People cutting their teeth online in Mario Kart 8 know this moment all too well. Say you're racing towards the end of the track. You're in second place. Maybe third. Things are still close, close enough that you're not going to give up just yet.
Then, this happens:
Some jerk comes in with a super horn in hand, knocking you and the rest of the competition aside while he or she breezes past the finish line like it's nothing.
This particular moment was captured by Redditor SoulHarbor. I've seen many other small moments like this one posted online by Mario Kart 8 players, all making a similar joke about how frustrating it is to get smacked by the super horn at the worst possible moment. That, or how good it feels to be the one doing the smacking.
Whenever I've come up against a player like SoulHarbor during online races, I can't help feel more than a little annoyed by having my first or second or third-place win pulled out from under me right when I thought I'd all but sealed the deal.
But here's the thing: I also have to admit that these players have won my respect, now matter how begrudgingly I'm going to give it. Because pulling off a move like SoulHarbor did takes a good amount of skill, finesse, and proper timing—especially when you're playing online.
See, the super horn is one of Mario Kart 8's new additions to the franchise. Adding it was a controversial move on Nintendo's part, especially because the company billed it as a new and uniquely effective way to counteract the blue shell:
The blue shell, like the bullet bill, used to be one of those items that was an unimpeachable wild card. Using it gave a player a strong upper hand, at least for a few seconds. The super horn gave players a way to simply brush the blue shell (or a red or green shell, for that matter) aside, provided they were lucky enough to get their hands on one at just the right moment.
The super horn is a rare item, however, which means that players aren'tusually holding one when the little alarm starts to ring, alerting them that a shell of some sort is closing in. Because of this, Mario Kart 8 players have started to use the super horn in one another way. Talented competitors have found that it makes a surprisingly effective melee weapon. You just have to be good enough to hold on to the horn until it comes in handy.
Here's Princess Peach, for instance. Watch how she holds onto the horn until the last possible moment:
Then, like a total champ, she smacks almost all of her competition across the head:
...and slides easily into first place.
I've been lucky enough to have a few moments like Peach's here. But I've never managed to pull off waiting around for the next closest racer like Reddit user SoulHarbor did just to hit them with the super horn. Heck, I don't think I've ever managed to be far enough ahead to even think about trying to pull that off.
So: My hat's off to you, SoulHarbor. But I'd probably have some more choice words if you pulled this kind of trick when we were racing online.