If you sit ten Nintendo fans down in a room and ask them to debate the merits of the blue / spiny shell, then you should grab a comfy chair, some popcorn, and enjoy the ride. Some argue it's an excellent item and a great leveller, others suggests it's an abomination, and plenty sit somewhere in the middle.
Nintendo has kept it since Mario Kart 64, so clearly it's not going anywhere no matter how much some complain online. In some respects the game wouldn't feel the same way without it, as it's a continual source of both anguish for leaders but also joy for the chasing pack. In multiplayer it's undeniably satisfying to advise a speedster buddy that their race is about to go horribly wrong.
For Nintendo, though, it's an item and aspect of design that simply works. ARMS producer Kosuke Yabuki was also the director of both Mario Kart 7 and Mario Kart 8, and he explained to Eurogamer how he sees the dynamic of the item, and also states that experiments in which it's removed haven't worked out.
Something I personally really consider is the human emotion element of the play experience. So for example playing Mario Kart - if you have something that feels unfair or makes you feel frustrated or makes you angry... Everyone is different in that respect. What you will feel is unfair might be different to someone else. As far as possible we want to avoid those feelings of frustration.
Because everyone is different, and it's an emotive thing, you can't pin it down with a set formula. Ultimately, in the longer term, although everyone might feel on one particular day that they're so frustrated that they're not going to play any more Mario Kart today - keeping the experience enjoyable enough so that you might feel like that today, but the next day, the next week, you'll still go back to Mario Kart and still enjoy it.
We're always experimenting with what new elements to introduce or what elements can be removed. We have tried - or we are trying - to see what the game's like without the blue shell. When we've experimented without the blue shell, actually it feels like something's missing. Like there's something not quite enough in the game. So for now we've kept it in.
You know, sometimes life isn't fair. Sometimes in life you have something where you feel that's not right, and that's frustrating.
It's a pretty fair and honest answer - there's no shying away from the fact the item can irritate players, but it's also part of a balancing act so that chasing players always feel like they have a chance. Mario Kart remains a game where skill matters, of course, but luck and good fortune play their part.
Let us know where you stand on the blue shell item in the comments.
The blue shell was great, only got it in last and it hit everyone, giving it wings was the smegging issue. 8th place striking 1st only screws 1st.
You mean since Mario Kart 64, right? The Blue shell would not have shown up in Super Mario 64.
@ballistic90 Ah yes, wrong 64
I love the blue shell and can't understand all the hate about it.
It is so fun
There's nothing more satisfying than either being the one to turn the tide, using a blue shell or stopping that thing dead in its tracks. I've managed to be in position to do the latter a handful of times.
This is my new mantra.
So why is it that the blue shell occurs so often in the later ccs just before you cross the finishing line on the last race so you don't get ***
We've got Big Horn to Deflect those pesky Blue Shell.
Just slam it on the floor and Kablaamm...!!! 😁
The Super Horn was a sensible addition. I mean, it's still quite rare to be in possession of one when you get hit, but at least it makes you feel like you could have done something - especially if you used one to get ahead earlier in the match.
The Blue Shell is the item that everyone loves to hate, but it wouldn't be Mario Kart without it. The series has always been as much about the schadenfreude of ruining other people's lives as the thrill of your own victory or the sting of defeat. It's not fair. But justice was never all that fun anyway.
To tell the truth life is not actually necessary. If life did not exist at all there would be no need of it. For the Blue shell, I always play Mario Kart in single player because I don't like to play online and I prefer single player. I find it fun the way it is, sometimes it is irritating but not too often usually it is just fun but I would NEVER play online a game unfair like this even if I liked online multiplayer
great fun in multiplayer but single player its just kick after ffffffffffffffffffffffffff kick in the teeth
Wish they would remove it from the single player cups. You try to make first place and get bombarded with these stupid shells.
For multiplayer its fine. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.
Funnily that would've been useful for me a couple days ago, but not today.
I still got to use a voucher code "CENSORED" for a discount though.
Somehow I'm struggling to believe the producer of Mario Kart put a lot of effort into avoiding frustration that's 80% of the game (I love it)
It's ok in multiplayer but it really doesn't help the person using it. In single player, it sucks the fun out of the game sometimes. I don't think many play games to experience unfair things. That's a really dumb analogy.
