Okay, this isn’t wrestling related, so it’s categorized appropriately.It\'s a me, Mario!

I picked up MarioKart for the Wii yesterday. I know about 8 other people that have a Wii, and I play fairly regularly with a couple of them. We sort of informally divided up buying games between us so that we would each buy something different. We don’t buy a lot, and except for a few cases (Super Mario Galaxy) we don’t buy the same things. I “signed up” to buy MarioKart.

A bit of trivia: the Target store where I bought it is the same one where Diablo Cody wrote her Oscar-winning original screenplay for the movie Juno. She sat at the second table from the counter in the Starbucks section of the store.

The game is fun and I spent way too much time on Sunday playing it. I started out just playing to unlock a couple of courses so that we’d have them to play this week, but I ended up getting hooked on the online multiplayer. After several hours of playing Mario, I started talking like Santino Morella. “Hey, that’s a nice a set a wheels Yoshi.”

I’m usually not one to go for the online option in a game because I’m not as good as the other people that play. I also don’t want to talk to people or have to schedule a time to play. Sounds kind of anti-social, but that’s just me.

Nintendo has been criticized for their late adoption of online play, but they really got it right with this one. After selecting the online option, they give you the choice of being matched up with people in your region (North America in my case), or worldwide. I tried the worldwide option and it matched me up with 11 other people that had a similar skill rating. There were a few from the US, one from Canada, a couple of “blokes” from the U.K, someone from Germany, and a guy from Japan that was either staying up way too late, or got up way too early. I wasn’t eager to take on anyone from Japan since the game came out there 2 or 3 weeks ago (I found out later that it came out in Europe at the same time) and they had more time to practice, but he didn’t stick around too long. His skill level was a lot higher and he probably got bumped up to another match.

One of the cool things was that at the start of the matchup it shows the globe like it does on the Weather Wii channel, and as each person came on their Mii would do a little dance on the globe where they were located.

Each person can vote on which track they want to race on (or pick “random”) and the computer decides which one we’ll play. Once the race starts, your names show up next to the characters on the screen and it’s everyone for themselves. I can proudly say that I represented the good old “U S and A” well. A couple of the races I came in near the bottom, but for most of them I was in the top three. Some guy (or Mii) named Dave from the U.K. was giving me some trouble but I got him back in the next few rounds.

At the end of each race, you can choose to either continue or quit. If you continue, you’ll most likely be matched up with the same crew you were just with, so that you can hold a grudge and carry it over to the next race. I haven’t tried the Friends race yet as I don’t know anyone that has it.

MarioKart gets a big thumbs up from me. It’s a lot of fun, the included steering wheel works really well, you easily can pick up and play, and I don’t have to talk to anybody 😉