Instigator / Pro

[Micro-debate]The presence of Blue Shells in Mario Kart games is justified


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Blue shells are Mario Kart items. They are blue in color and they will fly to the first place driver and flip them over, causing them to often lose first place if so. Blue shells can spin out second places and/or other drivers if they are really close to 1st place.

There are entire forums about why Blue shells should not be allowed. Many Mario Kart races are ruined because of one single shell on the last lap.

I, User, will argue that Blue Shells have the right to exist and should remain existent.
You, whoever you are, will argue that Blue shells should be removed from the game.

We can use Mario Kart games as Canon, especially MK8/NX since they are the most recent Mario Kart games and it is my most experienced Mario Kart game(3 stars every 150cc cup, 1 star every 200cc cups). We could, however, use other games, and they are allowed.

Just to catch on the trend, I will use the Micro-debate format. 2500 characters as the limit and 4 sources at most.

Round 1
It would be a great opportunity for me to learn the new strategies of debating consider I am faced with one of the most powerful debaters on the site. Hello RM.

Let's start the points.

1. Opponent concession
Everything is justified, literally. The question is if the justification is fair or not.
My opponent stated that everything is justified. Since the Blue shell is a thing, and he thinks it is justified, thus my opponent conceded. 

2. The reason it is included in the 1st place(no pun intended)
Source below. 
Hideki Konno, the Japanese guy who participated in the development of Mario Kart games, states:
“With Mario Kart 64, we wanted to have the same thing where everyone was in it until the end, but some of the processing problems occurred that didn’t allow us to do that. And what I mean by that is once you’re in a middle of a race you’ll get that natural separation.[1]
It is here to restore balance. If the player is extremely skilled, then there is no competition. Blue shells brought people back to the competition as it nerfs the best of the best and gives slightly less good players a chance for victory. Back in the N64 ages, the system couldn't handle 8 people on one screen racing, so instead, Blue Shells are the remedy to make competition still hot. 

3. You can dodge it
In Mario Kart 8, the Super Horn and the Mushroom can help you to escape a Blue Shell, The probability is existent that you can get both of these items in 1st place(0 units from 1st, which is the top row).[2] Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, an upgraded version of Mario Kart 8 on the Switch, uses the same item distribution.

In Mario Kart 7, a Mushroom can be acquired in 1st place, and you can dodge with it.[3]

In Mario Kart Wii, which is the earliest one you could dodge a blue shell with, is with a mushroom. Mushrooms can only be acquired in 2nd place or lower, but you can dodge with it.[4] It is common for you to receive a Blue shell while still having your 2nd place item on you. More than that, you could pull up a 3 pack of mushrooms in 3rd or 4th places.

Also,It is common for you to receive a Blue shell while still having your 2nd place item on you.


I pass the talking feather to RationalMadman.

Powercreep (PC), Faulty Patching (FP) and a Conflict of 'Type' of Game (CTG).

3 things sum up Pro's case. 2 of them are linked (PC and FP).

PC is a concept that, if you want another person to back me up and explain it, feel free to check out these links:

In summary, many game designers are keen to not lose their fan-base but are too lazy to sufficiently patch the game as it goes along in order to 'even things out' and reduce the impact or luck or 'unfair strategies' on the game. So, for instance let's say that speed-focused character choices (such as Luigi and Princess Daisy) were unfairly enabling fast leads that the more 'bruiser types' struggled to stop (such as Donkey Kong and Bowser), what the game designers first do is to ask 'what powers will even things out a little so that each character choice can win if you're skilled enough'?

So far so good, right? Well, here's the issue. Powercreep happens when the default solution that the designer, in this case Nintendo, is to keep adding more things, increasing stats of other things and consistently refusing to cut down on stats and overpowered strategies. A culmination of all of this, in Mario Kart, is that the game designers tried to add something so that someone with a supposedly unfair burst-lead could lose due to and they concluded that it was a good enough solution to please others.

Why then, is it only in 2014 that finally the powercreep has superficially 'balanced itself out' as they added enough things such as the Horn and Mushroom to 'cancel out' the very thing that in the first place was there to cancel out good luck by the leader in the first place? The reason is that the game is inherently unfair and that it must be fixed at its core.

