I’ve never really thought of Mario Kart as a game with “plays” à la League of Legends or Street Fighter, but I’m more than happy to have been proven wrong by this amazing moment from a weekend Mario Kart 8 tournament.
Bassem “Bear” Dahdouh is a prolific tournament director in both the Smash and traditional fighting game communities, but he also moonlights as an exceptional Mario Kart 8 player. He had a chance to put those skills to the test during a competitive event at the Esports Arena in Las Vegas last Saturday. Dahdouh was on the verge of taking first place, rounding the final corner on Toad Harbor, when a target-seeking Blue Shell suddenly zoomed in from behind at high speed. His response? Well, it has to be seen to be believed.
If you, like me, aren’t a Mario Kart master, Dahdouh provided a helpful breakdown of the sequence on Twitter.
With the Blue Shell hot on his tail, Dahdouh tosses a banana ahead of him and slides into it to gain invulnerability against the spiny weapon of mass destruction. Since bananas are less lethal, he recovers fast enough to toss his second item, a Bob-omb, into a “wall” created by the Blue Shell explosion. It detonates immediately and hits the second-place racer as they try to sneak by. And because Dahdouh is still recovering from the banana, he’s able to avoid the second explosion as well and resume accelerating toward the finish, easily securing first place and even giving him time to celebrate in real life before even crossing the finish line.
That this all happened in the span of a few seconds and with the pressure of losing a race hanging over the whole ordeal shows an incredible dedication to Mario Kart 8 and an appreciation for some very obscure gameplay mechanics. The banana thing makes sense even to a casual player like me, but I had no idea about Blue Shell “explosion walls.” I’m even more blown away that Dahdouh was just the runner-up at the end of this event. [Correction — 07/28/20, 2:15 p.m. ET: Dahdouh actually tied for first.] Mario Kart is wild.