A Victory Lap Years Later – Super Nintendo – Super Mario Kart – 1992

Super Mario Kart (U) [!]000Super Mario Kart
Super Nintendo
Nintendo
Genre: Racing
1992

There are a few genres in gaming that I don’t talk about a lot. I haven’t played many sports games since I was a kid. I’m not really into the ‘4X’ strategy games that some of my friends gush over. One type of game that I’ve regularly played, though, and haven’t brought up is the ‘racing’ genre.

Nearly all of the major franchises from the 1990s ended up with some kind of racing title. Sonic Drift, Crash Team Racing, and even Final Fantasy had Chocobo Racing. One of the forerunners of this trend, of course, was the Mario franchise. When Super Mario Kart came out on the Super Nintendo, its colorful and chaotic cover art promised some new adventures involving a variety of characters from the universe we had all come to know and love. Given the number of spinoff games the franchise would receive, one could argue that Super Mario Kart opened the gates for the dearth of games we would see later on like Mario Party and Mario (insert name of sport here).

Even as a kid getting this game, though, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Playing as Mario without jumping on enemies and trying to navigate perilous worlds to save something? It was such a strange concept to me back then. Now, it seems as natural as any other idea given how many games bear the Mario Kart moniker. With the amount of time and refinement the games have gotten over multiple consoles and years, heading back to the beginning worried me. It could easily have been an undertaking of frustration that could decimate my nostalgia for the game.

Needless to say, I popped it in recently and gave it a whirl. What’s the worst that could happen? Continue reading

Let Us (X)Band Together – Remembering Early Long-Distance Gaming

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Let me take you back to a simpler time.

A time when the worst worry a gamer had to worry about was figuring out the code to make blood show up in Mortal Kombat.

A time when controllers were passed around so that every kid in the room could contribute to a two-player game.

But what if you could Hadoken some random gamer across town in Street Fighter II or jam on your neighbor’s Scottie Pippen in NBA Jam from the comfort of your parents’ living room?

That is exactly what the XBAND modem was supposed to accomplish.  Released for the Sega Genesis in 1994 and the Super Nintendo in 1995 in the United States, the modem was meant to start the revolution toward gaming with other gamers with the hardware and a working phone line.  While the compatible games list was limited and the modem was only in rotation for a couple of years- the network shut down in 1997- for a brief moment, people saw what gaming could and would be in the future.

I happened to be one of the kids whose parents purchased the XBAND back in the day, and let me tell you- it was a big deal for my pre-teen self.

Continue reading