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Why being good at Mario Kart Tour might make you a great tester

Introduction

The new Mario Kart Tour game has turned into the next big fad in our office, taking all of the basic themes of the classic Mario Kart games and bringing them to mobile. General chat around the office has centred around the different features of the game, what you can unlock and any cool tips or tricks we can share. But I’m sure there is one thing that’s on the minds of all of the members of our hyper-competitive office: which of us is the best?

Now there’s no way to actually decide this, as there’s no feature that allows you to play against your friends and no mechanism that records your lap time. Kim is the on highest level so maybe it’s her? Personally I’m happy to wait for the competitive features to be released before it’s decided officially.

Now, all this talk about being the best at Mario Kart has gotten me thinking; what truly makes you the best Mario Kart player around? The obvious thoughts would be the person’s ability to drive straight, stay on the track and stay out of trouble. However, this would be wrong, very wrong. Actually the answer is often the complete opposite, and here’s why:

Beating the system

The current world record for Mario Kart Wii is held by a player that goes by the name of SGIncendier and if you watch his world record run you’ll see that he actually really doesn’t spend that much time on the track at all. He manages to beat all 32 tracks in the game in a staggering 58 minutes and 37 seconds (beat that Kim). 

The keen mathematicians amongst you may have noticed that this means he’s beating each track in less than 2 minutes which, if you were playing the game the way it was intended to be played, would not normally be possible. Now, how did he do it?

SCIncendier utilises countless amounts of skips, bugs and glitches to achieve such fast times. He’s constantly outsmarting the game, doing things like throwing himself off of the side of the track to make the game think he’s somewhere that he isn’t. My personal favourite is Grumble Volcano where SCIncendier starts the track by turning around and going the wrong way for a few feet before throwing himself into the lava.

Now, these skips weren’t found by accident. They’re a result of people spending countless hours analysing the map, trying to find where any weak points might be and if there’s any way to abuse them in order to outsmart the game. 

Ring any bells? 

Conclusion

The kind of skills that these ‘speedrunners’ are exhibiting is exactly the skill set that is required to be a great tester. These skills can be used to test any system, whether it’s a game or an intranet, to find weaknesses that can be abused and to discover bugs.

So if you’re particularly adept at finding shortcuts in Mario Kart, maybe consider a career in QA. As for me, I’m going to go back to driving into walls in Mario Kart Tour.