Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s smart steering is an accessibility boon

by Daniel VuckovicMay 1, 2017

There was a lot of whinging and whining when Mario Kart 8 Deluxe was released last week, not because of price or the fact Wii U owners had to buy it again (no wait there was that too). But the thing that brought the most ire was that the Auto Steer feature was turned on by default.

Some gaming snobs turned their nose up not just at Auto Steering but Auto Accelerate as well. The mere existence of these features for less technical gamers was an affront to them.

On the weekend a story popped up on Reddit about a four-year-old girl, Molly, who had a stroke just after being born. She’s now four and finally able to play Mario Kart with her family thanks to these features. Molly has limited mobility in her right hand, both features can help her and many others like her out.

Nintendo might not have put these features in for those with a disability, but their inclusion has meant that someone who might not have been able to play Mario Kart before now can.

So why it might have been annoying to turn off Auto Steering which was on by default, just remember it might be even more annoying or difficult to turn it on as well.

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Daniel Vuckovic

The Owner and Creator of this fair website. I also do news, reviews, programming, art and social media here. It is named after me after all.

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  • Oliver Phommavanh
    May 2, 2017 at 7:30 am

    It’s no deal breaker, and if it means my wife and nephews can play mk8 deluxe then I’m all for it…now if only I teach my wife how to drift lol

  • Silly
    May 2, 2017 at 10:58 am

    This truly is a game changer, and I hope that Nintendo will incorporate accessibility options into more of their games. I’m not sure how it would work in say, Super Smash Bros. (though perhaps the character can move autonomously, defined by its set CPU level, with the player responsible for attacking only), but Nintendo can find themselves winning over a huge userbase by making their games as inclusive as possible (this of course won’t affect tournaments or online multiplayer, so I don’t see why able-bodied and supposedly “able-minded” people are so opposed; I’m actually quite disgusted by some of the closed-minded remarks concerning the smart-steering feature, for example). Of course, accessibility options won’t be possible for a lot of games, but for party games such as this, it’s perfect, and allows everybody to feel included, regardless of ability.

    My sister suffers from spastic cerebral palsy, strabismus, is intellectually impaired, and as a result, has poor hand-eye coordination, but I can only imagine the joy once she plays MK8D and feels that she can drive along with the best of them. I have a blind friend who can play this too! The only downside for blind people is that Nintendo hasn’t incorporated HD rumble into the game in such a manner that would allow blind people to better engage with the game (unsurprising given its Wii U roots, but I would like to see it fleshed out more in Mario Kart 9).

    I have wanted accessibility options in games for years, and this is such a great, unexpected start. Here’s hoping for more accessibility options in the future from Nintendo.

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