I was one of the lucky few that was chosen to represent Kotaku at the Mario Kart tournament in Sydney. While this wasn't requested at all I figured I might as well do a write-up on the event, to give everyone who wasn't there a run down of the occasion. So here's how things transpired...
As you walked into the room there were four TVs set up, each one running a different Mario Kart. There was one set up for the SNES, N64, Gamecube and Wii. Before the event proper got started, we had a chance to jump onto one of these, or one of the 3DS consoles they had, to do some last minute practicing. There were members of many different sites at the event, so it was as much a competition between sites as it was a competition between individuals.
As they announced the start of the tournament, they also announced the rules. Instead of pitting players against each other in proper races, players were to compete one at a time in time trials, on tracks that had been pre-selected by the organisers. Each player had one chance and one chance only (if you messed up your boost start, too bad) to post a time on each of the four older Mario Kart games, and the top two times on each went through to contest the grand final on Mario Kart 7 on the 3DS, in a proper tournament race. The track chosen for SNES was Mario Circuit 2, the track for N64 was Koopa Troopa Beach, the track for Gamecube was Daisy Cruiser, and the track for Wii was the most boring and unimaginative track in the game... Luigi Circuit -_-
My speciality was the Wii version and as I waited for my turn, I discussed strategies with fellow Kotaku representatives on the best way to tackle the track. When I stepped up, I only managed the 6th best time overall on the Wii so was unable to advance, and completely messed up my run on the Gamecube. I was a bit disappointed I couldn't get a second chance as I was sure I could have beaten the best time on the Wii had I had another shot at it, but that's how it goes. We did however have one Kotaku representative manage to make it through to the final for nailing the best time on the SNES version, though he didn't manage a top 3 finish in the final which would have netted him a grand prize of a signed 3DS. He still walked away with a neat little trophy though.
Overall the event was a lot of fun and run very well, with plenty of alcohol also consumed by the 60-odd participants and various media that were there (some had clearly had too much to drink to be driving go-karts though). It was also great to mingle and socialise with fellow gamers that we hadn't met before. It's a great thing the gaming community has actually...normally if you get a room filled with complete strangers, not a lot happens. But get gamers together and get us around a few TV's playing games, and we just gel, and everyone had a great time enjoying our hobby and each other's company.
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Mark and Kotaku for giving us the chance to go this event, and for Nintendo for putting it on. Hopefully another event such as this happens in the near future!