If you love Mario Kart in any form, your mind is about to be blown. I know the entirety of the '90s has basically been coming to a phone near you, from Pokemon Go to the upcoming Harry Potter augmented reality game, but this time we have the creme de la creme of '90s gaming coming to (hopefully) all phones everywhere. That's right: We're about to get a Mario Kart smartphone app and I for one am already too excited.
Nintendo announced the app on Twitter Jan. 31, but, for some reason, the news flew under the radar. Though, admittedly, we do know only a slim bit of info about the app: It's going to be released sometime before April 2019, it's called Mario Kart Tour, and the timing of the announcement is apparently a huge deal, because "a 14-month lead time for a project like this from Nintendo is particularly long," reported Cosmopolitan.
Nintendo is no stranger to smartphone apps — the company has put out Miitomo, Super Mario Run, Fire Emblem Heroes, and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, and there's a Legend of Zelda game in the works too, which will likely release after Mario Kart Tour, according to BGR.
But while all those games are exciting, particularly the idea of a Zelda mobile that will live up to the standard Breath of the Wild set for the franchise, Mario Kart is just... Mario Kart. Essential. Excellent. And we're so ready to dive in to the nostalgia.
Also, as exciting as the idea of Mario on your smartphone 24/7 is, Mario Kart Tour is not the only Mario-related news to break in the past few days. Nintendo also announced on Jan. 31 that Mario is coming to the big screen in an animated movie, though no release date has yet been revealed. According to Engadget, video game designer and producer Shigeru Miyamoto, who has long worked within the Mario franchise, will co-produce, along with Illumination Entertainment, which is known for flicks like Ice Age.
On top of all this excitement, Universal Studios Japan has also revealed that a Mario Kart ride will star at its in-progress theme park Super Nintendo World, Jamie Rigg writing for Engadget reported. The park is "set to open at some vague time before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics," Rigg said, and if you want to pass that vague time, well, you can bask in yet more Mario with the latest downloadable content (DLC) for the current game, Super Mario Odyssey.
There are admittedly some things about the '90s that are now tiresome, and some things that really don't need a reboot, but Mario has a timelessness that means new material is always welcome. The OG Mario Kart 64 has certainly aged since it was released in 1997, but it somehow still has that magic charm that makes it 100 percent playable even now.
As for why Mario has remained so dang popular, Kim Bhasin writing for Business Insider presents a few theories from author Jeff Ryan's book Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America. First (and possibly most important), Mario doesn't have a unique personality. "Mario's bland persona is part of his appeal: he's a one-size-fits-all hero," Ryan wrote. "Mario has the freedom to have no personality at all [...] When Mario opens his mouth he's a specific person. Mute, he's our eternal alter ego."
Ryan also attributes Mario's eternal likability to his simple design and the fact that the goal of his storyline is always the same: Rescue Princess Peach. Knowing this goal, and knowing Mario as someone we can temporarily become, "We are [Mario]: his frustration at missing a jump is our own, his joy in grabbing a coin is ours as well," Ryan wrote.
And sometime before April 2019, that joy will be available by smartphone. Bless you, Nintendo.