"Victory and defeat are just lies told out of two sides of the same mouth. This is the Blue Shell of collapse, the Blue Shell of financial crisis, the Blue Shell of the New Gilded Age." That's game designer/academic Ian Bogost on the most hated and feared pick-up in the Mario Kart series. His essay at Gamasutra is a great, enlightening read that looks, in part, at how the design and marketing of Nintendo's racing franchise has been informed by the times they were made in.