There’s nothing like that adrenaline rush you get from gaming. Whether it be destroying your friends in Call of Duty, coming face to face with the final boss in Breath of the Wild, or sneaking up behind a spider in Animal Crossing. There’s an undeniable rush that happens when you’re gaming, a feeling of gratification that one only gets when they feel they’ve done their best and it’s paid off.

Since lockdown started, many have started gaming again, or perhaps started gaming for the first time. Personally, I’ve started gaming again, my life before lockdown keeping me too busy to take a few hours to get engrossed in a video game. However, I’ve found myself playing a game that I should not be playing.  A game that has caused relationship breakdowns, tears to be shed, screaming matches. A game that no one tires from, a game that can feel so satisfying and so frustrating: Mario Kart.

No, there is nothing quite like that adrenaline rush, when you throw a blue shell at the person who’s been in first place the whole race during Mario Kart.

The screen displays you at the top of the podium in first place, them in second, and the game congratulates you both on a good game, completely unaware of the pandemonium it’s caused. Arguments, accusations of cheating, some insisting their remote wasn’t working properly, others giddy with the excitement of winning, everyone taunting, and calls for rematches, are all staples of the experience.  

Despite the arguments and the tension, and my mother pleading with me to just let my little brother and nephews win at least once, I can’t. It’s the principle of it all, if you agree to play Mario Kart, you’re entering the territory of, “I don’t care who you are, I don’t care if you’re my boss, my elderly grandmother, a Prince offering me riches and jewels if I let him win, I am going to kick your ass at Mario Kart.”

Upon realizing the fight for dominance on the racetracks of Moo Moo Meadows was tearing my family apart, I decided to retire for a while. In my retirement I decided to compile a list of tips to stop you from letting a game where a plumber drives a go-cart and throws bananas at his dinosaur rival, tear your relationships apart.

Be humble:

So you’ve won the children’s game. You won and you’re feeling pretty damn good about yourself and that’s allowed. But, bragging is not attractive, and it diminishes your victory. Yes, it feels good to win and it feels good to boast, but it won’t feel good when you’re made to sleep on the couch because your significant other is thick at you for taking it too far.

Be generous:

Yeah, you like to win, but it’s not fair on the other player, especially if they’re not as skilled as you if you just keep winning. If you’re playing with someone with limited knowledge of the controls, or with someone who’s used to playing on a different console, give them a crash course lesson, and maybe (just maybe) let them win one race.

Just have fun:

At the end of the day, it’s just a game. If you find you’re playing just to beat each other and it’s getting a little too competitive and feelings are being hurt, maybe play something else. The last thing needed during lockdown is a Wii remote related injury because someone got a little too annoyed (my biggest fear is the remote flying out of my hand and breaking my TV, I’ve seen it happen and that is a level of internet famous I am not ready for).

Please, don’t let Mario and his rip off of Fast and the Furious disrupt your relationships. There are better ways to get that adrenaline rush, like playing Mario Kart on the Nintendo Switch on 200cc. That’s a guaranteed way to make sure everyone loses, no one’s bragging, and everyone is having fun, while simultaneously being really pissed off.

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