Mario Kart 8 is the latest entry in a series of games where Super Mario goes go-karting with his best friends, worst enemies, and some goddamned babies, for some reason. It's been out for three whole months, which means that shit is officially retro. In Internet time, you might as well be playing Excitebike. Even the once hilarious Luigi Death Stare meme has by now reached the saddest stage in the life cycle of every Internet phenomenon: the one where only the very old and the tragically unhip attempt to use it.
Like me. This took me two hours.
But if you're still determined to get the most out of your $60, I have good and bad news. The good news is that I have invented (and recorded myself testing) eight alternate ways to play that will allow you to get, like, at least 36 more minutes of enjoyment. The bad news is that they're all stupid. Heeeeeeeere we go!
#8. Instant Death Mode
In a Balloon Battle game, your character is given three balloons, and other players try to pop them with ridiculous weapons as you race around the track. In my version, however, the goal is to pop your own balloons as quickly as possible and lose the game ... in order to win. And to keep it interesting, all three balloons should be popped by your own hand. Get killed by someone else and you're dead. I mean, the wrong kind of dead. Not the fun one we're going for here.
Note: This mode should only be tried within Mario Kart 8. Do not attempt to die in real life. Or at least don't leave any evidence that you died after reading Cracked ... for instance, by tying a bunch of balloons to your car, sans parade and/or marriage.
The Test Drive:
Losing is actually kinda fun! My current record is about 20 seconds. I was lucky enough to get a Bob-omb, so for my first balloon I repeated a technique I've accidentally done a million times called "being a doofus":
Using a bomb to pop a balloon feels slightly like overkill.
For the other two, I just ran straight off a ledge as my baffled opponents circled around me, hopefully wondering when I was going to flip out and point my self-hate in their direction:
How the hell did I share last place with two other people? Did this game mode catch on already?
To make it even more fun, ask a friend to join you online so you can see who can lose the fastest. He'll say, "No, that's stupid," so keep insisting until he finally gets into a Balloon Battle with you. At this point you'll ask him for a time out because you have to go answer the door, and he'll use the opportunity to kill you and ruin your game.
You're a fucking asshole, Felipe.
#7. One-Person Two-Player Mode
OK. OK. Hear me out. For this mode, you need to: 1) hold two controllers at once and 2) be a fucking idiot. Ready? Are you doing both things? Cool. You're ready to play with two characters at the same time. Make sure you're using motion controls, obviously, because trying to operate a joystick with each hand would make you look ridiculous. Playing with motion controls, on the other hand, always looks ridiculous, so there's no difference.
Now simply go into a VS Race, pick your characters, and find out which one of your hands is a better Mario Kart 8 player! Will your favorite hand (aka the one you use to wank) win the race?
The Test Drive:
I'm controlling Shy Guy and Toad here:
You probably wouldn't be able to tell if I hadn't told you.
I realized partway through the first lap that it would be a good strategy to hold each controller with the hand corresponding to the side of my TV screen where that character appeared -- up till then, I was looking at Shy Guy on the left and trying to control him with the right hand, which for some reason wasn't giving such great results. So I switched hands, but I still didn't win the race.
Or complete the race.
That's the part where I got a message saying the race had ended because I (both of us) was too far behind. The worst part is that Toad lost, and he was my favorite. And now you know which hand I use to wank, so I think we all lost here.
#6. Sightseeing Mode
Mario Kart 8 has an insane amount of impressively animated, lovingly crafted background details that no one will ever see because we're all too busy trying to kill each other with turtle shells at high speeds. So for this mode, we're gonna fix that. Step one: Go into a VS Race and move very slowly by repeatedly pressing the accelerator button instead of holding it down. Like this:
Highway to the ...
... DANGER ZONE!
Step two: Enjoy the scenery. Oddly enough, in most tracks you should have just enough time to complete exactly one lap at this speed before the race is over for everyone else, as long as you don't get repeatedly bumped off a ledge by the other racers. It's like Nintendo wanted someone to try this!
The Test Drive:
Or not, because I found out pretty fast (OK, more like "at a perfectly sensible speed") that if you stand still for too long to bask in the glory of Nintendo's work, you'll get booted off from online races for being a troll. The best way to go sightseeing without having to deal with oppressive time limits and asshole drivers is to do it in Time Trial mode. Here are some photos I snapped that way:
I tried to talk to these guys, but they are deaf from living right beside the track.
These graphics are so realis- GAH! MY EYES!
That fish is swimming in soda. He died of diabetes soon afterward.
#5. Backward Mode
For this mode, go into a VS Race and -- pay attention to this part, because this is where it gets tricky -- move backward instead of forward. As in, you know the direction in which you usually move? Well, buddy, it's time to go in the other one.
I'm already pushing this game beyond all known limits. Frankly, I'm ... I'm a little scared.
Then do that for the rest of the race. PRO TIP: If you manage to contort your fingers in such a way that you can press the rearview mirror button at the same time as the reverse/brake one, you'll get an inverted view of the track and it'll be slightly less infuriating to maneuver your kart.
The Test Drive:
It turns out that you also get booted from races for doing this. That's got to be a glitch. However, you can still do it in online Balloon Battles, but due to another unfortunate flaw in the design of this game (or the human body, I'm not sure), you can't press reverse and the rearview mirror and use items all at the same time, so you'll probably get your ass handed to you by the other players.
Also, if you thought avoiding all the big vehicles in Toad Turnpike was already annoying, get prepared to rage even more:
Luckily, I remember the plate number for both these trucks (because it's the same plate number).
But other than all of that, this was tons of fun. I'm convinced I'm onto something with this one. Nintendo should put some variation of my idea in the next game -- they could call it Mirror Mode or something. Just a little suggestion for you, Nintendo.