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Why Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a Bucket List Game


I was not even going to buy Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the Nintendo Switch. No plans whatsoever.

I already had my fill of Nintendo kart goodness when I purchased Mario Kart 8, along with the two content packs, on the Wii U years ago. Fun was had with my spouse and playing solo through the games dozens of courses and cups. But with that said, I did not sink too much time into it. Life happens and new games are released.

Fast forward to the present with the release of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and my lack of excitement. Nothing really changed. I took a gamble, and I am here to say it was a gamble well made.


Mario Kart 8 is a kart racing game with single and multiplayer configurations. The game asks the players to choose a character, a customizable kart, and a race track to play on. The game, then, tasks the player with completing the race as close to first place as possible by avoiding items, dangers, other players, hazards, and without falling off the track. This has been the formula for Mario Kart for ages, and it is a fun one.


I have played all of the home console and handheld Mario Karts  up until this point. The very first game on the Super Nintendo in the 1990s was a blast to play with my brothers and it was my favorite iteration of the beloved series until Mario Kart DS released. I still cannot put my finger on it, but the DS version hit all of the right notes for me. I love the graphics, game play, course selection, and side content. It had everything I wanted in a Mario Kart game including online. I remember playing against random opponents and doing modestly well. It was a lot of fun times for me that I did not think were possible to replicate. Turns out, I was right.


I did not play much of Mario Kart Wii or Mario Kart 7. Those were games that fell victim to my college days in which there was not enough time for anything besides studies. But I was ready when Mario Kart 8 released. I was able to put in a bit of effort with part 8 on the Wii U along with my spouse, and I was blown away by the games presentation.

It had some of the best music and sound in any game I have ever seen. The inclusion of non-Mario, Nintendo characters such as Link and the Animal Crossing villagers also were a fun sight to see. But the game did not hook me like the DS version did, and I moved on from the karting affairs.

As the Deluxe version approached, I contemplated purchasing it: Who would I play it with? How much would I play it? Would I get bored with it?


Even running a Nintendo themed YouTube channel was not enough for me to consider purchasing a game I already owned and played. But then my spouse’s sister came along and watched me play a session of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and commented on wanting to play Mario Kart. I told her one was releasing in the matter of weeks.

And since I really do enjoy local multiplayer, I decided to snag Mario Kart when my funds allowed it. I had a copy of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe in my possession by the end of its launch month and people to play it with.


I am glad to say there was never a moment of regret in purchasing what I consider to be one of the greatest kart games of all time. In fact, I was excited as I watched videos of the new features added to the Deluxe version. I became so excited about the concept of Smart Steering, something new to this version of the game. It keeps players from falling off the track if turned on. The possibilities of this mechanic clicked in my head the moment I realized my spouse would have a much better time playing with me if she had Smart Steering available.


I immediately gathered my spouse to play cooperatively through the main Grand Prix mode: One Cup, four courses. I told her about Smart Steering, helped her turn it on, and proceeded to get beat by her race after race. I was happy for her and enjoyed myself at the same time. I think we had even more fun playing Deluxe than standard 8 thanks to my spouse being able to place above tenth in all of her races. I don’t think my spouse placed anything lower than third or fourth in any course in Deluxe thanks to her skills and Smart Steering.

It was a blast that validated my purchase on the spot. This one simple addition just made Mario Kart 8 Deluxe worth it for anyone that has a family member or friend that has varied skill levels from oneself but wanted to play Mario Kart at the same time. Now, two or more players of differing skill levels can play at the same time. It really is amazing.

I then had a Mario Kart game night with my spouse and her sister and all three of us had a blast. We did not want to stop playing. We ultimately did, but it did not stop my itch from growing. I had to play online mode.


Online play is smooth and fun and local co op is a blast to play. Every. Single. Time. It is a game I cannot stop thinking about playing by myself or with a friend or stranger. It is a game I am glad I did not avoid.

I was addicted the moment I began my first online game of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Really. I played a good hour or more a night for a good ten days straight. I was quickly teleported back to my college days of playing Mario Kart DS online deep into the night. It is good to see that Deluxe core kart mechanics, a tried and true formula of casual competitive fun, underlines every game mode and feature—online and offline.

Deluxe is so much fun, it is very easy to lose track of hours by saying “just one more race”.


I was not going to buy Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and I would have been a fool. Deluxe takes the ultimate Mario Kart game—one that was finely crafted with gorgeous graphics and a memorable soundtrack—and adds groundbreaking new features for the franchise such as Smart Steering and puts it on a console which features only serve to enhances the kart racing experience.

Whether you were on the fence about this game like I was or not, do not worry: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a Bucket List worthy game I highly recommend.

–Walapie Gamer

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