Since ‘Super Mario Kart‘ marked a before and after in the history of racing games, there hasn’t been a franchise that hasn’t wanted to have its own racing game in tiny cars on crazy tracks. Bomberman Kart’, ‘Angry Birds Go’, ‘Crash Nitro Kart’, ‘Cartoon Network Racing’, ‘Diddy Kong Racing’, ‘Digimon Racing’, ‘Madagascar Kartz’, ‘Toy Story Racer’, ‘Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing’ or ‘Pac-man World Rally’ are just some of the examples that have plagued the consoles of half the world (to their regret). But there is one that is the exact demonstration of why we should think long and hard about continuing to make car games beyond our means: ‘El Chavo Kart’.
It was unintentionally
El Chavo del 8′ has been an institution in Mexico since its premiere in 1971, when it began as a mere segment of ‘Chespirito’. For nine years, El Chavo, Quico, La Chilindrina, Don Ramón and the rest of the neighborhood gave their all to make children (and not so children) laugh before the infighting (enough to make a true crime documentary). The series had, of course, merchandising and spin-offs galore.
Between musicals, books and restaurants, an animated series was born that lasted seven seasons and presented fantastic elements (scientists, superheroes, etc.) as a way to attract the attention of kids. Of course, that’s where most of the El Chavo merchandising came from, including a ‘Mario Party’-style video game for Wii and, of course, ‘El Chavo Kart’.
If you think a game like this is mobile fodder, think again: it came out for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in 2014 (although, all said, in 2015 it was ported to Android) and it may not have been the height of originality but it had a few wonderful nods to the series. The most interesting thing, though, was to see how the original cast hated each other to the level of not wanting to participate in the title under any circumstances.
For example, “Quico” is written that way instead of “Kiko” so as not to pay royalties to Carlos Villagrán, the original performer, and La Chilindrina is nowhere to be seen because her actress, María Antonieta de las Nieves, has the rights to the character and, in fact, has made a movie and a series as spin-offs.
The tracks themselves were based on the animated series, of course, and so they could run in the Brazil Maracana Stadium, the museum or the little town. As for the objects you can use, you have the ham cake (mushroom), a newspaper (ink blot), balls (shells), and so on. Is it a bad game? Yes, no doubt. Is it a curiosity that deserves to go down in history? Yes, it is. Hey, who would have told us when we were watching it on La 2 that ‘El chavo del ocho’ would end up racing go-karts around a soccer stadium in Brazil? Oh, he sizzled.
Ah, yes! To complicate matters further there is another El Chavo karting game also called ‘El Chavo Kart’ exclusive for mobile and much simpler. What a franchise headache.