Mario Kart Retrospective – Part 4: Games Like Mario Kart Wii and Mario Kart Arcade GP 2 Certainly Don’t Help the Series Much

Mario Kart Returns to Arcades and Makes Its Wii Debut

The Infamous Fake Item Box

In 2005, Mario Kart appeared in arcades and on the Nintendo DS for the first time. The arcade iteration of Nintendo’s famed kart racer was fun but a bit pricey. Meanwhile the DS installment of Mario Kart was fast, challenging, and featured some of the best track design in the history of the series. Where would Mario Kart go from there?

Mario Kart Arcade GP 2

Mario Kart Arcade GP 2

The first Mario Kart Arcade GP featured fun steering wheel controls, cool tracks, and a ridiculously steep price. Mario Kart Arcade GP 2 was pretty much the same thing. The game was played in a neat cabinet fitted with a steering wheel and pedals, but the novelty quickly took a backseat to the horribly high price of the game.

It has yet to be confirmed whether a third Mario Kart game will appear in arcades, but if it does, let’s hope Nintendo and Namco Bandai ease up a little on the price. People love Mario Kart, but it’s hard to play an arcade game when it’s so expensive, even if it is part of one of the greatest kart racing game franchises ever created.

Mario Kart Wii

Mario Kart Wii

When Mario Kart Wii launched on Nintendo’s shiny console in 2008, it brought the steering wheel out of the arcade and into your living room. Packaged with the Wii Wheel, Mario Kart Wii allowed you to control your kart by tilting the accessory and using the buttons on the Wii Remote—which was placed snuggly within the Wii Wheel—to break, drift, and use weapons. It was a fun new control scheme that worked well, but Nintendo allowed gamers to use other non-motion control options as well.

Sadly, the game’s cool controls and additional online multiplayer were its two only real redeeming qualities, because the gameplay and track design saw a huge decline in quality. Now tailored to favor the last-place racers more than ever before, Mario Kart Wii ended up providing a gameplay experience that relied less on skill and more on luck. And the subpar track design didn’t help either. Mario Kart Wii was for all intents and purposes a decent kart racer, but it left much to be desired and sadly didn’t follow in the footsteps of Mario Kart DS.

Mario Kart Retrospective: The Recent Years

Games like Mario Kart Wii and Mario Kart Arcade GP 2 are tough to analyze. On the one hand, they’re pretty fun. But on the other hand, they lack much of the appeal that has helped launch the series to meteoric heights. Terrible pricing and questionable gameplay are two of the factors that brought these two Mario Kart games down.

Nintendo is already hard at work developing Mario Kart 3DS for their upcoming handheld. Will the Big N go back to basics and provide a challenging Mario Kart game for the Nintendo 3DS? Will future games like Mario Kart Wii push away the skilled player? What can fans of the series expect from Mario Kart now? More importantly, what do fans want to see from the series?