Racing to the Finish in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

You’ve seen us play Battle Mode against each other, but you haven’t witnessed a good old race to the death! Simeon and Scott are taking to the racetrack and trying to prove who’s the boss, and who is who’s father.

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Appreciating Super Mario Kart

Sequels typically have one of three purposes. They are either meant to continue a story, to make a game more “current” or sensible to modern trends (we see this often with fighting games), or to simply improve the original. Usually, a combination of those three purposes can be seen when a sequel is announced with new features or characters to make you want to buy the next edition; I mean, if it were the same game, or an intentionally worse game, there would be little motivation to purchase it. Sometimes, the sequel is different enough to motivate us to return to it regularly, whether that be for the story, level design, or some other reason. For many games, though, especially in competitive series, when a sequel is released the previous title is abandoned almost completely. I find it helpful, occasionally to return to the oft-inferior predecessors to see just how far we have come and maybe appreciate something we lost along the way to where we are now.

Today, I will be comparing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on Switch to Super Mario Kart for SNES. It is handy that Nintendo has just re-released the latter via SNES Classic, so if you want to experience the difference that 20+ years makes to a sequel, Nintendo has made it easier (as long as you can get your hands on one)! There are so many ways in which the series has improved, but I would like to focus on the ways that the original has some advantages over the most recent entry. Also note, some of these features are shared by other entries in the series but were phased out at some point along the way.

1. Simplicity

I know that “simplicity” is my fancy word for “fewer features”, but hear me out. When you boot up Mario Kart 8, you are greeted with a host of options and customization possibilities which the game may or may not explain to you. Yes, the options may seem primitive, and MK8D has its own options to make it easier for newcomers, but it is still a lot to process when you first boot it up.

With SMK, there are eight characters, each with their own attributes. No need to worry about whether the kart choice is the best or whether your tires are giving you the best advantage. Each character is a little different. Mario and Luigi are well-rounded, while Bowser takes it slower but has much more control. It makes it easy for someone who has never played to pick up a controller and not have to worry about harming their chances with a customization choice.

2: “Retry” button 

Flow is important in multiplayer games. You want to keep the action quickly moving with few interruptions. In MK8D you first have to set the number of races in each set, which means you have a definite start and end to the set. After those races, the game kicks you out to the main menu and you start over again. In SMK, unless you decide to play a cup, the game sets you loose to play as many races as you want in a row, only keeping an overall win counter.

When my wife and I play Mario Kart, we often find ourselves wanting a rematch on the same track. MK8D kicks you back to the track select screen each time (a product of setting the number of races you play), whereas SMK gives you the option for an immediate replay without any loading time. I know this seems like a nit-pick, but having to go back through a menu when you want a quick rematch takes you out of the experience a little bit.

3: Donkey Kong Jr.

It has been a while since this little guy has been swept under the rug. A forgotten relic of a bygone era. Rest in peace, little buddy.

4: The Feather

Now, I know the feather is present in MK8D, but they removed it from the racing mode, which took away much of its usefulness. Need to make a shortcut? Use a feather. Need to cut a corner especially tight? Use a feather. Need to get out of the way of a red shell? … Well, that leads into my next point.

5: Dodging

Items are kind of the bane of my existence in MK8D. If someone hurls a red shell at you (unless you have properly-placed protection, of course), it will hit you. It will snake around just about every corner and object, break all speed barriers, and it will hit you. In SMK, as long as you are paying attention, you can duck around a corner to outsmart it. You can fly into the air using a feather, because, as it should be, shells stay on the ground. Also, if you are especially skilled (or lucky), you can place a well-timed hop to dodge a shell on its way toward you. The newest entry removes just about any skill element to this dynamic. Your fate is sealed.


Ever been bumping along in first place, no one is around, you are having the lap of a lifetime. Then, the dinging starts. You know what that means…

When the Blue Shell is coming for you.

The blue shell is on its way to ruin your day. Now, I do want to point out two things. One, the blue shell was implemented to give everyone a chance at winning a race. But does that mean the blue shell should be as common as it is? Perhaps once every third race is more appropriate (as more of a “Hail Mary” than an “Oh, I’ll just wait till whoever is in last throws one”). Second, MK8 did introduce the “boom box” (I honestly do not care what its actual name is) to give the assaultee a possible defensive mechanism. These seem to be more rare than the blue shells, though.

