Let's raceThe economy is crap! So, naturally, the most important thing to the average consumer is whether they should spend their limited income on an arcade game from the Obama years. Gogglebob.com is here to help! Mario Kart Arcade GP DX is always just an arcade away (use Google maps! I’m sure you’ll find one in your state!), and in most places, it will only cost you a buck or two to play. But, since Nintendo-Namco has decided to not release a home version in the ten years since its arcade release, you may be unfamiliar with the intricacies of Mario Kart Arcade GP DX. So let’s take a look at whether or not MKAGPDX has the proper amount of bang for your buck.

The Good: It feels really cool

Away we goLike many arcade racing games, Mario Kart Arcade GP DX is not controlled by a paddle or analogue stick, but a “pilot” configuration that includes a steering wheel and brake/accelerator pedals. You can even adjust the height of the seat for maximum comfort (or if you are too short to reach the pedals, Debbie). And once things get going with this configuration, Mario Kart feels like it has never felt before. Mario Kart as a franchise has always been tied to a controller, and even the Wii’s attempt to add “wiimote steering” didn’t do much but put another barrier between you and the finish line. But a whole cockpit for kart racing? That is an experience. With graphics, sounds, and some manner of rumbling all working together, leaning into a 3-stage drift feels like it has actual gravity for the first time. There is force in MKAGPDX, and even if you are a silly monkey tossing turtle shells, it feels like real go-karting around a track (that may or may not be attached to a monster’s airship). This even makes item usage feel new, as you are no longer simply leaning on a Y button to toss a banana peel, you now must take a hand off the wheel and actively smack that item button to topple your opponents. Combine this all with the downright satisfying jumping/drifting mechanics based on temporarily tapping the foot pedals, and MKAGPDX really is something that cannot be replicated at home (or at least a home without hundreds of dollars’ worth of peripherals). Mario Kart Arcade GP DX is worth one play if only because it is a wholly unique experience in a franchise that is (somehow) thirty years old.

The Bad: Turn that Announcer Off

This sucksWe are spoiled by the luxury of modern gaming. In the comfort of your own home, if you do not enjoy a particular part of a game, you can often turn it off. Not every game allows you to skip the worst parts, but we are at least at a point where you can hook up your Switch to a 72” screen to assist your failing vision, and then mute the whole thing because you would rather listen to Cyndi Lauper (girls really do just want to have fun). You have no such convenience in the arcade, though, so not only are you going to listen to the cabinet in front of you, but also the cross-noise of a Halo shoot ‘em up and some manner of trading card-dispensing Minecraft beat ‘em up. And bad news: while Mario Kart Arcade GP DX has the typical Mario Kart music and sound effects the franchise is known for, it also contains the world’s worst announcer. This endless narrator not only has a bizarre cadence thanks to its noun-swap system (“The lead has been taken by… … …. -Rosalina!-“), he is also usually wrong. Nothing more annoying than this nitwit bursting into the continual conversation of turtle shells by saying something like “—Wario— pulls ahead” when you’ve already blasted Wario into next week by the time he has finished his sentence. Catch up or shut-up, announcer! Or at least add a button to make him shut-up.

The Good: The Items are Rad

Love that plantHere is your back-of-the-box bullet point for a game with no box: there are 100 available items in Mario Kart Arcade GP DX. And, while we arrive at that number with as many caveats as there have been baby marios (banana, triple bananas, and “banana x 2” all qualify as different items in that count), MKAGPDX indisputably still holds the title of “most items in a Mario game”. And, while you only receive access to a meager three items per race, those three items are all you need. “Throw Forward Items” start with turtle shells and graduate to special projectiles like tubs and tornados, and even include “melee weapons” like hammers or a “sumo slap stick” (probably not as dirty as it sounds). “Place Behind Items” are banana peels of different shapes and sizes, so your opponents may be encumbered by oil slicks or mouse-based explosions. And the real winners are the “Special Items”, which effectively replace (or include) the Superstar, but comprise such items as the jumbo gummy, Piranha Plant, mystery egg, and Flaming Tender. No, we will not be explaining any of that in further detail.

