Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Game Review

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe | Video Game Review

Title: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Company: Nintendo
Console: 
Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 
April 2017
How we got the game: 
We pre-ordered it

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Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a souped-up version of the original Mario Kart 8 that had been released for the Wii U in 2014. The Deluxe version included all of the original DLC that had been available for an extra cost for the Wii U version, along with the Battle Mode.

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At first, we were iffy on getting the game because while it would look nice on the Switch, we had the game for the Wii U. Then we found out it included all the DLC, which we never bought, so we decided to go for it. And we weren’t disappointed.

gameplay

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Like the previous Mario Kart games, the gameplay of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe includes the player controlling his/her/their character of choice while driving around recklessly on extremely dangerous tracks with items that make said dangerous tracks even more dangerous. It’s tons of fun and so satisfying to speed by or pelt your opponents in order to climb the ranks!

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You can play using the Joy-Con as one controller (or the pro-controller) or you can play using one Joy-Con on its side like a steering wheel using the tilt motion controls. I prefer the motion controls while Kris prefers to move using the regular controls. In addition to that, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe also has smart steering. You can turn that on and your kart or bike will keep you on the road. This is more for younger kids playing the game, but we had ours on for a while because we had no idea what it was or how to turn it off. It’s a cool feature, but I do enjoy the challenge and getting frustrated when I fall off a track.

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For the most part, we had the smart steering off since we’ve been around the tracks before. Surely we knew what we were doing, right? Of course, for the 200cc races, the smart steering helped a bit, but it’s so much fun to do without! The 200cc speed is insane!

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We definitely had the most fun doing the 200cc races, I think. I enjoyed having the smart steering on because it gave me a shot, but I liked the challenge of trying to steer and brake myself. Once we finished all the races, we tried our hand at the battle modes. The battle modes were never something we typically played, but we tried them out anyway.

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The battle modes were a lot of fun! Instead of competing in races, you’re going against each other in set rules, such as popping your opponents’ balloons, collecting the most coins, or seeing how many other racers you can blow up with Bob-ombs. Runaway Renagades was like Cops and Robbers, with one side being the police and the other “dodging the law,” and Shine Thief was a game of keepaway with a Shine Sprite from the Super Mario Sunshine game.

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All modes were a lot of fun and we enjoyed ourselves more than we thought. We actually ended up getting a little more competetive than we thought. Then again, that’s what Mario Kart does to you…

graphics-music

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With the game being on the Nintendo Switch, the graphics are wonderful. There hasn’t been an instance in playing Switch games where the graphics haven’t been well done, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has been no exception. Despite the fast pace the races move, the graphics are always smooth and it’s a delight to see the characters’ expressions so clearly.

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As stated earlier, we didn’t but the Wii U DLC for this game. So, a lot of the tracks are new for us. For example, we were amazed by Hyrule Circuit because the graphics were so well done. It was cool that there were rupees instead of coins and the layout of the track is awesome. Not to mention the music brings you right back to Hyrule.

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Hyrule Circuit is one of my favorite tracks! It was also awesome to play as Link — the poor guy deserves a break from adventuring to join a go-kart race! I greatly enjoyed the music for all the tracks, to be honest. The majority of them were fun and fast-paced to match the races.

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For most of the tracks, I find myself humming along with the music. I blink and before I know it, the race is over. Though sometimes, I’ll admit, that I get distracted by trying to sing along with the music and dancing so I end up steering my character right off the edge of the track or get behind a tree or something.

replay-value

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With all the different modes, race courses, characters and karts, and online capabilities, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has tons of replay value. Not only do Rachel and I have each other as gaming buddies, but the online mode allows us to play with friends around the world, and it’s pretty damn amazing.

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This is also a great game to get a group of friends together and compete against one another in real life. Ruining friendships is fun when you’re playing a Mario game. It’s also fun to play alone too. The challenge of going against the CPUs are fun as well as trying to train before you play against your friends.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe gets…
5 out of 5 lives.

Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments! 

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Character Spotlight: Diddy Kong

Rachel Mii Double JumpHappy Tuesday!

Another month has come and gone. With so much Switch and new game hype, I’ve decided to talk about an old school character.

 

Character Spotlight: Diddy Kong

Diddy Kong first appeared in Donkey Kong Country for Nintendo’s SNES in 1994. He’s known as Donkey Kong’s nephew (since he was originally a remake of DK’s son). Since then, he’s appeared in various Donkey Kong games, such as Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest (1995) in which he is the prominent character with his girlfriend, Dixie Kong. He starred in his own spin-off game, Diddy Kong Racing for the Nintendo 64 in 1997. From there, he’s been a character in various Mario games such as Mario Kart, various Mario sports games, and even in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

I always loved Diddy Kong. He’s a cute character and I loved that Donkey Kong had some sort of a counterpart. While he’s so similar to Donkey Kong, he has different features such as he’s weaker, but faster.

