Lightning Fast Mario Karting!

boxAll the cool kids, who are lucky enough to own a Switch, seem to playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe lately. I didn’t want to feel left behind, as usual, so I decided to pick up a copy a few weeks ago. I completely missed out on the Wii U version, making this title a brand spanking new experience for me. I must say that it has been ages since I played a racing game. I’ve spent hundreds of blissful childhood hours dominating the beautiful tracks of Diddy Kong Racing, but I’m a cranky old woman with slow reflexes now. What I’m getting at here is that I suck, but it’s so much fun! This is the perfect game to play alongside Horizon Zero Dawn. When I need a break from robot animal controlled Earth, I can relax by getting Blue-shelled into last place by another game’s evil AI.

A nod to those special characters

As one of the 13 people on the whole wide web that doesn’t hate Lightning Farron, it is my sacred duty to honor the pink haired warrior goddess as often as possible. I’m powerless to stop the toxic hatred I frequently see for my all-time favourite character, but I can at least show her the love she deserves, while trying my best to ignore the legions of ignorant trolls. You better believe that if there’s any way to spark some Lightning in my games, I’ll find it. My fem Robin had pink hair in Fire Emblem Awakening, I named my first horse Odin in Breath of the Wild, and I bestowed Lightning’s likeness upon my Switch Mii.


*Only in Japan, apparently. I think Ellen needs to learn Japanese.

Creating Lightning Mii had an unintended (but totally awesome) side effect in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Well you see, there’s this option to race as your Mii… That’s right! I can play as Lightning in Mario Kart. It’s like some sort of crazy pipe dream come true. I’m proud to say I pwned my very first race by using the Mii goddess. Yes, it was on 50cc (the baby mode difficulty) but considering that I’m terrible, I will still call it an accomplishment.

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Even my own Mii looks shocked that I won.

Most of my life does revolve around Lightning, but other characters are special to me too! I also took my all-time favourite Mario character out for a spin: King Koopa himself, baby! Ever since I was a wee lass, I’ve always loved Bowser. He can breathe fire like a dragon, he has a badass spiky shell, he gets rid of mean pretty princesses for me, and he won’t quit no matter how badly he fails at life. I’m a daddy’s girl and I really appreciate what an important father figure he is to adorable little Bowser Jr (morality aside). I don’t care if it’s golf, tennis, or kart racing, if something gives me the option to play as Bowser, I will take it every single time (unless Lightning is also an option, obviously). Bowser always feels heavy on the tracks, but I always flash an evil smirk when he crashes through the lighter kart racers (Take that Miss Peachy! Bwa ha ha ha).

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Way to go, big guy!

And of course, I couldn’t ignore my 4th all-time favourite video game protagonist: Link, the Hero of Time. I know I ramble A LOT about Final Fantasy XIII, but it’s actually not my all-time favourite game. That distinguished award still goes to The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time. I’ll never forget my 20+ journeys through the first 3D iteration of Hyrule, and it will always hold an extra special place in my heart. I can’t describe the epic feeling I go the first time I saw Adult Link wielding the evil-destroying Master Sword. In this kart racing world, I really like how well Link handles on the tracks. I couldn’t help but smile when I noticed one of his Boost Jump animations is to hold up the legendary Triforce. I’m very pleased to see that Nintendo put some non-Mario related characters on the roster. Maybe Samus could join the fun sometime?

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Unfortunately, the Triforce does not protect Link from various colours of turtle shells, banana peels, lightning strikes, inky splatters, and bouncy fireballs. He looks really happy to finally have it though!

The training wheels had to come off, before I fell asleep

My original plan was to do all the 50cc Grand Prix Cups, to learn the tracks, and then increase the difficulty. I finished up to the Star Cup (the third one) before I was bored to tears. 50cc is just way too slow. I read online that if you complete the 150cc difficulty, it counts for the two lower speeds as well. With this in mind, I decided to crank up the speed to 150cc and try to get the triple star rating in each cup, before moving to the next one. The AI is really, really mean now, but I’m learning much more by getting thrown in the turtle shell pit. It seems to be more about luck than skill. You need the right power ups, and to be spared from the wrath of the Blue Shell, if you want to be #1. I’m still working on the Mushroom Cup, but I’m having loads of fun speeding along the these four tracks continously. I always just miss 1st place in one of the four races, resulting in a lowly double star score. The game’s cheap AI just loves to sabotage me when I’m on a roll.

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Yes, my Lightning Mii is riding a motorcycle… SHE’S STILL NOT CLOUD!! On a side note, I think Final Fantasy Kart could work.

My favourite track so far has to be Thwomp Ruins. I really dig the music and the overall ancient ruins vibe the track has. I’ve mastered the dangerous stone ramp short cut that takes you slightly off the main track, jumping over the sunny abyss below. I’ve yet to be crushed by a Thwomp so that’s another positive thing about my terrible skills. I thought the Mount Wario track in the Star Cup was really neat too. That track is basically a giant ski hill you go down. There are no laps, just segments of the track. It’s a very unique design! There are still a TON of tracks I haven’t seen yet. All in good time.

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I’ve only seen 12 out of 48 tracks thus far.

Learning to play nice with others

I’m a big old selfish solo gamer. I’ve learned from experience that I can’t tolerate the angry squeaky mouthpieces and tough guy misogynists that run rampant in the online gaming world. I’m also not a competitive person. I play games to relax and unwind, whenever I feel like it. I just don’t have the energy to defend myself as a female gamer, or the desire to spend countless boring hours training to “get good” at games.

