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Kart games - Has Nintendo Oversimpified?

Posted by Ninja Catfish , 30 January 2012 · 847 views

So I've been playing Crash Team Racing a lot recently. I played it immediately after playing Mario Kart 7, and it made me realise something. Nintendo REALLY dumbed down the kart game experience after Mario Kart 64.

Kart games after the Mario Kart 64/Crash Team Racing era started to simplify play. Nintendo took out the ability to avoid spinning out after hitting a banana, in an effort to equalise the playing field and ensure that newbie players could play in the same race as experienced players and not always be losing.

Nintendo also took out the shortcuts in levels that required an amount of skill to access (the giant ramp to jump into the hole in the hillside of Koopa Troopa Beach in MK64 comes to mind). The newer MKs have shortcuts to be sure, but they typically don't make that much of a difference to lap times. They seem to be more about getting items rather than a significant shortcut. To be fair, often there's a small benefit, but nothing like the quarter-of-a-track skipping shortcuts of yore.
I found Crash Team Racing to be a breath of fresh air. As much as I enjoyed Mario Kart 7, it was just exhilarating to get to shortcuts that require specific items, prior track experience and pinpoint accuracy to get to. A huge risk/reward.

Kart games already have items to equalise the field. Blue shells, Bullet Bills, stars and their equivalents are much more likely to be picked up by a person lagging behind, so do they really need to remove the few elements that require skill to master in order to equalise the field more than it already has been?

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...and that's why folks Super Mario Kart > all ;D

In all seriousness, you're right...and unfortunately it's something that has been implemented in a lot of games. not just from Nintendo. As much as I don't want to get into the argument about the cause and effect of the casual market, it's a major factor in the way games are played.
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Phantom Ganon
Jan 31 2012 05:47 PM
I see what you're getting at, but stuff like this shows me there are still giant shortcuts in Mario Kart, or at least in some stages.

Stuff like what the player does after 1:05 when they skip the rings and after 1:50 where they use a boost to skip an entire segment of the last sector.
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Jan 31 2012 10:25 PM
Woah, that's mad. I like that kind of shortcut/skill more than blatantly constructed shortcuts, like koopa trooper beach.
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I think it is more Nintendo is loosing their ability to develop good games as well as the decreasing lead times for various projects. Mario Kart 7 has some good ideas, but overall the execution of the game is its downfall. Like I've said since launch, it takes stuff from Mario Kart Wii and Mario Kart DS, however the majority of what it takes from each game is what was wrong with the particular title not what was right.
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