First of all, I want you to understand that I’m a lightweight in the Mario Kart game. Julia is not. So my pointers come mainly from watching her. (Watching her kick my butt, actually.)

I also want to make a few other comments that are not tricks, tips, or “cheats” on how to win, but rather, general observation.


First this: You never know who is watching you. On the Wii, you can make a Mii to look like yourself, a loved one, a famous historical character, or a blogger. So when we are driving around Coconut Mall (one of the race tracks) we often see, for instance, Charles Darwin or PZ Myers or Julia’s Math Teacher staring at us from a billboard, or perhaps Ned Flanders or Fat Albert is driving one of the cars in the parking lot that we are required to drive around (or lose points).

Second, you must understand loyalty. You have to either be loyal to your partner or not have a partner at all. I discovered this the hard way. When you are driving along and you casually (non-intentionally) bump into another kart, or another kart bumps into you (it is usually impossible to tell the difference) the avatars on the screen do not act out a casual bumping. No. They act out an aggressive act where one kart driver is clearly, obviously, trying to push another kart driver off the road. It is the nature of the medium. So if you accidentally bump your parter, and if you are a bad driver you may do this five or six times in a row without even trying (for reasons I can not fathom, but believe me, it happens), your parter might get mad at you. But everyone has to just take it down a notch and realize that this is just the nature of the game and everybody is on the same team.

Third, appreciate the value of teamwork. The way Team Play works in the ‘VS’ mode, of course, is that you are on one of two teams, and certain bad things you do to other drivers, like a Pow or a Lightening Bolt or an Ink In the Face occur to all of the other members of the opposing team, and not to your own team members. Being on a team is good for beginning drivers who are playing with more experienced drivers (that’s a tip). Makes it easier to learn the ropes for a newbee, or to experiment for a more experienced driver, if you are not slipping on bananas all the time.

Speaking of bananas, you must learn the details of deploying tools and weapons. Learn the details of the method, and be smart about your driving and tool/weapon use. There are four buttons, one for acquiring weapons even if you are, say, a bullet; one for deploying weapons, which in the case of bananas seems to slow you down a bit but also means you can’t get clammed or powed, and the front and back buttons for throwing the weapons in front of you or behind you.

So instead of just tossing the bananas out, if you are in the lead, hold on to them (dragging behind you) until you are about to hit a cube. Don’t do stupid things, stupid things build up and make you go slower. Do not throw bananas, bombs, or certain other weapons into your own path. Take your finger off the accelerator on a tight turn, rather than running off the track (especially on Rainbow Road!!!). That sort of thing.

In interacting with people via the Internet Connection, remember: The definition of a bully is someone who makes up the rules for you to follow. If you are going to join up on line with a friend via the Wii World Wide Web thingie, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t use the Super Accelerator or other tools. Just play by the rules of the game and not rules that someone who may not be as good as you makes up (That advice may seem a bit obscure, I don’t’ expect everyone to get what I’m talking about, but if you are in Middle School it should be pretty clear to you.)

Speaking of acceleration, ignore all that advice on line that tells you how things work. It is simply not the case that pushing the accelerator button at a certain exact fetishized time prior to the start give you a boost. No. Life is actually slightly more complex and nuanced than that. It all depends on which kart you are driving. Each kart or bike has it’s own cycle of acceleration. Learn your vehicle’s cycle (by listening and watching as you accelerate) and simply try to time the peak to occur at ZERO, and you’ll take off fast.

And above all, play continuously for several hours a day and you will start to be almost as good as the 11 year olds from across the world that will kick your butt most of the time.

Comments

  1. #1 Stephanie Z
    February 13, 2009

    Just for the record, thanks for labeling this as you did.

  2. #2 Zach Miller
    February 13, 2009

    I love Mario Kart Wii. The online racing is more fun than the solo game. If you use the Wii Wheel, you know, you get more points for a win.

  3. #3 Greg Laden
    February 13, 2009

    Stephanie: I don’t do that. My computer does it automatically based on content.

  4. #4 Stephanie Z
    February 13, 2009

    Hmm, I was going to call you a liar, but I realized that may not be quite accurate when you have no intention of being believed.

  5. #5 Dan J
    February 13, 2009

    Very good metaphor (thinly veiled or not) that’s apt to apply in several situations.

    The metaphor aside for a moment:

    We don’t have a Wii, but my wife and I love to game together. We play cooperative games on our PS3 in addition to each of us playing single-player games that we both enjoy.

    For those who play videogames with their significant other, or those just curious, check out The Escapist Presents: Real Gamers, Real Relationships from The Escapist Magazine this week.

  6. #6 Greg Laden
    February 13, 2009

    Stephanie is the PS expert

  7. #7 Stephanie Z
    February 13, 2009

    Nothing like an expert. All I know for sure is that Home creeps me out a bit.

  8. #8 Stacy
    February 14, 2009

    Here’s my tip … use a game cube controller instead of the wii controller.

  9. #9 Andrew
    February 14, 2009

    Stacy: Why?

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