Mario Kart DS

Since its inception in the early 1990’s, the Mario Kart franchise has been one of Nintendo’s most popular second-tier intellectual properties. All related titles have been successes for the company, and all are considered robust and entertaining. In the latest entry, Mario Kart DS, Nintendo capitalizes on the successes of both the previous Mario Kart titles as well as the surging popularity of its Nintendo DS console and its online multiplayer component.


For many prospective players, the notion of online multiplayer Mario Kart was enough to sell them on the title. Many, however, were reticent to purchase the relatively new Nintendo DS console to play the game. To help the transition, this title contains legacy tracks from all four previous versions of the game. Some of the levels, particularly those from the Nintendo Game Cube version, could not be directly ported. The Nintendo DS does not have the technical specifications to run the tracks from the Game Cube version. The tracks were stripped of some texturing and remodeled for use on the smaller, lighter Nintendo DS. This extra effort gives the player a feeling of nostalgia and connection to the game. As we have previously explored, these feelings can be powerful motivators in a potential player’s decision to purchase or play a game.


The game does not take much from the Nintendo DS’ signature second screen. It is used simply as a map. Even so, the game utilizes many new features which increase both the playability and marketability of the game. The inclusion of WiFi multiplayer adds enormous depth to the game, allowing players to pit themselves against other people from all over the world. The ability to make customized avatar insignia which adorn not only your go kart, but serve as an identifier for your racer in WiFi mode, allows customization and enhances ownership.

This game is considered by many players to be the “definitive” Mario Kart title. Yet-to-be-revealed Wii versions may include the additional functionality of the Wii remote. This game demonstrates that with careful attention to historical successes and integration of new technology, features, and content, even an aging franchise can remain fresh, innovative, and bring successful market performance

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