Have you ever played Mario Kart? Diddy Kong Racing? If you’ve been gaming for a long time like myself, then there’s a strong likelihood that you have. Mario Kart is considered to be Nintendo’s dominate racer. Ever since the series was first introduced on the SNES, every console and handheld has received a brand new iteration. It’s a franchise that Nintendo and its fans strongly support.
Diddy Kong Racing on the other hand has only received two entries: one on the Nintendo 64 and an evolved remake a few years back on the Nintendo DS. An actual sequel had been in development for the GameCube known as Donkey Kong Racing but was cancelled after Rare was acquired by Microsoft. DKR was very well received and was widely considered a potential rival to Mario Kart. Its gameplay and style may have been similar in many ways to MK, but for the competitive gamer it was a much better experience.
Despite what any avid Nintendo fanboy may have you believe, Mario Kart–especially post Super Mario Kart–is hardly a competitive game. The problem is that the series tries to be fair by giving everyone who plays the opportunity to win. This is done by giving the players who have fallen behind the best items in the game, allowing them to miraculously at times come from last place and finish in first just because the game had pity on their poor playing skills. It may be fair to that individual, but what of the player leading the race who has been stuck with mere banana peels the entire race? It’s personally frustrating to be playing significantly well and maintaining that first place position only to lose it near the end simply because the player seven positions back just acquired star-after-star and blasted his way to the front from a streak of luck. It really takes the competitive edge away from the series.
Diddy Kong Racing was the very opposite. It didn’t rely on luck to win and wasn’t tailored to giving everyone that “Mario Kart opportunity”. You had to actually be skilled to win. There were no cheap items to incorporate and push you forward to victory. Whether you were in first place or last place, the items remained the same and it was left to the individual to strategically choose the proper item to select and when and how to use it. If you were a great player and the others racing with you were not, then it showed. You knew it and they knew it as well. No luck, no cheap items… just pure skill involved. A game where practice would surely lead to perfection.
So the next time you find yourself playing Mario Kart and feeling agitated because you just lost a race that you would surely have won, then think back on Diddy Kong Racing. A true racing experience with a true competitive nature where only the skilled player was destined to finish first.