DiscoverRetronautsRetronauts Episode 101: Mario Kart

Retronauts Episode 101: Mario Kart

Update: 2017-05-29


Racing series come and go, but, over the last 25 years, Mario Kart has remained the most popular and relevant one out there. But what keeps this wildly unrealistic take on competitive driving so many laps ahead of its contemporaries? Join Bob Mackey, Jeremy Parish, and Henry Gilbert as the crew explores the ups, downs, and various rainbow roads of Nintendo's long-running racer.

Following script is auto-generated by Speech to Text Technology:

this week on retro knots to my audio caught it that the the uh hello everybody and welcome to another episode of retro I am your host for this week Bob Mackie in today's episode is all about the Mario Kart series very exciting and who else is here with me today before I continue hi I'm Jeremy ok that's all I'll say for the rest of the pie Caleb is my bus is coming up like a blue shell for my show yes in today's episode is all about Mario Kart it's another one of our famous HD remakes of a previous episode I was just the bathroom do some serious research on my phone the best place to fund research and the last episode was mm April ten two thousand and eight Summer nine years out from the So yeah wow so that was that was Mario Kart wheel was tied in with we not the greatest sided with Mario Kart eight for switch yeah oh wait that's coming out in April I will launch alongside Amy will have its energy we need to be successful at the time of his recording played a little bit of it so I got thoughts awesome Awesome us before I begin I was like to ask people on the show when did you first encounter the subject hands on into this because Mario Kart Wii because we talk about your experience of Mario Kart when you discovered it when he fell out of love with it are back into love with that journey how about you Mr. Mario Kart experience I mean I discovered it with the Super NES version I rented it and that one stuck in my mind because it was one of the few games my brother actually wanted to play oh like we had gone in together and bought in any s together in nineteen eighty eight and then he never really played it he played a couple of sports games like the land here now for the original any of it and then he just kind of lost interest so became my Annie s that he paid half of his nice of them and then I went ahead and got a super eighty s A few years later and he had very little interest but when Mario Kart came out and with the rewrite we rented it he was really really was more into it I was actually I didn't really get into Mario Kart that much myself into marker sixty four which I realize in hindsight is not that good game but that's not the worse you know it's not back in nineteen ninety seven I played the hell out of the game too I like mastered every circuit every track every difficulty level I did the reverse tracks I was working on a student newspaper that point in working some very long nights and that was an essential release valve for us women we would play he had had Mario Kart Mario Kart will outlast newspapers I think I mean yeah my my first real slip from Jeremy I didn't play the Super eighty s when Aunt much for the first came out I I wasn't that into it also went one for us played against my mommy made her motions because it was when she realized she played the hell out of eight games but when she saw even the protests in the third dimension of Super Mario Kart she got sick as well as games for me later our media so I didn't really play all that much but so then cut used Nintendo sixty four won the first the verses to my last day I am waiting and waiting for anything to play that ensued from our sixty four pilings were a brace and then finally by a Kart sixty four Mario Kart sixty four comes out and it was the first game we can really play four player in all my friends play for play and we played to death we were in to the racing at first but then really got into battle like the love that I think it kind of set our brains it kind of programmed our brains for the four player split screen we would then be doing a few months later all the time it will and so yeah Mario Kart sixty four is my first real big love affair with the series and kind just continue from there on and off the ups and downs I think it's a porno for that in sixty four game I think why we all love it so much is that it was the game of that month or maybe two month period so many millions of starving man could appreciate and as it turns out we'll get to it soon as for me I kind of fellow with the from the beginning I tinker with zero my friend had it but I thought it was too basic in when Margaret marker came out like this is what you needed him plus I love the Nintendo characters I love how this series kind of gave more personally than explore them a little more than Mario games before this and just just kind of exploring that fake three D world was really interesting to me as a kid like outweigh the battle mode alone not because I was lonely because I like driving around seeing all the sprites turn around as a move like how did they do this like just trying to figure out how the pull that trick off in just being in the clinic with three D world was what was really killing me about the first game but then um from sixty four I was all but the racing I think I've purchased and loved every one to appoint some of them aren't so great we'll talk about those but let's get into some background info first on a lot of this comes from the nineteen ninety two Super marker interview up from the site's Malay sians them and glitter Barry are doing God's work basically they're taking all of these ancient magazine interviews translating that people have patrons if you enjoy our research on the show a lot of