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RIP Ralph Baer (1922-2014) I really, really hate writing obits. I really do. But I take it as a personal honor to be able to say good things about the men and women I respect, whether in this industry or just in my life, and Ralph Baer is the reason all of this exists in the first...


The Mario Machine and the Ultimate Driving Machine

Posted on Wednesday, August 13 @ 17:30:00 Eastern by ryanbates

On August 27, Mario & Co. will be racing around Sunshine Airport in karts, bikes, ATVs, or the all-new 2014 Mercedes-Benz GLA. They'll also brave the Twisted Mansion in the classic 1957 Mercedes-Benz SL 300 Roadster, and drive to the beat in the Electrodome in the Monopoly car—I mean, the 1934 W25 Silver Arrow.

They'll do all this via a planned digital update for Mario Kart 8, which arguably stands as not only the highest-rated iteration of the go-karting franchise featuring Nintendo's main man, but the highest-rated game on the Wii U to date. Obviously it would make sense that Nintendo would want to put its focus on its star title right now; downloadable content was inevitable. Nintendo, who until recent years has been notoriously anti-DLC, now all of a sudden firmly stands behind it (hmmm, wonder why...), and in a strange twist, Nintendiehards, also who until recent years have been notoriously anti-DLC on their Nintendo games, even with Sony and Microsoft making it common on their consoles, actively want DLC for Mario Kart 8.

But if Internet reactions are to be judged, they don't want this DLC. Here's a few select responses from an article off Kotaku (with names redacted):

To some, the Mercedes-Benz DLC is the real final nail in Nintendo's coffin. While things aren't quite to that level of emergency, their reasoning does show some validity.

Part of the issue to those against the MK8 M-B DLC (yay acronyms!) is simply the act of having DLC in the game and other Nintendo games. These same people will be the ones you will not hear a peep from if and when Nintendo decides to release DLC tracks or characters. Nintendo may have held out for as long as they could on the DLC front, but the practice is here to stay for the foreseeable future, so railing against DLC for the sake of being DLC is like railing against Wikipedia and the Internets because by gum, the encyclopedia was good enough for the elder generation.

The other issue, however, deserves a bit more thought. Many are upset because they say the inclusion of Mercedes-Benz's “real world” cars don't fit with the bright, bustling fantasy world of the Mushroom Kingdom. Frankly, I'm prone to agree. Ask the average person to think of the Mushroom Kingdom, and they'll think of a pudgy plumber on a journey to save a princess from a giant turtle monster while bopping on living mushrooms and turtle minions with the help of a friendly dinosaur. Exactly where does the 2014 GLA fit into that picture?

It doesn't, nor do the other two downloadable cars. The anti-DLC contingent has a point. Even watching the trailer, it just doesn't jibe with what fans expect from Mario Kart titles. There's no doubt that Mercedes-Benz makes fine products, but it would be just as awkward if the partnership was with Porsche or Jaguar, or even Fiat or Mini. Dropping a car that would feel more at home in Forza Motorsport 5 or Driveclub or any number of realistic racing games into the midst of Mario Kart 8, home of flying, heat-seeking turtle shells, turbo-boosting mushrooms, and anti-gravity racetracks, just feels strange, and almost a little offensive to those who flock to the Mario Kart series specifically because it's fun and not realistic.

That is why, after hearing the complaints of this contingent against the Mercedes-Benz downloadable content, I say to them: calm your tits.

Listen, I don't like this any more than you guys and gals do. It's weird, it doesn't fit. I understand. But look, it's not the end of the world. Nintendo's just now beginning to wrap its head around this DLC concept, whereas Sony and Microsoft have had this around for a good handful of years now. Nintendo's got some catching up to do, and these days they need to do whatever it takes to stay in the race. DLC will be a part of it, and we're not going to like everything about it but we, my fellow Nintendo fans, need to suck it up and let it go.

For those crying out that a Mercedes-Benz partnership is “selling out,” it kind of is, but on the other hand, this DLC is being offered for free, so it's hard to call it “selling out” when nothing is actually being sold. Those who like the cars can use them; those that don't can stick with their Biddybuggies, Mr. Scootys, and Wild Wigglers.

Mercedes-Benz doesn't fit, but then again, neither does Pink Gold Peach. They just made up that stupid character. Where have you seen Pink Gold Peach before? I mean, seriously. Nintendo could have given that spot to any number of different characters, along with Baby Daisy and Baby Rosalina. But the point here is that Nintendo understands something crucial to DLC: To be successful, it has to be optional. It has to add to an already-complete game, not fill in the blanks. So let's all simmer downthere are other issues we need to handle other than real-world cars in DLC. Besides, if Nintendo can really grasp this DLC concept like the other two consoles, I might finally be able to get Martian Manhunter and Zatanna for my version of Injustice.

Related Games:   Mario Kart 8
Tags:   DLC

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