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Mario Kart 8 

Available on Wii U (Nintendo)

click to enlarge mariokart.jpg

Sometimes a game works so well, the images so beautiful, controls so perfect, you can't help but sit there with a stupid grin on your face and let it happen to you. The latest in Nintendo's titular Mario Kart series accomplishes this almost instantly. I knew as I was literally driving on clouds, with the goose bump-inducing Super Mario Galaxy theme playing in the background, that Mario Kart 8 was more than just another game. Rather it's a celebration of the medium itself. It's your childhood coming back to you as old tracks from the Super Nintendo and N64 era are recreated in stunning HD. It's the satisfaction of knocking off an opponent with a red shell, and then the horrifying realization that a blue shell is coming with your name on it. It's sitting on the couch with your buddies, together, not online, together. Zen-like in its balance, pure in its innocence, Mario Kart stands at the pinnacle. Or in other words–the best Mario Kart yet.

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