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Mario Kart 64

A fan-favorite racing game is finally making its way to the Wii U virtual console, just in time to end 2016 on a high note for Nintendo's digital offerings. Get ready to hit the insane tracks of Mario Kart 64.

Available starting today on the Wii U Virtual Console, Mario Kart 64 can be yours for just $9.99. Offering combat-heavy racing for up to four players, this Nintendo 64 classic can be played just about every controller Nintendo currently has on the market, including the Wii U GamePad, the Wii U Pro Controller, as well as all of those different waggle wands and whatnot for the original Wii.

The game is a direct port of the original Mario Kart 64, so don't go in expecting HD graphics or a refreshed soundtrack. What you will get, though, is the original 20 tracks and all of those head-to-head arenas, perfect for driving and launching red turtle shells through.

The original Mario Kart for the SNES was a pretty revolutionary game, but Mario Kart 64 took everything that game got right and turned it all the way up to 11. There were more, and far more varied, courses, including all sorts of unique looks, pulled from familiar Mario Bros. settings. What really made the courses memorable were their great layouts, the occasional unique feature, and plenty of environmental hazards. Bolt on some slick driving and a much-expanded arsenal of weapons to fire at your enemy and you've got the makings of great memories ruining friendships. This game kept us glued to the screen in college, only ever leaving the rotation when its successor, Double Dash, finally arrived. And for many, not even then. It's great to see it added to the Virtual Console, as it can still provide a heck of a lot of racing fun for just 10 bucks.

It's also good to see that Nintendo hasn't completely pulled the plug on Wii U just yet. Yes, they are gearing up to put their full focus on the Switch, but some folks prefer to game a generation or two behind these days. We imagine a lot of folks got a Wii U through the holidays and releasing a few more Virtual Console games is a good way of keeping things fresh for a bit, as well as providing more options for existing fans.

If we're being honest, though, we hope this is a sign of good things to come for the Virtual Console on the Switch. It seems odd that Nintendo would launch a new VC game this close to the launch of a new console after they've basically said, yes, the Wii U is dead. We've got our fingers crossed that the Switch's VC library will be identical to the Wii U at launch, but that would be a very un-Nintendo thing for Nintendo to do.

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