Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Shell on wheels: Mario Kart Wii review
I don't want to pretend that my personal experiences prove any kind of general point about everybody else in the world. Well, okay. I do want to do that. So, anecdotally, it seems to me that everybody is underwhelmed by Mario Kart Wii.
I brought the game with me to a gathering of about a dozen people last Saturday. These are friends of mine going back over ten years, with whom I spent countless sleepless nights in high school playing Mario Kart 64 until we couldn't see straight. So after we played some single-player rounds to try to unlock all the tracks, we started in on four-player.
And stopped after two Grand Prixes.
I was a little surprised. The game sat there, idling at the character select screen, and nobody seemed interested in giving it a go. Not the hardcore gamers, not the casual players that have been such an integral part of the Wii strategy. Nobody saw the Wii Wheel and said, "I gotta try that!"
Then, our host brought out Rock Band, which we played non-stop until almost 2 AM. I don't know what conclusions to draw from this. We already knew Rock Band is awesome, and it's even moreso when you download some additional Queens of the Stone Age and Smashing Pumpkins.
Clearly, we're still into video games. But whatever allure Mario Kart once held for us seems to be gone. I'm sure we would have played it more if there hadn't been such an appealing alternative. I like the Wii version, almost unreservedly. I imagine I'll play it again. Still, whatever secret sauce used to bind its parts seems to have faded a bit.