Thursday, January 17, 2019

#0102: Mario Kart Yoshi

'Welcome to Mario Kart', declares Tony, grandly entering the room with all of the levity of a six-year-old's birthday party. He has a hollow grin plastered on his face, and half-empty bowls of candy balanced haphazardly on each palm. Your first instinct is to scream at him, but you're far too shocked by his brazen disregard for your feelings.

You waited several months, again, for him to return, and he doesn't have the common decency to address his absence? Or the fact that he missed yet another anniversary for his poor, unloved blog?

Of course not! Because he's done that no less than four times already, and that shit is overplayed. So just enjoy the frivolity, baby, and look forward to the next blog entry, due sometime in mid-2020.

For today, you have a Mario Kart Yoshi to deal with. Ugh, another mouth to feed Tony, you fucking cad.

What do you expect? Once a hoarder, always a hoarder. And in my advanced years, I've been trying less to jettison old toys, and focusing more on my floundering career. Ostensibly, I'm a journalist. Literally, I'm a fucking dropkick. But that doesn't mean I can't pull an entry out of my ass every now and then like an old man with a startling disregard for his hemorrhoids.

There is no segue that could possibly recover that last paragraph, so instead, we'll just jump right into the fray. Whoa, nelly! There's a dinosaur driving a car! I haven't seen that in weeks.

Over the years, there have been a few different variations of remote controlled Yoshi toys. The most recent offering, based on the anti-gravity mechanics found in Mario Kart 8, is capable of literally driving up walls using what I can only assume is some kind of voodoo magic.

But back in my day, we weren't quite so lucky. Indeed, my history with remote controlled cars is rather dubious as a whole. I recall having one when I was about seven or eight. I drove it out on the driveway on the first day, and it just upped and died. Right there on the spot, it said 'no more of your shit, Anthony' and broke down, never to operate again.

I never did get a replacement, and it's probably part of the reason why I still don't drive to this very day. Too many haunting memories, you see.

It wasn't until some time circa 2006 that I dared try my luck again on the RC front, this time entrusting my fate with a spaced out lizard who is actually incapable of putting his hands on the wheel. I sure hope he's insured.

Purportedly, this series of toys was released in 2004 by NKOK, though it seems a bit odd to me that, based on the packaging, they would be modeled after Mario Kart 64, as opposed to the more recent Double Dash, or even Mario Kart Advance, for that matter. MK64 was old news by that point, with its successor, the flawed but amiable GameCube, well into its lifespan.

64 was probably the most iconic title, however, and lord knows that they weren't about to go to the effort of sticking Wario's fat ass on the back of a kart, so this is what we ended up with.

Despite Yoshi's apathetic driving style caused by his inexplicably movable arms, the model actually looks pretty spot on. Granted, it's hard to mess up a design as simple as Yoshi, but other than its dead-eyed stare, everything else is as it should be. You can practically hear it make that famous sneezing sound it used to do before Yoshi's Story ruined the character forevermore.

That's a discussion in and of itself, by the way. Feel free to message me if you'd like me elaborate, and/or text me some nudes.

What doesn't look quite as kosher, however, is the remote itself. There's no dials, wheels or knobs for you to fiddle with, instead featuring a mere two button system. As you may have gleaned from the arrows on said buttons, Yoshi is capable of going forward, or backwards while veering off to the right.

That's it. No hairpin turns. No loop-de-loops. He literally has the functionality of someone who is trying to parallel park.

With that in mind, it kind of makes sense why he doesn't have his hands on the wheel. After all, he's not planning on turning at any time, instead opting to barrel forward recklessly until he meets his demise like Thelma and Louise. It's among the most mind-boggling design choices I've ever seen in a toy, and it may even claim the top spot overall.

It's not so much remote controlled as just remote prompted. That sounds a lot less fun. And vaguely reminiscent of a mistranslation.

But hey, maybe in practice, it's actually quite amusing? Perhaps we can get him up to a sufficient speed to make it rather death defying? If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour, you're gonna see some serious shit.

Wait, what? I can't quite even work out what happened just now. Despite my thumb being pressed firmly on the forward button — a button which, by its very name, is intended for the sole purpose of moving forward — Yoshi decides to swing a right and take the off-ramp to Sacramento.

His tomfoolery is soon foiled when he hits a patch of grass and gets completely bogged. It was just as uninspiring as I had envisaged, albeit far more bewildering. Like going to a $5 stripper, and halfway through, she decides to stop and just eat her lunch instead.

I suppose it's only appropriate that all this time later, remote controlled toys are still finding a way to disappoint me. In turn, I shall continue to disappoint friends and family around me, keeping the perpetual cycle going forevermore.

...That wasn't meant to sound as sad as it did. If I wanted to put out a cry for help, I'd choose a lot less of an obscure format than a toy blog, to be honest.
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