The blue shell has long been a staple of Mario Kart gameplay, frustration and tough loses included. But while many gamers have no doubt believed their cries of anguish went unnoticed by Nintendo, that is not actually the case. It was recently revealed that, for recent entries, series director Kosuke Yabuki and his team actually tested the games without the blue shell in play. Without the item’s inclusion, however, the balance and risk of the game did not feel right, so they ultimately decided to keep it in.
“We’re always experimenting with what new elements to introduce or what elements can be removed. We have tried – or we are trying – to see what the game’s like without the blue shell. When we’ve experimented without the blue shell, actually it feels like something’s missing. Like there’s something not quite enough in the game. So for now we’ve kept it in.”
— Kosuke Yabuki, Mario Kart series director
Yabuki also commented on why he thinks the blue shell is an interesting element in
Mario Kart races.
“Something I personally really consider is the human emotion element of the play experience. So for example playing Mario Kart – if you have something that feels unfair or makes you feel frustrated or makes you angry… Everyone is different in that respect. What you will feel is unfair might be different to someone else. As far as possible we want to avoid those feelings of frustration.
“Because everyone is different, and it’s an emotive thing, you can’t pin it down with a set formula. Ultimately, in the longer term, although everyone might feel on one particular day that they’re so frustrated that they’re not going to play any more Mario Kart today – keeping the experience enjoyable enough so that you might feel like that today, but the next day, the next week, you’ll still go back to Mario Kart and still enjoy it.”
— Kosuke Yabuki
What do you think about Yabuki’s philosophy regarding the blue shell? Are you happy it has remained in previous installments in the
Mario Kart franchise? Let us know in the comments below!