Mario Kart gaming grows in popularity

Jake Klein, Journalist

On Monday, Feb. 24, the Warhawk Alley hosted a Mario Kart Tournament open to all students regardless of their video game experience. The cost to participate in the tournament was $5, and the Warhawk Alley saw 15 people in attendance. Mario Kart has many different versions on different gaming consoles, but this tournament was played on the Nintendo Wii. The first-place winner received a $30 gift basket and the second-place winner received a t-shirt and a $10 gift card to Heat N’ Fire. After everyone checked in, Ryan Nissen, who was in charge of the tournament, randomly split everyone for the first round of matchups.

“For the first round there will be five groups of three, and the top two will advance to the next round based on how many points you finish with,” said Nissan.

Normally in Mario Kart, you race against other peers and CPU drivers, but for this tournament, the CPU drivers were removed, and it was straight head to head for all of the races. In the first round, everyone in the group picked a track to race on. If they finished first, they’d get 15 points, second got eight points and third got four points. If there was a tie at the end of all three races, all players had to agree on a track to split the tiebreak.

As the tournament progressed, it went from three people in a group, down to two, which made the races much more intense. Every player had to choose a character and a vehicle as well, which they couldn’t change until the start of the next round. There were a lot of strategies that players used in the picking of their characters and vehicles when they raced.

Every round was different in terms of the number of races the participants would partake in and how many opponents they raced against. Some of the participants picked their loadout based on which track they were going to choose.

“I chose my character and bike combination because I knew I’d have an advantage on at least one of the tracks,” said participant Jay Milton.

Some of the characters weigh more or less, and can get different specials which all go into strategy regarding how they were trying to race. Those attributes suit certain tracks better than others, and all the players had to take that into consideration when choosing their characters each round.

   In the final round, all three players chose a track, and then raced a fourth time on the infamous Rainbow Road. It was a very intense series, but junior Josh Fugate ended up being victorious. Fugate’s been playing Mario Kart for over 10 years and it paid off on Monday. With there being so many races if you made it to the finals, some of the players changed their strategy for the finals. Fugate wasn’t one of those people, and it ended up paying off for him in the long haul.

“I went with the mock bike for all of my races. It has much better stats and way sharper turns which I think is important, and it gave an advantage on some of the tracks, too,” Fugate said.

Fugate also stuck with the same character (Daisy), for all of his races. “Daisy has really good stats and has always been a personal favorite of mine.”

Warhawk Alley congratulates Fugate and encourages more people to get involved in future events. If interested, more information can be found on the Warhawk Alley website under the UC page.