Gif: Nintendo / BearUNLV / Kotaku
Every Mario Kart player knows the pain of the blue shell (or spiny shell, as it’s technically called). When used, the flying, homing projectile will jet for the racer currently in first place and slams down on them with a concentrated explosion. It’s a menace. Anyone who’s winning a race in these games is looking over their shoulder waiting for someone to send one of these guided missiles their way. However, it is possible to avoid these with a boosting mushroom and some precise timing. Twitch streamer BearUNLV recently put that tech on display by surviving an onslaught of the blue devils on stream, and it was spectacular.
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BearUNLV frequently streams Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on his channel, and yesterday, July 18, he was winning a particularly blue shell-heavy race. As any Mario Kart frontrunner does, his Shy Guy was inevitably bombarded by projectiles from other players. While his luck on that front was bad, his skill with his own items helped him successfully avoid these in rapid succession, allowing him to maintain his first-place standing and win the race.
The trick is to use mushrooms, which give you a momentary speed boost and can propel you out of harm’s way. However, it does require some precise timing, so it can be hard to pull off this maneuver once, much less as many times as BearUNLV was able to. It is, as he calls it, “cinema.”
For some of us, myself included, Mario Kart can just be a silly party game that we don’t take too seriously. But every now and then, I’m reminded that it opens itself to some real sicko plays like the one above, and the dedication to finding all these little nuances can make it a lot of fun to watch. That extends to the speedrunning community, which is still finding stuff in decades-old games.