Mario Kart: Q & A

I found this link online of a little animation. It’s from Mario Kart. Specifically, it’s of a Koopa Trooper about to get hit by a blue shell, but right at the last second he uses a mushroom and barely escapes the detonation. I kept watching it over and over again. Which was actually easy, because it’s a gif, and it was only like five seconds long, so it just plays over and over and over again.

Q: What’s a blue shell?

A: Blue shells are really rare weapons in Mario Kart. They look like a blue turtle shell with spikes and wings coming out of it.

Q: What’s Mario Kart?

A: Mario Kart is a series of Nintendo games. All of the Nintendo characters drive around in cars and you … you know, you race and stuff. But it’s not just a racing game. I mean, it is, because the whole goal is to cross the finish line first. But there are little floating question mark boxes all around the courses that, when you crash into them, you get items, like shells or …

Q: You crash into the floating question marks? Isn’t crashing bad in racing games?

A: Yeah, but the boxes are translucent. And floating. So maybe crash wasn’t the best word. Or maybe it was. When you drive through one, the box crashes open. Well, it dissolves really, and then …

Q: So you can get these blue shells just by crashing into them? I thought you said they were really rare.

A: Well, you can get any shell really, blue, red, green. When you drive through a question mark box, a little box pops up on the screen and all of the items start blinking. After a second or two you are given an item somewhat randomly.

Q: I’m confused. Is this new box the same box as the question mark box that, how did you describe it, dissolved?

A: No, that was an actual box, like part of the course. These boxes that pop up aren’t part of anything, they’re just for the viewer to see, like to see what item you get. There are a lot of things on the screen that aren’t part of the course. There’s a speedometer. There’s a map, like a little map with little characters that show where you are on the …

Q: What’s the difference between a green shell and a blue shell?

A: The question should really be, “What’s the difference between a green shell and a red shell,” because, like I was trying to say, the blue shells are super rare. Well, they used to be even rarer when Mario Kart 64 came out sixteen years ago. Some of the newer games just give out blue shells to whoever happens to be in last place. Basically, a green shell fires in a linear direction, either straight ahead or behind. A red shell is more like a homing missile, knocking out whoever happens to be closest.

Q: Maybe I should play the game. You’re not doing a great job of describing it.

A: First of all, who hasn’t played Mario Kart? What are you Amish? Secondly, that was a perfectly descriptive description. Green shells, straight. Red shells, homing missiles.

Q: Yeah but you started off talking about blue shells, you still haven’t told me what they do, and I’m watching that little graphic and I don’t get why you think you’d write a whole blog post based off of a weird little video game joke.

A: All right, listen, when I allowed some Q & A, I expected maybe some actual questions. That wasn’t a question, it was just you stating that you don’t get it, and then making a very thinly veiled criticism about my whole writing process.

Q: Thinly veiled? What was thin about it? I think it was a bad decision for you to base a whole essay based on a blue shell.

A: It’s not just about the blue shell, I was trying to explain …

Q: How about a question? Why are you spending so much time on the Internet looking at stupid little video game cartoons? Shouldn’t you be writing more?

A: Yeah, well, I am writing, I was just blowing off some steam and I …

Q: And what are all of these open tabs on your browser? What’s a Super Mario wiki?

A: Listen, you know how the Internet is. One click leads to another. The Super Mario wiki is like Wikipedia but only dedicated to Mario. It’s like …

Q: You see what I mean? What’s this tab here? Who’s Tatanga?

A: Tatanga. He’s the bad guy from the Super Mario Land, you remember, that original Game Boy game?

Q: You know what? You lost me. I’m done.

A: Come on, you never played Game Boy? You don’t know what Mario Kart is? How did you get to this blog in the first place? Hello? Hello?

2 thoughts on “Mario Kart: Q & A

  1. skippy

    I hate to do this and very rarely do but since Mario Kart is one of my favorite games I have to correct you :/

    The blue shell isn’t rare, it may not be given all the time but I certainly would not call it rare. You get the blue shell when you’re in 6th place or below. What the blue shell does is it targets whose ever in first place and once it targets you there is almost nothing you can do, it will get you. (you the Gif you are watching is false there is no escape.)

    when you hit a question mark box it may seem like you are getting stuff pretty randomly but this also not the case. The game will give you things based on what place you are in. for example: if your in first place and hit a box they aren’t going to give you a speed mushroom you are probably going to get a banana peel.

  2. Rob G. Post author

    Yeah, you’re totally right. I remember playing the original Mario Kart on SNES, and the lightning was actually rare, like my brothers and I hardly ever got it. I guess from that point on I always just equated the really cool items with rarity, even though, like you pointed out, the blue shell isn’t really that rare in the N64 version.


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