At times it can feel overwhelming driving in the race course of life, especially when you never know what’s going to get you a gold cup or a Koopa shell in the bottom. Choosing your career can be a daunting task let alone surviving through the day to day work of one. Thankfully we have video games to play when we say “move over life I’m taking a break”. Perhaps though, our video games can teach us how to make it through all this chaos, if only we paid more attention to how we play them. If we were to take a step back from Mario Kart, could we chance to learn a few good lessons on getting through life and our careers? Let’s start those engines running because the next time you pick up Mario Kart, you may find the Bullet Bill you needed to take the lead… in your actual life.
Finding the character that suits you.
Finding your career requires browsing the character roster. There’s going to be a lot of choice and the first one you pick may not be the best one for you. Sure you might like the idea of Mario, he is the hero after all, but that doesn’t mean he fulfils what you need; maybe you’re best bet is Bowser (and that doesn’t make you the villain…). The point is you’ve got to feel that who you’ve chosen is right for you; otherwise you’ll just be stuck in the middle rankings of wasted potential. And even once you’ve found that character, you’ve got to decide what vehicle you’re going to use. Don’t let all this choice intimidate you, try things out, there are many options to take advantage of and its worth taking the time to figure out which option works best for you, even if you don’t immediately grasp the mechanics. Once you’ve got the feel of things coming first starts becoming a reality.
Making your way to Pole Position
Just like picking your character, your way to the top will involve a lot of testing out the roads, with success not an immediate certainty. There are a lot of new tracks on offer and even some you’ve seen before, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be a cake walk, sometimes you’re still going to be POW’ed into the ground and burn out in a plume of lava. And sooner or later the speed is going to increase and you’ve got to decide if you can keep up. Sounds rough on paper but in reality it’s all about finding what race mode you’re comfortable playing. 50cc through to Mirrored, it doesn’t matter which one you choose as long as you feel comfortable where you’re at. However don’t be afraid to step up your game because if you want to make your way to the top you’ve got to be prepared to fall before you rise. Achieving that golden cup or triple star ranking feels all the more deserved if you’ve worked hard for it and overcome the challenges before you. So keep trying even when you fall because in time you can shoot to that exceptional level you want and begin to really stand out in the online rankings.
Working Alongside Others
Sure when the race is on, it’s you versus everyone else. There is only one first place and one last; it can be war out there. But you’re still participating with others so it’s best to appreciate what they bring to the rankings as well as how they affect your enjoyment in taking part. Some are in the game for the fun, while others want first so bad they will save every red shell they get to batter you down every time you try to overtake them. Yet nobody can expect to finish in first every time nor should they. Sometimes you can be cheated out of victory (a strong first place position turned sour through blue shell, lightning, red shell, another blue shell resulting in Wii remote hole in television), while sometimes you just simply weren’t or someone else was on top form today. It’s important to remember at all times that there’s always another race around the corner, another chance to try again, even when it doesn’t seem likely. No more holes in the TV, we just had the year of Luigi and Mario hasn’t been complaining. Besides, falling in place can be exciting too; when a new player enters the game the challenge they bring could motivate you to try harder, or teach you a thing or two before the cup is over. The trick to racing with others is to keep an open mind and be considerate, because not only might you grow a little through it, you might also make some friends along the way.
When to Call it a Day
It can be very important to know when to call it a day. Whether there’s no thrill in the race anymore or it turns you into something ugly, it’s good to know when to get out before your online scores reach an all-time low. If playing feels meaningless or today you just simply cannot catch a break sometimes stepping away for however long can be the best thing that ever happened to you. There’s always tomorrow, or there are always the fond memories of the old days to hold onto. However to keep grinding on despite all this, no matter how much you want that triple star ranking, it’s just going to make you unhappy and taint this thing you once loved to play. Maybe sometimes it’s best to stop playing for the day, or maybe just play something else… another copy of Mario Kart? (There are almost 8 series entries to try). And most importantly, don’t be afraid to move on because it might be the best decision you ever made. Remember this is Mario Kart, how can you spoil that part of your life!
So there we have it, how Mario Kart is essentially a metaphor on how to get on in life. So next time you’re playing the game, perhaps you’ll see how your play style reflects your attitude towards your life and career… or at least your attitude towards Mario Kart…