90% of the random strangers I’ve met online are great people. I just can’t deal with the 10% I want to Snow Punch through my controller.

So random online gaming matches are a big “No thanks” for me, but leisurely kart racing with the awesome blogger people sounds like a blast! About 30 minutes after I started the game for the very first time, the fantastic blogger Jay Borenstein (aka the Spoony Bard Mage) over at Nerd Speaker offered to race me in a dumbed down 50cc Cup. It came as no surprise that I lost (even to the Bowser AI), but I learned a lot by racing against this professional.

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My cranky L’cie Mii is on top of the world! Jeowulf’s Mii seemed to feel strongly about his “All Vehicles” stance.

I can definitely see the appeal of random online matches in Mario Kart. Nintendo has limited communication options so annoying trolls shouldn’t be an issue. I may give it a try if I ever do “get good” (ha!). For now, I’m having many good times playing against those aggressive AI controlled cheaters.

Wannabe Writer’s Notes:
-Can anyone hear me over E3? I’ll yell louder if you want.
-I’m done with Final Fantasy Brave Exvius. The review post no one asked for is coming soon!
-I think I’m getting close to finishing HZD. I’m both sad and excited…

32 thoughts on “Lightning Fast Mario Karting!

  1. Yeah, I’m having trouble hearing you over MADDEN IS FINALLY GETTING A CINEMATIC STORY MODE!!! YES!!!! I’M GONNA BE PLAYING THAT ALL DAY EVERY DAY!!!!!!! lol, sort of serious tho. Day 1 buy for sure.

    Cool to hear that you’re enjoying Mario Kart a lot. I also missed out on getting it for the Wii U so I’m either gonna get it eventually for that discounted price or I’ll just also get the Switch version. It does look like a blast and definitely a game that I’ll be playing for quite a while once I get it. To this day, Double Dash is the game I’ve put the most hours into aside from Super Smash Bros. It’s just so fun and addicting

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OMG MADDEN IS GETTING A CINEMATIC STORY MODE??! Sports games aren’t really my thing, but this actually does sound interesting, haha.

      Thanks! I still haven’t played Double Dash or the Wii U iteration of Smash Bros. My fingers are crossed for a Switch port of either/both of these 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I really love the Madden series, but don’t play most of the others all that much. Having an actual story mode is a huge deal for the series though so I can’t wait for it!

        Oh yeah, you’ll love those games! They’re awesome and have enough content to keep you busy for many, many hours!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, I can hear you, but you are always welcome to shout a little louder!! haha

    Sounds like you’re having a good time! Sorry I’m missing out on the Switch-y fun. Otherwise, we could have epic races to see who loses in the most entertaining fashion. Usually that’s me, so I’d get to defend my title, and you’d get to beat the stuffing out of someone. So, a win/win?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I just got a Switch yesterday and, despite having played it on the WiiU, I also got MK8 Deluxe. It’s a really great version of MK.

    There also is kind of a Final Fantasy racing game, Chocobo Racing came out on the original PlayStation. I remember enjoying it at the time but I bet it hasn’t aged well.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. MK8D is the definitive Mario Kart! Without a doubt, best release to date in the series.

    > if you complete the 150cc difficulty, it counts for the two lower speeds as well

    This was a huge improvement from Mario Kart 7! I remember finally beating all the 150cc with 3 stars, and then having to go back to 50cc and re-beat all of them. It was painstakingly boring. Even worse so in MK8D – I swear they’re driving at 5mph.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Blue shells are always a bit of unfun bullhonky. No real play there, just a bit of random ‘you fail now’. I had kind of hoped that’d be excised from the series by now. Glad to hear the game is good otherwise, though!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I bloody love the game, but the big appeal for me is the random online match mode. I get one hell of a buzz off those mad bastard things. It’s the one game which tore me off Breath of the Wild.

    Keep practicing and then you won’t “suck”! It takes a while, but then it starts to gel rather nicely. I’d consider myself an above average player (100 online races won – check me out!) but when I come up against the great players I just shrug and say: “Goddamn NOOBS hacked the game” and rage quit before punching a wall. Erm… I mean, I laugh with a sense of humility and the go and have a cup of tea.

    200cc mode is just mental, though.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s a bit like F Zero, but some of the corners are nigh on ruddy impossible. Pick someone with excellent handling (properly through the roof handling abilities) and then just burst into tears in prep before each race. Works for me.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t play well with others either, but I think it’s for the same reason you’re so reluctant. People can be poopy. I’d be perfectly fine playing with the blogger crew *hunts for Switch*

    I actually thought Bowser WAS a dragon the first time I played SMB. I mean he has those spikes and breathes fire. I guess I didn’t notice the shell. He seems like a cross between a turtle and those fancy fire breathing lizards. I like when you can use Bowser as a character, too. He’s hilarious in Super Paper Mario and such a tank.

    I FINALLY got Setzer in Brave Exvius. I think it happened last week. I think the game sensed I was becoming lackadaisical abut it so it dangled the carrot a little further out. I’m no longer playing religiously, only when I’m not too tired at the end of the day. I’m annoyed because I haven’t had any time to play any of the games I really want to *grumble grumble*

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Glad you are having so much fun with this game! I love Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U, and whenever I get a Switch, I will probably end up buying Deluxe as well. Haha, I love 50cc mode… makes me feel like I am the best racer in the world! 😉

    Also, yay for Bowser! He is one of my favorite characters. My bearded dragon is even named after him, lol!

    Liked by 1 person

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