There are few games as durable as Mario Kart 64. While the franchise might have started with the Super Nintendo’s Super Mario Kart, 64 upped the ante and improved Nintendo’s mascot-racer by recreating the world in glorious 3D, adding a host of new weapons (including the dreaded Blue Shell), and offering the greatest selection of tracks in the franchise’s history.
No other Mario Kart title before or since has been quite as important; while later iterations – including the Wii U’s best-selling entry, Mario Kart 8 – refined the formula, Mario Kart 64 established the foundation that all subsequent titles were built on. In fact, it’s safe to say that Mario Kart 64 jumpstarted an entire genre: without Mario Kart 64, games like Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing and LittleBigPlanet Karting simply wouldn’t exist.
Need more proof? Watch the latest episode of Teens React. In the Teens React series, modern-day teenagers examine games from the 80’s and 90’s; usually, their confusion, skepticism, and outright disdain for older consoles is both funny and humbling, especially for older gamers.
But not this time. Every Teens React guest is familiar with Mario Kart, (how could they not be?) and all but a few know how to play almost instantly. Unlike other titles, there’s no need to endlessly dissect antiquated graphics or puzzling controls; jump right in, and let the trash-talking commence.
The video’s a testament to the strength of Mario Kart 64’s simple, entertaining design; close your eyes, and the kids could easily be talking about Mario Kart 8 as they lament a sudden fall from first place or curse the devastating effects of a well-placed banana peel.
Critics might use this video as proof that Nintendo has pushed innovation aside, preferring to slap a new coat of paint on the same game and sell it as many times over as their fans will take it. To a degree, that’s certainly true: Mario Kart’s core gameplay hasn’t changed significantly since the N64 days. And many of the series’ later additions – tag-team vehicles in Double Dash, or hang-gliders of Mario Kart 7 – aren’t innovations as much as variations on existing themes.
Still, these kinds of criticism miss a crucial point: for all its repetitiveness, Mario Kart is fun. This isn’t the funniest episode of Teens React, but it may just be the most comforting. Sometimes, games are considered classics for a reason, and flawless design bridges cultures and generations. A truly great game doesn’t need to be changed – after all, if it’s not broke, why fix it?
Source: Teens React