Mario Kart Live Review

When I was young, I loved playing with toy cars. I had hundreds of die cast cars (HotWheels, Matchbox, Fast 111s, etc.) I also had larger plastic cars that I would set up ramps and such to race and jump. I had other toys, but 99% of the time before I had an Atari 2600, I spent playing with cars. I wasn’t (and still am not) a car collector. I played them to death.

The one thing I never really had was an RC car. I coveted friends’ cars. I wanted to drive one. Alas, I never got one. Sears catalog hints be damned!

My long lasting lust for a remote control car has been slaked. On Friday I got a Mario Kart Live Mario version car. It’s a good thing I pre-ordered it as the only way to get one is to spend twice as much on one in the Amazon Marketplace or eBay.

Hey, itsa me, Michael’s childhood dream realized!

My real life Mario Kart is everything I hoped for. It is dead simple to set up. Mine had about a 50% charge out of the box, so my son and I could play with it right away. The instructions are clear both in the box and in the game.

The little car is solid. All plastic with rubber wheels, but it has a nice heft. It doesn’t feel like it’s going to fall apart after a few uses. Setting up a track is intuitive, and the race format is familiar if you play regular Mario Kart.

You race in AR against 4 computer opponents. Hitting other cars, hitting course obstacles (which are different depending on the chosen course), to getting hit by turtle shells, affect the cars speed and handling. If you try to cheat and cut a corner, you don’t get credit for your lap, and the computer cars are adjusted accordingly. The car has a pretty tight turning radius, so you can get really creative with the tracks you make.

It also has an Explore mode for just driving it around and annoying the dogs. It is possible to drive it out of sight into another room around a corner, but the communication drops off precipitously, and control gets a little wonky.

My only real regret is not pre-ordering the Luigi car as well. I would love to play this with my son instead of just taking turns. I’ll just have to keep checking for when it is available again and order immediately.

Things to consider:

  • You need a lot of space to really get the most out of this car. I initially pushed all the furniture in our den to the sides of the room, but I could only make a boring oval. It worked better in our kitchen and the adjoining room.
  • You need a lot of light for it to work well. If you just have some table lamps on, the view will look grainy, and it might not pick up the track signs easily.
  • You cannot control a car without a Switch. Obviously, you wouldn’t buy one without a console. However, if you want to play multiplayer, you need to have two Switches. If you buy a second car with only one Switch, you can’t race them against each other.
  • I have only had the car for 2 days, but I’m really excited to play it. I’ve been a Mario Kart fan since the Game Boy. I’m really happy to have one the I can drive around in real life.
  • Losing our anchors

    I had a conversation with someone recently. She asked me if there was a full moon that night because people were simply driving crazy. People were driving aggressively, honking their horns, cutting her off. I was going to blow it off as somewhat of a “hot enough for you” type question. I stopped, though.
    Look around at everything now. Everyone on the planet has had their lives turned upside down. The pandemic, wildfires, hurricanes, job loss, the election. Saying this year has been a shit show is putting it mildly. I remember when a few celebrities dying caused people to say that whatever year was the worst ever.
    Everyone is at least a little bit tweaked. There are two things that generally people don’t like: change and not being able to plan. I mean nothing is certain in life, but there is just a cloud of, “I just don’t know what is going to happen next,” hanging over everyone. I know it is for me. I am fortunate. I am working outside the house. Our office is taking the necessary precautions to keep people safe. I work with great people. Patients are very appreciative to everything we are doing
    But…
    There is a pall of uncertainty cast over everything. I haven’t seen friends in months and don’t know when I’ll see them. We rescheduled two vacations this year. They have new dates attached to them, but I can’t be sure that they won’t be affected. My son frustratedly asked a few months in when the pandemic would be over.
    “June 7th, 2021,” I confidently proclaimed. Obviously, I don’t know. However, it has completely stopped him from asking me.
    We kept up The Straight Beef for awhile with a new review and a bunch of content on take out. We kind of ran out of steam on that. Scott and I haven’t recorded a Compleat Dad podcast in months. We seem to have lots of ideas, but when we text about setting up a time, it just never seems to get done. I am in two game night groups. One meets online which is better than nothing, but I can’t quite immerse myself in it because I’m not sitting there looking at my fellow gamers. The other meets sporadically. However, there is always a little bit of doubt. Should we be doing this? Has everyone been safe?
    All the things that I used to do on a regular basis has mostly evaporated. I feel like a different person now. Floating through life.
    Our anchors are completely gone. I don’t mean anchors in a negative sense. They are the things in our lives that make our lives unique and joyful. Spontaneity, gone. Even going to the grocery store is more complicated mentally. Do I have a mask in the car? Is some moron going to confront me for wearing a mask when they don’t want to? Don’t make eye contact with someone not wearing a mask? What if they get aggressive?
    We just have to think much more about things now that were just easy before. The only thing in our lives that doesn’t have friction is just staying at home. I love quiet and solitude probably more than most people. However, when it is your only option, it wears on you.