Mario Kart Wii
|Mario Kart Wii|
North American box art depicting Mario and Luigi
with the Wii Wheel accessory
|Developer(s)||Nintendo EAD Group No. 1|
Mario Kart Wii (マリオカートWii Mario Kāto Wī?) is the sixth installment in the Mario Kart series of kart racing games, developed and published by Nintendo for the Wii video game console. Mario Kart Wii was announced at E3 2007 by Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime. The game was released worldwide throughout April 2008, but one year later in South Korea.
Like its predecessors, Mario Kart Wii incorporates playable characters from the Mario series, who participate in kart races on various race tracks using specialized items to hinder opponents or gain advantages. The game features multiple single-player and multiplayer game modes, and also features online multiplayer via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. Mario Kart Wii takes advantage of the Wii Remote's motion sensing to provide intuitive and conventional steering controls; each copy of the game is bundled with the Wii Wheel accessory to augment this feature. Traditional control schemes are also supported.
Mario Kart Wii received critically positive reviews, with critics praising the online features and the large number of tracks, characters, and karts. It received an aggregate review score of 82.07% on GameRankings and 82% on Metacritic. In 2010, the game was included as one of the titles in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die. With 35.26 million copies sold worldwide as of December 31, 2013, the game is the second best-selling game for Wii and is the best-selling racing video game of all time. On February 26, 2014, Nintendo announced that online features of Mario Kart Wii and other games would be discontinued on May 20, 2014. 
Mario Kart Wii is a kart racing game featuring several single and multiplayer modes. The players each take control of one of many selectable Mario franchise characters and participate in races or battles using karts or motorcycles on courses thematically based on locations from the Mario franchise. During gameplay, the player views the action from a third-person perspective that tracks the player from behind his or her kart. The player can perform tricks while driving that produce speed boosts, such as mid-air stunts, drifting, slipstreaming, and wheelies (motorcycles only).
While driving, the player collects power-ups from item boxes placed in various points on the track. These power-ups allow the player to attack opponents, causing them to slow down or spin out of control; defend against such attacks; or gain boosts in speed. These include the series staple items, such as the Mushroom, Koopa shell projectiles, the Starman, and banana peels, as well as new items, such as the Mega Mushroom that causes the player to temporally grow to an enormous size and crush opposing karts.
Mario Kart Wii supports four different control schemes. The primary control scheme is the Wii Remote by itself, optionally used in conjunction with the plastic Wii Wheel accessory, which uses the controller's motion sensing to simulate operating a steering wheel. The other supported control schemes are the Wii Remote with the Nunchuk attachment; the Classic Controller; and the Nintendo GameCube controller.
Characters and vehicles
Mario Kart Wii features twenty-four playable characters from the Mario series, the largest roster of any Mario Kart game. The game features characters who have appeared in previous installments, including Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Yoshi, Toad, Donkey Kong, and Bowser, in addition to characters such as Rosalina who are playable for the first time. Each character is assigned to one of three different weight classes, which affects the selection of vehicles the character can drive. Mii characters saved in the console's Mii Channel are also playable. Thirty-six vehicles, which includes a mixture of karts and motorcycles, are available in Mario Kart Wii, each of which has different properties that affect how the vehicle handles while driving. Half the characters and vehicles are initially unavailable to the player; certain objectives must be completed in order to unlock each one.
The tracks in Mario Kart Wii are based thematically on locations seen in the Mario series, such as Bowser's Castle. Each of the eight cups features four different tracks for a total of 32 unique tracks. The Mushroom, Flower, Star, and Special Cups contain tracks unique to Mario Kart Wii, while the Shell, Banana, Leaf, and Lightning Cups contain "retro" tracks, updated versions of tracks originally featured the five previous Mario Kart installments. In addition there are ten arena courses available for Battle mode, which includes five original courses and five retro courses.
Mario Kart Wii features multiple game modes: Grand Prix, Time Trials, Versus, and Battle. All modes support single-player gameplay; Versus and Battle support local multiplayer for up to four players, with or without computer-contolled players. In Grand Prix, the player participates in four three-lap races from one of the eight selectable cups against eleven opponents. The player is awarded points at the end of each race based on his or her ranking. The total number of points collected determines the player's overall rank. Versus mode is similar to Grand Prix, but the presented courses and items may be configurable. In Time Trials, the player must quickly complete the race in the fastest time possible— there are no opponents or items except for three Mushrooms given at the start of each race. The player can compete against a ghost character, which mimics a player's movements from an earlier race. Ghost data can be saved in the Wii console memory and shared with other players.
