It might make you shiver when I tell you that Mario Kart DS is the first way I experienced Mario Kart. I later visited the N64 version and (of course) would go on to frequent the Wii version, too. But Mario Kart DS will always have the most special place in my heart among them all.
Growing up, I did a lot of travelling between parents. I still do, but not as nearly as often as I should be. Anyway, you better believe that my Nintendo DS and trusty R4 card came everywhere with me – and what better to play during a long car journey than a racing game about fast cars and Nintendo superstars?
While I never had as much fun solo as I did racing against friends from school, I must’ve spent hours upon hours recording time trials over the years. I probably had a much better time back then than I do now, despite my obnoxious insistence that I will one day acquire the world record for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s Waluigi Pinball at 150cc. I will do it, and I won’t shut up about it. Watch this space. It’s only a matter of weeks. Or months. Or years.
With Waluigi Pinball in mind, I think it’s important that on the anniversary of Mario Kart DS, we reflect on one of Mario Kart DS’ best original tracks. Waluigi Pinball is among my all-time favourites; only the likes of Moo Moo Meadows and Coconut Mall can even come close to how good Luigi’s lanky rival’s home course is.
For a start, the Waluigi Pinball track takes place on one big, vibrant, pinball machine. Does it get any more chaotic than that? I can imagine people screaming ‘Rainbow Road!’ at me right now, but unfortunately, I don’t care to listen. Waluigi Pinball beats Rainbow Road, end of. The sharp turns and curves and obnoxious noises and neon – it’s all just so Waluigi, isn’t it?
Anyway, as you zoom around the track and likely neglect to take in the scenery (given that you’re probably trying to beat that pesky ghost or CPU), the stadium is adorned in pretty neon lights and metallic spheres. Eventually, you’re able to run (or drive) amok among pinballs, bumpers, and fellow players as you race along the pinboard itself and into another tunnel. Suddenly, all the colours and shapes at play become a lot less pretty, and a lot more annoying.
Honestly, Waluigi Pinball is about as close to cyberpunk than a Mario Kart track might ever get, and just recently, a revamped version of the track was added to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. I take great enjoyment in making my non-Mario Kart playing friends try it for their first track, luring them in with the promise that “this isn’t Rainbow Road at least” before annihilating them in play; it’s barbaric, I know, but I have to show my friends whose boss when it comes to Mario Kart. Waluigi Pinball is also a great track for demonstrating that Mario Kart – to those who rarely play it – is a lot more fun than simply driving laps around one another.
Let’s not also forget this track is Waluigi’s time to shine, and he’s no doubt one of the series’ more chaotically aligned characters – bringing trouble wherever he goes. Being what is essentially a ‘bad Luigi’, it’s absolutely no wonder that the illusive giant has us drive around a pinball machine in his own sadistic death-trap of a race.
He’d love The Sims.