What is important about these items is that they enhance the gameplay of Mario Kart in ways that should be repeated elsewhere in the franchise. Getting hit with a turtle shell serves its purpose, but a smack from a thunder cloud or tub offers something different to salvage from than a simple spin out. And the more esoteric items, like square tire or dizziness virus, serve the same basic functions as their ancestors that have been around since the SNES days, but all offer different routes to recovery. The physical difference between a banana peel and a porcupuffer may be elementary, but they impact a racer in different ways. And variety is always good!

Couple this all with how these items are indisputably Mario (or sometimes Namco) themed, and there is not a single dud in these rows of bob-ombs.

The Bad: The Characters all feel the same

I know that guyI am not going to claim to be a Mario Kart Arcade GP DX expert, but I did make an effort to play as every last racer available in my local arcade (noted because there are apparently additional racers available in Japan… where I decidedly am not). And the sad truth is that, despite any number of stars and stats displayed on the screen, all the characters feel essentially identical. This is not the end of the world, as blowing a buck only to find that Waluigi drives like a greased up thwomp would certainly leave a bad taste in a player’s mouth, but… what the heck, Nintendo and/or Namco? Peach should handle at least a modicum different from Bowser. Or maybe the items could be distributed differently? Mario gets more mushrooms, while Bowser Jr. gets more shells? Something? The characters are cosmetic more than anything else, and, considering these are some of the most iconic stars in gaming, that is a waste.

Oh, and Don-Chan is here, too. That dude should be more unique. Nobody wants to give goomba a kart, so please separate the dude shaped like a Pringles can.

The Good: Tracks are awesome rollercoasters

You may get wetThis is a Mario Kart title that understands the purpose of the exercise: every track is a rollercoaster of sights, sounds, and the occasional King Bob-omb. Splash Circuit and Tropical Coast could both be the best oceanfront resorts on the planet. Aerial Road and Sky Arena take the basic Mario concept of “sky world” and transforms that into an unforgettable journey. Peach Castle is a quick trip through Mario 64’s most prominent location. Kingdom Way is a Smash Bros-esque blending of old and new as you race through an approximation of Super Mario Bros. 1-1. And the “guest tracks” based on Taiko no Tatsujin do properly relay the feeling of racing through an open-air festival. It is unfortunate somebody forgot to add a Rainbow Road, but Bowser’s Castle is big and bad and an imposing challenge for any veterans. You cannot go wrong with any of the tracks in Mario Kart Arcade GP DX!

The Bad: Tracks are extremely limited

Mario Kart Cups have consistently included four distinct raceways. When selecting a cup in Mario Kart Arcade GP DX, it initially appears that there are four tracks for each of the five cups. But this is a ruse! There are only two tracks per cup, and each of those tracks have a minor detour included that distinguishes an A version from a B version. While these diversions are usually significant enough to warrant a transformation into a glider or mini-sub, they are barely noticeable in the minute-to-minute of kart racing. If A version wasn’t available to “check” immediately after clearing a B stage, you would literally never know something had changed. And, considering the tracks within a cup are already themed enough that they appear similar right from the starting line, the illusion of variety in Mario Kart Arcade GP DX evaporates faster than a golden mushroom crossing the finish line. The tracks that are there are great, but there are an inadequate five tracks stretched across twenty variations.

So is it worth it?

PIEI get it, Nintendo. Mario Kart Arcade GP DX is a great game that really is built for arcades: you can get the full experience inside of ten minutes and five dollars. We have not seen a home port because it would be over and beaten before you could download the latest update for your real Mario Kart game.

But is Mario Kart Arcade GP DX worth a play? Absolutely! Experience the thrill of Mario Kart Arcade in an arcade! And then go home, cherish the memory of hitting Luigi with a Scuttlebug, and call it a day.