Super Mario Kart, if I am not mistaken, is the only game in the series without the blue shell. This means that not only is the game kind to beginners (keeping the options simple so they can jump in right away), but it also rewards the skill of experienced players without punishing them for their hard work.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a great game to play, and I recommend it if you have not yet picked it up. Sometimes we fail to appreciate the features we have lost along the way, though, and I am glad we will always have the classics.

Switch Presentation 1 Year Anniversary Scott's Thoughts

One year ago, Nintendo held a live-streamed stage show in Tokyo, Japan. It was a multi-regional effort, with groups of translators working feverishly behind the scenes to help introduce the world to Nintendo Switch… I remember the day fondly.

We had been told the new console was supposed to come out sometime in March, and all we had was a brief video of the hardware being played by a group of attractive millenials—not a lot to go off. We had no idea as to the extent of the Joy-Con’s abilities, which games were going to be launch titles, what would come in the hardware box, how everything would be priced… it was an odd situation to be in as a Nintendo fan, planning to purchase the Switch in two months’ time, but being largely in the dark.

It was good to see Nintendo president Kimishima take the stage. Although he had stepped into the role shortly after Iwata’s passing, this January presentation was truly the first time that the company’s new leader addressed fans directly.
He’s not a showman; Kimishima is more of a down-to-earth businessman. He demonstrated some smart presentation skills by outlining all the important details first: release date, price, region-locking (or lack thereof!), and paid online services were all touched on at the beginning.

I’ve been trained over the years that when Nintendo says “release date March” that it usually means “launching around March 31st, might as well be April” so the earlier-than-expected release date of March 3rd instantly pleased me. The console’s price point was satisfying (though I’m still taken aback by how much accessories cost). Shortly after setting the facts straight, the president stepped aside and allowed developers to take over the show and focus on the fun!

I was on board with Switch from the moment the show began. One of the first things described about the new console is how it was conceived of a combination of elements from Nintendo’s past consoles; a little DNA from all prior systems made its way into the formation of Nintendo Switch. Throughout the show, I was quite surprised how much of the Wii I recognized in the Joy-Con controllers and games like 1-2-Switch.

It was really fun seeing the wide variety of software being developed for Switch. We finally got closure on some of the initial teases with Mario kart and Splatoon, figuring out which games were sequels and which were ports. Nintendo sure dragged out the Breath of the Wild release date, though—clearly having a bit of fun at the audience’s expense. (When the jibing ends with the revelation that we get a gigantic open-world Zelda game at console launch, we quickly forgive them for stringing us along.)

My attention was rapt on the presentation from start to finish. Fellow Crew member Ryan had to work during the live stream, so he entrusted me with his online accounts and payment information in order to snag a pre-order in his absence. I was refreshing webpages like a madman, hoping that Nintendo would allow their retailers to take pre-orders that night and praying that I could go through the checkout process fast enough.

I needed TWO consoles, one for myself and one for my poor friend who had the remainder of a night shift left before he could catch up on the news. Here’s the problem, though: we weren’t expecting the neon Joy-Con bundle to be announced, so now I didn’t know what to pre-order (I couldn’t reach him by phone)! I was even having trouble making up my own mind as to which bundle I preferred.

Best-Buy updated their website with Switch pre-orders and my fingers flew across the keyboard like a blur. Before I let out my pent-up breath, two neon Switch consoles were in my digital shopping cart. Proud of myself for securing the goods, I went to lay down and try to get some sleep after all the wild excitement.
A few hours later, Ryan gets home and starts watching the Switch presentation. I receive a text that reads “Please tell me you ordered the grey Joy-Con bundle!”

Mario Kart Woes & Zelda Whoas

We’ve got better games to play than Mario Kart! Close your eyes and pick something off the eShop.

#510 – Zelda Breath of the Wild is a tough act to follow, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe certainly falls short in that regard. The racing game has its charm and its place in the Switch owners’ collection, but it also has some major design problems that frustrate the player, and makes them want to go back to Zelda!

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (
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How to Host a Gaming Tournament

Go out into the world and be T.O.s!

Gaming tournaments! If you haven’t tried to attend one, you’re missing out! But sometimes, the scene just isn’t there… until you start it. There are probably more Nintendo enthusiasts in your area than you realize, and it just takes some effort and organization to bring those people together. In this episode, Simeon and Scott give you some handy tips for starting your own gaming competition! | Handy Dandy Checklist – Bring: System, game, adapter, controller, TV, laptop, charger, speakers, permanent marker (for marking hands), name tags

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (
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Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Showdown

This episode was a real BLAST! We were so happy, it was like we were floating on BALLOONS!

MARIO KART 8 DELUXE! It’s all the rage, being Nintendo’s latest first-party release on Switch! And it’s an outstanding game, but we knew that of course, from playing the Wii U version. You may have caught us streaming online, but what you’ve yet to see is Scott and Simeon facing off in a kart duel. That’s right, with our Patreon supporter’s input, we’ve picked two battle modes to duke it out in. Are you #TeamSim or #TeamScott?

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (
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Mario Kart Rock Paper Scissors

As you can see, our childhoods were clearly very entertaining.

Sometimes, plain old Rock Paper Scissors gets really boring. That’s when you have to invent your own version! And with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe releasing in North America yesterday, what better way to play RPS than with Mario Kart items? Indeed, the weapons in the Mario Kart series are balanced not unlike rock, paper, or scissors, where some are more effective against others, and can be countered by others still. Join Simeon and Scott as they do what they do best – goof off!

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (
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What If Mario Kart Was Real Life?

Lakitu save us.

As gamers, it can be easy to let fantasies of game worlds spill into our daily lives. One of those situations takes place behind the wheel. Have you ever wanted a red shell for that jerk in front of you on the highway? Things would sure be a lot more interesting on the road if drivers were given Mario Kart items and Mario Kart rules to play by. Imagine with us! Footage Credits: Super Mario Kart – NintendoComplete | Mario Kart Double Dash – PoisonCranberry | Mario Kart 8 – XCageGame

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (
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What’s New in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe?

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, home of the lone cheap Switch accessory.

Mario Kart 8 is getting a facelift, and it’s coming to Nintendo Switch! In another show of Nintendo listening to their fans, they’ve completely updated Battle Mode in this entry of their kart racer series, while throwing in a bunch of extra characters, karts, and modes. All of the changes can be a bit hard to keep track of, and that’s why Simeon and Scott have gathered a comprehensive list for your convenience!

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (
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Top 10 Switch Bombshell Announcements

If we can live through ten bombshells like these ones, we can face just about anything.

For a full hour last week, Nintendo streamed live from the stage in Kyoto and presented us with announcement after announcement regarding their new home console, Nintendo Switch. We learned the console’s price, release date, online capabilities, Joy-Con technology, and much, much more. But which of these huge pieces of news do we regard as the most important? And which announcements are we remembering fondly, rather than with a sour taste? Watch this video for a complete rundown on the ten most important moments of the January Switch Presentation!

Shot by Alex Campbell

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TBC Direct: Switch Presentation!

Too bad Simeon had to go deal with that stranger from another dimension… in other news, Glen’s sharp face and soothing voice make their internet debut!

We’re here to discuss every aspect of Nintendo’s full Switch unveiling from the January Presentation! Launch details? Games? Hidden features? We’ll discuss every bit. Jump in the chat and let us know what you think of Nintendo’s new console coming in March!

Shot by Alex Campbell

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Switch Presentation – Knee Jerk Reactions!

The hype train was real… it barrelled through here and plowed us over. Man oh man!

Catch the TBC Direct LIVE STREAM tomorrow

Scott is hot off the Switch hype from Nintendo’s full presentation! What a whirlwind of announcements. This is his knee-jerk reactions, recorded literally minutes after Nintendo’s live stream ended. He’s pretty happy about the console’s features, hardware, release date, and games… but some of those prices? OUCH! What did you think of Nintendo’s announcements made from the stage in Kyoto?
Shot by Alex Campbell
“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (
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Switch Games – Remakes/Updates/Sequels?

SplaTWOn, coming to a Nintendo Switch near you, March 2017!

We saw a good handful of games during the Nintendo Switch reveal trailer, but it wasn’t exactly clear which ones were new games and which ones are making a return from the Wii U console. We look at all the clues and present compelling cases for which games are new and which ones are definitive editions!

Shot by Alex Campbell

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