Each map favours different character types and even then, why can't you all start as the same type of character? To be clear the characters don't have equal starting stats, let alone position, the game tries to 'even this out' by letting those further back go first (like a real life race) but they then get more time to mentally prepare for the powers ahead and noticing nuances in speed and turning in the others, while the one who spawns in the leading position usually is already hit by a shell (not a blue one, just a red one) from the get-go.

You cannot justify the existence of a game element that will completely punish someone for having a lead by adding more and more overpowered things. Luck or skill, which is it?
Round 2
Good one from RM. I shall start my response from up here.

My opponent's points are summed:
  • Mario Kart does Power Creeping through the Blue Shell
  • Power Creeping is bad and unfair
  • Because so, the Blue shell should not exist. 
My points are below.

1. Mario Kart is not meant to be a serious racing game, and it is not its job to be fair.

I would like to advise my opponent to play Need for Speed, Forza Horizons, Gran Turismo instead, or if he has nothing but one Switch, at least Asphalt 9: Legends. These games feature no items and realistic sportscars that will give you more serious and fair gameplay compared to Mario Kart. There are always more realistic and fair games compared to Mario Kart, and if you chose Mario Kart to buy, then you are ready to face the unmoderated region that is unfair.  

If Mario Kart was deliberately made to be fair, then there would be NO items at all, not even mushrooms or bananas. The fact the Items are pretty much random other than based on your position made it clear that Luck plays a role in the gameplay and that Mario Kart games aren't made to be fair. 

My opponent had successfully proved why power creeping was bad, given examples of other games, however, Mario Kart is made so Luck plays. There are many items that signify Mario Kart has Luck as a factor on top of the usual skill, such as the blooper(Which sprays ink on everyone in front of you) and Bullet Bill(Which makes you go super fast in the lines and, in the process, skipping some of your competitors). If the game is made to be fair, then you should be able to get a Bullet Bill at 1st place, and that is more power creeping.

My opponent also argues, "Why can't Mario Kart be fair?" Easy, it is not meant to be fair. Human emotion is in it and it is built with it. Saying this is like telling Khrushchev to be as democratic as Sweden. They are different and serve different purposes.

Mario Kart is a party game that is not meant to be serious. You just play with your friends and you have fun with it. It is not serious. If you rage getting a blue shell, then there is simply your anger problem, not the game. There are more grueling games out there. 

  • Mario Kart is made so that Luck exists on top of skill. It is not serious.
  • Items negate the possibility for Mario Kart being purposefully fair. If you are removing the Blue shell the game won't be any less unfair.


R = Round

Pro's entire justification for a blatantly unfair and ridiculous game element is that the game is supposed to be ridiculously unfair.

If you would observe the entirety of Pro's R2 and most of Pro's R1, the focus is on the game being entitled to be unfair and that because they brought in the mushroom and horn, it's all okay now.

What I explain in my R1 is that when games counteract overpowered elements by overpowering other elements or adding on new ones (rather than underpowering or removing the overpowered element) over time a well-established concept happens in gaming, namely powercreep (PC). The problem with PC is that the game becomes more and more brutal in sudden moments and less able to reward skill, patience or anything at all really.

In the game of Mario Kart the entire reason they even had the blue shell to begin with was that they admitted that too much of the game relies on luck and unfair early leads, so to counteract this they added a game element that literally can give the person in first place, fourth place, if the game is close enough. How on earth is this justifiable?

In R1 Pro says that I conceded the debate by commenting that everything is justified but what I did was talk in hyperbole. If everything is justified then so is saying that something isn't justified, meaning that idea self-refutes. 

The definition of 'justify' is:
to give or to be a good reason for

Show or prove to be right or reasonable.

In this debate, Pro's entire case relies on the idea that the game is not supposed to be reasonable or fair and that this is a good thing to allow, simply because Nintendo says it is so. What I explained was that there is a problem with solving game imbalance by imbalancing it in an inverted manner, which namely is that the game simply becomes even more unfair and 'sudden burst' in nature, not less. While there is a horn and mushroom to help deal with the unfair blue shell, this then means that the entire reason for the blue shell existing itself is refuted by the mushroom and horn being added.

Don't you get it? They merely added more luck to counteract the very brutal game element that was meant to supposedly counteract the luck.

The game clearly does intend to be fair and based on skill, Pro is simply saying it does not. The reason they added the blue shell was that they realised that the game isn't good enough in balancing out bursts of luck. Unfortunately, this unfairly rewarded the would-be 2nd place.