Mario Kart 8 may well be the best in the series, but Double Dash will probably always be my personal favorite. While the original Super Mario Kart was one of the most defining games of my SNES library back in the day, and I had a good time with my buddy's copy of Mario Kart 64 (mostly for battle mode), it was Double Dash that really felt like a total perfection of the kart racer genre to me.
Sometime after college I had taken a bit of a hiatus from gaming (which seems weird to me now, looking back). But for my birthday in 2007, my wife got me a Gamecube and a stack of awesome games to go with it. As such, I have a ton of awesome memories tied to rediscovering the Gamecube's library. The two biggest memories though would be finally tackling Zelda: The Wind Waker, and of course, the many nights my wife and I spent playing Double Dash.
Gosh, it seems like forever ago. We were in our twenties, just married, living in a one bedroom apartment. Our big Friday night tradition was hitting up a salad bar, then perusing Blockbuster (oh man, remember Blockbuster?) and then going home to eat and watch a movie, and probably drink cheap beer. And many a Saturday night at the time we'd find ourselves playing Double Dash (and still drinking cheap beer, probably).
The years since have seen lots of other Mario Kart entries. And eventually we got to Mario Kart 8, which is an undisputed masterpiece. One we love. The years since have also seen so much happen to us. I mean we're like legitimately grown-ups now with a house and a baby and some cats and a whole lot of responsibilities. Sometimes we even drink expensive beer.
So while we could play Mario Kart 8 quite easily - it's sitting right there on the shelf, after all - there is a certain quaint simplicity to going back to Double Dash. It's a smaller game. It's not in HD. And my goodness, it can feel like a time machine back to simpler times.
Nowadays our game night together is on Tuesday nights. And it fits somewhere between after the baby goes to bed, and we're done cleaning up and getting things ready for the next night; and y'know, being too tired to play games anymore. Sixty to ninety minutes a week I'd wager. But it's sixty to ninety quality minutes.
You really can't go wrong with Double Dash. And I guess I can almost understand why some folks are so keen to stick with their copies of Smash Bros Melee even though Ultimate exists now. We've started a fresh memory card save, and are going through all the circuits with the intention of unlocking everything. It's a fun time machine, this one.