There was a time when every franchise and its mother seemed to have a kart racer- Sonic Drift, Diddy Kong Racing– even Beetle Adventure Racing, for those whose desire in life was to drive a Volkswagen New Beetle around a car park smashing into everything in sight- friend or inanimate object. Naughty Dog were particularly culpable for turning their mascots into speed demons, with Crash Team Racing and Jak X being swan songs which followed two trilogies of good platformers. Frankly, I'm surprised Nathan Drake hasn't yet appeared in his own Unkarted spin-off.
The genre has faded a little over recent years, probably due to the behemoth that is Mario Kart vastly outselling its competitors. Yet a few still pop up occasionally- All-Star Fruit Racing being a recent indie example. There is evidently still a market, especially for those who don't own a Nintendo console- or are sick to death of being dicked over with blue shells and banana skins by Toad and Bowser.
Now TV giant Nickelodeon is entering the fray this autumn with their very own Nickelodeon Kart Racers, developed by GameMill entertainment and releasing on Switch, PS4 and Xbox One in October this year. The game will pit new and classic Nickelodeon cartoon characters including Spongebob, the Rugrats and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles against each other in their own take on arcade racing madness. The full roster has yet to be confirmed, but it's clearly a game hoping to appeal to both children and nostalgia-seeking young adults alike. Will it match the level of friendship-breaking success that Mario Kart has enjoyed for over 25 years? We shell see.