While I was away, ‘Mario Kart’ for the Wii arrived. I’ve always been grateful that no-one except our neighbours could possibly see into our games room – the sight of a man holding a white plastic thing as someone would hold a baseball bat, or waving it around like a tennis racquet, must look a bit strange. We don’t get passers-by in our remote corner of Camberley, but if we did they now might see a man holding a white plastic steering wheel… and a small blonde girl telling him it’s only a game. That’s easy for her to say, she won’t be suffering peer-pressure from her brother-in-law.

Unlike ‘Wii Sports’ and ‘Mario & Sonic at the Olympics’, ‘Mario Kart’ doesn’t demand that you get off the sofa… so I’ve felt a bit of a couch potato today. But that aside, this is a great game. The steering wheel approach (the Wii controller just snaps in) works really well and is very responsive. The sore thumb comes from having to hold down the ‘2’ button in order to accelerate and keep the speed going. The button on the back of the controller is used for braking, but let’s face it, slowing down is for pansies.

The really nice feature about this new version (compared to the GameCube version) is the on-line competitive driving – I had a few goes today (the wife would say that’s an understatement), racing against opponents from France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Italy, Switzerland and Germany (obviously the people of Denmark and Norway have better things to do). It’s very easy to set up, assuming your Wii is connected to the Interweb. You can also do a world-wide game, but I bet there’s thousands of American kids who are already experts and will wipe the floor with me – I have been holding my own against my European rivals I’ll have you know.

You can also set up races against your registered friends (assuming you have any) – Choddo also has the game, and has set me up as a friend to race against. If anyone else I know wants to do the same, let me know.

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