Sunday, May 25, 2014
This is part two of a feature on the history of Mario Kart. Today we take a look back at Mario Kart 64 for the Nintendo 64.
One of the best features of the N64 was that it had four controllers ports built-in, which was unheard of at the time. This allowed four players to compete without the need for extra hardware. Mario Kart 64 took advantage of this by allowing four-player split-screen racing. And it was glorious.
Mario Kart took 3D racing head-on by providing some insane tracks designs. Race through Moo Moo Farm while avoiding moles. Drive through Christmastown in Frappe Snowland. Or face traffic head-on in Toad's Turnpike. Insanity achieved.
Battle mode is also amazing. The block fort, the skyscraper, the donut... Mario Kart 64 probably has the best battle tracks of any Mario Kart. The block fort in particular is excellent because you can hang out at the top of a fort and launch green shells to the bottom and watch people try and avoid a swirling green sea of death.
As a stupid teenager, this track was very difficult. I believe I finished one lap in just a shade under 5 minutes. I was very proud of myself at the time. Later, I would sneak into my older brother's room when he was at work and try to get a few races in. He only caught me twice, which means I only got beat up twice. Worth it.
A couple of years later, I got my own job, and Mario Kart 64 was one of the first games I bought. My younger brother and I would stay up all night playing Kalamari Desert, talking about having our friend Steelbutt get our football out of the sewer. Don't ask. It was very late.
Regardless, Mario Kart 64 holds a very large place in my heart as one of the best multiplayer games of all time, even though most of my friends stopped playing it with me. It's not my fault they suck so bad.
(Mario Kart 64 is available on Wii Virtual Console for $10.00)