I think lightning is better, as it impacts EVERYONE except the user. With the Blue Shell, people in 2nd or 3rd benefit from the rubbish person in 10th or whatever. The user does not benefit at all, unless they get it and save it, move up the ranks and use it later. Regardless, I hate it, worse thing to happen to MK along with making the tracks wider and being nothing about skill.
Blue Shell = Win!
@GravyThief the tracks sorta need to be wider for 12 players to be able to pass each other without constantly running into people's backsides. I think 200cc more than makes up for the width, it's hard to stay on the track then.
And no one plays MK looking for a game all about skill, that'd be like expecting skill to win in Mario Party. Though you're plenty able to set up races online in MK8 with no items if you want to remove the luck.
You can play Mario Kart 64 for weeks and never get the blue shell. It barely counts as a meaningful aspect of that game.
Okay, just read the article and it's sorta hilarious. "Don't like the blue shell? Well life isn't fair son, now go back to Mario Kart and experience frustration, because when you're frustrated another player is experiencing joy!"
@ShadJV I'm just pining for the SNES version of MK, which will always be my favourite. I've never liked the changes since MK64, but I'm probably a minority. I just love burning around those perfectly formed tight tracks, and if you don't hit anything (or get hit which is less common in the SNES one), your engine noise keeps getting higher and higher in pitch, indicating you're properly on the limit!
How hard is it to include smash bros levels of item control. I'm not asking to remove the blue shell from the game, just let me turn off that item SPECIFICALLY
@ShadJV Mario Kart can totally be played as a skill based racer. It wouldn't be an issue if Nintendo offered us a new skill based racer cough F-zero cough but they won't. That's why people (rightfully so in my opinion) complain about items that diminish skill in mario kart.
@Yorumi It sounds to me like they're completely aren't concerned with that and in fact, playing against AI drivers (or in single player mode on higher CC's) is a bit of a punishment for not engaging in multi-player play (whether that be local or online). I mean, there is absolutely no room for error when playing against it and even then, they find ways to ruin your good runs
Blue Shell would serve its purpose better, if it was slightly easier to dodge, but travelled on surface of the road and would have a possibility to hit any player in its path.
Currently it doesn't help last players staying in the competition. It only helps the second player win the race.
Super horn can defeat a blue shell
I think Mario Kart would improve incredibly without the blue shell.
@PAHTK Agreed, except for in MK DS, with that awesome minimap. The blue shell not only screwed 1st, but also whomever was right behind 1st, because 1st was surely going to take a couple racers with him/her. It also helped that the races tended to be a lot closer in that game, even online.
The Blue Shell is either a nightmare or it can be hilarious. It depends on your position in the race. I've cursed it countless times but laughed too as it screws someone over right before the finish line.
I don't have a problem with the blue shell, it's a necessary evil. What I did not like and kinda ruined the game a little was when Mario Kart Wii introduced more characters without balancing or reducing items. It made the game mostly luck based since at any given point the chances were someone had an item pointed at you if you're ahead.
I wouldn't have MK any other way. It's a calamity racer, and it's a fun balancing act between skill of driving, skill of item usage, and a whole lotta luck, at least to me.
The blue shell represents the very worst aspects of MarioKart. I appreciate the game is random to a degree, even the vastly more skillful original required an element of luck to win. But the blue shell is just downright unfair, it's a punishment for playing well, which is indefensible.
What I love about the blue shell is that evolved from 'last ditch weapon" (when it used to slide along the ground, hitting everyone) to a weapon of pure spite. The person throwing it gains nothing but a grim sense of screwing over 1st.
The shell is fair, the shell is blind, the shell is the everyman, the shell is a kick in the crotch
I much prefer those robot wasps in Sonic All-Stars Racing Transformers that spawn in front of the player in 1st place and you can dodge them if you're good.
Sure, you can dodge Blue Shell in Double Dash but in most Mario Kart's you need a spesific item to block it. And if you happen to have that item... there's always a chance of a lightning bolt hitting you.