I think Diddy Kong was a great addition because it added some more variety to the characters. Mario had Luigi, Peach eventually had Daisy, Wario had Waluigi, Bowser had Bowser Jr., and so on. DK has Diddy Kong.

I’ll admit that I’ve never really played Diddy Kong. I always have my certain go-to characters, but I do remember playing Diddy Kong’s Racing when I was a kid. Maybe that’s a game I’ll have to pick up again soon.

What do you think of Diddy Kong? Let me know in the comments below!

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Batman and Harley Quinn

Double Jump Kris MiiThe last few days of May… Where is 2017 going?

I hope everyone has a lovely Memorial Day this week! Amid video games and comic books, please enjoy some time with your family and good friends.

 

This summer, there is a new direct-to-video animated Batman movie slated to be released.

I grew up watching the animated Batman series due to my uncle having taped the majority of the episodes on VHS tapes. When I wasn’t bothering said uncle to play Ocarina of Time or Super Mario RPG, I was probably wearing out the VHS tapes in order to watch Batman and Robin.

Aside from the fact that it’s Batman, this movie also brings Kevin Conroy and Loren Lester back as the voices of Batman and Nightwing, and I’m so excited! They’ve done some of the best work as their voices, in my opinion. Melissa Rauch, from The Big Bang Theory, will be Harley Quinn and, while she’s obviously not the original voice actress, I don’t think she sounds too bad as the character.

Seeing the animated series again not only brings about a wave of nostalgia, but it also reminds me of the Batman video games out there. Rachel has played Arkham Asylum, but our XBox decided to call it quits before I could get a chance to do so. I have also yet to play Batman: The Telltale Series that is chilling on my Steam account. I definitely need to check out that game soon!

Are you interested in the Batman movies? Who out there remembers VHS tapes?

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ARMS Global Test Punch

ARMS Global Testpunch

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Show of arms (sorry), who tried out the ARMS global test punch? In our area, our demo was scheduled for 8 PM last night and we played for the whole hour. When the game was first announced, I’ll admit I didn’t have any worries. It looked like a fun game, like Super Smash Brothers 5.0. I was excited for it to come out and now that I’ve tried it, even for just an hour, June 16th can’t come fast enough.

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I was a bit more skeptical of the game. I was curious as to where the idea came from, thinking it was a little silly and odd. Nevertheless, it looked interesting to try out, and the global test punch seemed to be the perfect way to do it. As soon as the game was ready to go in our timezone, Rachel and I fought with the joy-con straps, and quickly selected the first character that held our attention for more than a few seconds. For me, that was Ninjara.

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I chose Ribbon Girl mainly because I liked her hair. I enjoyed the three different arms that I could choose for her as well, my favorite being the spark punches (I forget what they’re actually called). We had fun when the screen showed us the “basics” of the game, but I’ll admit it overwhelmed me a bit. There’s a lot of controls to remember. You get the hang of it the more you play, but it’s a lot harder than it looks. Mostly I just flailed my arms around.

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That’s true, I had to duck away once or twice from Rachel’s flailing, haha! Ninjara was fun to use — I love ninja characters and his Chakram and Buff punches were lots of fun. After getting used to the controls, I utilized his vanishing act often. The controls themselves did take a bit used to, especially since I tended to back up my character while trying to rear back for a punch.

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It was just hard to remember which controls did what. During the test punch, we participated in various fights online. Sometimes Kris and I were teamed up and other times one one of us would go at a time. The lobby was smooth and you could see what everyone else was doing and who was going next. It was a great online system and I can see myself playing online a lot when the game releases. Aside from the fights, there was volleyball which I wasn’t too much of a fan of.

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The online lobby was great! It allowed you time for a breather in between matches, while also giving you the options to switch characters and do a few warm ups while waiting for your next round. I definitely preferred the fighting matches to the volleyball as well. As odd as it may sound, I ended up being much more coordinated in the chaotic fighting matches than I was trying to spike an explosive volleyball!

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I’m sure we’ll get better with the volleyball with practice. But it makes me wonder what other types of games there will be? I thought it was just fighting, but I doubt they added just volleyball and that’s it. Once our hour had ended, we spent the rest of the night playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe online with Mr. Panda. Overall, it was a great night!

Did you try ARMS? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!

