The Student News Site of Taipei American School




Mario kart mobile game shatters previous download records while increasing phone use at TAS


Most high school students have experienced the takeover of Nintendo console games from when they were younger; some might have been a devoted Nintendo fan, while others only know of the Nintendo console hype. Yet, as instantly accessible technologies— like phones, tablets, and laptops— have become more intertwined in our lives, the game consoles trend has become less popular over the years.
Recently though, Nintendo came out with the newest version of the original Mario Kart Nintendo console game; it is now available on all mobile devices. This popular franchise gained around 10.1 million downloads in the first 24 hours on the app store, shattering the previous launch day downloads records of Pokemon Go back in 2016. 
The mobile version now includes rewards and other characters within the game, that can be unlocked with a monthly subscription of $4.99 as an in-app purchase. Though the download statistics of the mobile app is set at a groundbreaking record, according to Sensor Tower, Randy Nelson, the head of mobile insights explains that the number of downloads does not exactly correlate to the revenue made for the company. In fact, the Nintendo franchise has allowed users to download the game for free in order to lure more downloads, but the rest of the game is enhanced with in-app purchases. For example, the classic character, Mario, can only be unlocked after users purchase the character for $19.99.
As the Mario Kart mobile game becomes increasingly popular, students have started to spend most of their time playing on their phones. “I recently downloaded the app, and have been addicted to the game ever since.” Evelyn H. (‘22) said. 
While the mobile app is a success, it has also made a huge impact on school life, and has increased phone use at school. At Taipei American School, most teachers are quite lenient towards the usage of phones in classes, while others take this issue more seriously. Like Upper School history teacher, Dr. Nick Simeonidis, some faculty members have started looking into restricting phone use in classes. “Unless it’s a part of a classroom activity like a kahoot or something— [phones] can be a real distraction for students,” Dr. Simeonidis said.  
Even if a phone is not in reach but in sight, many students can still be distracted. “Phones can suddenly buzz in the middle of a lecture and that is distracting especially when you got around 16 phones or so in the classroom,” he said. For all of his classes, the phone use restriction policy is to not have any phones in sight once class begins. “My students know that if we are working on canvas and they ask me, I will occasionally allow them to use their phones to access school materials,” Dr. Simeonidis said. 
Since the release of the Mario Kart mobile game, students have been been using their phones more at school. Mario Kart’s record-breaking feat can be seen as the start of many mobile game hits, but it can also indicate an unhealthy phone addiction in a school environment. A probable solution may be a built-in time limit system within the mobile game itself.
Despite the negatives that the mobile app has caused, Nintendo’s record-breaking release has now attained better expertise in the mobile gaming market field. Perhaps in the future, the franchise will be able to revive more childhood memories onto phone screens while also restricting the amount of time students spent on the game.

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