Search This Blog

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Mario Kart Makes Us a Bunch of Savages

By kevinbolk

Since the series debuted in 1992 on the SNES, the Mario Kart games have been one of the most successful racing franchises in the gaming medium. It's also been one of, if not the most chaotic. When you mix up the racing formula with Mario locals such as lava filled castles, ice rinks, cruise ships, monster truck pits and give the racers shells, banana peels and piranha plants to take out the opposition, you know you're in for an insane racing experience.

Hey, I know him. He's every person that's ever
driven a car.

Have you ever seen the 1950 Goofy short Motor Mania? If you haven't, you really should. It's a classic. In this short, Goofy starts out as Mr. Walker, a mild mannered individual who upon first glance, may seem like a total square. But when Mr. Walker gets behind the wheel of his car, a strange, Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde transformation occurs. Every ounce of kindness he once possessed disappears and he becomes Mr. Wheeler, a crazy motorist. As Mr. Wheeler, he's rude to fellow drivers and pedestrians alike, in a constant rush to reach his destination, not caring how reckless he's driving to get there.

Mr. Wheeler sounds familiar, doesn't he? Of course he does. He's a good chunk of the people you encounter on and off the road every day of your life. Motor Mania may be a short that was made in the 1950s, but it hasn't aged at all. Cars have the power to turn people into twisted, warped versions of themselves, bringing out some of their worst qualities. How many times have you been cut off, cut someone off yourself, caused an accident or nearly caused an accident because you were in such a hurry to get to where you were going? Not all drivers are inconsiderate jerks, but more often than not, these are the ones we hear about. 99% of car stories center around a-hole drivers and fender benders. What's all this got to do with Mario Kart? Everything.

Yoshi is about to make the lives of those around
him very miserable.  

Just as cars can make good people awful human beings, Mario Kart makes us a bunch of bloodthirsty racers that will do whatever it takes to get that first place W. The saying goes that there's no such thing as friends in Mario Kart and man, is that ever true. You can be with your spouse, best friend, a soldier who saved you during the war. None of that matters when it comes to Mario Kart. When Lakitu signals you to go, anyone you're playing Mario Kart with becomes your mortal enemy. If you're in a losing position, you will not hesitate to toss those red shells, blast them with the Super Horn, or toss a Bob-omb in front of them to ruin their day. Tanks and machine guns may not be involved but make no mistake, Mario Kart is still a war and every soldier is out for themselves.

In some ways, Mario Kart is like driving in real life. The car turns you into a psycho, there are constant crashes, and Luigi's Death Stare is the look every single driver gets when they are peeved, which is quite frequently. Just as we rush to get to our destination in real life, we rush to get into first place or winning position in Mario Kart and you had better believe we will ruin our friendships to win. Mario Kart is serious business.

No comments: