Monday, February 13, 2017

Mario Kart 64 Shifts Into Its 20th Anniversary

Mario Kart 64; Shifting Into Gear For 20 Years

Mario Kart 64 hit the big 20 years old here in America on February the 10th (Releasing in 1997), as well as releasing in December 14th, 1996 in Japan and June 21st, 1997 in Europe for the Nintendo 64 (Which also turned 20 last year.). While not the first entry in the franchise Mario Kart 64 has driven itself into the memories and lives of countless players all over the world, making Mario Kart as a franchise a staple in Go-Kart Racing Video Games and the Racing Genre. Directed by Hideki Konno, Mario & Friends strap in for the franchise’s first venture into 3D racing, grasping full advantage of the Nintendo 64’s power to create 3D enjoyable and memorable race tracks. (Did I mention it was 3D? Sorry this is my 1990s self speaking.) Though the sprites were still 2D renders instead of 3D they blend in nicely and to me you can’t tell the difference.

Mario Kart 64 has been a staple in my favorite Nintendo 64 games of all time, giving hours and hours of high octane (Okay it’s not F-Zero but I think I prefer it that way.), red shell and banana slinging fun. This 64 version is also my first Mario Kart, I didn’t grow up with Super Mario Kart, I actually had no idea it existed until I got the GBA version of Mario Kart. Ever since I’ve been a long time Mario Kart fan. This game took Super Mario Kart, the first entry in the series that released back in 1992 and truly pushed it to a new gear. Racing word play aside Mario Kart 64 started development under the name Super Mario Kart R back in 1995 and was slated to be a launch title for the upcoming Nintendo 64 console. 

More development resources were required for Super Mario 64 so Mario Kart 64 was delayed until later on in the year. While the tracks remained mostly the same from the original beta to the final product apparently Mario Kart 64 was originally going to feature a different character in place of Donkey Kong.

Thanks to I discovered that Kamek (Or was it just a normal Magikoopa?) was originally in the game, in place of Donkey Kong. As well as a screenshot showing a feather item (Similar to Super Mario Kart).

Kamek/Magikoopa has never made an appearance in Mario Kart other then this beta and a bike you can use In Mario Kart Wii. It’s crazy to think, would Kamek of been a light character or more so in the sense of Donkey Kong, who replaced him in the final version?

Certain characters from the original Super Mario Kart were also replaced such as Koopa and Donkey Kong Jr and the cast consisted of Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, Peach, Toad, Donkey Kong, Bowser and Wario. 

You couldn’t have asked for a more awesome cast from the Mario Universe which has only been expanded on in future iterations. While being a diverse cast there are only three weight classes, Light Weights (Yoshi, Peach and Toad), who have high acceleration, Medium weight (Mario and Luigi), who are balanced, all around characters and Heavyweight (Wario, Bowser and Donkey Kong) who have top speed but can be a bit hard to handle, with slow acceleration.

This game has quite a few game modes, Single Player Grand Prix, Time Trials, Multi Player Grand Prix, VS and the insane Battle Mode. Grand Prix has three speed modes, 50cc which is good for new players, 100cc which speeds things up and 150cc, which is still tough for me to this very day, the CPU racers will start to tail and overtake you more often with items becoming more prominent, the carts hit top speed which can make it hard to turn. 

In this mode you would want to start drifting but I’ve never been good at drifting in MK6. (Thank you Mario Kart Wii, 7 and 8 for making this easier) Luckily 150cc is beatable without drifting but it can be a tad difficult, especially on Bowser’s Castle. A fourth mode called Mirror Mode can be unlocked once you achieve Gold in all four 150cc cups. Mirror Mode can be fun once you get used to it, Mirror holds the same speed as 150cc but oh boy, try racing Toad’s Turnpike on Mirror, I’m shuddering just at the thought. Ever wanted to race on a track with cars coming AT you? Constantly? Then play Toad’s Turnpike Mirrored.

The tracks in this game are just as diverse as the cast, with simple Figure 8 races such as Luigi’s Raceway to the massive Rainbow Road. Rainbow Road despite having rails on all sides is the longest Rainbow Road to date and it also has Chain Chomps running rampant throughout the course. Mario Kart 64’s music compliments the raceway with memorable and nostalgic compositions, thanks to the magic of composer Kenta Nagata who would lend his talents to future Mario Kart iterations. It’s difficult to choose which track is my favorite as they’re all such memorable raceways but some of them would be Kalimari Desert, Toad’s Turnpike, Choco Mountain, Sherbet Land and Royal Raceway.

Remember Kalimari Desert? It’s the racetrack with the train. Did you know you can drive onto the train track and tail the train throughout the entire course? Yeah I used to do this a lot back in the day, it wasn’t really a shortcut by any means but it was fun, especially in Multi Player. Another course that has some exploration would be Royal Raceway, where you drive through the outskirts of Peach’s Castle. If you decide to venture a little, (At the expense of winning.) you can actually drive into the castle’s courtyard. 

This castle is identical to Peach’s Castle in Super Mario 64 so it’s pretty cool to drive through the courtyard, though I’m not sure if Princess Peach will be pleased about that though… Or Toadsworth.

Speaking of Multi Player, this Mario Kart also introduced 4 split screen action. Due to the N64 sporting 4 control ports you were finally able to do 4 person multiplayers. This led to lots of family party sessions and some pretty awesome memories. Even better Mario Kart 64 brought back the battle mode from Super Mario 64, balloons and all. Though this time if you lose all your balloons and there are two players left you become a sort of tie breaker by turning into a bomb. Yes, a bomb, a mini bomb cart in fact and you get to run around as this bomb and blow player’s balloons up, pretty sweet. The bomb actually freaked me out as a kid; I turned into one once with no idea what it meant. This mini bomb cart also blows you up during the ceremony if you place anything under 3rd… Isn’t that for rude?

Mario Kart 64 is 20 years old but it still holds up as one of the best Mario Karts to date. With the ability to play this game on the Wii and Wii U virtual console it’s still easily accessible for new players too. With memorable, nostalgic tracks, tons of replays in single player modes such as Grand Prix and Time Trials and hours of Multiplayer fun this game is simply awesome. Though newer Mario Karts such as 7 for the 3DS and 8 for the Wii U are vast improvements on this game there’s something about 64 that still makes it hold strong too this day. Perhaps its nostalgia speaking but I still think this game is worth getting if you’re a Mario Kart fan, it’s actually $9.99 USD on the Wii U eshop.

As far as the future of Mario Kart we have Mario Kart 8 Deluxe releasing on April 28th of this year for the Nintendo Switch. It’s an upgrade of Mario Kart 8 instead of being a new iteration so I’m not sure how much new content they’re adding. I do know they’ve brought back a more traditional Battle Mode, which is awesome considering how disappointing the original Wii U version’s battle mode was. Inkling Girl and Inkling Boy have been announced as new characters as well as Bowser JR, King Boo and Dry Bones confirmed as returning characters. Not sure if they’re adding new courses or not, an upgrade might not be worth it otherwise. We’ll just have to wait for them to announce more information.

February wasn’t just the Mario Kart 64 it was also the release date of a brand new animated movie… A movie that might just be a little, batty.

Batman Becomes Legofied!

The LEGO Movie released back in 2014 was a smash hit with characters from all sorts of franchises making an appearance. Since then the creators have been working on new movies based on the many LEGO Multiverses. (There’s a lot, by the way.) 

The LEGO Batman movie is the first of the upcoming LEGO Movie spin offs taken place three years after the events of the first movie. Batman (Voiced by Will Arnet.) is back in Gotham fighting crime against villains like the Joker. Bruce Wayne… You know the billionaire, not Batman in any shape or form, accidentally ends up adopting young Dick Grayson as his ward. Lot’s of Batman’s allies and villains make an appearance in this movie and it looks like an awesome move for LEGO fans and Batman Fans alike. If you loved the LEGO Movie you’ll probably love this movie just as much. The LEGO Batman movie has already domestically grossed 55.6 million dollars in the USA and Canada on its opening weekend which is incredible and currently is the largest box office opening of 2017; we are pretty early in the year though. Worldwide it’s grossed an estimated 92.6 million. It didn’t quite beat out the original LEGO movie on it’s opening weekend domestically but a hard hitter regardless.

An Epic Avengers Infinity War Teaser

The Avengers are teaming up with the Guardians of the Galaxy in the upcoming Avengers Infinity War movie releasing May 2018. Speaking of such it’s officially filming now and Marvel has released a little teaser (Actually a pretty big teaser) at some of the filming, concept art and development.

This truly is going to be the biggest Marvel Avengers movie to date and the anticipation is killing me. We have to wait until May the 8th! The time and effort going into this movie is incredible.

Before we wrap just want to throw in a knitting update for everyone!

I’m still working on the foot of my afterthought heel self striping sock I’m knitting my sis. It’s looking good; I love the different color stripes they all seem to mix together. Despite the course yarn I’m not really noticing it anymore; it’s not doing any damage to my hands or anything. The sock itself actually feels good and I can’t wait to attempt my first afterthought heel.

My sister and I tackled another baking project, not really new in a sense but I think these are our best Chocolate Chip cookies yet.

We baked them so they were so fluffy and good. Not too sweet but sweet enough to make your taste buds believe they’re in chocolate paradise. These cookies melt in your mouth and I can’t believe how successful we were.

One last closing thought, back onto the subject of Video Games, I’ve been toying with the idea to incorporate Gameplay into ZAK Entertainment for a while now. I’m thinking of setting up a new, separate Youtube channel for said Gameplay and Video Game relegated videos so it’s not swamping out the content I make on my main ZAK Entertainment channel. Though any short film I make related to Video Games will still go onto ZAK Entertainment. Basically the big productions and anything Travel, Short Film or Knitting related will also go onto ZAK Entertainment. I’m still working on the idea but you may see it flourish soon. I actually recorded some Mario Kart 64 gameplay funny enough the other day.

That’s a wrap, folks! Be sure to check out the new snazzy social media links at the top of the page but also... ZAK Entertainment is now on Flipboard! Using this website I've been able to organized ZAK Entertainment into an online Magazine so be sure to check it out! It's a great way to keep track of my posts and many articles/blogs from other talented folks. Oh yeah there's some awesome new sharing options down below as well! I wrote a Nintendo 64 blog last year talking about it's 20th anniversary it seems appropiate to link you guys too that regarding MK64's anniversary so here you go:

Keep your lives entertaining! 

ZAK Entertainment

No comments:

Post a Comment