Feb 102012

Common advice is that one should enjoy moderation in all things: in food, work, play, and, of course, Mario Kart. But like anything else in life, if you give enough of your time to it, you will inevitably find flaws. I am sufficiently bad at racing and the one thing that I think would improve my game is: more weapons. As I slowly putter into eighth place, my mind is always full of additional weapons that I wish were in the game. With these new tools, I could make my friends and loved ones, all otherwise successful and wonderful human beings, cry and feel bad as I zoom into first. After all, what greater pain is there than getting hit with a blue shell, and what greater joy is there than running over your little brother while he is lightning-bolted? I endeavor to share with you ten weapons that I’ve thought of that would make an already amazing game even better:

1. Wrenches
A wrench weapon could be like a green shell with a wider radius, with the ability to go through multiple drivers, but doesn’t bounce when it hits a wall. They would be exceptionally useful when in the back of a tight pack, but unlike a green shell, the wrench wouldn’t be a shield you can hold behind your kart. Also, the Mario brothers are plumbers, and all of us gamers love plumbers because of that fact. You do, too, you just need to look inside your heart.

2. Poison Mushrooms
Poison mushrooms were a staple of the first Mario Kart on Super Nintendo, but they weren’t available for the human players. Whereas running into a banana spins you out, the poison mushroom makes you small. Therefore, placing them right before a key turn or ledge is sure to be comedy gold. Bringing this weapon back into the series and allowing player-characters to use them might be the greatest thing to happen in my life. (This is both because Mario Kart is the best game series of all time, and because my life is void of meaningful content.)

3. Goombas
A user-laid goomba would be similar to the banana, but the little mushroom-shaped creature we all know and love would patrol back and forth wherever it was dropped instead of just sitting there. Imagine your mate behind you is trying to catch up when suddenly OH NO! Just as he’s turning a goomba runs into him. Choice!

4. The Feather
Another staple of the first Mario Kart, the feather was useful for dodging shells or jumping over to another part of the map as a jury-rigged shortcut. However, this weapon has been mysteriously absent for the past two decades. Being able to bypass shells and bananas again would give the player more agency, as well as genuinely add some needed balance to the game.

5. Rocket Launchers
Not necessarily a balanced idea, but you know what I hate? Losing. I hate it so much. Every time I get second place I am reminded that I am who I am, and it terrifies me. Why can’t I just be GREAT at something? Will I ever be what I dream myself to be? If I had a rocket launcher – if only you had a rocket launcher – we could avoid looking in the mirror for a moment longer, our self-loathing instead directed at all others in front of you on the racetrack.

6. Hammer Bros Hammers
The familiar hammers would be long distance weapons that immediately spin a player out on the moment of impact, with an arc that makes it frustratingly hard to use but makes all the endorphins flow when it hits Kyle – I mean, “your brother.” Also, this is one of the few Mario weapons that the Mario Kart series hasn’t employed yet, so it would follow that they’d have to make use of it sometime, right?

7. Bullet-Time Bills
Remember a decade ago when every game in the world was all about going slow motion? How annoying would it be if you had a weapon where all the other players went at, say, 50% their usual speed, while you continued on pace for a few seconds? Imagine you’re on one of the Rainbow Roads and everyone is speeding ahead of you. Now imagine you shoot the infamous Bullet Bill into the air, starting a timer where all your opponents are now running half-speed. It would be awful. For them, at least. This is such an annoying idea that I don’t know why Nintendo hasn’t done something like this yet.

8. Freaky Friday Switchers
You remember that Lindsay Lohan remake Freaky Friday? Of course you do! Why wouldn’t you? Well, just in case you aren’t aware: Freaky Friday was a film from a few years ago where a mother and daughter switched places for a day; the mum got to play in her kid’s band, and the kid got to engage in awkward sexual misunderstandings with her peers. Even though the movie wasn’t necessarily Oscar material, the  remise could work as an interesting gamble of a weapon in Mario Kart. This item would force you to randomly switch places with another player, potentially getting farther ahead of the pack. I am fairly certain this is a good idea, but I was also certain that studying law was right for me and now I live in my parents’ shed. This is not a joke, please help me, I am lost (but not as lost as the 3rd place racer who would drop back to 8th!)

9. Charles Martinet Twhomps
Pronounced “Mar-Teh-Nay” or possibly “Mar-Tin-Ay,” not only is he the announcer in Super Punch Out, he is also the voice of all the major male characters in Mario games, starting with MS-DOS’s Mario’s Game Gallery, of which I fondly remember playing Checkers and Go-Fish. Despite being fluent in French and Spanish, as well as being a wonderful actor in his own right, all Martinet can do is cash in on Mario’s success, just like Nintendo. So why not have him be the new face of the dreaded Thwomps that permeate Bowser’s Castle? How meta.

10. Touch Fuzzies, Get Dizzies
The best level in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island was “Touch Fuzzy, Get Dizzy.” It occurs to me that I have never been as happy as I was in that moment, where Yoshi eats a cloud and “gets dizzy.” But this list is about Mario Kart, not Yoshi, so why not incorporate the glory of video game drug abuse with racing? If you accidentally collided into a fuzzy cloud in Mario Kart, your music would slow down, your screen would wave back and forth, your kart would expand and contract in size, and you would likely crash into the wall. But, you’d be happy! I mean, Yoshi didn’t seem too upset when he was gettin’ dizzy in his game.

Whew! All this hard work thinking about my favourite game has served as a much needed distraction from thinking about my own life and where it’s headed. If you like these ideas, or more likely, hate them and by extension me too, you can find me on Maple Treeway.

This list was put together by Richard Andrew Clark, who wrote the article in between races in the Mushroom Cup. Richard writes for T-Shirts.com, which, of course, has awesome video game t-shirts.

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