Pixel Races: Mario Kart 64
- Andrea Montanaro
There has always been a deep link between the world of video games and the automotive industry. Racing video games are the most popular among users and keep evolving to offer an increasingly engaging driving experience.
Mario Kart 64 is certainly one of the most well-known racing games ever. The title has raised the bar for gamers since its release in 1996. The idea of putting the Super Mario saga’s characters in go karts immediately gained unanimous acclaim, making Mario Kart 64 the first real "party game." Party games offer fast-paced game modes and the ability to have multiple players in a shared screen. Mario Kart also succeeds thanks to Nintendo 64's new technology: in addition to the multiplayer feature which enable up to 4 controllers simultaneously, the console reproduces a low-poly 3D effect for gameplay, making gameplay even more (sur)real. The 64 version of Mario Kart still rocks on thanks to the legendary "32/32" race. Records for the fastest lap and for the entire race are recorded for each of the 16 tracks. The total of 32 times to beat ignited competition in gamers but only two exceeded 30/32. About 10 years ago it was MR (Matthias Rustemeyer) who laid down the law on Mario Kart 64. MR began climbing the leaderboards soon moving up to 28/32 when a coalition of players began to thwart him. The years-long tug of war led MR to touch 31/32 several times but eventually succumbed to the competition imposed by other players. Dan is the only one to have reached the much coveted 32/32. In August 2021 the player managed to run Sherbet Land in 1'35"20 equaling the record held by MR. Scanning the tracks for shortcuts, players have come across some bugs that allow them to skip entire portions of the map. shortcut records differ from classic records precisely because they exploit these errors. Completing a course using shortcuts is not easy. The difficulty lies in taking shortcuts in the right way to get laps validated. Twenty-five years after its release, Mario Kart 64 stands the test of time thanks to an extremely active competitive community. Although to this day we can count several versions available on all Nintendo consolles, the 64-bit appeal remains intact for fans of the saga and the lovers of competitive gaming.