New 'Mario Kart 7' Details and Screenshots Drift into View

There are very few games that can maintain their appeal as long as Mario Kart, so obviously there is a certain allure every time Nintendo announces a new installment in the fan-favorite franchise. Mario Kart 7 will be dashing onto the Nintendo 3DS this December, and while the gist of the impending game's content is already known, Nintendo has taken the liberty of detailing a few of the new elements players can look forward to.

The most substantial info to come from the Big N during the 3DS presentation earlier today is the reveal of an online community for Mario Kart 7. Players will be able to set up groups with other fans online and then continue to customize their "racing environment," according to the official press release. What this essentially means is that communities will allow groups of players to meet up online and the player will have the ability to tweak the racing settings — with a maximum of eight players racing simultaneously. There will also be community leaderboards that will display the most "up-to-date information from recent races."

Those who have Mario Kart 7 can then share all of their community info using the 3DS' StreetPass feature. That's not all that will be exchanged either, as Nintendo also mentioned that Nintendo StreetPassers and StreetPassees will exchange win/loss records, number of collected coins, "ghost data," and more! I suppose that's one way to ensure that you're the best karter to ever roam the streets.

Further more, there will be a Mario Kart 7 channel that can be downloaded to the 3DS, which plays an almost identical role to Mario Kart Wii channel, the key difference being that it will act as a hub where all of the StreetPass and SpotPass data is stored. SpotPass will also be allowed to download up to seven "ghost times" at once, which will allow for a full-on 8 player race.

Last, but certainly not least, Nintendo reconfirmed that both Metal Mario and Lakitu will be joining Mario and friends at the starting line — marking the first time both of these characters have been playable racers in the Mario Kart series. A couple of retro levels were also confirmed to be making a return, and they are none other than "Luigi's Mansion" from Mario Kart DS and "Koopa Beach" from Mario Kart 64. These old-school tracks will be accompanied by 14 other classic courses, as well as 16 brand new tracks that include the likes of "Wuhu Island" from Wii Sports: Resort and a special Donkey Kong Country Returns track designed by Retro Studios.

Now that Nintendo has spilled what we believe to be a majority of the beans on the upcoming Mario Kart 7, there isn't much else to say. There will almost certainly be more playable characters revealed between now and the game's release, so stay tuned for more news on that front. If I were to fathom a guess it would have to be that Link may make a special guest appearance to help celebrate The Legend of Zelda's 25th Anniversary — of course that's just this writer's speculation.



Mario Kart 7 will be available on store shelves this December 4th, exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS.

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