it comes from this so please look into giving to these folks because they do a lot of work and you find out things you never knew before about people in the games that work on and especially going back to this auntie wanna ask I really get a feeling that he imposed a total ball Buster I don't know why I never picked up on that before but he's just like Oh yeah we we all went out go carting I don't really think we need to spend that money to make this game you dislike no fun you must make the games yeah I think the talk around that in the seated nicely like me and not always up in the tea table yeah I think it really is a new mother showed up and say this is all shit and start over yeah I know actually the Okay so I also use the water asks about Mari Carr we for this a lot in Zhong that's where that opened up and that he'll conversation comes from It's like me it'll come in the last minute demand you add something has to basically redo everything were just like make room for a clean everything up just two just to fit this one idea that maybe you don't want in the game but he does so yeah like video gaming stem gun he like all this is nice but don't you think you could do a little differently this way and maybe change it up a little bit and then I got everything out to be different this is not the Gordon Ramsay develop that's probably bought in its who would that be she's on diet let's move on yes sir I'm here for this game came into being able if this game came into being because Nintendo had made F Zero but they wanted to make something less intense than the standard F one style racing Formula One which it took me until maybe I was thirty two relays F Zero was abbreviation for Formula Zero yeah they never just that one of those things where like oh Dragon's lair dragon Slayer oh my god I did amazing in our in our American defense like F one is not a popular it's not a thing here is that we like NASCAR drag races if we like Japan does make a lot of fun games for Ray and what is very popular in Japan and Europe based fantasies at the time battles based on the fundraising that's with Ray but I think he really listens interview if I leave well finally clicked for me was Why is there something into fancy cars that bring back a zero zero zero and this will be like there was not with a one zero was practise for supermarket attack them of people like you make more zeros like I did leave feeling emo to Italy's things like no LOVE that was practicing and jamming like you we gave you the album it was much better yeah exactly in fairness to fans of Zero has evolved into something very different than Mario Kart Mario Kart was very sort of methodical its country's residents zero you know it really focused on the speed and precision and it said it is a different reading experience than Mario Kart so there is justification for people saying like I would like some are there please i hate my life and want to be punished please put a zero was just a very intense game with very intense music and things are always exploding and you're always like coming off pit some things like that I think it just is a lot scheme tacked them on the writing to standards intended ended transform into something else but I also think people love most about it is not from what Nintendo game especially with the axe GX thought this is finally here things like that Sega Racing Nintendo game and the Nintendo doesn't have much fondness for they don't end they really wanted to make the racing game that was more of a carefree laid back racing game because they want to be approachable their Nintendo they've always been Nintendo and their overall goal was to make a two player racing game because of her was not too player and they said We work on the single player element first because if you make a single player game that's good you're second player game will be better don't start with working two part name start with the initial like fundamentals which are which is why our car no matter how you played it's always a split screen game you can either see I think the rearview mirror mode or the map depending on what you think you could select or something like that but yet always a split screen game feels it's worth noticing noting that at zero could not have been a two player game Mario karts cartridge the Mario Kart Kart has a special like the DSP chips rate which enables it to do the split screen like functionally know there was an amazing tech demo for the moat seven feature of the Super NES hardware but that was the extent of what you could do with the base level hardware so in order to to enable two person raising they had to add extra technology to the system I believe that ship assist with like three D processing are like three equations to keep things in a to keep things consistent visually when they're trying to fake three D so other a few changes and what they came up with to the original Mario Kart battle mode once took place in large obstacle for your readers with new items instead you just sort of shot this kind of machine gun at your opponents and that's how you score points but it actually made people sick because there is there is nothing to like there is no like landmarks and I guess without any landmarks driving around in a flat map is kind of makes you queasy so I added more design stages and that the balloon idea that would stick with the with the paddle boat for the rest of the series ends a drifting once worked how it would work in future games where you kind of counter steer into the drip this is a very complex it's not a complex in the pull of a complex thing to describe people have you ever taught someone how to power drift in Mario Kart you can't find the words like OK now jump into it now turn the other way no release it just it's a hard