LivePlay: Mario Kart 8

Posted by Simon on May 30, 2014
Live Blog

Mario Kart 8

Here we go! Join me (us) as I (we) career through the latest and greatest Mario Kart!

It’s a Live Blog, so you’ll see all our updates as they happen without refreshing and, as soon as I get the YouTube uploader working, there’s going to be some video too. Enjoy!

Simon 30 May 201410:38

Hello! Going to dive in with a quick single player race, Grand Prix Mushroom Cup with Mario in his standard Kart. Vroom.

Simon 30 May 201410:42

Oh God. It’s so shiny. Nextgenwhatnow?

Simon 30 May 201410:47

OK. Going to try and get this replay uploaded.

Simon 30 May 201410:48

So, the replays can be edited to either show 30, 45 or 60 second edited highlights, or you can watch the whole thing in full. However, only clips of up to 60 seconds can be uploaded, so it’s highlights for you I’m afraid.

Simon 30 May 201410:49

Makes sense, though. You’d spend most of your time uploading otherwise. It’s worth mentioning again that the replay mode really shows off this amazing engine.

Simon 30 May 201410:51

Right, so it seems like you have to watch the highlighted replay before uploading. Converting it, maybe?

Simon 30 May 201410:54

Uploading now but I have no idea if it’s going to my channel or Awesome Friday’s. No option to choose. Sign-up process is easy so far though.

Simon 30 May 201410:58

While we wait, here’s what you’ll see during the upload:

Simon 30 May 201410:59

I know I’m being really fussy now, but it’s a real shame you can’t go on playing while it uploads in the background. You can watch the replay while it does its thing, though, so you’ll have something on during the tea breaks.

Simon 30 May 201411:00


Simon 30 May 201411:01


Simon 30 May 201411:02

Cookies, whatever. Potato, Potato.

Simon 30 May 201411:02

90%. MK now racing with the kettle.

Simon 30 May 201411:03

And we’re done. That was for the full 60 secs, obviously the 30/45 sec versions would be much quicker.

Simon 30 May 201411:04

It works!

Simon 30 May 201411:04

Right. Time to race again.

Simon 30 May 201411:10

Water Park, a fairground of colour and underwater drifting. It’s nice that the underwater sections don’t slow everything down. The noise of Mario’s Kart is just sublime.

Simon 30 May 201411:12

OK, going to upload a 30 sec highlight reel and see how long it takes in comparison. Re-watching now. Must be a conversion playthrough.

Simon 30 May 201411:12

So, once you’re signed into Google, the upload is easy. Three button presses and you’re off. Upload already at 20%.

Simon 30 May 201411:17

All done.

Simon 30 May 201411:18

To be fair, i think it was done a few mins ago, but I was having a time with a biscuit.

Simon 30 May 201411:19

Yep. Easy as pie. 30 second Water Park:

Simon 30 May 201411:19

Sweet Sweet Canyon next. The screen looks edible.

Simon 30 May 201411:23


Simon 30 May 201411:25

First place, last lap, Blue Shell followed by two Red Shells followed by Bowser beating me just before the time.

Simon 30 May 201411:25

So it`s Mario Kart then!

Simon 30 May 201411:26

Not uploading that one, obviously. There`s a new weapon that uses a sound wave to push anything away, even a Blue Shell, but I used it up without realising what it was.

Simon 30 May 201411:26

Still top of the league table. Next!

Simon 30 May 201411:27

Thwomp Ruins.

Simon 30 May 201411:31

Oh, that`s a great track. Racing round a jungle structure with stomping blocks and (seemingly) multiple routes. Uploading.

Simon 30 May 201411:32

Timing it this time.

Simon 30 May 201411:34

I`d love to know why you have to watch it in full before hitting upload.

Simon 30 May 201411:34


Simon 30 May 201411:37

And done. 4mins 15sec for 30 sec clip.

Simon 30 May 201411:38

Thwomp Ruins 30 sec reel:

Simon 30 May 201411:38

TEA UPDATE: I now have tea.

Simon 30 May 201411:40

I win! A montage of all my best moments over a fantastic live theme. The music is sensational, of course.

Simon 30 May 201411:40

I have unlocked Flower Cup! Well thank goodness for that.

Simon 30 May 201411:40

And a new character! Which is…

Simon 30 May 201411:41

…they didnt tell me. Im sure I`ll find out soon enough.

Simon 30 May 201411:42

Having a look at Mario Kart TV before next race. Its a collection of the videos I've already saved as well as videos from other players. I'll be honest, its stuff like this that`ll keep me hooked for hours. Love community integration.

Simon 30 May 201411:43

Having a look at Mario Kart TV before next race. It’s a collection of the videos I’ve already saved as well as videos from other players. I’ll be honest, it’s stuff like this that`ll keep me hooked for hours. Love community integration.

