“Welcome to Mario Kart!”
If you read that in your head in the voice of an overall-wearing, mustachioed plumber, and were instantly transported back to a time before wireless remotes, flat screen TVs and devices more powerful than your giant (in retrospect) SNES console that fit in the palm of your hand … then you, like me, are a grown-up Nintendo kid.
I first realized the impact Nintendo games had on my life when I was riding along the bike lanes in Montreal and would get the irresistible urge to centre my tires and pedal as hard as possible over the shared lane chevrons painted on the pavement. Speed boost! (To be clear, I was well into my twenties.)
Although my husband and I had very different childhood interests, we both grew up in Nintendo-loving families, where sibling rivalries often revolved around Mario Kart championships. When we discovered my parents had kept my old SNES console, we were eager to introduce our son to Mario and his friends. With only one television screen and four kids, though, we were interested in an affordable gaming system he could enjoy without monopolizing the family TV. The technology has come a long way from the handheld, pocket-sized, dual-screen Donkey Kong games my parents have preserved since the 80s and the first Game Boy I remember my brother playing (he had to turn on the light in the car so he could see the screen at night), but the thrill of being able to play the games you love wherever you are is the same.
Even though 1992 still seems like it was only a decade ago, it’s been 26 years since the first Mario Kart game came out. The New Nintendo 2DS XL console comes pre-loaded with Mario Kart 7, and just to make me feel even older, the original Mario Kart cartridge is bigger than the New Nintendo 2DS XL …
… a unit that boasts a camera that lets you play AR games on your kitchen table, a touch screen, a top gameplay screen that’s almost 5”, WiFi connectivity, an even faster processor than its predecessors, and built-in amiibo support.
After school is my son’s time to unwind, and like his dad, his favourite way to do so is to play video games. The Nintendo 2DS XL is his escape while I run around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to get dinner made while simultaneously settling his twin brothers down for bed and occupying his preschool-aged sister. We live in a pretty small space for a family of six, so the portability of his New Nintendo 2DS XL means he can make himself comfortable just about anywhere. He’s still at the age where he likes to be close to his mama, but sometimes the simultaneous wailing of his three younger siblings gets to be a bit much!
My son is just on the cusp of being able to read, although his reading skills are primarily focused on French. It’s on the New Nintendo 2DS XL that he is practicing his English reading, and for a kid like him there’s probably no better motivator to learning to read than knowing he’ll be able to understand the instructions in his favourite video games. (And on the flipside, you could always set your system to French if you were so inclined!) Because his dad and I are hopelessly nostalgic, we love that his favourite games feature the Nintendo characters we love.
Nintendo Selects offers our favourite, old-school-becomes-new-school games at an affordable price, like Zelda: A Link Between Worlds and Super Mario 3D Land. The Nintendo 2DS XL and the Nintendo Selects titles are the perfect entry-level personal gaming system for kids 6 and up, although you know that us grown ups are sneaking off to play it once the junior gamers are asleep!
This post is brought to you by Nintendo but the images and opinions are my own.