Thursday, December 3, 2009
TBG & Jalen Play: Mario Kart Wii
Synopsis: Nintendo's venerable Italian stereotypes compete with the ubiquitous brand's other cartoonish icons in a series of cra-a-a-zay races.
'80s Game It Most Resembles: R.C. Pro-Am
Retail Price: $49.99 (comes with one Wii Wheel controller; additional Wheels sell for $14.99)
Father & Son Experience: I purchased this game in July 2008 with a Target gift card. At the time, Jalen was smack-dab in the middle of a race-car phase that…he's still in. Fortunately, Mario Kart Wii didn't involve watching Disney/Pixar's Cars movie for the one millionth time or watching one minute of NASCAR on a Sunday afternoon.
The game moves rapidly – even grading on the racing game curve – and initially overwhelmed Jalen to the point where he'd gleefully watch me play, but wanted nothing to do with it, himself. He reluctantly took the virtual wheel, but insisted I "help". This meant I'd do all the work (steering, tossing ridiculous comical weapons, etc.) while Jalen loosely held the wheel under my hands.
Today, he plays by himself and takes slightly less obnoxious pride in his first place finishes than I do.
Best Thing for Adults: The game's pretty easy to pick-up after a just a few plays – a welcome relief for those of us who grew up in an age when $20 "strategy guides" weren't required to play video games.
Best Thing for Kids: Affords children the opportunity to get behind the wheel while bumping, crashing and throwing things at other cars. As a Californian, these are skills that Jalen will need later in life.
Worst Thing for Everyone: The multi-player features may induce seizures. The split-screen for the two-person race is almost un-playable if your eyes happen to drift up or down to the other driver. You'll be turning left, but you might see the other car turning right…only that's not your car…or, is it? See what I mean?! Similarly, the 2-4 player "coin" and "balloon" challenges brought on nausea with all the driving in circles. This concept was a LOT less painful in National Lampoon's European Vacation.
Buy, Rent or Pass: The Nintendo Wii doesn't have the best selection of games, so if you're going to spend $50, you might as well invest in one of the few fun, re-playable games in the Wii's catalog. And, if you happen to have a five-year-old African-American son, make sure no one sees him doing Donkey Kong's exaggerated first-place gorilla celebration in a public place. Just…trust me on this.