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LakituI really should read press releases more closely when big blocks of text appear to be filled with mere marketing boilerplate.  Buried in Nintendo of America's announcement about its 2011 and early 2012 Nintendo 3DS titles (I covered it yesterday, as you'll recall) is a paragraph about Mario Kart 7 that reveals two new playable characters to the franchise.

Mario Kart 7 will be available Dec. 4 and will include a new optional first-person driving mode that is controlled using the gyro sensor. The game also introduces new playable characters like Lakitu and Metal Mario, and a tricks system like the one in Mario Kart™ Wii.

That's certainly a surprise!  I'm curious about what kind of uniqueness they bring to the Mario Kart experience, but I'm especially interested in learning who holds the traffic signal and fishes characters out of bottomless pits when Lakitu is competing in the race.  After all, Lakitu has always been somewhat of a referee in the series.  Moreover, if there's any justice, Lakitu simply zips around in his trusty cloud instead of getting behind the wheel of a vehicle.  There's plenty of creative opportunity here and I hope that Nintendo seizes it.