We used Christmas as an excuse to introduce our son to the world of Mario Kart. Which had the same result as introducing him to chocolate or French fries. Instant hit.
Someone once described Prince of Tennis as Dragonball Z as middle-school tennis and taken up to eleven. Well, Mario Kart is Dragon Ball Z as go kart racing and kept at ten. (Because Prince of Tennis is INSANE)
Mario Kart combines go kart racing and open warfare and drops the cast of the Mario franchise (and now some other Nintendo characters) It is silly and frenetic and random as all get out.
I am aware that there are some very realistic, very detailed racing simulators out there. Because I am one of those people who actually reads the editorials in Penny Arcade. Mario Kart is the opposite end of the spectrum. Even gravity is optional (although physics is always required)
I am pretty sure that the video game that I logged the most hours on is Animal Crossing. Mario Kart, while it has a vastly faster tempo, fulfills a similar function for me. It is decompressing. I know some folks take it very seriously but the fact that I don’t have to is very nice.
Mario Kart is not as insane as the Smash Bros franchise because that is a mascot explosion. However, I honestly think it’s more casual gamer friendly. It has found a happy home in our home.