Computer & Video Games Racing, for the Young at Karts

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Mario Karts 64

Format: Nintendo 64

Publisher: Nintendo Price: $69.99 Ages: 7+ Nintendo is really doing a good job developing its own games for the Nintendo 64--which is probably a good thing, because sometimes it seems that nobody else is. Unlike Sony, which can't decide if the PlayStation needs a mascot or not, Nintendo continues its decade-old tradition of populating its game with an odd set of characters led by an Italian plumber and a gorilla. Mario Karts is a racing game, but a playful one that doesn't take itself too seriously. There are eight racers, all from the Nintendo pantheon, namely, Mario, Luigi, Toad, Peach, Yoshi, Wario, Donkey Kong, and Bowser. This should please those who've been complaining about the sexist implications of Mario rescuing the princess, since Peach is the princess. And she's more than a little bit dirty as a driver, too. As the name implies, this is a go-kart racing game, very similar to a PC game called Superkarts that I rather liked about two years ago. In addition to the actual racing, you can also pick up various items that you can use to boost your own performance, or disrupt the races of your opponents. For example, picking up the big mushroom gives you 10 seconds of afterburner, while dropping a banana peel in front of an opponent will cause him or her to spin out and crash. …