone play a very intense, action packed, demanding video game? Have you ever noticed their reactions, verbal and nonverbal? How about when players move around the room sporadically while trying to see around that one 2-D item on their screen? I have seen it in many forms, mostly in my family who plays games often and it always amused me. The idea that a player will move their physical body in order to attempt to see around an object in an imaginative universe always seemed for lack of a better word, stupid to me. Obviously the players who are interacting with the game know that the game is not in the real world, but that does not stop them from screaming and becoming emotionally invested in the game. These games have strong game mechanics or “constructs of rules or methods designed for interaction with the game state, thus providing gameplay”. In thinking about which game to play for class, I thought about games I often loved when I was younger and often played with my younger brother.

The game I chose to play and discuss was Mario Kart 3D and since I do not own my own game system I found a version online and played using a keyboard. The game was simple in nature, there are 4 players who start on a line and race around different courses in shopping carts, and the first person to cross the finish line after 3 laps won. Since this game was played on the computer, it had different mechanics and combinations than traditional game systems because we lack the controller we are so accustomed to using. The game operated by using the arrows on the keyboard for direction; up: drive forward, down: stop or drive backwards, left: turn left, right: turn right. The player plays as the main character Mario and races along side Luigi, Wario and Waluigi as you race across different fields in shopping carts hoping to finish first. While you are racing, there are obstacles in your way which include trees, patches of grass, and slippery bananas that stop your movement.

In order to avoid these obstacles you must maneuver around them using your keys, speed and other power ups to get to the finish line first. On the ground there are also red spotted mushrooms which give you double the speed for a few seconds, helping you blow past the competition. As you become faster, it becomes harder to control your movements and turn correctly which leads to more errors and crashes.

The popularity of this game has only grown over recent years, after the creation of the first Mario Kart in 1992 released for Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The game gained critical success and became hugely popular around the world. There have been five Mario Kart games created since, with the most recent being released in 2014 for the Wii U named Mario Kart 8, which sold over 100 million copies worldwide to date. I know for myself personally, I have always loved the game of Mario Kart and have been a fan since a very young age. My brother, father, cousins and various family used to play games often when we would have large get togethers for family. Mario Kart is a very intense, nail biting, entertaining game which can be enjoyed by all ages in various sizes. The game as a career mode, in which a solo player can navigate the world of Mario Kart in order, completing quests, doing challenges and moving up as you go along. There is also single game mode where you can choose and play single courses for fun or practice without advancing in the game. Finally, there is everyones favorite mode, multiplayer. The multiplayer mode leaves space open for you and your friends to join you in competing against each other or the computer in an energy filled exchange that might leave you screaming at each other. Many people who do not claim themselves as ‘gamers’ often enjoy and play Mario Kart because of its extreme popularity and group entertainment, which has lead to its great success.

The mechanics of the game itself are simple, go faster than anyone else and finish first. The entertaining aspect of the game and their easy, simple to master mechanics leaves the game open for anyone to play. I love the free open capability that the games gives you, if you so desire you can even race the each level and round backwards, for no scoring credit of course. However, many of brand games have been created thanks to Mario Kart, for example there have been additions made to the game to create more challenge, extra downloadable content and with the expansion of play on the internet, players now have the capability to play against anyone from around the world. There have also been modern day social additions, such as relay Mario Kart which is played in the game as well as real life, and also everyone’s favorite Mario Kart drinking games, of which there are many to choose from, especially in a college town.

The timeless love for racing games has helped to create multiple mega successful series including Need for Speed, Grand Theft Auto as well as the continued success of Mario Kart. In conclusion, the mechanics of Mario Kart are basic enough for players of all ages to learn, enjoy and master for years to come. That, coupled with the entertainment and high adrenalin of the game, makes any Mario Kart racing game a staple in the video game industry for many year to come.

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