Against the odds, Nintendo seems to have perfected a model of perpetual resurgence.
While Xbox and PlayStation host the industry's blaring blockbusters, Nintendo's focus has turned inwards to its established roster of stars – none more so than dinky titan Mario.
In Mario Kart 8 he's on wheels rather than jumping platforms, but the approach is the same – reformulating and folding the series' recipe back on itself to maintain an extraordinarily imaginative high. Mario Kart is still about drifting, weapons pick-ups and scrambling multiplayer, but with the kind of light-touch tweaks that bring out the best in what's already there.
New weapons gel with the existing shells-and-mushroom line-up (and a sound-horn pick-up finally gives players a way of deflecting the infamous blue shell) while an anti-grav track design renders classic courses in free-form beauty. Flawless presentation – the game is in HD for the first time – rounds off a masterfully maintained classic.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010