Currently top of the list of trends in video game genre we all thought had died: the me-too kart racing game. Between SEGA & All-Stars Racing Transformed, Little Big Planet Karting and the bizarre bobble-heads of F1 Race Stars, we’re pretty sure that every single base has been covered. Well, unless they go with these:
Mass Effect Karting
A galaxy-spanning kart game with circuits on a large variety of planets, featuring a cast of playable drivers drawn from the story of the main trilogy. The chief gimmick of the game is the branching nature of the circuits: after every second turn, the player must choose the “Paragon” and “Renegade” route. The former is often fraught with less danger, whereas the latter is usually quicker and more direct.
Of course, despite the thousands of routes available through each course, the driver always ends up in the same final straight.
À la Karte
From the blurb: “À la Karte is a new interactive experience crafted by a team of professional game artists, featuring the finest characters and abstract concepts from the indie art game scene on its driving roster. Players will actuate through seven environments dense with atmosphere and metaphor: petty jubilation will not be the only emotion elicited from the player when the chequered flag falls.”
In À la Karte, you’d likely be able to choose from the following famous characters:
• Julian Luxemburg, the protagonist from “Dinner Date”
• The Narrator from “Dear Esther”
• The Elderly Woman from “The Graveyard”
• The Gust of Wind from “Flower”
• The eight pixel high protagonist from “Passage”
• The Concept of “Curiosity” from the Peter Molyneux game of the same name
• The Weight of Society’s Expectations Regarding the Performance of Gender in both Public and Personal Spaces, from “Dys4ia”.
Kart of Duty
With falling sales and stagnant critical reception, Activision makes a welcome announcement: Black Ops and Modern Warfare titles will alternate with a release every year. But what of the profits to be reaped from the COD faithful? The answer is obvious: Call of Bejewelled. Then somebody remembers that EA owns Pop Cap (and Peggle of Honor was a failure). Upping their game, somebody puns “Kart of Duty” onto a whiteboard, an executive greenlights the project, and an easily jettisoned development studio begins work.
But imagine all of Call of Duty’s memorable characters in one place. You know, like that dudebro who crawls about in a nuclear explosion. Or the non-dudebro scientist who gets blown up in space by a nuclear explosion. Tracks include explosions in the vein of Split Second: Velocity, including a track where you race on an explosion, in an explosion, against explosions.
Final Fantasy Dewey Decimal Karting
Once upon a time, a Final Fantasy character was put into retirement after staring in a sixty hour RPG. They didn’t owe us anything. Then nostalgia and creative bankruptcy happened (also, actual looming real bankruptcy, thank you very much Spirits Within) and Final Fantasy characters ended up inserted sideways into everything. Sequels, Disney Action RPGs, fighting games, rhythm action games – but never a racing game.
No, Chocobo Racing doesn’t count. Where are the uncomfortable cameos, the dense “time and space are ending” storyline and the ill-fitting RPG elements? This isn’t just any old karting game: it’s Final Fantasy Dewey Decimal Karting, and you can file it in section 125 because the fun doesn’t stop.
PC Gaming Kart
When a platform holder comes of age, it starts making crossover games: Nintendo has Smash Bros, the SEGA Superstars series, Sony has Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale, and even someone like SNK has a crossover with Capcom. I can’t think of a Microsoft equivalent, but then they barely into their second decade – Sony really seemed to struggle to include characters, having to loan in all kinds of non-Playstation exclusives (Big Daddy’s inclusion is especially odd when you remember that Bioshock was a year late to the PS3).
The PC on the other hand, has been around a lot longer, and has a range of iconic characters you can stick in a kart, licensing issues be damned. Some of them would even look kind of appropriate. Candidates include:
• Commander Keen
• The Avatar (Ultima)
• Elaine Marley (Monkey Island)
• Jazz Jackrabbit
• The Doom Marine
• SHODAN (System Shock)
• Duke Nukem
• Gordon Freeman (Half-Life)
• Boo the Space Hamster (Baldur’s Gate)
• Cate Archer (No One Lives Forever)
• Alice Liddell (Alice: Madness Returns)
• Sarah Kerrigan (Starcraft)
• The Heavy (Team Fortress 2)
• Minecraft Steve
This is definitely the least terrible of the ideas on this page.
Steph Woor is a
content writer for Nationwide Vehicle Contracts, a car leasing company based in the UK