02 July 2006

By way of a simple warning, let me just say that if you think you’re hot stuff on Mario Kart DS and find yourself wanting to try the online gameplay, don’t – at least not until you’ve mastered the art of “snaking”. I’ve just learned this the hard way. Apparently a strategy of the elite MK’ers is to use a power-slide technique that gives a quick boost, and to do so over and over again on courses that allow (those that don’t have drop-offs or narrow curves). I know this technique, but haven’t quite mastered pulling it off the way these guys do.

There’s plenty of debate over this so-called “skill”, with arguments both for and against it. One thought is that since it’s part of the game, and not a glitch, learning it is part of advancing your skill, and what separates you from being a beginner. The other opinion is that it alienates newcomers and robs from the spirit of the game. I’ll go ahead and say that I subscribe to the latter argument – as I am completely frustrated with the technique being used against me during my first online race.

If I sound bitter it’s because I am. After all, I’m not half-bad! :)

I look at it this way: The game was designed to be used with certain “items” that, used in conjunction with dynamic driving, should make for a fun and somewhat fair competition. Using the snaking technique completely eliminates the need for items – as most snakers don’t even use their L button (the one used to deploy whatever item is in reserve). Really, watching the tutorial videos of snaking, and observing what I did just now in my online race, I cannot see how that could be fun after a week.

But it is just a game, after all, and while I’d love to continue ranting about it I’ve got some snaking practice to get in.