The blue shell is sent by the Mario Kart Gods. Who am I to question their judgment?
@Anti-Matter I always save the horn for that purpose but it's usually stolen by a Boo first.
If I spot it early enough I just slam the brakes on to get it to hit somebody else but I preferred it on the N64 as I did the red shells, which you could either just hit them from behind or if close enough fire it in front of them and watch it come back and hit them in the face and stop them dead 😆
@Luffymcduck - Glad to see someone else commenting on this. I was just going to post of why I love the idea of what looks like a swarm of wasps or hornets that go in front of the first player in sonic and all stars transformed because at least if you have good skills you can try to dodge or crash into a side of a wall to get a way. In Mario kart 8 you have to at least have the horn to knock the blue shell away but if you don't have one or if someone uses a lightning bolt it won't matter anyway. To be completely honest I have only played MK8 maybe 10 or 15 times total since the day it was released and that counts for both DLC packs as well. All though its fun I felt the creativity of the tracks, items, and overall was too samey and only added anti gravity. I still think Sonic all stars even though graphically isn't as nice as MK8 still has better overall presentation with the dynamic tracks and transforming to boats and planes. A better skill to luck ratio and I love the fact you can do stunts to avoid the homing weapons when it locks on you. This is why I've sunk probably over 300 hours into Sonic since I bought it around 4 years ago and only maybe around 5 or 6 hours into MK8 since the day it released a little over 3 years ago.
Wasn't this a meme that was doing the rounds a while back, but with Miyomoto saying it instead?
Edit: Found it https://twitter.com/tamewhale/status/871428642471112704
Easy solution. Turn it off in single player modes. Mario Kart Wii was among the most frustrating games I ever played because it hid unlockables behind tests of skillful play, then would screw me over with a blue shell + lightning bolt + red shell combo every single grand prix. When it is just the computer deciding you won't win and there's no human player to compete with, the blue shell is simply infuriating.
I hate the blue shell. Annoying
@Varoennauraa ...That's pretty much exactly what the blue shell does in 7 and 8. In fact it's quite easy to nail people right in front of you in those games due to it's fast speed.
Not to the mention, it's been nerfed in 8 to the point that it's impact is no more powerful than a standard shell. If you take issue with it punishing skill there, then chances are you're not winning hard enough.
The thing is the blue shell was fine in Mario Kart 64 because it travelled along the ground and often hit the other players on its way to first place. Since they made it fly it only shafts whoever is in first place which is unfair, especially as you can't even drop back to second place as it homes in on whoever was first when it was launched.
The only other game where I thought the blue shell was fair was Mario Kart DS because doing a power slide boost along with a jump could dodge the blue shell. The horn in MK8 is OK, but getting one is rare enough and the chances are you won't have it when a blue shell is fired anyway. Maybe if they tweaked the item boxes to always give you a horn if a player has fired a blue shell?
I'm currently trying to three-star 200cc on MK8D and I've lost count of the number of times I've lost out thanks to the blue shell. It's such a waste of time having to replay the whole cup again because of the blue shell.
If you could just manually turn on or off which items can appear like in Smash Bros, then everyone can be happy. Bananas only at 200cc is the only way to go.
I love how Nintendo always plays devil's advocate when it comes to the Blue Shell, saying "it's important" without ever bothering to say why.
Their defense never fails to fall flat on its face, and every time it does is pure, unadulterated comedy gold.
Nevermind that the Blue Shell itself is - or has been in the case you're loving the item's MK7-and-onwards iteration - an atrocious, flawed failure of game design (it pretty much only benefits the second-place racer, hands down) in an otherwise beautiful IP.
Now, I love Mario Kart and it's not like I like to criticise a Mario-related property (maybe criticising Nintendo themselves, but almost never with anything Mario), but after playing Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed (the best Mario Kart clone after his highness Crash Team Racing), I can't help but admit the bee swarm weapon is a way better alternative to the Blue Shell (it places a wall of giant bees in front of the leader, who can avoid them if he's careful).
There's nothing wrong with the Blue Shell - it's the rubber banding that can spoil races.
If anything, the Blue Shell makes races more interesting because it switches things up, but the rubber banding punishes good players and rewards poor ones.
