Sep 6 '09
by Blueshell Magnet

Bad Interface Choices 101

I don’t know who designed the menu system for Mario Kart Wii, but whoever it is should either be fired or required to talk to me for three hours on the concept of user interfaces.

On the main screen of Mario Kart Wii, you can see the cups you’ve won as they are displayed on your license. This was a very good idea, it makes it very easy to see which race you’ll want to play next before you even start the game. The problem with this system is that it only shows you the medal you got (that is, gold, silver or bronze.) Unfortunately, there is no way for you to see your rankings.

I am in the process of trying to get a star rating on every cup. I know I have some star ratings for each class, but I can never remember which class I need to be working on. Class, however, is the FIRST thing I have to decide after I click on Single Player Race. Choosing Class first is not *bad* per-se, but I then have to choose a character, vehicle and drift type before I can even see the rankings that I have in each cup. At which point, if I have picked the wrong class I have to back all the way out and start over again.

Now, this could be easily solved by having a “View Records” tab, which actually showed you your racing records for each track and not a bunch of mildly interesting but mostly unimportant statistics. (Some of the statistics are neat to see and I do wish they had more of them, but that is not the point I am trying to drive at right now.)

But a second solution and potentially more beneficial one would be to simply choose the Cup right after the Class. First off you would choose a Class, then choose a cup. This way, if you chose the wrong Class you would only jump back one page to make your change. After choosing the Cup you could then choose your Character, Vehicle and Drift and you would be set to go. You could even throw in a “Here are your settings, all set?” page at the end.

Is this important? Overall, this really isn’t going to bother most gamers who play Mario Kart Wii. It’s a little thing. That said, little stuff matters. It’s the small fine tuned perfections that make a good game into a great game.

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