Following on from our reader-voted Top 50 Games of the Decade, Nintendo Life staff members will be picking their personal favourite Nintendo games between the years 2010-2019. Today, Darren looks back at the golden age of the Wii U era in 2014 and beyond...
Ah, the good old Wii U. While it was a bit of a commercial flop, the much misunderstood dinky console did sure have some amazing games during its brief lifetime. Of course, since the days of the Super NES no Nintendo console generation can pass without a Mario Kart game and Mario Kart 8 sure was a belter.
While it's possibly not the most exciting choice for my Game of the Decade, it is probably the game which I've had the most fun with over the years (mostly with the kids!). Of course with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe coming so soon after the Nintendo Switch launch, this has ensured that we always have a convenient way to enjoy this gem, whether at home or on our travels.
Back in May 2014, I remember eagerly looking forward to playing what would be the first Mario Kart in glorious HD in the comfort of my home. I'd played a bit in advance sessions at Nintendo's headquarters, which convinced me that this one was going to be the best entry ever, what with its fancy anti-gravity sections and smooth 60 FPS gameplay. Having young kids at the time, it was a game which we could enjoy together, too. Sometimes we'd race each other with me feigning a complete inability to beat them in VS mode, other times they'd cheer me on as I worked through the 150cc mode and tried to get all the gold trophies and 3 stars.
It's impossible to overstate how delighted I was when the Legend of Zelda and Animal Crossing DLC packs were announced for Mario Kart 8. The new courses were a welcome addition and being able to play as Tanooki Mario, Cat Peach and Link was a revelation. Of course, the jewel in the crown of these DLC packs was the F-Zero themed level which fit perfectly with the anti-gravity vibes. Such a nice surprise.
Something about the game made it feel more polished than ever. Perhaps it was the high-definition lick of paint it brought to the table, or the way it drew on the best elements from previous games and felt like a true culmination of series' best bits. Maybe Luigi's adorable death stare had something to do with it, but Mario Kart 8 had that special Nintendo sauce which kept me coming back time and again.
The Deluxe version on Switch bundled all that DLC goodness in and added a proper Battle Mode, the absence of which one of the only marks against the Wii U original. A dusting of the 200cc class, extra items and characters was the icing on an already delicious cake, with other additions like optional Smart Steering making the game even more accessible for novices than before.
With a whopping 19 million units of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe sold on the Switch, Nintendo's kart racer has cemented itself as the most popular game on the Switch, way above even the excellent Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild... that's quite the achievement. Even in its original form, though, for me Mario Kart 8 was always ahead of the pack. Now while we wait for Mario Kart 9, let's have some more lovely DLC please Nintendo!
The fact that this is probably the only racing game that I like to play online says a lot, especially considering how I am a big racing fan.
I played Mario Kart 8 for six straight hours on Wii U the day it was released. It's still one of my most frequently played games. Over 200+ hours into the Switch version.
I really loved the double items addition, it brought back great memories of Double Dash. Playing Mario Kart on my friend’s Switch with him in school on a free period before being inevitably caught by the teachers was what sold me on the concept. The HD Rumble’s really quite cool too. I still play MK8D and I hope a new one arrives soon.
100% everything on Wii U and Switch. Definitley the best Mario Kart without a doubt
ok I would say game of the decade is The Last Of Us but to each their own
One of the best games on the Wii u/switch
@KBuckley27 They're picking multiple "games of the decade."
Also, TLOU isn't available on a Nintendo device, so you probably won't see it on NL.
Agreed!!!! This was the one WiiU port that added enough and changed enough to make it worth while.
Double dipped, full price, more or less day 1... Worth it!
Wonderful game with some rather questionable design choices. Pink Gold Peach? Baby Rosalina? No proper Battle Mode?
At least the latter issue was resolved with Deluxe but I still can't fathom why they implemented such stupid character choices. But whatever. Still very much love this game, the original had some of the absolute BEST value DLC ever and it's just a ton of fun! ..I'm just kind of still hoping that they'll take a page from Mario Kart Tour and add that game's costumes to Deluxe (NOT as seperate characters a la Tanooki Mario/Cat Peach however).
Whatever the case, definitely contender for game of the decade. It's not MY game of the decade, but it's most definitely up there!
Truly the best racing game ever made. Love playing this online still.
