I think I’ve played Mario Kart maybe once in my life probably seven or eight years ago. I’ve played remarkably few Nintendo games; Playstation was always my main platform. I do have a Wii, but I almost never play it. When our group was short one inexperienced player, I reluctantly volunteered as tribute.
I used that phrase because it felt like I was going in for the Hunger Games with no expectation of winning. Having to ask about the controls also inspired little confidence. I tried to take a deep breath and remind myself that, with one or two exceptions, I don’t care what this class thinks of me. It was almost helpful, until I remembered those one or two exceptions.
I’m a fairly competitive person. My parents are so competitive that they sometimes argue about who is more or less competitive. I have inherited a good share of this outlook. Therefore, if you put me in a competition/race, I’m going to try to win. I’m also going to take pride in being better than you, because I’m a human being.
I won’t say that my anxiety disappeared when the race started. It didn’t. I was still very nervous and not confident in my abilities. I mean, I was going up against two experienced Mario Kart-ers. It somehow didn’t matter, though. Being nervous and performing didn’t matter nearly as much as winning.
And that’s what I did.
The anxiety didn’t actually subside until all three races were over, and even then there had to be a cooling off period. An approximately hour-long cooling off period.
There’s something so engrossing about a racing game. Everything about it is simple – go forward and pass everyone else. The graphics play at being intricate and distracting, but tunnel vision is easy to achieve – the road can be the only thing you see. You can check your standing very easily as well – the large number in the corner of each screen is easy to glance at. The fact that you always have to be engaged with the race in order to succeed – there’s no standing around and waiting – also helps to immerse you and keep your anxiety and dwelling-time to a minimum.
All in all, I’m actually still not sure how I feel about the experience. I’m proud of myself for destroying my opponents, but I don’t know that I enjoyed the experience of playing in class.