Five Places In Dallas Where You Can Live Out Your Real-Life Mario Kart Fantasies.
This week marks the 18th anniversary of Mario Kart 64's arrival in Europe. By then, it's worth noting, we'd already been traversing the Royal Raceway in North America for a good four months.
Still, nearly two decades later, the world hasn't forgotten about this classic game. MK64 is still everywhere these days.
For instance? Brad Paisley's current concert tour includes a bit where fans hold a Mario Kart tournament on a two-story screen mid-show. This comes on the heels of the real-life Mario Kart that was all the rage at last year's SXSW. Oh, and just for good measure, there's currently a guy in Seattle who's training a computer to compete in Super Mario Kart.
So, yeah, the dream is still alive.
There's only so much 2-D racing one can do, though. And, in the past 18 years, it's fair to say we've all probably done more than our fair share. That in mind, we've compiled a list of places to get your real-life Mario Kart fix right here in North Texas.
In the mid-'80s, a company in McKinney decided to pre-assemble hobby-class R/C cars and put them on the market, direct to consumers. Like the jump shortcuts on Koopa Troopa Beach, folks with a few hundred bucks laying around could now simply go out and buy “Ready-To-Run” cars that were pre-assembled, painted and ready to use in competition against the high-powered toy cars that hobbyists previously had to spent dozens of hours souping up. The original maker of these cars, a local company called Traxxas, still makes the fastest models on the market. And though they've since gone national, there's plenty of dealers in North Texas where you can pick one of these bad boys up.
Dallas Slot Cars.
If this sounds like a giant version of your favorite childhood toy, well, that's because that's exactly what it is. Faster than you can shout “HERE WE GO,” the best drivers competing at Dallas Slot Cars' twice-weekly races will have already completed a 155-foot-long lap in their toy cars. The best of them, we hear, can send the cars around the track in under three seconds — and without falling off the edge all-Rainbow Road-style. There are also two shorter tracks on site at this Garland facility, which is located at 714 South Jupiter Road.
Just off I-35 and Walnut Hill is the family-friendly, race-themed amusement park known as Malibu SpeedZone. The longtime area staple provides opportunities to commandeer 300-horsepower drag racers and various-sized go karts in a pretty well-controlled environment. Safety is a key concern at this spot, which is good because there's absolutely no risk of spinning out or hitting any banana peels here.
Dallas Karting Complex.
Like an intense round of Battle Mode, competition gets fierce at Dallas Karting Complex. Here, the most fearless can drop $125 to drive an 85-plus miles-per-hour go kart for 10 minutes and the more conscientious of us can find 60 and 70 miles-per-hour karts for $25 and $60 per 10-minutes, respectively. Just like any good videogame, you'll have to prove your skills on the track in order to unlock the ability to drive the fastest karts. For instance, you'll have to navigate 17 turns over the course of a track that's eight-tenths-of-a-mile long in under 74 seconds to level up.
Friday Night Drags.
After conquering the karts, the only place to jump is up to full-size cars — and through the summer, Texas Motor Speedway hosts its Friday Night Drags events. Here anybody with a car, a driver's license and 20 bucks can compete in live drag-racing along the famed track's one-eighth-mile pit road. What would Wario do?