The best Mario Kart character is Wario in a Gold Standard kart with roller wheels, according to science
I’m no flat-earther, but sometimes science is just plain wrong. According to “science,” Wario is the best Mario Kart character you can play as in Mario Kart 8. Insert face with rolling eyes emoji. Clearly, these guys know nothing – Metal Mario in the F1 car and roller wheels is the only choice for winners.
But let’s give science the benefit of the doubt, for now. One data scientist at Civis Analytics, Henry Hinnefeld, clearly has a grudge about how nobody picks Wario to play. In the name of research, he set out to prove why his pick is the best of the best.
At least, that’s how I imagine it went. Realistically speaking, I have no idea. I just disagree with Wario.
Anyway, Hinnefeld used his intellect and knowledge of data modeling to answer the age-old question of just who is the best Mario Kart character out there. “One thing that always vexed our little group of would-be speedsters was the question of which character was best,” he wrote on Medium. “Some people swore by zippy Yoshi; others argued that big, heavy Bowser was the best option.”
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Hinnefeld turned to the Pareto efficiency to work out who stacks up as the best Mario Kart character. The Pareto efficiency boils down to the allocation of resources so that no single trait is better or worse than another. Essentially, the most “efficient” character is one that increases their performance while limiting weaknesses.
“The concept of Pareto efficiency applies to a situation where there is a finite pool of resources and multiple competing outcomes that depend on how those resources are allocated,” Hinnefeld writes.
“The ‘Pareto efficient’ allocations are those in which it’s impossible to improve one outcome without worsening another.”
While I’d like to argue with Hinnefeld about his research, nobody takes my Metal Mario away from me – he’s undoubtedly gone deep on the affair. Rather than just looking at character traits, he’s taken into account all the permutations available for characters, karts, and tires.
Because many of Mario Kart’s characters and kart parts have the same traits, Hinnefeld only needed to look at seven characters, six karts, and seven tires to cover all variations of racer. Even with this boiled-down list, there are still 149,760 possible combinations of kart, wheel, and driver you can choose. Of this massive range, only 15 of them offer up truly optimal configurations.
Hinnefeld believes that “unless you’re going all-in on acceleration,” a heavy character is the right starting point. “The two most heavy character classes (Wario and Donkey Kong) account for 11/15 of the Pareto-optimal configurations.
“Heavy characters are more versatile than light characters. While Wario’s possible configurations can achieve about 77% of the max acceleration, Baby Mario can only get up to 50% of the max speed.”
Despite my love for Metal Mario – and my ability to boss anyone with him (don’t @ me) – it appears both Metal Mario and Pink Gold Peach are the only characters with zero configurations on the Pareto frontier.
Of course, data science can only take you so far. Your optimal setup of Wario in a Gold Standard kart with roller wheels may scientifically be the best choice, but you can still get trounced by Yoshi on a bike if you don’t know what you’re doing.
So, while you can take solace in the fact that Wario may objectively be the best, I’m not going to trade my Metal Mario in for the world. Screw you, science.