SBC #41 Piranha Plant & Mario Kart Arcade GP DX

Piranha Plant in Super Smash Bros Ultimate


  • They any Good? Our only free DLC character is equipped for being a pest in a large group of smashers, but lousy in 1-on-1. There is nothing more fun than “playing a plant”, hanging out, and just biting and launching poison and spike balls all over the place. But our favorite fighter without legs has mobility issues, so when they are forced into a direct confrontation… things get a little dicey.
  • That final smash work? Petey Piranha dancing around with dual cages might be the most self-referential attack within Smash Bros. Was anyone nostalgic for this Brawl boss? In the present, I always have a hard time remembering that you do not directly control Petey, and often focus on the big guy as I ram Regular Plant off a cliff. Sorry!
  • The background work? After today’s article, you would think we would go with a Mario Kart-based stage. But no! Today’s character is Piranha Plant, so we are looking at Mushroom Kingdom, which is where Piranha Plant first appeared in Smash Bros. with the N64. The stage is surprisingly small, and the scale in the middle is ideal for weighing your smashers. Other than that, spend your time on this stage trying to remember how it was unlocked 25 years ago…
  • Classic Mode: New Bloom features all the newcomers for Ultimate. This beats some manner of “plant” Classic Mode that would only feature Ivysaur. They all appear in announcement order, so this Classic Mode also doubles as a time capsule of 2017-2018 (as if the character select screen didn’t already do that). The final boss is Rathalos, because he’s new, too.
  • Smash Trivia: Piranha Plant does not have eyes, so their teeth “flash” during round announcements. This is appropriate for a creature that is so bitey.
  • Ol' Chompy

  • Amiibo Corner: Those teeth look sharp, but they are blunt to the touch. Hooray? The pot has properly colored dirt in there, and the chip in the container adds character. All head, itty bitty stalk: it is underrated how this weirdly shaped creature balances perfectly.
  • Does Smash Bros Remember Today’s Game? We have Mario Kart stages, and Pac-Man’s first official team up with Mario was during his karting days before Smash. So Super Smash Bros. Ultimate remembers Mario Kart Arcade GP DX in spirit. And spirits are important in that franchise!

Piranha Plant in Mario Kart Arcade GP DX

  • Dance alongSystem: Arcade forever (until Nintendo makes a liar out of me).
  • Number of players: Apparently the maximum number of arcade cabinets that can be chained together is four.
  • Favorite Item: Rabbit Ear can be dropped on the track as a place-behind item. If you smack into that, you will be inflicted with kart hiccups, and will randomly jump at annoying intervals. This is just the kind of “item interruption” I love, and more Mario Kart games should force you into figuring out how to deal with arbitrary bouncing as a challenge.
  • Gotta go fast: 50cc racing is a guarantee, but other speed options are managed by the cabinet owner, so 100cc, 150cc, and Mirror Mode may be arbitrarily disabled. I was playing at an arcade that only had 50cc and Mirror Mode, and, boy howdy, it is a bit of a switch to immediately go from “leisurely pace” to “hyper death race”. Let a man try medium mode once in a while!
  • For the kiddies: Every racer has their photo taken at the start, and you can use fun frames to add a little bit of style. And then, when you hit another racer, they see your silly photograph with the announcement that they best watch out for that weirdo with the pirate frame. That said, it is difficult to take a proper picture during the opening beats of selecting your options, so don’t be surprised if “you” appear as a perfect photograph of 3/4s of your forehead.
  • Get out of the basement: Yes, all captures from this article are from my local arcade.
    Line 'em up
    Look, it's me

    I am so dedicated to this website that I may occasionally leave the comfort of my own home. The sacrifices I make for you, gentle reader!
  • Land of the Rising Fun: Apparently the Japanese versions include two more cups (so basically two new tracks), additional racers (Daisy! Lakitu!), and a “Banapassport Card” to save progress. Oddly, that last item’s loss is felt the most keenly, as playing a modern Mario Kart game where you are not constantly unlocking nonsense is no Mario Kart game at all.
  • Did you know? Pac-Man is a racer! And he appears to be in his Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures incarnation. Remember that show? Remember how that happened? And can never un-happen?
  • Would I play again: Maybe a round or two with friends. I feel I have gotten the full Mario Kart Arcade GP DX experience. But it is super fun to play! So I could be convinced to part with another buck to experience it again.

What’s next? The psychic monster master is going to beat you in a battle of brains. Please look forward to it!

I know that bomb
Bowser having his own industrial plant raises questions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.