Simon 30 May 201411:45

Haha! Select a video and it plays on a screen inside your screen with other Miis watching! Screenception. You can also do slow/fast scrubbing with the analogue sticks. Brilliant.

Simon 30 May 201411:46

OK, not going to fall down the rabbit hole of other videos. Race time!

Simon 30 May 201411:47

My new character is Metal Mario. Peach’s favourite.

Simon 30 May 201411:49

Going to roll with Yoshi and change out the Kart parts. Can’t see any indication of differences in performance, so I guess it’s just superficial. But the pieces look like the awesome machines you’d ride as a kid in shopping malls. My Yoshi is riding a rocket with monster wheels because he can.

Simon 30 May 201411:50

Kart selection screen with Yoshi ready to go:×333.jpg

Simon 30 May 201411:51

Note: right click and open these pic/video links in new tabs, otherwise it’ll take you away from the blog, and you wouldn’t want that, would you? WOULD YOU

Simon 30 May 201411:51

OK, let’s ride.

Simon 30 May 201411:52

50cc, Flower Cup. Mario Circuit’s first up.

Simon 30 May 201411:56

The difficulty – and aggressiveness of other AI racers – is ramping up quickly, which I’m really happy about as Mushroom Cup was pretty easy.

Simon 30 May 201411:57

I wonder how many times I’ll want to tell you how beautiful this game is.

Simon 30 May 201411:58

Toad Harbour now.

Simon 30 May 201411:59

Gah! Went down a short cut that wasn’t a short cut and now I’m way back in 12th. Time for a miracle recovery!

Simon 30 May 201412:04

FIRST, MOFO. This game is so well balanced, but I had to first off so many attacks in the last lap! great stuff. Uploading this one!

Simon 30 May 201412:08

You’re getting the full 60 seconds of this one, so hang tight a few minutes.

Simon 30 May 201412:14


Simon 30 May 201412:15

And we’re done.

Simon 30 May 201412:17

Simon 30 May 201412:17

Guess who’s just worked out how to embed YouTube video!

Simon 30 May 201412:19

Ghostly Castle Place now (probably not its proper name)

Simon 30 May 201412:26

Another great track, full of undulating creepy corridors and layers of multiple routes. Mario Kart 8‘s gimmick is being able to drive along walls, allowing each part of the track to be a whole new route. You get the feeling there’s loads of secret shortcuts to discover.

Simon 30 May 201412:28

While posting to YouTube you can also post to Miiverse with a message to go with your video. It’s all very clean and simple. Nice.

Simon 30 May 201412:28

And, if you post to Miiverse, it’ll also tell you how long the video has left to upload.

Simon 30 May 201412:30

Twisted Mansion, 30 second reel;

Simon 30 May 201412:30

Twisted Mansion, 30 second reel:

Simon 30 May 201412:31

Last race now. Going for straight firsts.

Simon 30 May 201412:36

YES. Shy Guy Falls is wonderful – a mid-lap race up a gushing river, aiming for the turbo pads, ends in a mad dive down a waterfall. It’s beautiful.

Simon 30 May 201412:38

My heavily pregnant wife has just gone and bought me a Subway <3. Going to eat while this highlight reel uploads!

Simon 30 May 201412:50

Subway consumed, wife kissed, video uploaded. LOOK AT THE SHINY:

Simon 30 May 201412:54

Results screen!

Results screen!

Simon 30 May 201412:57

Right, on to 50cc Star Cup, Sunshine Airport, Toad on a BIKE.

Simon 30 May 201413:01

Sunshine Airport is stunning visually but very easy. Didn’t really see anyone else after first thirty seconds. Need to dive in to 150cc after this Cup, I think.

Simon 30 May 201413:04

Dolphin Shoal (?) now, almost totally underwater. Underwater tracks have always been my least favourite part of MK.

Simon 30 May 201413:13

Dolphin Shoals is worth choosing just for the sunlight bloom as you emerge up out of the water. MK8 would look completely at home on next-gen consoles and it rattles along at a constantly 60fps. If only Nintendo could get third-parties on board to actually make games of this quality for the WiiU.

Simon 30 May 201413:14

Next is a wild disco-themed track called Electrodome. Toad’s bike is fine, but it has a different feel to the karts and I’m already planning to go back to them.

Simon 30 May 201413:20

WOW. Electrodome is a twisting psychedelic trip trough a stereo with music everywhere. That’s a great track. Uploading now!

Simon 30 May 201413:33

Look at the digital trails!

Simon 30 May 201413:35

OK, got to take a little break to take care of a few things. Get a tea. See you in twenty!

Simon 30 May 201413:57

Aaaaand we’re back. Next race.

Simon 30 May 201413:59

Holy shit. Didn’t catch the name of the track – something like Mount Wario – but going to drop to last place just so I can show you this vista.

Simon 30 May 201414:09

My phone camera does not do it justice:

Simon 30 May 201414:09

Right. Time for another comeback.

