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Anti-Gravity Hipster

mario-kart-8-mario-bike

Vroom vroom! Mario Kart 8 is only 2 days away!  I figured with it being such a big day, we’d take a look at some other innovations that have taken place in the kart racing genre that have brought us where we are today!

The Beginning

Racing games have been around since the arcade days. The first game that I’m aware of is the 80s classic “Pole Position”. I used to play it on my old computer all the time, and all I remember is that it was nigh impossible. Controls were limited to moving left, right, and forward. Still, it was a racer, nonetheless.

I’d say the kart racing phenomenon started with the SNES classic Super Mario Kart. This game took the beloved characters from Nintendo’s popular Mario series of games, and stuck them in cars. Combining tight controls with combat between cars, the game was a hit, selling almost 9 million copies. It was the third best selling game on the console. With that game, the dynamic genre of kart racers was born.

The Expansion

With such great success for the racer, other franchises were quick to jump into the race. Most notably (So I hear) was Diddy Kong Racing for the Nintendo 64. This game brought two amazing new features in the form of different vehicles for the player to use. In addition to karts, players could now choose to race over water in a hovercraft or through the skies with an airplane.

diddy kong hovercraft

Around the same time, Sony decided to venture into this genre with their beloved character Crash Bandicoot. Crash Team Racing was a fairly typical kart racer with a Crash Bandicoot twist. However, this game introduced a story as well. (I think Diddy Kong might’ve done this, but I’m more familiar with Crash) While Mario Kart 64 had some pretty good gameplay, the series has never had a story. This is odd to me, seeing how even Mario Party seems to shoehorn in a story each time.

Before it was cool

The next entry in the Crash Bandicoot racing series did something no kart racer had done before. Anti-gravity racing that puts you on walls, upside down, and makes your car do a cool transformation. I wonder if anyone else will ever try to do this exact same thing?

I kid, I kid, but there are some glaring similarities in how both series do anti gravity. However, Crash Nitro Kart had a struggling framerate, odd camera angles, and some fairly off kilter controls. Still, they did it first. Mario Kart just seems to be doing it better. (It looks way better when doing it, too!)

crash-nitro-kart-anti-gravity

Race your own way

Remember Diddy Kong Racing? Of course you do. I literally just got done talking about it. Let’s talk about the Nintendo DS release, though. One feature that many were hoping would be in Mario Kart 8 is a track editor. While the game in two days won’t be letting you edit the existing tracks, Diddy Kong Racing for the DS let you make your own tracks to race on. That’s a huge feat, especially for a Nintendo DS game.

Seeing Double

Mario Kart Double Dash for the Gamecube introduced the concept of having two racers on a car, and being able to switch between them at will. This not only allowed for cool power-up options and combos, but also a really fun co-operative option for a kart racer. Some of you may not know this, but one player could be the driver, and the other would man the weapons on the same car.

This was one of  my favorite innovations, and a great example of what strides Mario Kart has made in its genre. It’s constantly pushing itself forward, and challenging other games to do the same. (Well, except for the anti gravity, but we’ll let that one slide.)

Lucky Number 7

Three big features debuted in Mario Kart 7, and are returning in Mario Kart 8. The first two go hand in hand, as they’re both different ways to get around the track. The first is using a hang glider to soar through the air, and the second is diving underwater to drive under the water.

Both of these options give the tracks much greater options for variety, and really took the racing to a new level. It’s just awesome to fly around the planets, and underwater racing is so natural it almost feels like something that’s always been in the series.

Mario-Kart-8-1

The third big idea is kart customization. The wheels, body, and glider are all customizable, and it’s all unlockable. No silly DLC karts that tip the scales in favor of the buyer. It also adds a unique strategic twist to the game, as each customization alters the stats of the kart. I love this kind of customization, and I’m glad we’re seeing it return.

As seen on TV

The next big thing Mario Kart 8 is bringing to the table is its Miiverse itegration, and being able to post and watch replays via Mario Kart TV. You can even post your videos to YouTube to share your triumphs (or blunders!) with the world. It’s a really big step forward for Nintendo, who have really been a bit behind in the online area.

I’m also really glad to see videos make a debut in the everyday Miiverse user’s posts. I can’t wait to see what other games will offer video posting capabilities. Maybe it’ll even become standard! (Yeah… right. Nintendo’s not the keenest on letting their content off the disc for free)

Start your engines

The time has come, Wii U Daily fans. It’s time for us to buckle up, adjust our mirrors, and drive like there’s no tomorrow! Whatever happens or has happened in the genre before now, most of us will soon be experiencing what I’m sure will be an amazing racing experience. Not to mention a great sign of progress in a sometimes stagnant industry.

Miiverse and Wii U Daily!

