Nintendo president Satoru Iwata is asking questions of his employees again in the ongoing "Iwata Asks" series of interviews. This time the focus is on Mario Kart Wii and the new Wii Wheel accessory. The five-part series touches on plenty of Mario Kart goodness including the development of the original Super Mario Kart, the challenges of squeezing more power out of the Nintendo 64 for the sequel, working out the kinks of online play in Mario Kart DS, the creation of more than two dozen prototypes of the new Wii Wheel, working motorbikes into the classic Kart formula, and plenty of other fascinating topics. They even touch on the game's unusual box art that I questioned a few months ago.
Iwata: So just with the controls of the Wii Wheel alone, you had absolute confidence.
Konno: Absolutely. That’s why we decided to show characters holding the Wii Wheel on the package. We really want people who think of conventional controllers as being difficult to try it out. When we made Mario Kart DS, my parents tried to play it together with their grandchild, but it was difficult for them to use the +Control Pad. They were saying, “This is hard!” I thought that was really too bad... It really drove home the need to make it even more user-friendly. So the Wii Wheel is a perfect fit for a broad audience.
Read all the way to the end of the series to see some special edition Wii Wheels including a golden version. When I saw the photo of the gold wheel I immediately flashed back to 1997 and the Mario Kart 64 contest from Nintendo Power in which the fastest time on the Mario Circuit track was rewarded with a special gold Nintendo 64 controller. I failed to take advantage of the
rotten cheating glitch exploit "shortcut" over a certain dividing wall, so my time was nowhere near contention for the prize. I was bitter about it back in the day, but time has a way of healing all wounds... until I saw that damn golden Wii Wheel just now and dredged up the sour memory.