For Nintendo lovers and casual players alike, a new club has started at Western Washington University: the Mario Kart Club.
The club started in September of this year and meets every Monday at 4 p.m. in the Viking Union in room 462.
“The club is a good place to play and also learn how to play Mario Kart in a very casual, judgement free zone,” said Andre Tang, a regular club attendee whose favorite racer is Larry Koopa.
Club meetings begin with everyone gradually filing in and signing in on a sheet. Then everyone takes turns playing on the Nintendo Switch on two different monitors, or on a Wii connected to a computer.
“Some people grew up playing on the Wii and haven't really played the Switch version,” Tang said. “So there's still a space for people who like playing on the Wii.”
The club meetings are meant to allow people to play either casually or competitively together and to bond over their love of the game.
Amanda Johnson, captain of the Mario Kart Club, said she founded the club not just for people to get together and enjoy the game, but also to learn how to better their gameplay.
“As soon as the club started going, I was just really enjoying the vibe,” said Johnson, whose favorite racer is Rosalina. “Everyone is just talking and playing. It was awesome. So I've been a little hesitant to get really into the technical side of the game because I don't want to scare anyone away, but I do want to start pushing some of that technical knowledge on the club.”
Addy Wright, a regular club attendee whose favorite racer is Toadette, said many people who have attended the club meetings have shown vast improvement in their Mario Kart skills, even in a short period of time.
“There was someone who came in, and they were like ‘Oh, I haven't played Mario Kart that much,’” said Wright. “But they went from being in 11th to third [by] the fourth game. They had a big improvement.”
To engage in competitive gaming, there is also an optional leaderboard that people can participate in. Players’ scores are tallied up and added to the leaderboard for each club meeting.
Johnson said that she would like to encourage more people at the club meetings to play competitively and put their scores on the leaderboard.
“There's become a clear top five that [have] been like fighting each other constantly on the leaderboard, but I'm really excited to see more people get into that,” she said. “There are some really good people in the club who just aren't as interested in the point tracking part.”
Tang said that Mario Kart Club is a really good group bonding activity that promotes healthy rivalries but is not aggressive or violent.
“It's hard to get angry in Mario Kart, unless you're my sister,” Tang said, with a laugh. “In this group, I feel like there's never a point where I've ever become angry at someone beating me because it's Mario Kart.”
The club regulars encourage players of all skill levels to join, even those who have never picked up a video game controller before.
“Everyone's very friendly, and we like meeting people,” Wright said. “So feel free to come on by.”
The Mario Kart Club meets in VU 462, every Monday at 4 p.m.
Sam Pearce is a third-year Journalism and Creative Writing double major at WWU. He writes for Campus Life at The Front. He also enjoys pop music, obscenely long sci-fi/fantasy novels, and kaiju movies from the 90s. You can contact him via email firstname.lastname@example.org.