By Farah Refaey, October 10 2019—
In September, Nintendo released a mobile version of Mario Kart, the game that almost every millennial and zoomer has countless fond memories of. Mario Kart was a staple in my childhood, and I’m sure many others. Unfortunately, there’s been a great lack of Mario Kart in my recent years, not due to a lack of interest, but because of the inconvenience of gaming consoles, especially if, like me, your gaming knowledge begins and ends with Mario Kart. That’s why the idea of mobilizing a classic game like Mario Kart is genius. It’s very rare to find someone from the generation that grew up with the game who does not use a smartphone. By mobilizing Mario Kart, Nintendo is making it accessible to virtually everyone who would be interested in playing it.
Nintendo is also capitalizing on the element of nostalgia. I’m willing to bet large sums of money that most people who download the app grew up playing the game on a console. We all understand the appeal of doing something that you loved so much as a kid. I’ve missed racing with my friends, arguing over which road we’d pick — never rainbow road — and who got to be which character. That only ever resulted in indescribable frustration and hot, angry tears. I would love to be a kid again just for a day, and this game provides you with a tiny little peek back into that world. That said, the game doesn’t have rainbow road or even multiplayer mode yet. Nintendo has issued statements saying they’re working on updates, so I’ll be waiting patiently for them to arrive.
As a university student, the nostalgic element of this game gets me. Right now it feels like I’m in limbo: I’m not a kid anymore, but I don’t feel like a full-blown adult yet either. For students who moved away from home for university, this game hits the mark for you in two major ways — the convenience of being able to play on your phone — since I doubt you’re lugging gaming consoles into 2×2 feet dorm rooms — as well as the nostalgic element. It allows you to have a little piece of your childhood, and in a way a little piece of home with you at all times.
There have been many memes and posts made about how when Pokémon Go was first released, it was the most peaceful and wholesome time. While I can recall trading Pokemon cards with my cousins, it was definitely not as big a part of my childhood as Mario Kart was. To me, Mario Kart Tour is the best possible reincarnation of any part of my childhood. Back then, Mario Kart was a fun past-time and a great way to figure out what kinds of people your friends were. A person’s go-to character says a lot about who they are. Now, Mario Kart Tour serves as a wonderful distraction from the ebb and flow of everyday life, the perfect time-waster on public transit, and a great way to relieve stress when I have a couple minutes to spare between the piles of assignments, lab reports and midterms to study for.
If you haven’t yet, check out Mario Kart Tour. I would not be exaggerating if I said it gets me going through the week, but my cell-phone’s data bill would probably disagree.
Editor’s Note: Since writing this article, Mario Kart Tour has released Rainbow Road on their mobile app.