Despite being an avid gamer since around 1980, I had never played the Mario Kart series. How that happened, I have no idea, since I am a sucker for any games that are considered to be top-notch. Mario Kart has a legion of fans from all over the world and is one of Nintendo’s franchise series. So after reading about the new Wii version, my interest was piqued. Since the Wii version was sold out, I splurged and got a Nintendo DS Lite along with Mario Kart DS. I had heard so many great things about Mario Kart DS that I couldn’t resist. Then I ordered the Wii version online. Forum member Aukevin did an excellent, in-depth take on Mario Kart Wii a while back, which you can find here. His article is a must-read for anyone interested in picking up MK Wii. It certainly helped me decide to take the plunge.

Mario Kart DS is considered by many fans to be the definitive version of Mario Kart, and I am certainly impressed after playing it for a couple of days. The controls are perfect, which is a nice surprise for a hand-held system like the DS. There are tons of game modes, tracks, characters and unlockables. It has been really easy to jump right in and have tons of fun. The game is getting progressively more difficult, which is great, so we’ll have to see how I fare when the going gets a little tougher. But MK DS is a great game, a terrific overall package and it plays like a dream. What else can you ask for?

Mario Kart Wii arrived yesterday and my 14 year old daughter Jess and I played it for a long time last night. The wheel accessory that comes with the game is fun, but it does have a learning curve. Jess was over-steering like crazy (she has never driven, obviously) and I struggled with it as well. We switched over to the classic controller and had a much easier time of it, able to win our fair share of races. The control is fine in this version as well, and the ability to automatically power slide came in really handy for Jess. We had a lot of fun racing against one another and then as teammates. After a while, we decided to jump online and play against others from around the world. Most players were from the U.S. but we did have a couple of folks from Japan to compete with. Being newbies to the game, we didn’t fare so well against the online competition. But we didn’t come in last place either, so I was okay with that, and very happy for Jess. We enjoyed MK for the Wii so much that I ran out and got a second classic controller for the Wii today so that we can both use one at the same time. I am really digging the Mario Kart series and wish I had jumped on the bandwagon a lot sooner. I missed out on some great gaming on the earlier Nintendo systems.