The Mario Kart series' infamous blue shell could well be the most controversial video game weapon of all time. Ever since Nintendo added the infamous first-place-seeking missile in Mario Kart 64, fans have been debating whether the blue shell is a game-ruining menace that needs to be done away with, or a clever and fun bit of balancing. Obviously, the blue shell can’t be that bad, since the Mario Kart series has survived through seven entries with it, but some still hold out hope Nintendo will finally come to their senses.
Well, don’t hold your breath. Eurogamer recently asked Kosuke Yabuki, director of Mario Kart 7 and 8, whether they’d ever consider ditching the blue shell, and he basically told players to suck it up.
"We're always experimenting with what new [Mario Kart] elements to introduce or what elements can be removed. We have tried to see what the game's like without the blue shell. When we've experimented without the blue shell, actually it feels like something's missing. Like there's something not quite enough in the game. So, for now we've kept it in. You know, sometimes life isn't fair.”
Ouch, how’s that burn feel blue shell haters? Yakubi further explained the art of balancing a frustrating element like the blue shell…
“Sometimes in life you have something where you feel that's not right, and that's frustrating. Playing Mario Kart, if you have something that feels unfair or makes you feel frustrated or makes you angry -- everyone is different in that respect. What you will feel is unfair might be different to someone else, because everyone is different, and it's an emotive thing. You can't pin it down with a set formula. Although everyone might feel on one particular day that they're so frustrated that they're not going to play any more Mario Kart, [you have to keep] the experience enjoyable enough so that you'll still go back to Mario Kart and still enjoy it."
So, there you are, Mario Kart and the blue shell can be frustrating, but like real life, you just have to keep at it and find a way to enjoy yourself. Getting blasted a foot before the finish line is a teaching moment.