Oh, the joys of Mario Kart 64. Some of my fondest memories are staying up into the wee hours of the morning, playing game after game of Mario Kart. I reminisce about climbing to the top of Block Fort, trying to stop the weapon rotation of the three red shells during Battle Mode, seeing who could win while driving Toad’s Turnpike on Extra, and laughing at the idiots who thought that Peach was good (Everyone know Bowser is the best).
I have never really liked racing games; I think they provide limited enjoyment. Gran Turismo was realistic and that is cool, but ultimately not enjoyable for me. If you add weapons, the game gets much cooler. Look at Twisted Metal; that game provided hours of fun. However, even as awesome as Twisted Metal was, no game, past or present, can beat Mario Kart for replayability, crying-from-laughing-so-hard fun, and timelessness.
Mario Kart did everything you wanted very well. It had fun racetracks, with different difficulties, and the option to do all the tracks backwards. There were shortcuts that were easy to do (the jump into the hole in Koopa Troopa Beach), and some that were not as easy (mushroom-boost-jumping off the top of Rainbow Road to land halfway down the track). It had a Battle Mode and a group racing feature versus the computer or versus each other.
The Battle Mode is really what sealed the deal on this game for timelessness. We all remember hours spent dodging your comrades in Block Fort, or strategically dropping bananas around corners. Planting that upside-down question mark on top of the right-side-up one never got old. I loved desperately attempting to chase down people when using the star power, or dumping shells on super awesome ricochet paths. It was just amazing.
I love Mario Kart 64. It is my favorite game, hands down, and I would never change a thing.