Strangers Bond over Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the Nintendo Switch

Strangers Bond over Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the Nintendo Switch

Mario's kart brings all the boys and girls to the yard -- with some caveats.

When Nintendo debuted the Switch via its initial three-minute trailer last October, there was a lot of giggling about rooftop parties. The public's consensus was that bringing a Switch to a party was a sad / loser / Millennial thing to do.

When the Switch debuted in the flesh (or in the glass and plastic, if you prefer), some new owners half-jokingly tried to take their Switches to parties and gauge partygoers' reactions. Sam Machkovetch of Ars Technica quickly garnered an energetic crowd around his own machine and 1-2 Switch, though it was hardly the love-in Nintendo choreographed in its commercial (that level of enthusiasm is seemingly reserved for Japanese schoolchildren).

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Last week's launch of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe might be the real test for the Switch's potential as a party machine, though. Mario Kart is a household name, so what happens when someone walks into a bar, pulls out a Switch, and says "Let's karting?"

Dave Thier of Forbes gave it a try last weekend. He started playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe at a bar, and was off to an awkward start.

"[I]f you sit there playing Mario Kart you quickly become that guy playing videogames alone at the bar, no matter how normal and not weird at all you're trying to look," he writes. "I played the length of a Grand Prix, hoping someone might get curious. This did not happen, but I managed second. Casting my eyes about it what I imagined to be a friendly fashion did not have much of an effect."

Thier's attempts to coax other bar patrons into playing didn't go well, either. "Worse than being the guy playing videogames alone in the bar is the being the guy actively trying to force other people to play videogames with you in a bar."

Link never had a problem making friends.

Before things reached pants-around-ankles levels of awkwardness, Thier was approached by someone who'd heard of the Switch and wanted to play. Unsurprisingly, once the ice broke, others came over to give it a shot, and a good time was had by all. The Switch balanced well on the bar despite its flimsy kickstand, and players generally found the Joy-Cons comfortable to use.

But Thier learned something valuable: The only reason he was initially approached is because his new friend had heard of the Nintendo Switch, and was interested in seeing it in action. "[E]very single person I played with said that they had heard about the Switch, thought it was kind of weird, and had been wholly converted by happy hour Mario Kart," he writes.

Thier's not the only Switch owner who managed to strike up an impromptu Mario Kart 8 Deluxe tourney. Redditor "Focie" submitted a pic of his boss and co-worker getting in a few rounds at work. The winner got to eat the mysterious contents of the faded frozen dinner box that's been sitting in the staff fridge since the day the store opened (OK I made that up).

Have you managed to kindle a Nintendo Switch party scenario anywhere?

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Nadia Oxford

Staff Writer

Nadia has been writing about games for so long, only the wind and the rain (or the digital facsimiles thereof) remember her true name. She's written for Nerve,, Gamepro, IGN, 1UP, PlayStation Official Magazine, and other sites and magazines that sling words about video games. She co-hosts the Axe of the Blood God podcast, where she mostly screams about Dragon Quest.

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