Damn you Nintendo! While we were desperately trying to get all the DS launch info from a darkened auditorium in Paris to our office in London, on to the stage troops eight lucky punters - including Iwata himself - to play Mario Kart DS. It's always a dilemma: do job, or watch brilliant footage of the DS game we've always dreamed about. Tough choice.
So thanks to Nintendo, we got into trouble. Truth be told, getting a look at Mario Kart DS wasn't the earth-shattering event we hoped Nintendo would serve as a tasty side order to the main course of the European DS launch details. But it was such a pleasure to see everyone's favourite Nintendo racer looking so good, and actually being played, that we gobbled it up anyway.
The initial thing that struck us was how much like the original SNES Mario Kart the DS version looked - and we mean that in a good way. Sure, the visuals have been tarted up and each character has his/her own signature kart, but in terms of the aesthetics, the track design and the handling, it looks like the controversial departures of Mario Kart 64 and Double Dash!! have been ignored for a purer Mario Kart experience.
And since you'll be able to hook up eight-player races over wireless LAN, complications to the formula aren't necessary. Watching the eight blokes participating in the demo chuck shells at each other (with little green monsters going mental in our eyeballs, we should add), it was pretty clear that the old magic of the Mario Kart multiplayer madness is back. Plus, it looks like you'll be able to Game Share with seven other people, which would be awesome. Make it happen, Nintendo.
It also looks like the touchscreen will be used primarily for maps and status displays, which we reckon is a far more sensible way to use the space. Touchscreen controls are a nice idea as a bonus, but we'd prefer it if the touchscreen wasn't dominated by them like in Ridge Racers.
We'll be getting hands-on with Mario Kart DS real soon and we'll bring you our full impressions when we do.
Expect Mario Kart DS to squeal onto shelves sometime around May, and enjoy the screens.