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The new Mario Kart comes with an Accessibility surprise


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Nintendo has released Mario Kart 8 deluxe for their latest Switch console, and with it an abundance of new battle courses and revamped battle modes.

The Japanese company's newest Switch title was received with the acclaim of both buyers and critics, but it also packed an unexpected surprise.

A smart steering mode was introduced and switched on by default, helping to guide players by taking turns and avoiding going off road.

While the only physically difference you'll notice is an antenna at the back of your vehicle with a blinking light, this mode can change the entire experience of the game.

For one thing, it helps ease newcomers into the world of Mario Kart while getting them accustomed to the controls of the joy-cons.

If you're a beginner who hasn't been playing Mario Kart since its DS and Gameboy iterations, or even its SNES origin, this is a great introduction. This as equally useful for younger players and children who aren't yet ready to tackle a race on their own.

More importantly, however, this smart-steering mode makes the game far more accessible, which is something wonderful and revolutionary in the game panorama.

Gamers of all ages will finally be able to enjoy Mario Kart without having to heavily rely on hand-eye coordination or motion controls.

Recently, a father spoke out about how this new feature has allowed his four-year-old daughter to play Mario Kart 8 Deluxe despite having suffered a stroke after her birth.

In his Reddit post he expressed how grateful he was when he saw that his daughter was able to join her siblings.

"This is truly a day I won't forget thanks to Nintendo.", he said.

In fact, Mario Kart isn't the only new game in the Switch line-up that caters to special needs gamers.

In another Reddit post, a woman talked about playing 1-2 Switch with her blind husband, the game combining sound cues and the new HD rumble feature rather than strictly using images. She was pleasantly surprised to discover her husband could play almost all of the games and beat her in the process.

Gaming companies have a long list of things to consider when creating video games but accessibility has never really been the priority in the mainstream industry.

As we go forward It would be amazing to see Nintendo continue to build accessible games because there is a lot more that can be done and then more companies could follow in its tracks.

Whether Nintendo implemented the smart steering feature knowing it would help its disabled fans or not, I can't think of a better company to set the example given their positive and family-friendly approach to entertainment. 

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