Instead of my Miiverse posts (Been a bit busy to gather them all up) I’d like to call you users to send me links to your best Mario Kart posts! I’ll feature a few of my favorites in next week’s article. Just email them to “zorpix@live.com” . Before you start yelling at me for giving out my email address online, that’s only my throwaway email address, so don’t expect me to check it outside of when I do things like this.

I can’t wait to see what you guys send me!

Wrapping up

If you do happen to have any suggestions for next week’s topic, any questions about the content I wrote, or just wanna say hey, feel free to sound off below! If you really feel inclined, you can mosey on over to my TwitterFacebook, or Miiverse account.

I’ll now be accepting friend requests on Wii U! I’m gonna need people to play Mario Kart with, so go ahead and add me! Let’s get this party started! Vroom Vroom!

Thanks for reading, and happy racing! I’ll be periodically hosting friend only matches this weekend, so if you see me, please join!

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  • https://twitter.com/Zorpix_Fang Zorpix

    Hey everyone! I hope you liked this little history of innovation and the genre. A pretty narrow look, but a look nonetheless.

    Can’t wait to race you all on friday ;)

    • Shota

      i’m playing mk8 today :D when i get home

      • https://twitter.com/Zorpix_Fang Zorpix

        Not everyone’s as lucky as you ;P

    • lonewolf

      F-zero anti gravity says hi (way before crash nitro kart).

      • https://twitter.com/Zorpix_Fang Zorpix

        not a kart racer though ;)

        • lonewolf

          Well that didnt stopped them to copy it.

      • The Clockwork Being

        F-Zero isn’t a kart racer…

      • Guest

        F-Zero isn’t a kart racer

    • Michael Hancock

      Thanks for mentioning Diddy Kong Racing.

      • https://twitter.com/Zorpix_Fang Zorpix

        Couldn’t help it!

    • Someone Cool

      Good stuff. Oh, and If I see ya at the races I’ll try and send some red shells your way but chances are I’ll be too far ahead…

      • https://twitter.com/Zorpix_Fang Zorpix

        It’ll just seem like you’re ahead because I’ll be about to lap you ;)

        • Someone Cool

          Touché.

          • Mario

            And I’ll make sure to throw you a blue shell, while I pass next to you both and reach the finish line in style.

    • Nintenjoe82

      you missed the first ever ‘Mario Kart beater’…. Street Racer. It had character specific abilities, fullscreen single player, 4 player splitscreen (on a SNES) and convinced many people to trade Super Mario Kart for it.

      Like most Mario Kart clones it got boring pretty quick!

      • https://twitter.com/Zorpix_Fang Zorpix

        Ack. I did miss it. Thanks for the info!

    • Rinslowe

      Duude
      :)

    • andrewjcole (aka Sean – lol)

      Are you still taking Miiverse friend requests? I sent you one. I’m Sam @tipsandticks

      • PS4Rocks

        Im deafswin77 if you want to friend

    • WiiUPS4

      I already have the game but please add me if you wish and hope you do..I have been want to race you for a long time

      • https://twitter.com/Zorpix_Fang Zorpix

        I’m adding all requests :P

        • WiiUPS4

          deafswin77 hope you add

          • https://twitter.com/Zorpix_Fang Zorpix

            I’m bad with adding users myself. My username should be pretty easy to figure out ;P

          • Marioman21

            You are taking friend requests because of Mario kart

          • https://twitter.com/Zorpix_Fang Zorpix

            and I just want more friends

          • Marioman21

            I will send a request

          • PS4Rocks

            Send one to me too man deafswin77

          • Marioman21

            I am already on your list deafswin77.

          • PS4Rocks

            thanks man

          • WiiUPS4

            I sent you a request..thanks

          • https://twitter.com/Zorpix_Fang Zorpix

            cool!I’ll add you next time I’m on!

          • PS4Rocks

            This is for you man https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AkgJZGspCM
            Twisted mario..An ad for Mario cart 8 in a way

          • https://twitter.com/Zorpix_Fang Zorpix

            yeah, I saw that one XD

          • PS4Rocks

            That one was really funny

          • WiiUPS4

            Well if you want to friend me you know where im at

    • Zach Cruz

      Will there be a tournament set up for WiiUDaily? or ?

    • Marioman21

      Ready to destroy.

      • https://twitter.com/Zorpix_Fang Zorpix

        I just wanted a kart race ;~;

        …Bring it.

        • Marioman21

          ok
          p.s I am actually kinda bad a Mario Kart.

          • https://twitter.com/Zorpix_Fang Zorpix

            I like to consider myself good, but then I end up doing not so greatXD

    • David Noble

      2 days to the release, and we all know 2 means to fire up your engines for a first-second speed boost!

      • https://twitter.com/Zorpix_Fang Zorpix

        shh! Don’t be givin away secrets ;P

    • PS4Rocks

      Hey check out this funny Video i found with reggie…for E3

  • cthreep

    Looking forward to taking a half day of work on Friday to pick up my pre-order of MK8 and play for like 20 hours straight!

