I like the Nintendo Wii, I really do.  It’s a fun system that doesn’t take a whole ton of gamer strategy, thumb agility and appeals to a wider audience than the typical Play Station or X-box gamer.   That being said, my mind can’t always get out of the box and understand how you can play certain games like Madden, Metroid or Zelda.  It’s that type of thinking that has kept me from actively seeking out a Wii, which still seem to be in such high demand that they are virtually impossible to find.

Enter Mario Kart.   First off, before Saturday night I had never done a midnight video game purchase.  I’ve done several midnight openings of movies (I never dressed up, but took a wiz next to Obi-Wan Kenobi once) so this is an experience.

I’ll save you the details of the purchase, but I will say that the only female in the store was my girlfriend who was the one to actually put the reserve on the game (It’s her Wii, am I a lucky guy or what!)

The game comes with a steering wheel in which you place the Wii controller. This allows you to steer your character as if you were driving a car.  For multiplayer mode wheels are available in different sizes and shapes.  I bought a wheel for about $9.99.

There are about sixteen characters you can choose from.  Now I didn’t get to explore every feature of the game, but I read on the official site that there is an option to play with your very own Mii and custom vehicle.

One of the more exciting features of the game is online play.  Amazingly this is very seamless, and while I was among the first in North America to be playing the game online there was no noticeable server lag and even the international players (the game has been out in Japan for a few weeks now) didn’t seem to bog down the system.

The playable levels are a nice mix of classic Kart levels that long-time players will recognize and some new ones in there too.   Actually steering seems to put even novice players, like myself, on somewhat of an even playing field with more experienced gamers.

Mario Kart is and remains one of the most fun driving games around. Simultaneous multiplayer mode makes this a great party game, and a limitless pool of international online competitors ensures that even while playing alone you won’t get bored with this one.

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