"Do you think your gaming community has the fastest Mario Kart racers in Australia?" That was the challenge posed to us by Nintendo.
Guess what? We won!
MMGN competed with other leading Australian gaming sites last night, including Stevivor, IGN, Kotaku, GameSpot, GameArena, Vooks, AusGamers, Aussie-Gamer and Another Castle, to discover who has the fastest Mario Kart community.
To qualify, we had to play Super Mario Kart (SNES), Mario Kart 64, Mario Kart: Double Dash (GameCube) and Mario Kart Wii on their original consoles.
After 30 minutes of practice, Nintendo announced the stages we would be playing: Koopa Troopa Beach with its risky shortcut on Nintendo 64, Luigi Circuit to some disgust on Wii, Daisy Cruiser and its perilous pool on GameCube and the always challenging Mario Circuit 2 on SNES.
The fastest two times from each iteration went into the Mario Kart 7 (3DS) Championship. However, we were only allowed one attempt at each.
I totally should have practised.
As each site presented 10 challengers, the top 8 finalists were selected from appropriately 100 competitors (I didn't actually count, some may have had less). In the end, MMGN held three of those eight prestigious positions.
DarkJibTEC was our star performer in the qualifying rounds as one of the first people to play Mario Kart Wii, whilst the rest of us were still sussing out the beer situation.
Jib meant business early, with an amazing time of 1:16.38 across three laps of Luigi Circuit. Nobody came within 2 seconds for the next half-an-hour, and most were closer to 10 seconds off the pace.
In fact, he wasn't seriously challenged for top spot until MMGN newcomer Triforce entered the hot seat nearly an hour later. He came within milliseconds of DarkJib, with a time of 1:16.87, securing a second position in the championship for MMGN, and ensuring we took both Wii places.
Meanwhile, a time of under 1:45.00 on Koopa Troopa Beach proved much too hard for anyone to beat. However, MMGN racer James sneaked into second with a time of 2:03.97.
It's astounding that the gap between first and second was nearly 20 seconds, but at the end of the day, second was just as good.
When Nintendo announced qualifying was about to come to an end, MMGN veteran Marge almost secured a championship birth from a magnificent performance on the SNES version -- which proved much more challenging than the recent games. However an ill-placed wall and the lack of a sufficient reverse button in the dying seconds dashed his chances of the dream run.
Meanwhile, I immediately drove into the pool in the GameCube's Daisy Cruiser and it all went horribly wrong from there.
With qualifying sorted, the 8 minor-winners each received a small trophy and their choice of a Mario-themed 3DS game.
Unlike Year 7 sports day, there were no participation trophies for the rest of us.
The Championship Race was decided by the overall result of Mario Kart 7's four track Special Cup, featuring DK Jungle, Rosalina’s Ice World, Bowser’s Castle and Rainbow Road.
DarkJibTEC had the added pressure of being hooked up to the big screen, but he seemed spurred on by the added attention, or perhaps the sideline encouragement from Punk and SpeedyG.
Triforce got us off to a strong start, winning DK Jungle to Jib's third. However, the tables were turned on Ice World where Jib took first place.
Continuing the trend, Triforce won Bowser’s Castle -- giving MMGN a running total of 3/3 first places.
To finish on a high, DarkJib didn't disappoint with some ambitious stop-start tactics on Rainbow Road. We had no idea what he was doing (which probably explains the spectating situation), but it was enough to secure first place, and ensure MMGN won each of the four races.
If you missed it, the winners alternated in the order of Triforce, DarkJibTEC, Triforce, DarkJibTEC.
The overall results saw Triforce win the overall event for Team MMGN, DarkJibTEC come second and Andrew from Another Castle in third.
Each took home their respective trophy (1st, 2nd and 3rd) as well as a 3DS XL signed by the voice of Mario, Charles Martinet!
Thanks to Nintendo for hosting the event and to everyone who raced on behalf of MMGN -- we had great support, especially considering the group had just met -- and to everyone in attendance from each community. Everyone had a great attitude, regardless of skill level, and reminded us how awesome the Australian gaming community is!
Until next time. I guess we have to fight to retain the title next year?
By Ben Salter