How Mario Kart Prepared Me For the Real World

Riding your bike in downtown Amsterdam during rush hour can only be described one way; playing 150cc level of Mario Kart.

You are Toad sitting in his little blue racing kart at the starting line. Countless challengers line up around you. You are calm yet fully aware of the green light starting gun.


And you’re off.

Your pedals were aligned perfectly so you were able to achieve that optimal starting push. In your peripherals, you register the others who failed to get the starting boost and now lag behind. In the present moment, they are none of your concern. You grip the control tighter as sweat forms in your palms and at the base of your neck. You know the course well. Every curve, every pothole, and every slope in the pavement which creates a mild speed boost. What you don’t know, is the unexpected items that get thrown at you. The Koopa Shells of tourists who don’t fully understand what a “bike lane” is used for. The stagnant Bob-omb of chained bikes and other debris that line the sidewalks The Fake Item Box’s of poorly lit street poles. Speeding down the raceway there is no number in the corner of your vision to inform you of your standings, no map that expresses your location. You ring your bell as frequently as you tap X/Y to use an item; you can’t seem to do it quick enough. The original people you lined up with, now appear beside you as a threat. They take up too much space on the narrow canal bridge. They brake too suddenly between cars, creating a near collision. You carry on; because you are a fighter and that is what you do. You constantly pedal just as you would hold down A. Finally, clarity; you take the secret shortcut which leads you to a more desolate path. Your heart rate is more steady, knowing the finish line is just over yonder but that is where your mistake lies! Your guard was down. The massive Caterpillar Bus (more formally known as ‘Wiggler’) nearly cuts you off as you turn the corner. Always be attentive. Always be prepared. Always pause when you go to sip your piping hot tea.

Thank you Mario Kart.

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