Mario Kart Double Dash!!

I mentioned previously in my post on the Wii Virtual Console that Mario Kart 64 was my favorite purchase so far.

The problem with the game is that the controls require a bit of a sensitive touch to be able to play. 

My daughter, age five, has all the finesse and subtlety of a five year old, which meant for her that playing Mario Kart 64 was often an exercise in ping-ponging back and forth off of the walls along a track.  And the tracks without walls….

No fun at all.

I mentioned this to a co-worker as we were talking about Wii games.  He has two sons and has had the last three Nintendo consoles in his household, so he is well versed in the ways of Mario.

He told me about Mario Kart Double Dash.  This is a GameCube version of the Mario Kart series that puts two players in the same vehicle.  The driver does the usual driving chores, while the second player, located standing up behind the driver, dispenses the power ups, punches other players, and, if you work together really well, helps the driver make tighter turns.

This actually worked out much better than I expected.  My daughter took to the back seat position right away.

Well, she did once we got the game going.

You can play GameCube games on the Wii.  It says so right on the box.

What is less obvious is how you play them.

I have a pair of classic controllers for the Wii, which are required to play Virtual Console games.  I thought that they would also work for GameCube games.  They do not.

And they do not in a rather disturbing way.  When you put a GameCube game into the Wii and bring it up, your Wii controllers just deactivate. 

They go dead. 

No message comes up telling you that you might be doing something wrong.  You are just stuck.

For the Wii, this lack of error message is out of the ordinary.  It is generally a very friendly and informative console.

Fortunately, I mentioned my lack of GameCube success here and was told I needed real GameCube controllers to play GameCube games on the Wii.

I ordered a pair of cheap controllers from eBay (2 for $10) and when they finally arrived we plugged them in and began to play.

My daughter took to the game right away and soon became a pro at back seat driving.  It was our favorite for a couple of weekends.

But playing with GameCube controllers is a much different experience.

The first change was dealing with actual wired controllers again.  The controllers I bought came with six foot cables.

In my mind, that seemed long enough.

In reality, that put my daughter and I right in front of the TV on the family room floor.  We managed to yank the Wii out of the TV stand a couple of times, so I went back to eBay and ordered a pair of six foot cable extenders.

Twelve feet is long enough, though the cables still get tangled.

Yes, I have seen the wireless GameCube controllers, but for one game I wanted to keep the investment down.  Plus, I do not really need another set of batteries and recharging to worry about.  I already have phones, cameras (both still and digital), PDAs, iPods, and Wii remotes to tend to.

The second was change was in how my daughter and I end up playing games.

The Wii is, ad advertised, a very dynamic console to play.  We were always on our feet, jumping around, waving our arms, and generally quite active.

With the GameCube controller, both of us sit and focus on the screen more.  There is not much in the way of movement between us.

Not that the lack of movement is a bad thing.  At 6:30am Saturday morning I am fine with not moving much at all, and that is how early my daughter sometimes comes to find out when we can start playing.

I will say that the GameCube controller is well laid out for both big and small hands.  My daughter had no problem at all with the controller and they fit fine in my giant mitts as well.  The GameCube controller is actually much easier to use than the Classic Controller that plugs into the Wii Remote.

The better controller, along with a more finely tuned game, also contributed to an improvement in her driving ability. 

Mario Kart Double Dash lets you switch drivers mid-race and my daughter, who started out not wanting to drive, ended up telling me to switch so she could be at the wheel quite often.

We had quite a bit of fun playing Mario Kart Double Dash for about two weeks.  I highly recommend it for just sheer fun.  It is one of those games you can pick up and play for five or ten minutes and have a blast. 

I still want to play it some more.  However, after that time, it was replaced by another game in the number one spot on my daughter’s list.

A game from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

A game that broke our cheap GameCube controllers.

A game for another post.

12 thoughts on “Mario Kart Double Dash!!

  1. Link

    Great games to play with kids. Smash Brothers is another fun one. My 6-year-old daughter and I play that one together. Check out Pikmin too. The first is a classic. I played that one quite a bit after the kids were in bed. The second Pikmin adds some co-op play.

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  2. *vlad*

    Mario Kart 64 got a lot of negative reviews when it came out. People compared it to the SNES version and didn’t like it.
    I’ve played the SNES, Gamecube, N64 and the GBA version, and I have to say the N64 version is still my favourite.
    I used to go round to a friend’s house at the weekend, and we would get drunk and play various games, one of which was Mario Kart N64.
    Fun, fun, fun.

    Double Dash reminds me of Diddy Kong Racing; I just couldn’t get excited by it. Perhaps the 2 player co-op mode gives a different experience.

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  3. Bildo

    The Wii has its own Mario Kart coming out with waggle in Q1/2 of next year. Looking forward to it for sure. It adds in tricks, motorcycles, and a whole lot more. Even online play for up to 16 people I believe.

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  4. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    Yes, there is some info on Wikipedia about that. It is supposed to come with the new Wii Wheel that they showed at E3. The wheel looks a bit small to me, but I am sure I will be buying it all the same.

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  5. brent

    What’s this I see? A Mario Kart writeup on TAGN?

    Arrgh, my eyes! NooooOOOOoooo….

    (Of course I say this knowing full well that I’ll eat these words in a year or two – daughter is only 2 right now.)

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  6. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    I will be waiting for a future podcast where Brenden will be the one in shock and telling you that you’ve gone soft.

    Then again, who knows what exposure to LEGO Universe might do to him.

    Anyway, I enjoy Mario Kart because now I finally have a driving game dumbed down enough that I am good at it!

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  7. Bildo

    Nay, let no one say Mario Kart is too simple. Play online with the DS against some of the world’s snakers and trappers and you’ll understand that there’s much more to it than powersliding and hoping for the best. Problem is, the AI’s not nearly as good as some kid with too much time.

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  8. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    I know you are right Bildo. I was just talking about me in a 50cc kart with my daughter handling the power-ups and punching the other drivers. We actually win races. Even going to the 100cc kart makes a win considerably less likely.

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  9. *vlad*

    Nothing more satisfying than following behind your friend, and then letting loose a volley of homing shellls just as he is approaching a big jump, bwahaha!
    Mario Kart is not for the feint-hearted.

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  10. Bildo

    I’m actually really excited for the Wii version. Not for online, not for motorcycles, but for the trick system. I wan to know more about that. Something to do while in the air in arcade racing games always adds to the fun for me. Like in Excite Truck when you can get boosts for landing proberly. I just hope it doesn’t get too complicated control-wise. I like being able to sit down and play the game with non-gamers et al.

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  11. smurf888stuff

    Hey-

    I have this same game for GameCube and I pt in in my Wii. I pressed buttons on my Wii remote and it doesn’t work. So thanks. BTW- do you know anyone who is selling some of those GameCube remotes? Thanks. :)

    Like

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