"It feels like something's missing, in tests without it"
Yes, that is the point.
My personal view is its a broken weapon, for single player at least. I have a few issues with it:
a) It doesn't really help the user a great deal. To get the blue shell you're probably at the bottom of the race anyway and the fact it likely bypasses people immediatly in front of you means it's only really helping those in 2nd, 3rd, 4th or up at the front. If the race group is compacted maybe you'll overtake the victim, but I rarely see that being the case.
b) It's too hard to defend against. The Super Horns nice but its too rare. Secondly while you can attempt to keep a horn around for an inevitable blue shell, there's a very high chance that you'll lose it to the lightening bolt which is arguably more over powered but at least impacts everyone on the field equally. The fact the horn is so easily lost however to the lightening bolt means it's not a reliable tool to keep around necessarily.
c) Due to A and B, i dont think it's an especially fun item when used in player vs computer scenarios. It's nice to win because you were in second place and someone knocks out an AI leader with the shell, but I wouldn't call it any more satisfying than shooting a green or red shell from second place. If you're doing poorly then there's far more useful items out there (bullet, piranah, star, lightening, tripple mushrooms etc) that will help you progress your own position more so than a blue shell.
I think they need to change the design so that the shell progresses at track level and will break after it hits three players. It can still target the person in first, but if along its path it hits three players the shell will break before hitting its target. Not only would that have a similar effect of potentially slowing down player one, it'd ensure there's cases where race leaders aren't impacted and make it more likely the shell will help the player using it by slowing down players closer to their immediate position.
If the shell must remain as it is, I sort of feel the horn should be immune to the effects of the lightening bolt so that it can be relied upon for defence. It's still a gamble carrying the horn as it's tieing up your ability to get other defensive items like bananas and shells which can be used for more proactive defence.
Seriously though, the big issue with the Blue Shell is it doesn't help the people near the back of the race enough that actually get it (or in the case of the winged version, not at all), while helping the people near the front of the race but are not in first place.
Did those complaining about the blue shell not impacting other players forget that it travels along the ground in MK8 and only becomes airborne to explode on 1st? I still prefer it on MK64 though when it was much less frequent. I certainly wouldn't mourn its removal.
It (Blue Shell) isn't so bad, but I like the old system of targeting current position #1, instead of finding who was #1, even if they aren't in first by the time the shell catches up to them.
Blue Shell can also stand for BS.
The blue shell is a good balancing tool though. 2nd et 3rd place always have bananas or green shells and they are always targeted by red shells. The first place would be advantaged without the blue shell.
@Yorumi Too true man.
They should have a option to have it or not (not counting no items mode)
Nothing wrong with it, especially the ground version. That spreads the destruction and makes it more devilish than the flying one (from MKDD, if I recall) that only targeted the leader. MK8D faults are more profound than a blue shell - like the entire lack of a good single player experience or enough of a challenge in the existing one. I waltzed through 150cc almost unchallenged. It's ridiculous. Even achieving 3 stars by winning all 4 races, the only impediment is if you're struck by a blue towards the end of a race and get passed.
I can't believe all the hatred for the blue shell. I like it, it reminds me not to take the game too seriously.
my best mario kart moment was using a horn to blow up the blue shell
No need for excessive frustration on a game. You already have the Red and Green, no need to chase who is winning, just treat him like anyone else (Red+Green).
I hate the blue shell in Mario Kart!
I led a race one day and got up to near where the start/finish line is to take the win and got hit by a blue shell by the A.I. Came in 4th after that....
Sometimes, a Blue Shell is only the start of be first to be last...
And yes, True Story, he he, ..., oh my...
@Yorumi and item usage is super humanly timed. I cannot count the number of times I was hit with a blue shell inches before the finish like. Green shells might as well be red shells too.
One of the most agregiously clear ai cheat I have seen was on mount wario where a cpu race swerved itself off the edge to hit me with a banana, bounce UPWARD off a wall off the side of the course, and landed back on the course racing away as the banana caused me to fly off the track.
@crackafreeze Thanks for the code. Cut my shipping in half. Glad I wandered in here on a whim.
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