We live in an age of refinement when it comes to AAA video games, my friends. Nintendo titles are especially stringent when in comes to the stuff I'm about to hit on.
Remember when we used to spend entire rainy summer days inside, playing Mario Kart 64 and perfecting all those sweet, sweet game breaking glitches?
You know the kind I'm talking about, right? The one's where you'd start Frappe Snow Land by driving backwards to the bridge after the race begins, driving back over the bridge, hopping onto the snow while skipping the track and racing to the right in order to get Lakitu to drop you a whole lap ahead of your competitors?
If you know the glitch, you know exactly what I'm talking about.
Finding these glitches, or reading about them after spending hours searching for them from my connection provided by America Online, was part of what made Mario Kart so gosh darn wonderful.
Or, am I crazy?
Demanding Precision From Glitchers
These glitches weren't easy, friends. Some of them were, of course. The Frappe Snow Land one I described above, in particular, was rather simple to pull off once you see a friend do it.
The others? Landing the big jumps in Rainbow Road was tough. How about all the wall jumps in Wario Stadium? I spent so much time perfecting those imperfect racing opportunities that the songs from each course were stuck in my head for days, weeks and months.
Those jumps, they were actually hard. The Wario Stadium glitch required you to hit two separate jumps at exactly the right angle and exactly the right time in order for them to work. If you pulled it off, you could clear the whole race in 20 seconds. If you failed? You were the jerk at the starting line ramming into the wall randomly as your friends whizzed by you again and again.
Some of the best memories I have surrounding video games growing up come from hunting for glitches in titles like Mario Kart 64. It was an awesome way to waste time, and developing an understanding and mastery for a game in that way is something that I really haven't been able to replicate ever since.
Of course, pulling these off with friends always came with asking for permission. It was great to learn and be able to perform these glitches in order to win races, but we only did it when friends gave the okay. I can still remember neighborhood tournaments where the first rule set up before all races was "No Glitching!" Thems the brakes.
Welcome to the Walled Garden
I'm not suggesting I don't like the Mario Kart efforts of today. Pretty much since Double Dash, Nintendo has all but eliminated the game breaking glitches that used to make sick days during middle school so awesome. The Mario Karts we're playing now are, simply put, almost too pristine.
These are still really good, quality racing games with a tight focus on course memorization and item mastery. Being able to understand those two facets while learning how to drift can make anyone a wonderful Mario Kart racer.
However, the learning and experimentation pretty much stops there. Once you've figured out the best ways to use all the items, the proper method for hitting a corner while power sliding and know the courses fairly well, the discovery stops.
The glitches, and this is the weird part, are what gave Mario Kart 64 such long-lasting legs. We kept going back to the game after we heard some friend talk about a sweet new glitch that we hadn't tried yet. It was playground fodder, sort of the way Minecraft's element of discovery is chatted about by kids today.
That's the rub, isn't it? The pristine nature of games like Mario Kart 8 is a blessing and a curse.
We like our gaming experiences to arrive without a hitch, I'm not arguing against that. I just miss those rainy days I had playing old games, breaking them and having a blast.
Am I crazy?
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