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Flashback Friday: Sims 2

Double Jump Kris Mii It’s another Friday! Yay!

We’ve been going back and forth between playing our Switch Games and living out perfect lives on the Sims 4. This month I thought we’d go back to when Rachel and I had first gotten hooked onto the Sims series with Sims 2. 

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The Sims 2, first published in 2004, is the second installment of the Sims franchise published by EA Games and developed by Maxis. Like the original Sims, the Sims 2 is a real life simulator where the player controls the characters and aids them in living their lives day to day.

The game itself was released on a plethora of platforms, most notably the PC but also the Xbox, the Playstation 2, and Nintendo’s GameCube, Gameboy Advance, and DS. It was a commercial success, smashing records with its release, and sold over 13 million copies over all platforms by March 2012.

The Sims 2 allows the characters — the Sims — to age through life cycles, such as child, teen, and adult, with a 3D game engine. Players customize the Sims’ looks and personalities before throwing them into a world where they can get jobs, develop relationships, and grow old or die unfortunate premature deaths. The game allows the players to play the role of a god, choosing and manipulating every aspect of the Sims’ lives, or just letting the Sims choose their own fate however their personality dictates they would act.

Besides the base game, the Sims 2 had expansion packs to greatly expand the gameplay. For example, Pets included dogs and cats, Nightlife boasted clubs and a dating system, and Seasons brought weather to the Sims’ world. Expansions tended to bring new life forms for the Sims, such as PlantSims, Vampires, and Witches. Stuff Packs were also developed and sold separately, bringing new items to decorate the Sims’ world with.

Since then, the franchise has evolved to The Sims 3 and most recently The Sims 4, each bringing new content to the franchise. Despite initial glitches and problems with the games’ releases, the Sims franchise continues to be a success.

Have you ever played the Sims 2? What did you think of it?

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Gaming Is For Everyone

Rachel Mii Double JumpHappy Thursday!

Some people think of video games and also think of “lazy” in the same sentence. We know that’s not the case. Video games are actually a lot more important that most people seem to think.

 

I read recently on My Nintendo News that a 5th grader from Japan sent fan mail to Nintendo. Nintendo responded with a personal letter instead of just an automated letter or not responding at all.

This young boy is blind. In the letter, he stated that he would love to play video games just like everyone else, but can’t. So, he plays the Rhythm Heaven games because all he has to do is listen to them. He wrote to Nintendo willing them to make another Rhythm Heaven game so he could continue to play video games with his friends.

Nintendo responded, with a letter written in Braille, that they forwarded his letter to the developers because they want everyone to play and enjoy games.

I thought this was great. Being a special education teacher I know how important video games can be to children with disabilities.

There’s something about video games that helps kids (and adults) get through their day.

Kids with Autism are especially drawn to video games. There are a number of reasons why:

  • Some games have a predictable playthrough and are repetitive
  • There’s no face to face social interaction
  • They can control their environment
  • It’s an escape and stress reliever from the real world
  • They’re fun

My cousin has Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of Autism, and he used to memorize games like the back of his hand. He would remember how to unlock everything from every game he played. Of course, his father played a lot of video games so his love for gaming stemmed from that, regardless of his disability.

I used to babysit for a boy, also with Asperger’s, and whenever he was home, he was playing video games. It was actually kind of a problem, but that was his outlet.

A lot of my students, though they’re preschoolers, play games such as Mario. They mimic the coin and jumping sounds, they try to run fast like Mario, and one of my students held up a book and starting spinning it like a wheel saying, “Drive the controller!” She used to be non-verbal and her current speech is scattered, so I was surprised when she did that because, of course, my first thought was Mario Kart. And she started doing that shortly after Mario Kart 8 Deluxe came out.

With all that said, I think it was wonderful that Nintendo took the time to respond to that young boy. They probably have no idea what an impact their work has on such children.

And I think it’s awesome that everyone, no matter what, can get involved in gaming.

How does this make you feel? Do you know anyone with impairments who are drawn to video games? Let me know in the comments below!

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Legend of Zelda Ocarina Medley

Being fans of the Legend of Zelda franchise, when we were younger, we actually bought a couple of beautiful pendant ocarinas. We don’t play them very well, but it’s a fun souvenir that reminds us of one of our favorite video game series!

Recently we stumbled upon a new YouTube channel called STL Ocarina, a company that produces ocarinas and promotes them with beautiful music videos. Below is a Zelda Medley, with the musician being Lena Leclaire. We hope you enjoy the music and wonderful scenery as much as we did!

Have you been musically inspired by a video game series? What did you think of the video? Let us know in the comments!

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