    • https://twitter.com/Zorpix_Fang Zorpix

      I should skip work too… they’ve practically been asking me to because the school doesn’t have as much money to pay out

      • cthreep

        DO IT.

        • https://twitter.com/Zorpix_Fang Zorpix

          eh… I can’t :/

    • Rinslowe

      “Please take a 10 minute rest once every hour. Followed by a strict regiment of 50 minutes exactly non-stop of Mario Kart 8 all week until gone – From this reality.
      If the problem (of this reality) still persists. Kindly repeat this process indefinitely until server shut down.”

      Some random Dr. Guy/ Mario (-_o)

  • crocodileman94

    I hope they make a new Crash Bandicoot racer one day…

    • https://twitter.com/Zorpix_Fang Zorpix

      They had Tag Team racing, but that didn’t really go over well. Shame, it was actually kinda cool, and I forgot about it until now

  • Ducked

    Great article Zorpix! I loved Crash Nitro Kart! Great kart racing game! Sure it had its flaws as you mentioned, but overall it was fun racing game that didn’t get the love it deserved. The storyline in Crash Nitro Kart was really bad was my only big con for it. It is interesting that the Mario Kart series has never brought in a storyline. Crash Team Racing on the PS1 is another good game. In some ways it was better than Mario Kart 64 only because it hasn’t aged as bad.

    I have to say Mario Kart Double Dash is my favorite game in the series. It took a huge risk, and one I think paid off. I love Mario Kart DS as well, because its like playing an updated better version of Mario Kart 64. As for Mario Kart Wii, that has to be one of my least favorite in the series. I hated the motion controls, and wasn’t impressed with the newer tracks. Mario Kart 7 is one of my favorites, the game is just smooth. The gliders are a nice addition, and the online is better than MK Wii online play.

    I’m looking forward to Mario Kart 8 out this Friday. Taking all the cons out of the series and playing it in gorgeous HD. I just hope the next Mario Kart game can bring back the double kart option. Again, as always great article Zorpix!

    • https://twitter.com/Zorpix_Fang Zorpix

      Thanks! Glad you liked it. I totally agree that CTR aged way better than MK64. 64 just isn’t as polished as it seemed back then. CNKs story was pretty hard but at least it was present and gave some kind of direction. I’m really curious why no story has erupted thus far.

      Double dash was quitefun as well, but I liked wiis tracks too. They were pretty fun, and the game was pretty good too.

      • Ducked

        CNK was very challenging. Mario Kart 64 did have some amazing tracks I give it that, but I don’t know why anyone would play it over the newer games. I’m guessing Nintendo feels the game doesn’t need a story, but it would be nice if it did. Wiki’s track? Do you mean Wii tracks?

        • https://twitter.com/Zorpix_Fang Zorpix

          yes, I meant Wii :P

  • http://nintendopapercraftvideos.wordpress.com/ Sam

    That makes me wanna play Crash Nitro Kart…

    • https://twitter.com/Zorpix_Fang Zorpix

      If you have a PS2, go for it!

      • http://nintendopapercraftvideos.wordpress.com/ Sam

        I’ll see if I can pick it up soon! But we’re going to get MK8 as soon as my sister and I are done with are state reports, and that’s gonna dry up my money well.

        • https://twitter.com/Zorpix_Fang Zorpix

          yeah. spring for MK8 first :P

  • gamesplayswill

    Crash Nitro Kart did it, AND MADE it cool. :3

    I spent countless nights playing that game.

  • Roadkill409

    Sonic Racing? The first game was ok, But Transformed was much better. Transformed did 3 racing styles and combined them really well.

    • https://twitter.com/Zorpix_Fang Zorpix

      that’s what I meant! whoops

  • WarioForever

    Well it was Crash who coppied Mario Kart 64. Or?…

    • https://twitter.com/Zorpix_Fang Zorpix

      Crash team racing copied mk64 I believe, yes. But it was a damn good copy that aged better than the original

  • Nostalgic_Chaos

    So, are we going to have any Wii U Daily Mario Kart 8 Online tournaments? That would be fun.

    • https://twitter.com/Zorpix_Fang Zorpix

      Where have ya been? :p I’ve been talking about this for a while now. Yes we will. Times aren’t final

      • Nostalgic_Chaos

        Sounds good.

        • Rinslowe

          You gonna need that practice Chaos! ;)
          I got a perimeter of red shells with your name on each one. Yup, you see tires behind a tree in Moo Moo Meadows, that’s me. Waitn to strike!

          Haha.

          • Nostalgic_Chaos

            Lol! I’ve got a Blue Shell with Rinslowe on it!
            Man, I can’t wait. Just one more freaking day! We’ll set up some public tournaments often and have hours of MK madness!

