Now unlike many middle-class late 90s early 2000s kids, I did not own any video game systems. There was the family PC and that was it.
(The story behind that can be read here)
Instead, I mooched off of the consoles of friends and family. Luckily for me, my older cousins happened to have a GameCube with several Mario games. They were only a few years older than me and lived less than a half-hour car drive away. I visited them a lot. They became my second set of brothers.
I’ll call the oldest Teach. He had always known he wanted to be a teacher. And that’s exactly what he did. He became a middle school teacher and he’s a principal now. I’ll call his brother Preach because he has a goal of entering seminary someday and becoming a pastor. Also, Teach and Preach rhyme and that will annoy them. Aren’t I such a good little sister?
When I was in late elementary (probably?) they were in middle school, they happened to get a new game, Mario Kart: Double Dash. They had already played it a little and they wanted to show me. Right from the start, I was completely hooked on Double Dash.
The gameplay was good of course, but that’s not what kept me playing. It was competitiveness, pure and simple. I was having fun, but I wanted to win. Preach was as competitive as I was. He was not going to sit back and make it easy for me.
Practically every time I went over to their place I was playing Mario Kart. I had to get good and I didn’t have the advantage of owning the game. So I practiced whenever I could. Eventually, it got to the point when playing against each other I could hold my own against both boys.
At this point, Teach stopped caring about our competition. He was fine with playing the game for fun with others around his skill level. He didn’t care about being the “best”. Preach, on the other hand, absolutely wanted to keep his position as the top Double Dash player. He played the game sporadically to keep up his skills. He was the one to hold most (if not all) of the records. Preach wanted every single trophy to have his initials.
Thus our competition went to the next level. Instead of individual races, we measured victory by who has the most trophies with their initials. We both would play various tracks over and over again to get the highest score and the best time. Whenever we took away the other’s trophies we made it a point to show them in a “Haha! In your face!” kind of way.
Eventually, our shared obsession over Double Dash petered out. We never officially ended our competition. It’s more like we got distracted with other things and forgot about it. Funny enough, despite how important the competition was to us for a few months I don’t remember who ended up winning. If I’m honest it was probably Preach. He owned the system and spent more time playing than I did.
The Mario Kart Double Dash competition became one of my favorite memories with them. Fittingly, over a decade later, when my husband and I visited my childhood home the spring after our wedding, Preach gave me his old GameCube and all the games for it. I still have it and use it today.
*Image does not belong to me. Mario Kart Double Dash belongs to Nintendo