thing to put into words but once you're in the bottom part of top voice Yes sir Yes so many players cannot pull off that kind of drifting that would be later game so they made it simpler there was no power boost you just hit Eleanor to jump and then you kind of just hold onto the plane as you turn sharply so we don't have the infamous in the best part of my card in my opinion the amazing drifting where you drive perfectly and you come out of the trip with a power boost to do that with every turn possible that was not in the first game the hell you just make the whole way oh no no ok speaking with them that it's it's it's not just saying very cut and sew love even from the very beginning of the quality of the new pickup is dependent on your rank this would be way more obvious in future games but I went to the Mario Kart wiki wiki I'm sorry it's the Mario Kart wiki and for every game have a literally a table of the probability of items will get the penny what place are in and I think what character you are so even from this and it will come from Japanese guide Japanese guys got into this nitty gritty of detail but even from this came on words you had that sort of bomb your last place you probably are going to get a star or something that will help you increase your speed to be not a green shell so best item you'd get would be as good as the best items you get later yeah the item creep would come in later like like people but the thing turns into a bowl of those basically are the golden mushroom those were the super powered items some but apparently this game had a very loose experimental development there was no master design doc is basically just a lot of meetings a lot of just chattering a lot of experimentation so it was kind of developed in a different way than how Nintendo normally does things but it turned out very well for them obviously because the first game is still a really good game and I think it's important to point out and I think are meager European fans like it matters for saying this but my heart is the most popular and most relevant racing game ever period relevant yes oh yes take that Forks are for the hairy say I we're looking at just the parts I mean I'm not saying if you sell more you're a better game it's not the Worthington skill or anything like that but it's looking at the sales of our cart over time and they're moving tens of millions of units for every game and every racing series dies Mark Karr has been alive for over twenty years even buyouts popular enough that they're just giving us a game that is like five years old three years old four years old yes but with a new hat rate and as a bell now Isabel is the LCD was so in length were in the second there there are some new there's new stages including stuffed horse with you but yet keep it lively for the kids I am sure sales probably grant a resume no no no answer is no game the way and they've been talking about six For while sick for awhile but in the meanwhile forts are trying to aid its lunch and then Need for Speed still keeps in line but Sally's to be Then they that was the annual eyes yeah it's hard to think of a bigger one of them are like maybe ten years ago burnout seem poised to be the next big racing but then it died it was a ridge racer yeah for sure definitely and now it's just a joke from a press conference oh I'm sorry but that's when you say retrace are you really think of you know in talking about why they don't have things fall retreat yes they make a project car yes so I want to talk about sort of the There are many directors many creative forces behind Mario karts but the sort of mean guy is to take eco know I think we mentioned him in a previous episode I said he was he seems like one of the more unsung Nintendo folks I just think this gives many interviews they don't push him out on the stage as much as they do with it as a cousin Mia moto all now please do like that then he went on to make even belly and tell God I came to the piano is the eighth but was he was shocking to see at this week's presentation Koizumi on stage being you know the big present of stuff I don't think I'd ever seen that before it felt like at the switch from back in January that it was them like trying out people could you be the next while will you be the next guy who owes Nintendo or X and and I mean I'm not saying I could do a better job the Golden to know I unseen quite as ready to I know I'm not trying to be mean I interview with him over video chat for back in twenty thirteen And he was much more personable and stays in January that he was a fine of two thousand he was a good interview but just in I didn't see him and things like this guy's going to be presenting the next attend as they interviewed him in person or thing can be like twenty eleven at GC and I thought it was pretty amiable struck me as being like a more a looser more informal than to know firsthand that is just filling in for the water those are big shoes to fill its hard ask anyone to do that so I mean he's he's trying hard I hope he achieves that role being the sort of the friendly Japanese guy who's also the developer who greets you on you know on this direction is very amiable and I think that's also because the new the new older boss while he doesn't wanna be that I'm a business yes I hate you guys do this I don't want to host these things yes he is the most businessmen looking business and I have ever seen in my life was like he was pressed into more like plot that the world the suitcase back today yes does so he's the longtime producer Margaret series has been a key figure since the very beginning he directed the first game with his former drinking partner she said Ya Mom who is the director of Zelda two and Cano has lots of great credit for Mario Kart he played