Simon 30 May 201414:16

Fantastic. Mount Wario is a top-to-bottom slalom down a mountain, and an absolute blast.

Simon 30 May 201414:17

30 second highlight reel incoming. Wish I could upload the whole thing (although I’d soon get tired of the 30min+ wait).

Simon 30 May 201414:21

Mount Wario 30sec highlight reel:

Simon 30 May 201414:24

OK, I’ll be wrapping up the LivePlay around 3pm-ish, so there’s a few things I want to try. First, 150cc Special Cup – it has Rainbow Road as a final track!

Simon 30 May 201414:24

First up, Cloudtop Cruise. Eager to see how the jump in speed affects the difficulty.

Simon 30 May 201414:30

Ouch! From first to fifth in final lap, got absolutely pummeled. AI much more aggressive. Track is gorgeous though, a flight up to a fairytale airship then up into the clouds onto a metal Wario track. Soundtrack seamlessly changes from srings and flutes to drums and rock guitar. So clever.

Simon 30 May 201414:31

Next up is Dry-Bones Road, a parched desert track all red and dusty.

Simon 30 May 201414:35

Haha! You know when I said that I was finding it too easy…I’m not worried about that any more.

Simon 30 May 201414:36

8th, in case you were wondering. Massive step up in AI tactics and aggression. Doesn’t feel cheap though (or any less cheap than usual).

Simon 30 May 201414:37

Bowser’s Castle now. Very pretty intro.

Simon 30 May 201414:38

METAL GUITAR SOUNDTRACK IS AMAZING. I think this – as well as Super Mario 3D World</em. – were recorded live. Can that be a requirement for all future games, please? Everything just sounds fantastic.

Simon 30 May 201414:39

METAL GUITAR SOUNDTRACK IS AMAZING. I think this – as well as Super Mario 3D World – were recorded live. Can that be a requirement for all future games, please? Everything just sounds fantastic.

Simon 30 May 201414:44

Brilliant! Fourth, with a last minute Crazy Eight (one of every power-up) helping me to the finish!

Simon 30 May 201414:53


Simon 30 May 201414:54

OK. Rainbow Road. Let’s go!

Simon 30 May 201415:03

Really tough race but finished 8th, 5th overall in the Grand Prix. Helped very much by the “you’re doing really badly” power-ups of multiboost and massive Bullet Bill. I love how the game chooses its seemingly random power-ups depending on how you’re doing. It’s like it’s constantly watching you and just wants to make sure that you’re always having a great time. And it totally works.

Simon 30 May 201415:03

Uploading a full 60sec reel so you can marvel at my inadequacy.

Simon 30 May 201415:14

Rainbow Road 60sec highlight reel:

Simon 30 May 201415:14

Well hello blinking battery light.

Simon 30 May 201415:15

Matt’s just got here. For hijinx.

Simon 30 May 201415:16

OK. Last thing I want to try is online, because that can only go well.

Simon 30 May 201415:17

Online options: Worldwide, Regional, Freinds, Tournaments. Going Worldwide.

Simon 30 May 201415:19

Spectating while it finds a race for me. C’mon Nintendo, this game hasn’t put a foot wrong yet. Let’s do it.

Simon 30 May 201415:26

The good news: online is seamless and smooth as the main game. Good work Nintendo. Bad news: I came last.

Simon 30 May 201415:27

OK. One last online race. I get the feeling that might be a common phrase.

Simon 30 May 201415:32

Online is exactly the same as the single player game except without any AI players allowing you to catch up. Also, I may have come last (again) but I was in the tail end of the pack all the way through. It’s really, really good.

Simon 30 May 201415:34

My main controller’s just died so Matt’s now having a go with the Wiimote. It’s set to motion control by default, so now there’s an amount of flailing.

Matthew 30 May 201415:44

Here now. Playing the game. Haven’t played MarioCart of any variety since I had a GameCube, which I sold before the Wii came out.

Matthew 30 May 201415:45

Kind of like riding a bike though. All the old tricks seem to still work. Also, motion control with the WiiMote+ surprisingly good.

Matthew 30 May 201415:52

Perfect score on the first grand prix. Unlocked a motorbike. I like this game already.

Simon 30 May 201415:54

It’s a good bike, big chrome and firey paintjob. My son will be happy.

Simon 30 May 201416:09

OK, Matt’s just finished his second Grand Prix so this is where we need to finish the LivePlay. Hope you enjoyed it as much as we did! We’ll be playing some local multiplayer later this evening, so keep an eye on our Twitter feed for more tales of Kart-related fun. Bye from me!

Matthew 30 May 201416:10

AI agressiveness starts to ramp up nicely as you advance. It’s a nice curve, not so shallow the game stays easy but not so steep that it’s like running headlong into a brick wall.

Matthew 30 May 201416:11

Ad we’re signing off for now. Look for more updates later!

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