It seems like when I grew up there were two types of kids: PlayStation kids and N64 kids. If you had a PlayStation you spent your time alone in your room playing Crash Bandicoot, but if you had an N64 you hosted parties with your friends playing Mario Kart. Here’s why Mario Kart 64 was and still is the greatest game of all time:
1. It’s fun for dudes, ladies, and every other target demographic
Very rarely does a video game entertain such a wide audience. Sure you’ve got your Call of Duty blockbuster hits out now, but only dudes are playing those. Sure some girls play and I’m sure some are pretty good, but I think most girls don’t get overly excited about someone standing over their dead corpse tea bagging them after getting knifed in the back. Girls usually prefer back stabbing in real life with hushed whispers to Kathryn about how fat Veronica is getting. Mario Kart 64 however, is simple enough that anyone can learn it and within a few races at least be a competitor. They may not know the shortcut on Wario Stadium, but they’ll be able to hold their own on Moo Moo Farm. This brings me to my next point.
2. Almost everyone has at least a chance to win
The beauty of Mario Kart 64 is that the people that are farther behind receive better items from the question marks allowing them to catch up to the people ahead of them. This allows everyone that is racing to have a chance at catching up to first place at all times. For the game coming out in 1997 it’s actually done pretty fair too. Sure you get the occasional person in 2nd or 3rd place getting a lightning but just like in life you have to be ready for some curve balls, or should I say red curve shells every now and then.
3. It introduced people to video games that had never played video games before
I still remember when the game first came out and my brother was a senior in high school. He had a bunch of friends over to play Mario Kart 64, and no one really quite knew what they were doing. A lot of people had never even picked up a controller unless it was for the TV or VCR. You see kids before DVDs there were these things you had to rewind… Never mind that’s a whole other story. People would be leaning with their full body when they were steering so even if you weren’t playing it was entertaining to watch the person playing the video game. Most video games are too complicated now for the average person so people just end up mashing buttons and dropping the controller. Sure they have the Nintendo Wii but that is mainly made to trick people into exercising, or even worse trick people like Veronica into thinking that playing a game of Wii bowling once a week is good enough exercise to lose 30 pounds.
4. Contrary to most games, it has aged like a fine wine
Many old games tend to lose their luster after time for a variety of reasons. Every sporting game goes out of style after a year due to the improvement of the graphics and the addition of new players, and every strategy game becomes pointless after finishing it. Playing a story or strategy game twice is like watching an M Night Shyamalan movie twice; you already know the twists and the ending. Even the great Goldeneye 007 for N64 has lost a bit of its luster due to the now distractingly poor graphics. Mario Kart 64 however, has been able to hold up even with the old graphics of the N64. I’ve never seen the game glitch, and if someone claims that a glitch happened it’s often after they failed to make the ramp leading to the shortcut on Koopa Troopa Beach. Don’t let them fool you.
5. It has created arguably one of the greatest drinking games of all time
I’ve heard of different versions of the drinking game with Mario Kart 64, and to be honest you can’t really do it wrong combining two of the greatest things invented (Mario Kart and alcohol). In fact it’s so good I’ve played it with a lady that originally came to our house to sell vacuums: true story. The version I’ve learned and played was passed down from my Grandfather and his Grandfather before his. Not really, but someday that might be a thing and that’s, that’s pretty cool. Here’s how I’ve played, and I think is the best version I’ve heard of. You begin by cracking a fresh beer and setting up a two or preferably four player game. The only rules are that you must finish your beer by the end of the three laps, and you must be stopped or have crashed in order to drink. No drinking and driving obviously. The last kicker is that you must stop to drink at least once every lap which always makes the last lap very interesting.
Pro tip: Chug quite a bit at the beginning so you receive better items in last place that you can use to catch up.