Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Tournament revs up students, ignites competition

By Oscar Huerta, Sept. 19, 2023

Both casual and hardcore players of Mario Kart raced over to compete for a shot at glory in the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Tournament hosted by ASI in the Games Room Sept. 15.

Twenty-five students competed in the single elimination bracket where four players raced against each other on four random tracks each set. The competitors relied on both their knowledge of the tracks and luck of the item boxes to surpass their opponents and ultimately win the most points and move on to the next round. In the final round, the best competitors raced for a chance to win $25 in Bronco Bucks.

Before the tournament began, competitors gathered and discussed their strategies and previous experiences with the game. Fransisco Moreno, an aerospace engineering student and first-time competitor, said that although he did not have much time to prepare before the tournament due to his coursework, he felt confident enough in his knowledge of the game and his playstyle to put up a good fight.

“This is the first time I’ve ever done this before, so it’s new, it’s exciting,” Moreno said. “I am a little nervous, I won’t lie — I am a little nervous, but I think I can steady my nerves and get out there and win a race.”

Moreno also said that although he was ready for a nice and casual tournament experience, he entered to win because he is a competitive person at heart.

As the tournament began, participants gathered around the two setups to spectate and cheer on their fellow competitors, enthusiastically shouting whenever someone made an excellent play by boosting past everyone with mushrooms or whenever a fan-favorite course like Moo Moo Meadows appeared.

Mechanical engineering student Zak Zuhlke noted how challenging it was to play against similarly skilled Mario Kart players in a four-player race.

“Instead of one person out in front and everyone out back behind it, it was pretty much like all four of us were up in front all going against each other, all fighting for first place back-to-back,” Zuhlke said. “You kind of need to get lucky with the items you get so you can get yourself into first place and be able to stay there.”

Very early in the tournament, two players tied during the round and were both allowed to progress in the tournament. One of the players of this match was William Carrillo, a general biology student who placed second in the previous Mario Kart Tournament last semester.

Carrillo said that this moment stood out to him because if he was even one point off, he would not have been granted the chance to fight his way to the final round.

After a long-fought tournament, the finals round included Carrillo, political science student Abigail Jenkins, urban regional planning student Javier Ramirez, and mechanical engineering student Adrian Dominguez. In the end, Ramirez took the gold for the tournament, with Jenkins coming second, Dominguez in third and Carillo in fourth.

For Ramirez, the competition was the first Mario Kart tournament he won.

“It was pretty fun,” Ramirez said. “I got to meet a lot of new people that play the exact same games as me — new friends. I got some good competition.”

Ramirez attributed his success in the tournament to his competitive Mario Kart experience and time spent practicing each course in time trial mode.

ASI Competitive Sports Manager DJ Netherly said that ASI plans to reach out and appeal to more students in any way it can with future gaming events. It also plans on expanding by collaborating more with the campus and its various esports clubs, as well as local partners and sponsors.

“For this tournament, it’s definitely low skill, but we want to make sure to get those students that typically don’t participate in traditional sports and bring awareness that we do offer esports programs to the campus and tap into that community as well,” Netherly said.

ASI’s next esports tournament will be a Super Smash Bros tournament Oct. 13. Students interested in competing can register for the tournament through the ASI Portal.

Feature image by Alejandro Barlow

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