For people born before 1995 there was no better group bonding experience than Mario Kart. Friendships were born out of who had a Nintendo at their house and lost over who made their friends compete on Rainbow Road. Here are some other things you might remember from your Mario Kart days.
1. People who grew up playing Mario Kart TRULY appreciate technology. Going from being ecstatic to play the crappy, pixilated original version of Mario Kart to the incredible quality of recent versions is trippy. It’s insane to think about what we expect now compared to what used to seem so futuristic then.
2. Because, back in the day when someone had Mario Kart, they were the coolest kid on the block and an invite over was highly coveted. You’d sit in someone’s basement after school blowing into the Nintendo cartridge and fighting over who got to be Yoshi. (If you were really cool you were also drinking Surge.)
3. Back then, Mario Kart looked like this:
Now because of computers and smart people (???) it looks like this:
4. The first few times you played it was a struggle just to figure out how to go the right way on the track. You kept seeing that annoying flying guy tell you you were going backwards, but he wouldn’t tell you how to turn around and reorient yourself. Once you got the hang of going the right way, your only obstacle was making sure you weren’t looking at the wrong quadrant of the TV thinking you were in 1st place while it was actually your friend (you were driving into a wall).
5. Inevitably the amount of controllers you had was less than the amount of people who wanted to play, so you had to patiently wait to see who would lose the race and take theirs. Or, if you had an older brother or sister, you just had to sit and watch and whine because oddly enough, the “whoever comes in last sits out” rule never seemed to apply to them.
6. And when you did have enough controllers for everyone, you still fought over who got the “good” one.
7. Also, there was always a big fight to be “player one” because everyone else had to sit around and wait while THEY got the honor of choosing the course and clicking their way through the menu until you could actually start racing.
8. When you got Mario Kart on Nintendo 64 you spent wayyyy too much time trying to take the secret waterfall shortcut on Koopa Troopa Beach. Like, usually you would lose the race because you missed it the first time but if you got through the second time and got to travel through that magical tunnel it was all worth it.
9. Your mantra was “friends don’t let friends pick the ghost house or rainbow road.” Half of the race consists of waiting for the lil guy to pick you up from the dark depths of the unknown and set you back on the track. Occasionally, as you were getting set back on the track one of the other players ran into you and knocked you off the course so you had to wait, again.
10. If you weren’t the best player in your group, you reveled in the power of rolling over (or through) those question marks and inflicting the lightning curse on everyone. Or, better yet, getting the blue shell of death and knocking out your friend who was in first place right before they cross the finish line.
11. This chart resonates with you on a deep level:
12. When you played with someone who really wanted to annoy you they would make their character’s sound play over and over and over. To this day you can’t hear ‘Wa-Hooooooo’ and not want to punch someone.
13. There are two kinds of people in the world: those who hoarded their green or red shell halo in case anyone knocked into them — and those who immediately fired them all into the ether.
14. When Mario Kart 8 came out you became obsessed with the Luigi death stare:
The Luigi death stare is a redemption story for the ages, right up there with Neville Longbottom in Deathly Hallows.
15. Now that you’re older, you’ve discovered that drunk Mario Kart is where it’s really at. Coming home from a party and playing a few rounds with your friends while you wind down (and remember the joy that is Mario Kart) is the best.