Mario Kart Wii

There is very little that is new about Mario Kart Wii. The game is a decent racer. It holds up very well to its predecessors. It has a few new bells and whistles– like the inclusion of motor bikes, more racers on the track, and new weapons. This is all that Nintendo really needed to do to sell the game to its core audience. Even so, there are a few good things that not only set this game apart from its forefathers, but help it push the video game a little further.

The Wii Wheel

The Wii Wheel is little more than a plastic housing for the Wii remote which allows the player to feel as if he or she is actually steering rather than just playing a game. This is certainly a clever draw for non-traditional gamers, however it isn’t really light years ahead of using the Wii remote alone. The Wii remote versus the standard analog joystick was a much larger leap.

For many players, though, this is their first taste of that particular control scheme. This is the first time they have played a driving simulator, let alone a video game at all, which uses controls which mirror realistic movement in this manner. The benefit of this, beyond added enjoyment by the player, is that the increased accessibility will widen the game’s audience. This pushes the video game further out of the fringes of society and into the mainstream with television, literature, and film.

It’s a-Mii!

Mii avatar integration is nothing new in Wii games. They’ve been a hallmark of the console’s unique interactivity. In this game, they appear as playable characters. While this is a novelty for anyone, traditional or casual gamer, it is made further interesting through its integration with Nintendo Wi-Fi connection. Players can see Mii characters of those they are playing with whether they be friends or other users connected randomly through the network. These same characters can also be used within the actual game as the avatar for each player, racing alongside the likes of Mario or Luigi. It is a novel approach to online gaming. It is uncommon to see characters made in the image of the player appear in online games, particularly when that isn’t the entire focus of the game, as in The Sims Online, or similar experiences.

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