Mario Kart Wii's Battle mode is similar to that seen in previous installments in which players drive around an enclosed arena and attack each other using items. The players are divided into two teams, red and blue, and teammates cannot harm each other with their items. There are two variants of Battle mode available: Balloon Battle and Coin Runner. In Balloon Battle, each player has balloons attached to his or her kart. A player gains a point each he or she pops or steals a balloon belonging to an opposing team player, but loses a point each time he or she loses all balloons. In Coin Runner, the players collect coins scattered throughout the arena and attack opposing team members to make them drop coins. The team that has accumulated the most points or coins total when the three-minute time limit expires wins.
Mario Kart Wii supports online play via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. Versus and Battle modes are available and support up to twelve participants, and up to two players can connect and play from the same Wii console. Players may compete against random players from within the same region or from any continent, or can compete only against players registered as friends. At the end of each race or match, each player's VR (versus rating) or BR (battle rating) will change based on his final ranking. Mario Kart Wii features the "Mario Kart Channel", which may be optionally installed as a selectable channel on the Wii Menu, that presents current regional or worldwide rankings for Time Trials, and the option of sending or receiving ghost data via WiiConnect24. Mario Kart Channel also offers worldwide tournaments from Nintendo, which are modified courses that will sometimes have special objectives. There are two tournaments hosted each month.
Mario Kart Wii was officially announced at the 2007 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3); the online features and the first footage of the game were shown at the Expo. During Nintendo of America CEO Reggie Fils-Aime's presentation, he unveiled the game via a trailer that showed some of the new characters and tracks. The trailer also displayed that the game would include up to twelve simultaneous racers. Additional details of the game were later released in conjunction with the Nintendo Fall 2007 Conference held in October 2007, where it was revealed that it would include bikes and the Wii Wheel. New gameplay footage from the game was also shown, and the release date was revealed to be set for spring 2008.
Producer Hideki Konno wanted to include certain online features for Mario Kart DS, but they were left out due to time constraints. These features would, however, be implemented in Mario Kart Wii. The developers wanted to avoid races becoming more deserted as they progressed, thus altering the online matchmaking to allow players to join a race once it is finished for participation in the next one. Konno had been proposing ideas involving BMX since Double Dash!!, but they were rejected. In Mario Kart Wii, the developers were able to incorporate bikes. The game was called "Mario Kart X" internally for a while, before deciding on "Mario Kart Wii." General producer and Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto's inputs were limited to new aspects of play such as the Wii Wheel and battles over Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. The designers tested roughly 30 different prototypes with different shapes, colors and weights (based on real-life go-karts), before deciding on the final Wii Wheel design.
Music and soundtrack
The music in this game was composed by Asuka Ohta and Ryo Nagamatsu, who used new interpretations of the familiar melodies from earlier games and also new material. The official soundtrack was released in December 2011, as part of the Platinum Rewards for Club Nintendo members in Japan with forty-three songs from the game itself. The speaker on the Wii Remote is frequently used during gameplay, as sound effects like crashes and warning signals are emitting from it. It was during the extensive testings of the different Wii Wheel prototypes, the developers decided that it would be good to have the voice actors playing the game during recording sessions.
