Beautiful Game: A Love Letter to “Mario Kart Wii”

1. Bikes

the outside drifting Shooting Star is shown on the left; the inside-drifting Flame Runner is on the right.

2. Mindgames

In all major esports, types of mindgames layer additional depth atop mechanical skill. The rock-paper-scissors of block, attack, and grab facilitate the punishes and reads of fighting games; pro Overwatch main tanks master the art of baiting the opposing Reinhardt into wasting Earthshatter. Mindgames are such an interesting idea in competitive games because they seem as random as rock-paper-scissors at first glance, but good players will nonetheless win them more reliably than bad ones through a mastery of their opponent’s habits.

3. CTGP Revolution, Wiimmfi, and Slippi

As many of you are likely aware, the outbreak of COVID-19 posed a new challenge to competitive Smash. The scene exists almost entirely through real-life tournaments, i.e. large public social gatherings. After stay-at-home orders were rolled out, what were Melee players to do? Existing netplay apps were a temporary solution — and what they did for online play previously — but everyone knew that it just wasn’t the same. After all, the netcode used by netplay apps at this point was the same one used by internet friends to play on the same Mario Party board. Surely tournaments with pot bonuses on the line deserve better, right? On June 22nd of this year, this issue was solved by an update to Project Slippi, build of Dolphin already popular for streamlining the netplay process. With the June update, Slippi was given many quality-of-life updates, most notably the addition of “rollback” netcode, which was a game-changer. For the first time. online Melee didn’t feel like the characters were fighting underwater or knee-deep in honey. Essentially, rollback netcode feels less laggy and frustrating because it uses a different methodology for handling lag spikes and player inputs. As for its success, any Melee pro’s twitter profile will do the talking, with regular highlights and updates from their adventures on the Slippi matchmaker.

A sample of bans from the Wiimmfi webpage.

4. Conclusion

I think a lot of people had that one game from elementary and/or middle school that they sunk an obscene amount of time into. You have the free time of a grade-schooler and that childish unwillingness to try new things — what else are you supposed to do? My “one game” ended up being Mario Kart Wii, which was kind of unusual. More popular choices like Minecraft at least got a constant stream of updates from fans and the developers alike, but MKW didn’t have that luxury.

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Nick Speranza

Nick Speranza

best gamer/writer/auxiliary percussionist in the Delaware River Valley