How To Play Mario Kart 8 Deluxe with Young Kids or Inexperienced Players

The holidays are officially here. As we’ve entered into the final two weeks of 2022, many people have time off from work and get to spend some quality time with their loved ones. For me, this typically means one thing: firing up the Nintendo Switch and playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. My kids love racing against me, and each time we play they get better and better making it more of a true challenge for a seasoned gamer like myself.

Video games can be difficult for young and inexperienced players, and often the barrier for entry is too high – controllers are too intimidating and all of the different button combinations are too much to fathom trying to understand. Fortunately, Nintendo knows their target audience and has provided some accessibility features to level the playing field and make a match of Mario Kart something that everyone–young and old, gamer or not–can enjoy.

For the purposes of this article, I am going to assume you know how to start a multiplayer match in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Before we get into the steps below, you’ll need to select multiplayer and then choose the number of people playing, and you will each have selected your characters. You’ll now find yourself on the kart selection screen.

  • On the kart selection screen, you’ll need each player who needs some extra help (be they too young or too inexperienced) to press either the tiny minus sign or tiny plus sign on their controller. It doesn’t matter which controller you are using–they all have these buttons on them. You can see them in the image below right underneath each pointer finger:
Image source: iMore (red circles added by author)
  • Once you press the minus or plus button, an overlay will appear over that player’s section of the screen (you can also press the minus or plus button during regular gameplay to bring up the overlay as well). At the top of the overlay, you will see three options: Smart Steering, Tilt Controls, and Auto-Accelerate (see below):
Image Source: Gamexplain
  • Smart Steering is basically driving with bumpers on. It means there are invisible walls on either side of the track that make it impossible for the player to fall off the side of the track (with a few exceptions). To turn this on, you’ll press the left shoulder button.
  • Tilt Controls allow the player to use motion controls to steer their kart. This is more of a preference thing, but some younger players instinctively move their controller around anyway, so this might help make it easier for them to have control of their player. To turn this feature on, you’ll press the “A” button, or the east circle button in the cluster of four circle buttons on your controller.
  • Auto-Accelerate makes it so that the player does not have to press a button to accelerate. This allows them to just focus on steering and using items. To turn this on, press the right shoulder button.

These simple yet powerful settings make an already phenomenal game even better, because it allows all types of players to feel as if they are able to compete. One other piece of advice when playing with young or inexperienced players? When I race with my kids, after the race begins, I put my controller down and count to 40. This gives them a fighting chance, and sometimes results in them beating me. Sometimes.

I was Wario, and I was not happy I lost.

Mark Pereira is a senior writer for Boss Rush Network. He loves all video games, but his top three favorites are Skyward SwordSuper Mario 3D World and Batman: Arkham Asylum. You can find him on Twitter where he’s usually talking about Nintendo, video games, movies, and TV shows.

Featured image source: Miketendo64

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