Video Game Thoughts: Mario Kart 64

Mario Kart 64 was a 1997 platformer game for the Nintendo 64 by Nintendo. A fun, yearly practice we had every year to prepare for Christmas was to look through the Christmas catalogs for the department stores. I’d look through all the toys for ideas, picking out just the best things to put on my Christmas List. There was so much potential for fun, and I was so excited.

Christmas 1997 was a special year because it’s the year we got the Nintendo 64. My mom finally let me get a new video game console. It came with Super Mario 64. Right after Christmas though, my mom showed me some after-Christmas deals from an ad we had received in the mail. That’s where I saw Mario Kart 64. It was only going for $40, a nice $20 off the normal price. This Christmas I didn’t just get one new game, I was getting two new games.

I had briefly played the original Mario Kart on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System at a cousin’s house, but Mario Kart 64 was the first game in the series that I owned. I had a blast playing through all the tournament cups and racetracks. They had game modes for the tournament cups, time trials, and multiplayer battles. Most of these could be played in the three kart speeds of 50cc, 100cc, and 150cc. On the fastest speeds, the turns were much harder to navigate. As a final bonus for beating all the cups on 150cc, mirror mode was unlocked, which flipped the tracks for some more fun.

Beating the game wasn’t all that hard. It probably took me a month to unlock everything, but I still played it for roughly six months. In those days, I could play the same game for a huge amount of time even without any new content. I’m pretty spoiled these days. I spent a lot of time doing time trials. They had special “ghosts” with fast times the player could race against. I beat all of them eventually. After that, I spent many hours just exploring the levels. After all, this was only my second 3D game after Super Mario 64. I wanted to see everything up close. Many times I wished I could play these levels in Super Mario 64 on foot. After this, I still played Mario Kart 64 a lot with friends and family. My dad got really mad when I littered the choke points with bananas. These were really fun times.

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