Mario Kart has always been one of the top couch multiplayer games of all time. First off, it’s for everyone! Second, it has allowed up to four players since the days of Nintendo 64. And now, Mario Kart 8 (the definitive edition of Mario Kart) has been a top seller for two Nintendo console generations (Wii U and Switch). Nothing has really changed from the Wii U to the Switch version, however, people continue to purchase this game (like hotcakes, because apparently people are also always buying a bunch of those).
Playing Mario Kart with friends vs the CPU is always a tough battle for first place (the CPU rarely ever has a chance). It usually goes one of two ways: either there will be one experienced player who wins every race or you may have a few good players sharing the glory and fighting it out until the final race.
What I learned while playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe online with my girlfriend is that the stakes are much, much higher. When we were playing just us vs the CPU drivers, we would split first and second place in most races. Once you move into online play it becomes less of a friendly competition and more of a bloody war against one common enemy (the internet). Playing online in the worldwide category you realize that every player is good or at least most of the players are. There are always a few bad apples, or at least one (and sometimes it’s you).
Playing online becomes less ME vs YOU and more US vs THEM. We turn into an F1 (Formula 1 racing) team (we become the Maclaren team of Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz, trying to get the most combined points. I could have said the Mercedes team of Hamilton and Bottas, but we don’t place first and second all that often). Online play is all about taking out the competition and helping out your teammate when you can (which may include sacrificing yourself sometimes for the “greater good,” aka your team).
Online mode is very fun but sometimes frustrating. It takes a different set of skills and knowing to use your power ups (especially mushrooms) at the exact right time. I imagine it to be even more fun with real friends over the internet. Maybe even get a chat going. I would love to fill out an entire race with 8-10 good friends one day.
Sometimes you end up playing with the same group for a few rounds, and by the third or fourth race you have built up some beef with a Swedish Isabel or a Mexican Yoshi. You may find that Chad the Donkey Kong keeps hitting you with shells and you dedicate the next race to ruining his. Maybe you keep ending up in last place behind someone named “Mom” or “Dad” and it makes you just want to beat someone’s “Mom” or “Dad” at Mario Kart.
If you haven’t yet tried Mario Kart 8 online on the Nintendo Switch, I would definitely recommend it. And, if you own a Switch but don’t own Mario Kart 8, then go to Best Buy or order it online very soon…