You do not just pick a Mario Kart driver at random. Like sports teams, most people I know have a connection to Mario Kart drivers that extends back to childhood. You always race with that character and the only thing that can stop you is another person picking that character first. I have watched as two hallmates in college nearly came to blows over who got Yoshi. What I’m trying to say is when someone picks a driver on Mario Kart, the reasons for that decision likely goes back a ways.
My driver is Luigi and that goes back to when I was about 9 or 10 when the original Super Mario Kart came out. My brother Taylor always went with Koopa Troopa and I eventually landed on Mario’s oft-overlooked brother. I always felt like Luigi deserved some more respect. What can I say? I like to root for the underdog. And even though a slew of other characters have come about, I have stuck with that green hat-wearing, mustachioed plumber from Super NES to N64 to Gamecube to Wii.
A couple of years ago, Taylor and I exchanged desk figurines of Luigi and Yoshi as presents (Koopa Troopa was dropped from the racer lineup for Mario Kart 64 and thus Taylor was forced to adopt the green dinosaur as his Karter of choice). Luigi sat proudly on my desk beside Donatello and Bobblehead Jesus.
That is until Jim, barely walking at that point, decided that Luigi was an awesome toy. Jim began to play with the figurine and eventually tore off one of his arms. Yet over time, the one-armed plumber has become one of Jim’s favorite toys. There have been nights where we have awakened to him worriedly asking, “Where’s Lou-gee? Where’s Lou-gee?”
Somewhere along the way, Jim learned that Mario and Luigi are brothers. He sometimes requests to watch Mario, which means I play certain levels of a video game over and over for him. But as we started hearing him say, “Mario and Lou-gee are bruh-vers,” we realized that the video game duo could help Jim learn about his own upcoming brother.
So now, you’l probably hear this exchange in our household:
Jim: Mario and Lou-gee are bruh-vers and friends.
Me or EA: That’s right and who else are going to be brothers?
Jim (he smiles): Jim and Baby Liam.
A silly, random decision of which character I was going to use in a video game nearly 20 years ago has found its way into the story of my kids. Who’d have thought?