Mario Mania

Mario drifts in his go-kart. Mario is the main avatar in the Mario Kart series.

As Mario drifts around the corner, blue, yellow and purple sparks extrude from his tires as a burst of flames from his exhaust pipes propel him past Peach, Yoshi and Bowser. The kart eventually flies by the black and white checkers. “LET’S GO!” yells the player as Mario zips past the virtual finish line on their phone.

Mario Kart Tour is a mobile game made by Nintendo that was released on the 25th of September in 2019. With just over 722 thousand ratings on the Apple app store and 4.8 out of 5 stars, you could say that it has made quite a name for itself. “It’s really fun because it’s like a mobile version of what I grew up playing on the Wii,” says Sean Allers, a Franklin High School sophomore.

The first console version of the Mario Kart series was released on the Super Nintendo Gaming System in August of 1992 and sold 8.76 million copies, but the release of Mario Kart on the Wii in April of 2008 sold a whopping 37.2 million copies, making it a very popular game of this generation. Mario Kart on the Wii was very enjoyable at the time. However, teenagers have outgrown the original Wii console’s blocky controllers and poor graphics. For gamers such as Allers (10), this new version of the beloved Mario Kart game this generation grew up with was much needed, so when Mario Kart Tour was released, it was very popular amongst teenagers.

“I really like the controls [of Mario Kart Tour]” says Gabe Kent, a Franklin High School sophomore, “It feels very smooth and fluid to steer.” Along with the game mechanics improvement also came better graphics, easier accessibility and new tracks for players to play in Mario Kart Tour. At the touch of a finger, smartphone users can race around new tracks like “New York Minute” and “Tokyo Blur” and retro tracks such as “Rainbow Road,” “Mario Circuit” and “Choco Island 2.”

Although Mario Kart Tour is a very enjoyable game, it’s not all sunshine and roses. When the game was released, many people were expecting the game to include a multiplayer game mode where you could compete with your peers, however, a multiplayer mode is still “Inbound.” The lack of a multiplayer game mode has been disappointing to many players and has caused many people to stop playing the game altogether. Another disappointment of the game is the fact that competitive advantages can be purchased in-game using real-life money. These purchases of new carts, gliders, and characters in-game can be very frustrating to those who have tried to achieve the best gear through gameplay instead of buying that gear with one touch of their finger like those with money.

Along with the downsides of this new game, the release of Mario Kart Tour was impactful to the modern world because of its continuation of the Mario Kart series in a unique and accessible fashion that can be played on the go. From leaning into turns with little white controllers on the Wii, to aggressively bashing your phone because of the result of a race, Mario Kart never fails to impress us.

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