major roles in the development of Mario to USA Mario three Mario World she's island and he directed his mansion which is the reason why he was not as on the Double dash development as he would have been so yet he's like sort of all over the place in terms of what has worked on not all over the place in a bad way but he's done almost everything for Nintendo worked on some of the most legendary games across all sorts of genres so he's a pretty talented guy Renaissance yes and he is still the producer I don't see a lot of interviews with him but som it's important that he is sort of the the driving force if you will have my heart i apologise to just do that I didn't stick the the the the The The The The The The The The The The The The The so the first game in the series is super Mario Kart I believe it is the only team with Super as the first word which says a lot about all the other game yes it's always my card something for the game so this game came out in August of ninety two Japan in September of ninety two in us the localization here and I said before the directors for the Cano and the she so yummy and I feel like more than anything the scheme establishes a sort of anything goes mentality for the mushroom Kingdom where it's like villains and heroes are just having fun there's no there's no nothing has been kidnapped or something at stake it just lets get together and have fun cats and dogs living together yeah I mean there's nothing you're trying to win a trophy it's just like Let's have fun with these characters and champagne I guess oh yeah and it only in Japan Japan where Princess Peach hugs its wins Super slide which is really funny actually you know going back we set about this being the only one with super in the title I always read it as like Super Mario Brothers Super Mario Kart I guess it's actually like this is Mario Kart on Superman and I now make sense yeah okay I still I like it when I only think of it is there's the Super Mario series in the Mario series I still love it that core Mario platform are still are called Super Mario something new but still news yes it's just that it's just an extra big in front of the more superlatives why not thus means that I I kind of like that it just became a well meaning convention used to be connected to the consulate the drop that but six years ago it used to be just whatever the name of the consul was then attached to it except for Gamecube it's it that's double the monster they did for that so this game plays out a little differently from the games that follow their four cups with five tracks each and all the races or five laps instead of three and you have lives in this game so if you get lower than fourth place whose life is worth explaining what a cup is in this shot is a um a grouping of track so there is the the mushroom flower store and special cups and each of those contain five races in future games it would be the cuts we have four races in them but things are little different here and support in other tracks are very short but there's more laughs because with everything happening in the many players racing all the stuff that's you know going on inside the game they have to make the actual status more than they were up zero well actually yeah I was in say there's like an actual finite limitations for how much space can be displayed in a moat seven Write Like I think it's like four by five screens worth of you if you zoom out and look at it from an overhead yet but the tracks are still pretty complex I think they will live it with a track that there's more going on in them then sub zero six of the zero f zero because there's anything the tracks there's different kinds of terrain like last year I think it was just roadways and you know some of them are broke and some of them are crumbling but there were any way to the same stuff but yeah they're they're they're like little places where it's kind of bumpy in you had like hazard zones will drain your energy when driving inside the damn house yeah I really didn't have the very distressed discreet shortcuts the way Mario yet Muslim you with a feather on it to the SEC so as I said earlier in this podcast I feel like this at a lot of character to the Mario Kart cast in each race are as unique animation as the turnaround some of them are very interesting I think mortgages opens his mouth but Prince of Peace means that you I think the Congress's arms or six at his tongue They all that unique things happening in the electrodes what is told in the right is really opens his mouth I don't know that I don't know like I've always liked toad most in these games wiv it became a terrible voice Yes like to give this game doesn't have one but was so also to add to their personality they all have their own themes when they win and they're very they're very cute very character defining the cool one is very pokey the bows are one is just a lot of orchestra hits in the peach one is very gentle I mean I love those little touches where they have you turn around emissions unique winning animations for when they win the Cup they'll do something different with the champagne bottle and some also the little songs they play when they win it's just a very very nice touch as little personalities characters were kind of one dimensional even at this point is the champion Belle things that are not like F one thing probably yeah I mean I guess I feel like I've seen pictures of you to win NASCAR that also pop open champagne bottle but I think it's more of an F one champion appears the pop open a book but wasn't as Miller High Life Miller High Life so this was the first like de clawing of vows or two not literally of course pray that this was for sleep per day were whatever like I'll stop kidnapping her and trying to kill you was his race and