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Free Mario Kart 8 Update Adds Features, Karts

Mario Kart 8Nintendo's Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U has done very well in both critical and sales terms, but the company isn't content to let the game rest in this era of patches and updates.  A new expansion for the game scheduled for free release on August 27 will add some requested changes and three new karts.  Crave Online summarizes the new additions:

  • Drivers will now have the option to display the course map on the TV screen during races.
  • The order of the menu after each race will be changed to “Next Race”, followed by “Watch Highlight Reel”.
  • The game will remember the most recent kart options that were selected, even if the Wii U system was powered down.
  • Users will be able to change options of other players’ Mario Kart TV downloaded highlight reels, such as changing the focus to different characters or actions.
  • A score screen will be added so players can see how many coins they’ve collected, the win-loss record of their online battles and their frequently used characters.
  • Improved the stability of the online connection to enhance user experience during online battles.

I think I'm most excited by the default option to move to the next race selection since I often inadvertently trigger the highlight reel by jamming the A button to continue.  It seems strange to be excited by a menu item, but this is the world in which we live now.  Let's say that in the grander scheme of things, we're seeing Nintendo react to suggestions from the community.  That sounds more important than a menu item.

As for for the free karts, three vehicles based on real life Mercedes cars will be a part of this update.  It's part of an advertising partnership between the automaker and Nintendo in Japan, but why hold back content from the rest of the world?  There's a trailer of the new karts in action, but I have to admit that something about seeing Nintendo's beloved characters pitching cars this way feels wrong.  There's no way for Nintendo to win this one; either they release the content internationally and people complain about the advertising element or they don't release it and people complain about the company withholding content.  Let's just all agree that if you like the Mercedes karts, you'll use them and if not, then you won't.