Mario Kart DS
Name: Mario Kart DS
Platform: Nintendo DS
Each video game series has a high point that stands out and defines the series as a whole for its fans. After the Gamecube version of Mario Kart was released to poor reception, many people thought that the series could only get worse. Most figured that Mario Kart 64 was indeed that high point. For years the question loomed: were gamers fated to have to polish off an old cartridge every time they craved racing?
The DS version of Mario Kart answered that. It took everything about the previous games that made them good and made them better. Every racer, map, technique, and sound effect that made Mario Kart the premier racer was packed into a small stamp of a game. It's safe to say that next to Pokémon, Mario Kart DS was the most important and successful handheld title; thus securing Nintendo’s firm grasp on the market.
The amount of content in this game is ridiculous. There are more tracks and racers than in any previous game. Nintendo hand picked the most beloved tracks from the last three games and brought them over here. The characters are plentiful, each with a large selection of karts to choose from, which affect everything from basic speed to drifting.
And then there is the online play.
When Mario Kart Double Dash came out for the Gamecube several groups of people spent time creating tools to play it online with a small community. Now, due to Nintendo finally pulling its head out of the sand, online play is easy to access, and built into the game.
The multiplayer is good all over, allowing for as many as 8 players to go head to head even if only one person has the cartridge. Sure, they have to race as shy guy, but shy guy rocks. You can even design your own custom decal to show the whole world as you spray them with blue sparks in Rainbow Road.
Mario Kart DS is far and beyond the best in the series. None of the other titles can even come close to the number of maps, characters, and overall fun to be had. I have played against people all across the country and I've even enjoyed playing local games on airplanes or in the back of cars. This game has everything any Kart lover would want.