exactly what I was going for.
Just a few things removed from the series to balance it for noobs:
- hold item 1 and pick up item 2
- forcing an item to 'pop' to use it faster
- no manual power slide, timed instead
- no upside down question block to hide amongst the real blocks
- no chance of pulling out of a banana slide
- not positive on this one, but I don't recall grass killing all momentum/power slides as bad as it does in this one
they've also widened most of the courses so far you could fit 8 karts wide. Little chance of ever driving off course.
At this point, it's hard to assess what constitutes a "real" karting game. SMK, MK64, and MKDD (to a lesser extent) established what I considered karting. However, between MKDS, MKWii, MK7, and MK8, Nintendo have redefined the genre. There's as many games under the "new" style of karting as there were under the old style.
pitfallharriet had said she wanted a "realistic racing sim," and I think she's pointing to SMK-style karting. While I want SMK-style, I don't want "realistic racing," because it's not what the original MK karting experience was IMO. I just want a title that requires you're as good at the karting mechanics as you are running into boxes and pressing the use item button. I feel that a player who doesn't use any items should still have a shot a victory. Furthermore, if an item puts them over another skilled competitor, that item should be skill-based (well-timed shell or well-placed banana, for instance).
But the genre as-is doesn't reward karting skill anymore. It's all item frequency and item use on incredibly wide tracks. And if you fall off the track? You're back in an instant, there's hardly any penalty to avoiding the fast lines in the track and going wherever the hell you please.
The crazy thing is that this isn't Nintendo thinking it knows better -- the general Nintendo fanbase wants it to be easy and bland (I was wrong in assuming, long ago, that they didn't). I say this because of the outcry over "fire hopping." Committed would-be karters find something that takes a modicum of skill, and the immediate response is, "HACKING! CHEAT!" It's pathetic, the online presence makes it so that the least-skilled players get to judge the extent of the mechanics, and that's the audience N will listen to as it's the majority. So the games will become even more dumbed down, i.e. less reliant on a mastery of karting skill and track knowledge and more reliant on haphazardly steering into a box and pressing L or X.
Oh, and this isn't all presumption. I learned my lesson on MKWii and haven't bought one since, but I gave MK8 a good 40 minutes of play at the mall. That was all I needed. RIP karting games, I loved you. I still have SMK, MK64, and MKDD, but when I try to get the kids to play with me, they look at me like it might as well be magnavox pong. They're officially "old man" games.
The MK story put me off Nintendo entirely...taken all together, it's my biggest disappointment as a life-long gamer. I feel bad for the gamers who've put many hours into MK8, as I think they'd really enjoy a karting title with the more nuanced control and skill requirements of SMK or MK64.