Jenn's Bumper Sticker
Don’t make me do it. One more bad drive and I’m printing this and taping it on my rear window!

The last few weeks while driving my kids to school, I’ve been shocked by the things I’ve witnessed behind the wheel. Am I showing my age? Probably. But, the things I’ve watched other drivers do reminds me of the way I drive when I play Super MARIOKART with my daughters on our Xbox.

Notice that there is no sub-head that says: A Driving Instruction Tool

After another white-knuckle drive home yesterday in which I avoided two near collisions, I designed a bumper sticker. Yes, so help me God, I did. And if my afternoon commute doesn’t go any smoother, I’m going to print it and tape it to rear window of my car.

So let’s look at the key ways the game differs from real life:

  • There are no seatbelts in MARIOKART, so safety isn’t really a priority. In real life, safety matters
  • In the game, we get an infinite amount of lives. If you happen to “die” you’re promptly parachuted back onto the road. And in real life we just die
  • In the game, reading and obeying signs is optional at best. In real life, signs reminds us of the rules. If we don’t obey them, we get pulled over by a police officer
  • There are no speed laws in MARIOKART
  • There are no blinkers on MARIOKART vehicles. There are in real life – but drivers are increasingly forgetting to use them (flibberty, flibberty)
  • In the game, the goal is to finish first. In real life, the goal is to get to a place alive
  • In MARIOKART, fire is a minor inconvenience, as is driving off the road onto the surrounding landscape – both slow you down for a short time. We all know what happens in real life if you drive off the road
  • There’s no gas or electric-charging needed to run the vehicles in MARIOKART, but in real life, we need fuel. Is this why I’ve noticed so many young people walking down the highway with a red gasoline can in their hands?
  • In the game, lanes don’t matter, and lane lines are a mere suggestion. In real life, staying within the lane makes all the difference
  • In the game, we pass quick and close to cause another driver to spin off the course. In real life, we’re supposed to give each other some space so we stay safe when we pass
  • When we play MARIOKART, we laugh and scream and cheer.¬† In real life, crazy maneuvers¬† lead to road rage, permanent nail marks in steering wheels and chronic TMJ in other drivers
Where are the seatbelts? And what the heck is Luigi holding? Does this look safe?

So, younglings, the next time you hit the road, and I’m talking about actual asphalt – not pixels, remember what you learned in driver’s ed. Obey the law, be courteous to other drivers and make it your goal to get to your destination in one piece. Leave the crazy antics for the gaming, okay?


3 thoughts on “The MARIOKART Effect

  1. A brilliant reminder of the difference between video games and real life. Definitely worthy of being printed out and posted in high schools. Congrats – Jan

  2. Love this post, Jennifer! I might have to borrow that bumper sticker for when I drive my son to high school. The road there is fairly narrow, and there are cars, bikes, pedestrians, and scooters EVERYWHERE. I came home shaking today.

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