have fun together no it's it's almost more like a Saturday morning cartoons or ability lake and bows and I will prove my supp your security by racing you and if he knew in that the racetrack I suppose he did Bill racetracks covered in lava yeah that's true love right angles finally he gets to appear in a Mario game for more than four seconds it's the second game playable character and instill I mean USA does count but they didn't make the game and thinking Oh yeah actually seen the entire time she just got added after the fact that it is also something this is an important game to Luigi history because so you never been drunk he was Mario clone in Mario one and two for Japan and three and in gameplay though not in the end screen for Super Mario World the BB n scream his run differently the Mario body but other than to always meet him in game a look at the same as Mario and that changed with Super Mario Kart I have for you oh oh you're you're you're off he's a very this is a very obscure game but in the game and yes Open Tournament Golf easier as the taller cared about one year before but you're right this is the first time I think that a moving spite of Luigi is different than Mari I don't know if that's the least remove three screeners that I don't know guys I do know that was the first game and set up Luigi and easy as the one true pairing oh you're right he isn't thinking your daddy's so it's one even knew one of the two maybe even more significant about this game is that it re unify as Mario and donkey Kong high rate of the time how those split with Mario Brothers and donkey Kong three and saw kung junior year this is before you know the whole rare facelift for donkey Kong this is actually the first thing donkey Kong had done new aside from showing up in ending the Tetris or something and since talking Kong three which was a nineteen eighty three game that's right it is the area they have had our tea pour almost a decade what an odd choice I guess it just another another who were there it's um I didn't have that done wart or something but I guess or two to tango or something or whatever to get the guy's name yet alien to take it as the cab well that's pretty awesome when its world that's outside of its outside the ABC approach it's not a savory bites but no it's like it's a nod back to Mario's origins and you know kind of pulls everything together since junior high I think he appeared he is made very sporadic appearances since the K Mart like ten is us for sixty four as last time economically he became the donkey Kong and donkey Kong Country I don't respect what I don't want to believe this but so rarely it up and I think it is not gets baked into his bed they're both around eight after ninety four so I'm sorry that was good for you leave your complaints the comments were going to move on talking about Mario sixty four Super Mario Kart everyone is ashamed to be in this room so all of this this game establishes the basic mark our weapons we have the green shell which fire in front of your car and it just goes in straight line the red shell is sort of the heat seeking shell of an appeal of course which you lay behind your car and people sleep on it that the star man which makes you visible obviously the mushroom which gives you a boost of power the ghosts which I believe I'm not sure if it steals items at this point is makes you impervious to being hits I think I think so and then lightning which shrinks everyone on the course you can run them over is the most annoying weapon as always any Mario Kart and the feather of course which is used very sparingly used to jump over projectiles can sense them coming towards you but you really just uses to get awesome very good shortcuts and a few stages so like the ghosts the state is usually they're the ones use the feather and to access the shortcuts on which is the circuits are not really a thing in Mario Kart after this as emphasized as they were in this version I think so each character in this game which is also exclusive to this game each character's rival always be up in their grill during single player mode and each of these rivals has their own unique attack that is not in the pickup on the course so Pete uses poison mushrooms fireballs in the track stock Kong's banana peels on the market will be two guys they use the star man but these are not as the pickup they can just use them at will to that how it works is Yeah wow I never realized that I would be like with this fireball that's why when you play the character likewise bows are always like attacking me it's because every kid has their own assigned rival and that is who is always second place if you're always first place so somebody is always in your grill I have noticed that in the Mario Kart game yeah like that that there tends to be a character who is always on you know your site characters ask the entire time I didn't know about like the fireballs and bananas instead unlike the poison mushroom think those are the only three You who is peaches I hope I don't have all the right was written down it might be like Luigi or something I don't know the character interplay cuz I didn't know about the poison much they'd all seen that they don't always make sense it's like I will be two ways you she have a problem with the sun but yeah that's only enough room for one green guy this world but I think the AI would get better so that they would have more balanced approach to what every character was doing but I think they really just wanted to focus on the rival character as the thing you're fighting against this rubber band a I sort of idea and point to point out this game takes place in Super Mario World which is a cool choice you
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Retronauts Episode 101: Mario Kart