Mario Kart 8 Deluxe should have been the 'Smash Ultimate' of Mario Kart

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A wasted opportunity

Take a look at this top-selling Switch sales chart again, straight from Nintendo. You good? Notice that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, which was released on Switch in 2017 (as an updated version of a 2014 game), is number one still? Like, it’s beaten out the entire last four years of the Switch’s lifespan, including Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which is still super popular? It feels like they should be doing something with that.

Smash Ultimate is going to age like fine wine. Years from now people will be picking the game up, which feels 100% complete even without any DLC in the equation. Now Mario Kart 8 Deluxe feels similarly robust (it better be, it’s still full price!), but there was a huge opportunity there to add in more old tracks over time, and allow old fans to see them in a new light. New DLC for Mario Kart is a no-brainer. Add in a few classic battle levels, an old track here and there (you wouldn’t even need to do any hard work redesigning them from the ground up), and you’re good to go.

Of course, without a tenacious lead like Masahiro Sakurai that holds the franchise together, this sort of thing is harder to will into existence. The Mario Kart series is also all over the place sometimes, with uneven entries and fans who coast from game to game without the same amount of gusto in between.

Naturally, this is all a “what if” situation, as Nintendo is no doubt hard at work on Mario Kart 9, to be revealed at some point when they need to break the emergency glass and hit the “print money fast” button. But for the past four years, they’ve missed an opportunity to strike while the iron is hot.

There’s still time! Add Mario Party Superstars to this “Ultimate treatment” list while we’re at it.