It could've been the latent heatstroke setting in from the three days I spent tut-tutting millennials under my breath at Coachella, or the five coffees I'd drunk to sustain some form of consciousness. But when I finished playing a demo of the new 200cc level in Mario Kart 8 with some folks from Nintendo on Monday, my eyes felt looser in their sockets and a barely containable feeling of nausea lingered in my gut for about an hour. It was as if I'd come off a roller coaster -- like one of those daring, metallic serpents from Six Flags or Busch Gardens in the '80s that jolted you just a bit too much and gave the impression you'd nearly avoided whiplash.
All of which is to say, 200cc is not for the weak. It is stupid fast and stupid good.
I'm a die-hard fan of the original WipeOut, the futuristic racer that helped catapult the PlayStation to success. Fans of that game will probably remember how frustrating and undeniably thrilling it was to play in Rapier class, that game's unlockable ultra-fast mode. Mario Kart's 200cc mode (which arrives as a free update on April 23rd) is like that. It's maddening in a way that somehow makes you smile. And it requires an essential mastery of sliding, and in-depth knowledge of each track's every nuance to avoid repeatedly running your cart off the track or slamming into walls. You'll also have to carefully consider how you weight your racer -- i.e., cart style, wheels and glider -- to make those deft turns.
It's a blink-and-you'll-miss-all-the-things level of pandemonium. And I can't wait to play it (and nearly puke) again.
[Image credit: Nintendo]