          • Rinslowe

            Wouldn’t that be awesome if you could program signatures on the shells before a race. Or you know in a preset type menu before going online…
            Would bring that friendly competition to just a little bit more hilarious levels. Especially with MK TV…
            :)

      • Rinslowe

        Lets all get a couple of days practice in first. A moment of grace if you will. I take this Tourney idea very seriously. And being in top form is a priority!
        XD

        • Nostalgic_Chaos

          Lol, ‘moment of Grace’. Sounds good.
          I’ll be doing all of my training on Friday, will do single player against the computer for a few hours and then hop online I think. Did you know that you only have to do 150cc to get all 3 stars to show Online? You don’t need to do 50cc if you don’t want to.

        • https://twitter.com/Zorpix_Fang Zorpix

          It prolly wont be for a few wheeks

          • Rinslowe

            All the better. We’ll be machines by then. >:)

          • https://twitter.com/Zorpix_Fang Zorpix

            I already am…. beep boop

          • Rinslowe

            At least one of us can claim that title right now!

            I can’t even access the E-shop it’s so congested. >:(
            Hopefully in a couple of hours It’ll work and I can start downloading.

            Actually this is a good sign. Looks like Nintendo’s going to be posting record download no’s with Kart next quarterly’s.

          • https://twitter.com/Zorpix_Fang Zorpix

            luckily, i got it via amazon. Might have to wait to download Wii Party U though

          • Rinslowe

            All is well with the E-shop again. 4% remaining….
            :)

  • JB

    A fun article, as usual… I feel like I need to dust off my PS2 and try to hunt down a copy of Nitro Racing, as I have never played it!

    • https://twitter.com/Zorpix_Fang Zorpix

      It’s quite entertaining :)

  • blindtiger

    if only i could get a damn rear view mirror on the gamepad… help me project cars, youre my only hope

  • Pokémon Fan

    I wish I had a Wii U.

    O. O.

    I

    O O O O
    O. O

    • MerryBlind .

      Dude.

      • Pokémon Fan

        Aaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrggggggggghhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • https://twitter.com/Zorpix_Fang Zorpix

          duuuuuuuuuuuuude

  • MerryBlind .

    Diddy Kong Racing is soooo good. Personally, I’ve always liked it better than the almighty Mario Kart 64.

    And yes Zorpix, it did have a story. The Adventure Mode was actually what makes this game so good and much better than its competitors. Not only was the Adventure Mode awesome, but there was a cheat-code to play it 2-players!!!

    • triforcehunter

      I wouldn’t say DKR surpasses MK64 in my mind, but I did play the heck out of it. Great tracks, Adventure Mode was cool, and those new vehicles were a fun twist.

      • MerryBlind .

        Well it depends how you look at it. If you just compare the standard, multiplayer, make a race, aspects of the games, MK64 is better if only for the fact that DKR didn’t have any music when playing 4-players because it was too demanding (lol!).

        HOWEVER, like I said, what makes DKR better than MK64 in my book, is the Adventure Mode.

  • Willie Crespo

    The Game Boy Advance version of CNK does not incorporate the Anti-Gravity feature, however.

    • https://twitter.com/Zorpix_Fang Zorpix

      I didnt know there was a GBA version

  • readypembroke

    I love Crash Nitro Kart BUT HATE the boss at the end. Such a pain in the fanny!!

  • disqus_QNIAqtNpHo

    hey zorpix what is your nintendo network ID?

  • disqus_QNIAqtNpHo

    i’m getting it friday

  • disqus_QNIAqtNpHo

    is it zorpix?

    • https://twitter.com/Zorpix_Fang Zorpix

      yes it is! :) I linked to my miiverse profile above ;)

  • http://www.twitch.tv/insanityraptor/profile InsanityRaptor

    Nintendoes what Sony did.

  • Lars

    Im gonna buy Mario Kart 8 tonight or tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • SinkyChan

    hey man, solid article. usually i see your stuff and it’s a good read, but this one was pretty awesome in comparison. (not meant to be an insult.)

    keep it going, buddy.

  • Fufusio

    Didn’t Tag Team Racing copy Double Dash with the dual carts, side note I loved the adventure mode on Tag Team Racing was fun being able to free roam the theme park.

  • Razo_E

    I was a killer in Crash Team Racing. I discovered a short cut against the last boss that I haven’t seen anywhere else, allowing me to win by MINUTES. Before the big jump about half way, if you turn left, hit the wall and jump (a la Mario Kart 64), you’ll jump off and land near the end.

  • steveb944

    Good read Zorpix. Now if only I could figure out how to add friends on Miiverse mobile… But I think I have to head to the ‘Friends’ section on my Wii U regardless.

  • WiiUPS4

    Anyone who wants to friend me for Mariocart races my user is deafswin77