Re-play: 'Mario Kart' ages like a fine wine

The game continues to get better with age, or at least as you age.

"Mario Kart 64" is one of few games that gets better with age. And that age is 21. Coming of legal drinking age brings a new facet to the already legendary game — alcohol. Behold "Beerio Kart."

Combining the coconut-filled turns of D.K.'s Jungle Parkway with chugging a Natty for a win is a feat worthy of numerous high fives and some pretty hefty bragging rights. These stand until someone makes it through Toad's Turnpike unscathed and another beer deep.

Twelve years after its North American release, playing "Mario Kart" still fosters pure joy and competition, with epic Block Fort battles and Wario Stadium showdowns. If you don't believe me, the "2009 Guinness Book of World Records: Gamer's Edition" listed "Super Mario Kart" and the rest of the series as the No. 1 console game franchise in history, citing the games' selling records and long-lasting effects on the video game industry.

Personally, I care more about the long-lasting effects on my state of inebriation.

Fanatic Karters have upped the ante by requiring racers to chug one beer in its entirety before crossing the finish line, with one stipulation: Thou shalt not drink and drive. This can prove quite challenging considering the whole racing aspect of the game.

Various methods can be used to accomplish this feat of glory. First of all, whenever Toad is spinning out from getting trampled by the pure brutality that is Bowser, players can take a hand off the controller in order to reach for a cold one and get in some chugging.

A slightly more challenging strategy is to down the entire beer before pressing the gas, freeing the racer to concentrate on speed and domination. An extra advantage — the game usually gives the better items to a racer who is behind in the race, making for a much closer game. So cash in on a blue shell and some lightning thanks to the deficit. I've seen this result in both victory and tragedy.

The kid sister of this strategy is not touching your beverage until pulling up to the finish line and then proceeding to smash that Beast Light. This is especially effective if you can chug like my relatives at family gatherings. But remember, this can make successive races exponentially difficult for the less experienced drinker.

For casual drinkers who might need an edge on the guy who can open a bottle with his eye socket: Be sneaky with your sips. Drink at the beginning of the race, when you fall into the water or off the road, when you spin out, when flying off ramps — if you're not accelerating, you're not driving — and never let on how much you've drank. If you're desperate, even throw in a "Man, I'm gonna have to chug this entire beer at the end!" This tactic fosters the cockiness of your opponents, thus catching them off guard when you bust through the finish line and dust them.

I've seen this work with my mom, who finished her beer sneakily and my roommate started showing off with donuts in front of the finish line, laughing evilly. He suddenly fell silent when my mother shamed this self-proclaimed "Beerio Kart" master with a Bob-omb of a second place. Needless to say, my mother forever has bragging rights over my roommate when it comes to drinking, games and the combination thereof.

But don't fear, for in "Beerio Kart," even the most epic of losses are truly wins.

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