The Return of Mascot Kart Racing Games

It is becoming more apparent that Crash Team Racing is getting the remaster treatment and will be shown at the Game Awards this Thursday. In all seriousness, this is not too much of a surprise. CTR was one of the most popular kart racing games in the 90’s.  After the success of the N. Sane Trilogy, Activision is going to want to keep going back for more money and a lot of fans have been asking for this since the announcement of that trilogy remaster.

What is surprising to me is the sudden return of mascot kart racing games. This year might be an abnormality, but there have been three other kart racing games already announced. Think of all the kart racing games to release in the last 15 years. Besides Mario Kart, how many can you name?

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There is not many worthy enough to mention. No disrespect M&M’s Kart Racing, but I hate you and I need you to never show up around here again.

Now let’s take a look at either recent release or coming soon kart racers.

Star Fox: Grand Prix

In May of this year, rumors started swirling about a Star Fox racing game. Retro Studios, who made the Metroid Prime trilogy and Donkey Kong Country Returns, are allegedly developing the game. According to Jason Schreier of Kotaku, the game is supposed to be closer to Diddy Kong Racing than Mario Kart. Even though nothing official has been unveiled, it’s worth mentioning.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Mario Kart is obviously the most successful kart racing series out there and made the genre relevant. After its start in the 90’s, numerous other companies thought to take their most successful IPs and make them race against each other. What is most impressive about Mario Kart is every time a new one is released, it is a guaranteed good time even with the new mechanics added.

This time, anti-gravity was brought to the mix, and the Deluxe version, which was a port for the Nintendo Switch, allowed for having two items at the same time. Now just give us a Mario Kart: Double Dash 2 and I will be even happier with the series than I am now.

Mario Kart Tour

Maybe this is a little bit of a cheat since it is a phone game, but it’s Mario so I’m mentioning it! This game was announced in February and is expected to be out next March. Other than that, we do not know much about it.

Nickelodeon Kart Racers

I personally have not played this game, but it was one of the biggest surprises to me when it was announced. Seeing characters from 90’s cartoons seemed to come out of nowhere. After doing a little research on the game, it has gotten a lot of negative reviews and seems to have a tiny roster with many Nickelodeon favorites missing. Characters from Hey Arnold!, Rugrats, TMNT, and Spongebob Squarepants appear. Missing is Fairly Oddparents, Danny Phantom, Jimmy Neutron and others. They tried I guess? I’ll probably avoid this game, but I felt it was worth mentioning that it even happened.

Team Sonic Racing

The Sonic & All Stars Racing games are actually not that bad of games. If you want to see an example of a bad racing Sonic game, try Googling Sonic RTeam Sonic Racing drops the other Sega characters to solely focus on the blue hedgehog and his friends. The game is supposed to focus on the cooperative side, with the most cooperative teams having an advantage. In an article with Variety, a developer said the teamwork of Overwatch and Splatoon are inspirations for the game. It seems to be a different direction that Sumo Digital is taking the game in, but that makes the game an interesting take for me.

Plus, Sega actually delayed the game to give them more time to work on it. That’s a thing that doesn’t happen very much with them. There is a better chance it won’t be a broken mess.

Are more Kart Racers Good or Bad?

Do we want or even need more mascot kart racers? They were a big deal in the 90’s/early 2000’s. Can a game along the lines of Diddy Kong Racing release today be as successful today as it was back then? I think so. Every time a new Mario Kart comes out it is one of the most popular games for the console it releases on.

The important thing is that the developers of those games are not afraid to try new things to make the game fun. Think of the inclusion of tracks going underwater and paragliders coming out over large jumps in Mario Kart 7, or the anti-gravity sections in Mario Kart 8. Those are all fun inclusions that help change the game. Crazy items make things interesting. The characters are most likely what draws you in in the first place. The levels make the games replayable. I would surely think that developers today have enough ideas to keep making good kart racers.

Kart racers are some of the best games to play with friends and family. It allows for a playful, fun atmosphere that isn’t available in all games. I think making more games to bring people together is just as important as anything else in the gaming industry.

Do we Want a Remaster of Crash Team Racing?

Looking at a potential Crash Team Racing remaster has me perplexed though. While remasters have been a popular thing for many games in this generation, I cannot recall a time a racing game was remastered. Do we really want to replay CTR? Granted, I was much more of a Nintendo 64 fan over the original PlayStation, but I always remember preferring other kart racers over it.

What worries me is if CTR gets the same treatment that the N Sane Trilogy got and we realize we did not want it brought back. The first Crash Bandicoot game is important because it started that series, but I think we can all agree that the second and third games were far superior in almost every way. The inclusion of the original title in the remaster felt more like it was there just because it had to be. The level design is not good, and the platforming is definitely not as good as people remember. How are you going to feel when the controls of the racing game are not as fun as you remember?

Also, will the game feel too basic for today’s standards? Originally it never really added anything new to the conversation. It was just really good at what it did. Will that be good enough in 2019?

Regardless, if Crash Team Racing is officially announced at the Game Awards, a lot of people will be ecstatic. Kart racers are my personal favorite racing games to play and I am glad to see them still be relevant.

Do you hope that Crash Team Racing Remastered is announced? What is your personal favorite mascot racer? Let me know in the comments!

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John Hansen

When John was 4 years-old, his mom bought a Nintendo 64 with Super Mario 64 and the rest is history. Since that day, John has fallen in love with countless gaming franchises and has dived deep into the varied experiences of the many different gaming worlds. Nowadays, John has a beautiful daughter of his own who loves Minecraft, Pokémon, and the Lego games. John spends most of his gaming time playing Overwatch or whatever new game has caught his eye at the time. Outside of gaming, John has just finished his online classes for Ashford University where he completed a Bachelor’s degree for Journalism and Mass Communication. He has also started a Youtube gaming channel and is teaching himself how to edit videos and co-hosts a small hour long gaming podcast called the Pixel Street Podcast. With future goals of becoming a professional video game journalist, you can find John's blogs on multiple websites.

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