Friday, March 20, 2009

Mario Kart – the End of an Era

Towards the end of working on Call of Duty 3 (mid-2006), some of us picked up Mario Kart for the Nintendo DS (by far, the best version of Mario Kart) and started playing it regularly after work. Over time, some racers have gone and others have joined. Now, almost 3 years later, the end of an era. Tonight we played our last games together.


From left to right:

Caleb Schneider (Draven)
James McCawley (Bluenote)
[front] Brian Joyal (Ped Xing)
[back] Bryan Pearson (ndlswntr)
Matt Kimberling (hardkode)
me (ar0)
[back] Austin Krauss (umgamr)
[front] Steve Crowe (white rice)
Brian Douglas (legend)
Penny Chock (hiro)
Ewan Oughton (ultrahax)

Our game schedule consists of the 4-map “Front 9”, where maps are chosen with shotgun rules (first one to call it). The “Back 9” consists of:
  1. DK Pass
  2. Banshee Boardwalk
  3. Bowser Castle 1
  4. Rainbow Road
It wasn’t always that way- it ended up an institution because after a while, we ended up choosing the same maps over and over again during the second round, and of course, things must be settled on “the road”.
Most of us race using the Kong/Egg combination- UMGamr’s “gift” to the group. For a while, it was everyone, but lately some racers have spurned the Kong/Egg for the Rob/Bomber. I, for one, remain a believer.

Looking at the records, it looks like I’ve capped out Wins column with 9999 wins to 5057 losses. I’ve got at least 100 wins up on everyone else. And now, at the peak of my career, I’m retiring to Madison. And, perhaps most importantly, I won the last Back 9.
Some terminology:
  • “It’s over” – originally spoken by the Bluenote (frequently) after getting knocked off the course, now said whenever getting knocked off, especially during the first round, when there’s still time to recover
  • “Items Based Racing (IBR)” – using a kart combination (such as the Luigi/Cucumber) with a high items value so you get good items. Items Based Racers are typically n00bs; they peak out at a certain point, and need to switch to a real combination (e.g., Kong/Egg) to improve/remain competitive.
  • “Unforced Error” – making an avoidable error causing you to go off the map
  • “Feng/NoValues Bullet” – a bullet is typically referred to by this name, referring to the two most notorious karters.
  • “Poise” – performing a particularly elegant move/victory.
  • “40-Point Night” – winning 1st in every map in a game. These are pretty rare.
  • “80-Point Night” – winning 1st in every map in both games. These are exceedingly rare- I’ve seen perhaps only 2 or 3 in all my racing.
  • “Winter Mountain” – in DK Pass, the name of the very top of the mountain which has a box that, even if you’re in 1st place, will either give you 3 shrooms or a star. Named for the endless winter, who first discovered it.
  • “As we all know, the ___ is the championship round” – typically the back 9 is the championship round, but the blank is filled with whichever round you win (or anticipate winning).
  • “Go to the next map!!” – an exclamatory statement usually spoken by the UMGamr after a particularly bad performance or losing to a rival.
  • “The B Game” – when there are too many players (more than 8), the lesser players are forced to play their own game, derisively referred to as the B Game.
  • "A lot of Kong/Eggs in front" – the Kong/Egg, being the superior kart choice (and the choice of the best racers), usually ends up at the front of the rankings. UMGamr enjoys pointing out this phenomenon.
  • "The Phat" – Hardkode prefers his old DS Phat to the new DS Lites. Also used in expressions like "Here comes the phat, finally waddling in" and "The phat's going after that box like a half price buffet"
Bryan talked about this a bit on this podcast:

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