The cold, hard truth about the rules of Mario Kart has been exposed, and it's controversial to say the least. This revelation comes from the Super Mario Kart instructional manual, an important piece of gaming literature that has apparently been overlooked until now.
Mario Kart has become something of a cultural staple for gaming, as it's universally loved and played, even to those who don't consider themselves gamers. The series began in 1992 with Super Mario Kart on the Super Nintendo, or SNES, and has since included twelve other titles for various consoles, as well as VR and mobile platforms. Nintendo's kart racer was the first of its kind in the early 90s, and Mario Kart's imaginative maps and play style went on to set a trend of one of the most popular game genres of the decade. The formula was often replicated, but never matched.
Fans of the world famous kart-racing game were floored when Reddit user flabby-doo-dad pointed out a line from the Super Mario Kart instructional manual: "Always keep an eye on your opponent's screen." For years, gamers have chastised each other for screen-looking, also known as screen-cheating, and will even create their own DIY solutions to prevent it from happening at all. According to page 17 of the Super Mario Kart manual, screen-looking is not only legal, it's encouraged.
The debate surrounding screen-looking has been raging since the days of Golden Eye, and it's been a passionate one. Those opposed call it cheating, arguing that players should rely on their own skill rather than looking at their opponent's side of the screen. On the other hand, those in favor say that it's actually part of the gameplay and strategy, because while the other player can look at your screen, you can also look at theirs, meaning it all balances out to fair play. Game developer Samurai Punk even released a game in 2016 called Screencheat, wherein screen-looking was the main mechanic. In the first-person shooter, all of the character models are invisible, so players have to deduce where the other players are by looking at their quadrants of the screen.
Considering what a hot topic screen-looking is in niche pockets of the gaming industry, it's surprising that this rule has gone undiscovered and unacknowledged for so long. Now, the decades long debate can finally be put to rest, all because one particulary keen gamer decided to take one more careful read through the Super Mario Kart manual.