This is probably the undisputed Nintendo game of the decade - yes it's not an exciting choice but it is phenomenally polished and fun and it brings ppl together. Agree with earlier comment on the Last of Us - that game is just a life changing experience start to finish.
My only criticism is the very harsh rubber-banding on items.
I don’t find it fair that as a skilled racer, or simply someone who has managed to be in first place, you’re effectively punished by being given an entirely different selection of items to those other places; which as you gradually get lower and lower, give you a greater advantage.
I recognise this has always been the case, but in MK8 it became very aggressive.
At the very least, I would like to see Nintendo add a ‘random’ option to item pickups.
Also - and this is perhaps more subjective - some of the character slots are really wasted. Baby / Gold Peach? Link? What about Captain Falcon or Diddy Kong?
I just wish I could still beat my son at Mario Kart. He always wins...annoying.
I’m the weiner!
I mean.. sure it's a fun well built game. But it's not exactly anything amazing when compared to other titles. For racing sure though.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the best Mario Kart for me.
But, if only the game has Edit Tool like Modnation Racers PS3..... and it will be BOOM !!
Lol i don't think so but sure.
I didn't mind this game but i wouldn't even call it the best game on the Nintendo the year it came out, let alone for a decade.
The only thing that sucks about Mario Kart 8 is that it's so damn good that we're still waiting for 9 lol.
My 2nd favourite online multiplayer experience just behind Rocket League.
I own it on Wii U, but i bought it again on current sale.
I justified the second purchase because of this.
33% off, 6 new Battle mode tracks, more characters, Locked 1080p/60 and some.
I got Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate at no extra cost when buying MK 8. So basically 2 games for one. I never paid full price the first time.
When MK8 released, you could select 1 of 10 retail games for free.
Stellar game! Easily the best MK to date!
It wouldn't be my game of the decade, but I would call it my racing game of all time!
Still hoping that the next Mario Kart is more of a "Nintendo Kart" with a roster of racers more like Super Smash Brothers.
Not a big fan. It's either too easy, or too frustrating.
Great multiplayer racing game. Now just gives us more DLC for it already. Like new tracks. ^^
The skill/luck balance is too askew in this version, and the tracks are too wide.
Fun enough, but quite far from game of the decade.
No surprises here, but it's my game of the decade too, because it's my favourite game of all time.
Mario Kart combines the intensity of racing (with frequent nail-biting finishes), the fun and chaos of items, and the beauty of Nintendo's character design, and MK8/D is the most beautiful version, and plays brilliantly.
I could play it forever and never get tired of the tight finishes and the gorgeous slow-motion replays.
SNES Rainbow Road... How I love thee...
@Superzone13 praying for a December 2020 release! They will need some heavy hitters vs. MSFT and Sony...
As a Wii u owner I feel cheated and betrayed by Nintendo. I played mk8 to death and bought the Dlc packs on Wii u it's my favourite game for the system. For the switch it was just a copy and paste job and since I bought it I've rarely played it as everything had already been unlocked from the start there was no challenge. Sure the updated battle mode was a nice touch but it's not enough. Were almost 3 years in the switches life cycle and still no sign of mk9.
thanks to your choice for GOTD, you have become my favorite writer here at NL by default
I’ve loved the Mario Kart series since the SNES and MK8/MK8D are the best yet. I’ve put in 1000 hrs on Deluxe and have 40+K VR points! My most played game on my Switch by far and my favorite franchise of all time. So it’s no surprise that my favorite game of all time at the moment is MK8D!!
Nintendo Life, you should host another tournament soon!
@gcunit we should race soon!
I’ve never been a fan of Mario Kart (or racing games in general), but MK8D is definitely the best of the bunch, it looks great and the anti gravity stuff is really cool. I wish it could hold my interest like it seems to for everyone else.
Can't say agree with this pick at all. Personally i've never been a fan of Mario Kart and think its only praised so well because Mario and Nintendo, Sonic All Stars Transformed is far better and showed how dated Mario Kart is. Change the name and looks of Mario Kart and the praise would be no where near as high.
@JayJ I'd say FAST RMX is a must, but the sheer lack of participants online is a really sad state of affairs. I bought it day 1 on Switch, back when you couldn't play against friends. Now you can though me and my brother race each other every night. But go on normal online and you'll be lucky to find 2 people! We need more players!
While the nostalgia in me will always prefer Double Dash, I can't even put into words how much fun Mario Kart 8 Deluxe brought to me and my guests.
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