In this photo provided by Nintendo of America, Mario and Luigi enjoy Happy Meals on July 12, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. Nintendo is celebrating the recently released Mario Kart 8 game for the Wii U console by partnering with McDonald's nationwide to include themed toys in Happy Meals. (Bob Riha, Jr./Nintendo of America via Getty Images/TNS)

Point/Counterpoint: Which Mario Kart game is best?

The latest installment of the Mario Kart series was released for mobile devices Sept. 25. Two DI columnists reminisce and debate which previous edition of the racing game takes the checkered flag.

October 8, 2019

64 is a 10/10

Mario Kart for Nintendo 64 will always hold a special place in my heart — and my basement. Like the original Super Mario Brothers before it that I used to play on my dad’s NES, there is something sacred about that first edition. I was shocked and disappointed to find out that my younger colleague has never experienced the glitches and glory of that N64 version. There was something deeply satisfying about winning on an oversized three-pronged controller.

I’ve been to NASCAR races at the Chicagoland, Daytona International, and Las Vegas Motor Speedways. Although I’ve never won a Sprint Cup Series myself, I imagine the thrill is similar to the euphoria I experienced vicariously watching Yoshi cross the Kalimari Desert finish line before my cousins. There were only a few other times in my grandma’s basement that I came close to beating them, and they would usually shut off the console before allowing that to happen.

The new mobile version Mario Kart is probably mildly fun and a lucrative marketing ploy, but it’s a bit like hunting deer over bait surrounded by a high fence. It doesn’t require much talent or effort. The absence of a controller robs the gamer of the exhilarating challenges they would otherwise experience.

You haven’t truly lived until you’ve watched your character ride up to the castle, so that a giant red and yellow fish can float down from the sky to spit out your trophy. Y’all can have keep those fancy newer versions. I’ll put on some Vanilla Ice and stick with the original.

Wii reigns supreme

Mario Kart is a racing video game characterized by its vibrant go-karts, expressive Mario franchise characters, and lively maps. Although Nintendo keeps releasing different Mario Kart games, the latest one being released last month for iOS and Android, the top version is Mario Kart Wii.

This version of Mario Kart has some of the most engaging controllers, which is why it is not surprising that it sold a whopping 37.14 million copies. Players can choose whether they want to drive “automatic” or drift by choosing “manual.” They can play with a nunchuck controller for simpler gaming or implement the unforgettable Wii Wheel to feel more immersed.

The unpredictability factor is another reason that makes Mario Kart Wii the supreme game in the series. You could be in first place and a blue shell can come from afar and set you back a few spots. In the Wii version, winning is not as easy as it usually is because you never know what is going to happen. Therefore, playing with friends who are beginners will be just as fun because it gives everyone a chance at victory.

Even after playing for a while, gamers can still discover new aspects to the game because many of the game’s tracks have shortcuts and secrets.

Regardless of what platform you prefer to play Mario Kart on, we can all probably agree that it is a timeless series filled with entertainment and excitement. 

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