The cast of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe race

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe launched on the Nintendo Switch this weekend, and an in-game feature that most players are turning off from the get-go is allowing one little girl to play the game for the very first time.

The folks over at Kotaku picked up on this story from reddit, where a father explained how Mario Kart 8's "Smart Steering" option has completely opened up the game for his four-year-old daughter, Molly, to enjoy with the rest of the family. Suffering a stroke at just nine months old, Molly is unable to use two sides of a standard controller, so Smart Steering finally allowed her to get into the game.

Thanks to Mario Kart's new Auto Drive feature, she can now steer with her left hand and let the game drive for her or vice versa. I'm sure this feature will be an annoyance to many, but for my daughter, who would otherwise not really be able to participate, it is the best feature ever added to a Mario Kart game. She is currently sitting in my living with my other 2 kids and my wife and all of them are playing Mario Kart and laughing their heads off. This is truly a day I won't forget thanks to Nintendo.

What's interesting here is that we're not entirely sure this was the original intent of Smart Steering on the part of Nintendo, though it's certainly a welcome outcome. In an attempt to be more inviting to younger players, the Smart Steering option basically allows a player to focus on either acceleration or steering the vehicle, something that would certainly help youngsters who aren't able to grasp all of those game concepts at once. In Molly's case, it's allowed her to finally take control of the kart while the game handles pushing the gas, and it sounds like the outcome has been revolutionary for her family.

As Keith, the father, explains, Molly used to watch her brother and sister play Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U, but could never join them in the fun. Keith is always on the lookout for games that Molly can enjoy, but it sounds like this was more of an extremely nice surprise than a planned outcome. The family recently traded in their Wii U to get the Switch and, once they booted up Mario Kart 8, they learned that Molly could finally get in on the action.

We love stumbling across these kinds of stories and, whether it was intended or not, we think it's rad that Nintendo made such a minor change to the game that is going to affect lots of people in similar situations to Molly in a positive way. We know not all games can be designed in a way that is super inclusive, but it's great to see such features pop up when a clever workaround is discovered.

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