The newest Super Smash Brothers game came out recently. By all accounts, it has revolutionized the genre and will usher in a new era of innovation for Nintendo. Not really, though I do hear that it’s pretty damn good. This game series is a favorite of mine, and I will destroy you with DK. But you know what other series is pretty great that almost nobody has played? Mario Kart. Wait, I meant everybody has played.
Mario Kart 8 is the best in the series since Double Dash, and is extremely fun. Having undone many of the problems that plagued Mario Kart Wii, the game is fast, enjoyable, and does not make me want all of my friends dead with nunchucks shoved down their throats. So, bonus! There is one element that I think the series is missing, however, and I think Nintendo knows it. Characters and items from other franchises.
Mario Kart should absolutely go the way that Super Smash brothers went from the get-go. I’m honestly not sure why they haven’t done it yet. I have a few theories, though none of them carry much weight.
Theory number 1: They named the game Mario Kart, so they want to keep it being only Mario characters. They game is named Mario Kart, so why in the world would Samus be in the game? Why would Kirby show up? “What, Pikachu, what is that thing doing here? He’s not a Mario! Nor is he a kart! We’ll just use every single last one of the Koopalings, instead.”
Theory number 2: They don’t want it to be too similar to SSB. Of any reason, this one would probably be the most respectable one. They have two franchises, and they don’t want to cannibalize the appeal of one by making it too similar to the other, concept-wise. I can get behind this line of thinking. If I were in charge, I would do it differently, but if this is their reason, kudos to them trying to protect artistic integrity. One game is only Mario characters, one game is Nintendo characters and classic characters from other franchises (once licensed). Okie-dokie.
Theory number 3: They haven’t thought of it. They honestly just thought “Hey let’s make another Mario Kart game! What other Mario characters haven’t we used yet? What Mario items could we throw in the game? What Mario worlds could we make tracks out of? What other Mario things aren’t we thinking of? Hm? What’s that? Marth and Roy? You mean Morton and Roy? Of the Koopalings? Great idea!”
Theory number 4: The same guy who named the Wii U is in charge and is sticking to his guns, dammit! “We will not change the name! It is a good name! And Mario Kart is Mario only! Why would we mine our rich games catalogue for more characters?! Isn’t WaLuigi beloved enough for all eternity?!” (I know this isn’t the case, but Wii U is an incredibly stupid name and I just wanted to bring that up. Wii was a dumb name, Wii U is dumb and has the added bonus of being confusing to people.)
Nintendo clearly has wanted to, or needed to, expand the character and items list over the years. Couldn’t keep just the original 8 racers from the SNES days, of course. And with the appearance of things like the blue falcon, having Link as a playable character and tracks from his game a reality, the franchise is finally moving towards full blown Super Kart Brothers, and I couldn’t be happier.
Buuuutttt…..I want to play as Samus, rocketing around Viridian Forest, weaving through the hanging Kakuna and cursing when Kirby’s flying star crashes into me. I want that game and I want it now. How great would it be to have Gorons hurling rocks at Charmander who has just picked up a Falcon Punch power up? I’ll answer for you: Really fucking great. (Also, how cute would he be in his little kart? Way cuter than Baby Peach.) Or picture Meta Knight zipping through Corneria, with Slip- I mean, with Falco shooting down enemy craft as the race goes on. You know you want that game, too.
Am I saying that I know best? I mean, I think I do, but I’m just a man who fully admits that I have been wrong before, once. So it has happened. There is a precedent. It could be one long calculated plan by Nintendo to slowly add these characters to build more hype and make a buttload of money. If that’s their plan, it’s pretty genius and will absolutely work. It is taking a long time to implement, however, and I think that the series deserves the Super Kart Brothers treatment.
I love Mario Kart 8, it is a fantastic game. The hover addition is great (even though Diddy Kong Racing did it better) and the entire experience is a joy. But they are missing out by not mining their other titles for characters and new items and locations. And the fans are missing out, as well. I’m not going to beg, Nintendo. But please think of the me. Think of the me and what I’m missing out on by you dragging your feet. Give me my Super Kart Brothers! Give it to me! Come on, give it to me! This isn’t begging, it’s demanding. Yes, it is shut up.