Jul 23 '09
by Blueshell Magnet

Screen Peeking

I am an avid screen peeker. More than once I have run into trouble because I was watching someone else’s screen instead of mine.

Some people are annoyed that other people are watching their screen, but often two experienced players will be able to counter act each other because they are both watching the other persons screen. (I do this with my friends all the time.)

Turns out screen peeking is (or at least *was*) endorsed by Nintendo as both a legitimate strategy and a key for winning.

Super Mario Kart Manual, page 17, gives tips for playing Battle Mode with a friend.

Look at the color of the barriers on your opponents screen to determine where they are.


Always keep an eye on your opponent’s screen.

The Mario Kart 64 manual has more to say on the matter.

Players have their own screen to watch, but to make the most strategic use of their items, players should check the other players’ screens and pay attention to their opponents’ movements. (p12)

Before using a Thunder Bolt, check to make sure what the other players are doing. (p13)

To be fair though Nintendo does begin to soften their approach to screen peeking two pages later. Rather than telling players to watch their opponents screens they are told to watch the radar.

Be aware of the other players’ positions. Check the course radar constantly, making not of your position in relation to your opponents. (p15)

Watching other people’s screens is not mentioned in any of the other manuals. However, the Mario Kart Super Circuit manual does indicate that it is important to keep an eye on the other racers.

Racers who have become invulnerable after using a Star aren’t affected by lightning, so watch what’s going on before unleashing your bolt from the blue. (p21)

I find it interesting that a GameBoy Advance game would mention this, as typically the player would only play against computers.

Perhaps what is even more confusing is the fact that the Mario Kart Double Dash manual has no mention of screen peeking. One would think that with two players to one kart, the player in back would have plenty of “down time” or “strategic planning time” since they don’t have to worry about where the car is headed. Once freed from driving a second player would be able to watch all the other screens easily, offering a competitive advantage to his team.

I am curious to know if other games offer similar advice in their manuals. I wonder if this type of advice would be limited to a brand name (ie Nintendo Manuals) or if they are found in a certain genre of games (ie racing games) or if I could find advice like that in, say, a first person shooter. If anyone knows something about this, let me know.

Do you screen peek? What do you think?

3 Responses to “Screen Peeking”

  1. SSJ Ranulf says:

    This is my strategy. I’m a mediocre player at any of the Mario Kart games, and this is the only way I can counter my friends (rivals) better skills.

    In one instance, I used it to find where the guy who was about to lap me was, so that I could turn around, drive at him, and use mushrooms/a star to give him a nice load of pain, for all that he had caused me.

    I mean, he’d just won, like, 10 races in first place, well I’d been fighting for 3rd/4th.

  2. Paul Gansen says:

    I usually don’t have much multiplayer experience with any game, but the few times I have played Mario Kart Wii with other people in the room, I have come across an inadvertent way of “peeking”. When playing with other players, and someone shoots off a blue shell, you can hear it several seconds before it reaches you in first place. So, just because I can hear a blue shell coming, does that give me an “unfair advantage”. Possibly. Does that mean I should be able to look at my opponent’s screen with one of my other senses (sight)… maybe. I can see both sides… the way the game was meant to be played (like in GBA or DS versions) is with you looking at your screen and a radar if available. But if you have the option available, why not use it?

  3. Llocsird Nosrebma Mada Relyt says:

    I’ve run into this debate many times with game other that Mariokart as well. What I’ve come to terms with is that it is all on the same tv, looking will happen. It does, as so stated, require skill to do so effectivly. When I first used to screen peek I’d crash or go off course or what have you, but after doing so so long have gotten rather good at it. Overall I think it is just another factor of the game and should be treated as such.