Mario Kart Wii BoxThe game that created a genre just keeps getting better.

Mario Kart is the fast, furious cartoon racing game that spawned a whole new gaming genre– the kart racer.


Each new Nintendo machine, whether hand held or home console, gets its own version of Mario Kart. In 2007, it was Wii’s turn.

It’s a simple formula: vehicles + weapons + outrageous tracks = addictive fun. And it’s addictive fun for everyone, never more so than in Mario Kart Wii, and that was a very good thing considering a fair chunk of Wii’s audience were casual players.

There’s a difficulty level and a control scheme to suit all players. Turning the Wii remote on its side or snapping it into the included Wii wheel is a great way for beginners to learn the tracks, while plugging in a nunchuck provides seasoned players with that extra level of tightness in the control. There was also support for Gamecube controllers.

Knowing the tracks and knowing what each weapon and item does (and when to use them) is the key to becoming a decent Mario Kart player, and Mario Kart Wii’s wider than usual tracks made it fairly easy for casual players to jump in and be competitive.

Mario Kart Wii also featured one of Wii’s more robust online components. Playing against up to 11 other people from around the world was a great way to practice and learn not only the tracks and items, but also how other human opponents play the game.

You’d also earn or lose points based on your online performance, and it was kept reasonably fair by automatically pitting you up against players of a similar skill level.

You also got to see what country each of your opponents comes from via a spinning map of Earth.

It was a great touch, and you really got a buzz from knowing you’re out there representing Australia on an international stage. You could also go online with a friend via the two player spit screen option, but unfortunately, (and inexplicably) the second player only appeared as a guest, and didn’t accumulate points. Since the closure of the Nintendo Wi-Fi network in 2014, these online components are no longer functioning.

The real fun in Mario Kart Wii, however, came when you grabbed some friends and played together in the same room. Two or three people wass great, but four player is where the game truly shines- and modern televisions made 4-way split screen so much easier to cope with.

Mario Kart is the some of the best fun you can have on Wii, and no matter what your experience level or what kind of games you enjoy, you had to love Mario Kart Wii.

Did you love Mario Kart Wii, or does one of the previous games in the series own your heart? Leave a comment!


Baby Park in Mario Kart Double Dash!! is one of the truly great Mario Kart courses.

Not only did it defy tradition by racing over seven laps instead of the usual three, but somehow the incredibly basic design managed to encapsulate everything that was great about playing Mario Kart.

It was fun and fury in a blue and pink oval.

Baby Park’s inclusion in the latest Mario Kart 8 DLC is the second time the track has been remade since it’s ridiculously over the top debut in MK Double Dash!! for Gamecube.

The first was in 2005’s Mario Kart DS.


Someone should bring back the fog…

Although some of that game’s remakes (like N64 Choco Mountain) were just as much fun as the first time around, I thought Baby Park felt a little out of place in Mario Kart DS.

There was much less of the carnage that made the track so great on Gamecube, and it felt at odds with the small screen, small scale, and decidedly more “sensible” feel of Mario Kart DS in general.

So when it came time to visit Baby Park once more, this time on Wii U, I thought for sure there was going to be some big surprise that would bring back the crazy.

Much prettier, but missing the crazy...

Much prettier, but missing the crazy…

I knew just the fact that there was now twelve racers instead of the previous eight wasn’t going to be enough.

Perhaps some once-off throwbacks to Double Dash!!  that appear exclusively in Baby Park. Like the huge spiny shells or Yoshi eggs, or the big bananas that split into three smaller ones when hit.

But no. Instead we got the signature oval shaped track, only tilted, as an excuse to allow the use of anti-grav for the entire race.

Constantly running into opponents is unavoidable in Baby Park, but the variables that arise from colliding in anti-grav mode don’t do enough to increase the chaos that made the original Baby Park to unique and memorable.

This is how you improve on the original...

This is how you improve on the original…

Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful Nintendo are supporting the game with additional tracks, but any remakes should improve on the original experience, like GBA Mario Circuit and Wii Grumble Volcano do, not leave you remembering what once was.

Thanks to for the track pics.

What did you think of the latest version of Baby Park? Leave a comment!


mk8screenWell we all know by now that Baby Park, one of the first Mario Kart tracks to defy tradition when it appeared on Gamecube’s Double Dash!!, is being rebuilt again for Mario Kart 8.

After being graphically downgraded to appear in Mario Kart DS, the track looks great in HD, and while Mario Kart 8’s items won’t provide the kind of outrageous, close quarters chaos seen in Double Dash!!, I’m still excited to play on it again.

It’s good to see Nintendo unafraid to rework tracks a for a third outing, from memory this is the second time now. So it gives me great hope for a HD Coconut Mall featuring in Mario Kart 8.

You can follow me on twitter: @rustysell and Miiverse: zinger_AU 


Like most Nintendo enthusiasts, I think the Nintendo Direct presentations are the best thing ever.

Hearing information and news straight from the big wigs at the company is a real thrill, and Iwata has an uncanny way of making it seem as if he’s talking directly to you, something I don’t think any other company president does (or could even pull off).

And, like most Nintendo fans, I’m keen to analyse each new presentation and give my thoughts about what Nintendo shared with us.

Today’s is no different, so here I go.

Continue reading »


rosalinaamiiboRosalina’s meteoric rise to prominence in the Nintendo universe is unprecedented.

She’s become extremely popular with fans in a very short space of time, but there’s some people who think she’s hiding a monumental secret that explains why, despite being a newcomer, she’s very much entitled to her place among the Mushroom Kingdom aristocracy.