|Mario Kart Wii Platinum Soundtrack|
|5.||"Course Overview Fanfare"||0:15|
|6.||"Luigi Circuit/Mario Circuit"||2:10|
|7.||"Moo Moo Meadows"||2:11|
|12.||"Wario's Gold Mine"||2:17|
|17.||"Dry Dry Ruins"||2:18|
|21.||"1st Place Fanfare (Grand Prix and VS)"||0:07|
|22.||"2nd-5th Place Fanfare (Grand Prix and VS)"||0:07|
|23.||"High Placement Results (Grand Prix and VS)"||0:53|
|24.||"6th-12th Place Fanfare (Grand Prix and VS)"||0:09|
|25.||"Low Placement Results"||0:43|
|29.||"Chain Chomp Wheel"||2:20|
|31.||"1st Place in Team (Battle)/New Record (Time Trial) Fanfare"||0:05|
|32.||"Team Victory (Battle)/Ranking (Time Trial) Fanfare"||0:05|
|34.||"Team Victory (Battle)/Ranking (Time Trial) Results"||0:26|
|35.||"Team Defeat (Battle)/No Record (Time Trial) Fanfare"||0:06|
|36.||"Team Defeat (Battle)/No Record (Time Trial) Results"||0:48|
|37.||"Mario Kart Channel Menu"||0:46|
|40.||"Wi-Fi Match/Ghost Replay"||0:54|
|42.||"Staff Credits A"||1:48|
|43.||"Staff Credits B"||2:19|
Mario Kart Wii had a successful launch and sold 300,000 copies on the launch day in Japan alone, compared to Mario Kart DS which sold 160,000 copies on its first day and Mario Kart: Double Dash!! which sold 180,000 on its first day. In the week ending May 4, 2008, Mario Kart Wii had sold over a million copies in Japan alone, less than a month since its release in the region. In the UK, Mario Kart Wii was the best-selling video game in the week ending April 12, 2008, having "the eighth biggest opening sales week in UK software history," according to Chart-Track/ELSPA. The game dwarfed all other five Mario Wii games released up until then for the Wii combined when comparing first week sales. In the United States, Mario Kart Wii was the second best-selling video game in April 2008, selling 1.12 million copies, according to the NPD Group; putting it behind the Xbox 360 version of Grand Theft Auto IV and ahead of the PlayStation 3 version, both released in the same week. It ranked the fourth best-selling game of December 2008 in the United States, selling in excess of 979,000 copies. According to the NPD Group, GfK Chart-Track, and Enterbrain, the game has sold 2.409 million copies in the United States, 687,000 in the United Kingdom, and 1.601 million in Japan, respectively, for a total of 4.697 million copies sold by August 1, 2008. As of March 2009, Nintendo has sold 15.4 million copies of Mario Kart Wii worldwide. As of January 4, 2009, it has sold 2,133,000 copies in Japan. It is also the fourth best-selling game of Japan in 2008. According to the NPD Group, GfK Chart-Track, and Enterbrain, the game has sold 856,000 copies in the United States, 394,000 in the United Kingdom, and 218,000 in Japan, respectively, for a total of 1.468 million copies sold in the third quarter of 2008 (July–September). It is the second best-selling game of 2008 in the United States, selling in excess of 5 million copies.
Mario Kart Wii was very well-received, with many critics praising the online capability and the large number of tracks, characters and karts. Joe Sinicki of Blast Magazine comments: "While it still does suffer from some of the problems of the older games, Mario Kart Wii takes the simple and accessible formula set by its predecessors and tweaks it enough to make it feel fresh and fun, creating one of the most entertaining and rewarding gaming experiences in quite some time." Official Nintendo Magazine UK commented that the Wii Wheel worked very effectively and loved the different multiplayer modes. GameSpot producer Lark Anderson praised the game for being easy to jump into for players of any skill level and stated that motorcycles provide a great alternative to go-karts, and IGN commented that "Nintendo has delivered one of the best console Karts in years." Plugged In stated that the racing is easy to do and that "the Grand Prix Cup events and several team battle modes keep things interesting" while Classic Game Room praised the game for its high production value and great replay value. They also liked that the online play was a major strength of the game.
NGamer, however, claimed that the tracks are too big for local multiplayer matches. Also, IGN criticized the rubber band AI in the 150cc races of the Grand Prix and NGamer UK was disappointed that Battle mode can now only be played in teams; no free-for-all option is offered which removes the 'last man standing' element of previous Mario Kart Battle modes. Reviewers such as GameTrailers and IGN also commented that it is easy to fall from first place to last by being continuously attacked by several weapons, many of which are unavoidable, leading to a certain amount of luck in racing. This makes it more accessible for beginners, but can be extremely discouraging for skilled players. GameSpot also noted that "nostalgia doesn't save most of the classic courses from being boring."
The game won multiple Wii-specific awards from IGN in its 2008 video game awards, including Best Racing Game and Best Online Multiplayer Game. IGN also nominated it for Best Family Game for the Wii. The game was ranked ninth in Nintendo Power's "Best of the Decade." It also won the award for "Favorite Video Game" at the 2010 Kids' Choice Awards. Guinness World Records has awarded Mario Kart Wii with a record for being the best-selling racing video game of all time.
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