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Video Game Memories: Mario Kart 64

Mario Kart was one of those novelty games where the various characters of the Mario world got together. It got so big that it ended up outgrowing the novelty factor. My introduction to Mario Kart began in the mid 90’s after a friend rented it out on his Super Nintendo.  I played it and I loved it. I be honest, I never really been a fan of racing games or motorsports in general but with Mario Kart, it was a blast. I had a ton of fun playing it!

Fast forward a few years, my cousin Liam came down from Birmingham and he brought with him his Nintendo 64. I read and heard so much about this console and here it was in my living room. One of the games that he had was Mario Kart 64 and remembering the enjoyment I had from the SNES days I knew what I wanted to play. MK64 was my introduction to the N64, trying to figure out how to hold the control pad was a puzzle within itself. Despite my embarrassing defeat I fell in love with the game just like I did back when I first played the original. Christmas of that year, I got a N64 but no Mario Kart so the next day I went out and bought Mario Kart and played it for hours. Mario Kart was also a game where it encouraged you to be a dick towards the other players and to sabotage the race in your favour. There was nothing more satisfying then hitting your opponent with one of those red shells which presented the opportunity for you to overtake them and, hopefully, win the race. You were never supposed to “play fair”, that’s what made the game for me!

I was always either Luigi, Donkey Kong or Wario. Personally speaking, I think they were the best characters. Me and my friends were always playing multiplayer mode. We even devised our own league table where points were rewarded depending on the position we finished in the race. Even when I moved out in 2004, I still had my N64 and we all still played multiplayer well into 2008 where my N64 passed away. My favourite race track was Wario Stadium. It took place within a huge stadium on a mud track. I’m sure I speak on behalf of everyone who’s ever played Mario Kart that Rainbow Road was a massive pain in the arse. You had to be careful of your speed otherwise you could fall off the track and you also had to deal with that massive ball thing. The other racetrack which proved to be a pain was Toad’s Turnpike, especially on mirror mode. Mirror mode was basically the same race course but in reverse. With Toad’s Turnpike, you had to weave in and out of traffic but on mirror mode you had to avoid traffic coming towards you. It took a few turns to complete that level! Mirror mode was the only unlockable in the game. No hidden characters or new racetracks. I always thought that was disappointing but it never hurt how I felt about the game.

Over the years, Mario Kart has gotten stronger and stronger with no signs of slowing down. It’s one of the best video game franchises of all time as far as I’m concerned. I still get a kick from playing Mario Kart, recently bought it on the DS, but I still reckon the magic was with MK64. Honestly believe it’s the best game of the series. Absolute quality right there!


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