Watch these two videos to find out more, but first have a look at Rosalina’s achievements since we first met her in 2007:

  • Made her debut in the most critically acclaimed game of all time, and returned for the sequel a short time later
  • Was playable in the Mario Kart of the same generation as her debut appearance
  • Has a track named after her in Mario Kart 7, Rosalina’s Ice World
  • Appeared as a playable character in the Smash Bros. game one the generation after her debut
  • Her amiibo figure is one of the most sought after of all those available
  • She will appear in a console Mario Party title one generation after her debut, and she was playable in the handheld Mario Party Island Tour
  • Was a playable character in Mario Golf World Tour

But most astonishing of all, she appeared as a playable character in a main series Mario title just one generation after her debut, joining stalwarts like Luigi, Toad and Peach.

Being playable in a main series Mario game is an honour bestowed on only a favoured few, yet Rosalina has managed it with little to no resentment from long time Nintendo fans.

Now take a look at these incredible videos…

And part two…

I realise these videos are from a while ago, but still definitely worth watching and discussing.

Are you a Rosalina fan? What do you think the reason behind her incredible popularity is? Leave a comment!


Rusty_Shell_HOTPeople keep asking me if I am going to do a Get Good In No Time for Mario Kart 8.

Yes I am, it will have it up in February.

In the meantime, I thought I’d do a special I Like Mondays post showcasing some other cool Mario Kart 8 help related stuff.

Advice is not hard to come by, but content that’s well written, attitude free and easy to understand often is.

But I found some, so click on the links to access such content.

First it’s this cool piece from with some tips for what they deem the 7 toughest tracks. Some of it’s general, some of it’s specific, but it’s worth reading.

Next, it’s talking about character and kart combinations. It’s worth listening to a new point of view and different advice from players, and these guys have gone to a lot of effort here.

Then there’s this video from YouTube user GreenKokiri54 which showcases corner cutting and shortcuts. Ignore the jerks in the comments section, this video is definitely worth a watch.

Lastly, there’s this bunch of sensible tips from Among the advice found in this article, they suggest practicing online and looking at time trials mode. Wise counsel.

My own no nonsense guide to getting good in Mario Kart 8 will be up sometime in February.

You can follow me on twitter: @rustyshell or Miiverse: zinger_AU



As a console gamer I’ve always believed that the true strength of a system can be measured by looking at the line up of exclusive games it has to offer.

I judge consoles past and present on this criteria above anything else. What can this machine offer that no others can?

I first wrote about the state of Wii U’s exclusive line up in April 2014, so I thought I’d better take another look at the situation, eight months on.

No one can legitimately argue that the system isn’t worth owning like they could have at this time last year, and that’s thanks to this killer line up of exclusives.

I have highlighted the games I have played in orange.

Ones I haven’t played remain black, and for those I have included the verdict from Miiverse*, and what aggregate score the game has on

Also, at this stage I’m only looking at disc based retail games released in Australia.

Continue reading »


mk8postrMy game of the year for 2014 is Mario Kart 8.

It’s the best Mario Kart game ever in terms of the overall package, it’s an absolute blast to play, and it brought my friends and I together on so many occasions this year.

No other gaming experience comes close to MK8 for me in 2014.

I’m posting this with a hint of sarcasm, because although “game of the year” awards are really only ever based on opinion, I was surprised to see some major outlets overlook such universally acclaimed titles like Bayonetta 2, Mario Kart 8, and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U in their considerations for such awards.

You can follow me on Miiverse: zinger_AU and twitter: @rustyshell


luigiamiibo2Then watch the sales of the Luigi amiibo go through the roof.

A Luigi racing suit for my Mii isn’t gonna cut it, Nintendo.

I want a fully fledged death stare for my Mii while he’s wearing the Luigi racing suit. AND! I want it mapped to the horn button, so I can control the intimidation.

Then I’ll pay the fifteen (or more) bucks for one of your amiibos.

And on that topic, I’m thinking of innovative ways for the Big N to use their little toys. Any ideas?

You can follow me on twitter: @rustyshell or friend me on Miiverse: zinger_AU


marioamiiiboI don’t know why Nintendo doesn’t have one ready to launch alongside the figurines.

An  adventure game in the vein of Skylanders and Infinity would have made an awesome new IP, and given people a solid reason to buy the new figurines. If Skylanders, and to a lesser extent (seeing as they were the copycats) Disney Infinity hadn’t been the smash hits they are, amiibo wouldn’t even exist.

I get that Skylanders and Infinity figures can only be used in their respective games, and that amiibo’s point of difference is that they are useable across multiple titles, but I really think the amiibo concept would have been an easier sell if there was a dedicated, new title to enjoy. An easier sell to kids and parents most importantly, because that’s the way to get a slice of the (massive) Skylanders/Infinity pie.*

As the kid on that Old El Paso commercial says, why not have both?

Nintendo already know how to successfully bring their very different mascots together in a cohesive story set in an art-style neutral environment. They’ve done it in the Smash Bros. cut scenes. So there’s your characters and story. Model the gameplay and scale on LEGO City Undercover.

In fact, why not just leave development of the title in TT Fusion’s hands, considering what an outstanding job they did with Undercover. It’s one of Wii U’s best exclusives and I don’t care what anyone says, it’s one of this generation’s best games so far, full stop.

An amiibo stand alone title might come along some time in the future, and until then I won’t be forking out $15 or so bucks to own little bits of (nicely crafted) plastic that contribute little outside the obvious to games I already own or was going to buy anyway.

You can add follow me on twitter: @rustyshell and friend me on Miiverse: zinger_AU

*Nintendo, please take a piece of that pie and make me a new Wave Race game. And Battalion Wars 3.

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