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Double Dash 2010-13 Part 1

January 4, 2016

tags: sql kart video-games

A few years ago, I successfully exported the results of 1,101 Mario Kart: Double Dash!! races dating from the years 2010 through 2013. In this first post, I’ll look at general findings that might be of interest to fans of the game.

Intro

The 1,101 races we’ve recorded can be looked at in total and then further broken down into two main categories:

The data I exported back in 2013 resulted in flat csv files. From there, the files need a bit of massaging. The details aren’t particularly interesting but can be found in a supporting file.

Working with these csv files was easy with a handy tool called q. There is plenty of info in the docs but on OSX brew install q worked nicely for me.

With q installed and the csv files at hand, I could begin digging. The queries for all of the tables below can be found in a separate file.

Overall

There are 16 courses in MKDD. Here is the distribution of the 1,101 races listed in the order they appear in the game.

Course Distribution

Course Race Count
Luigi Circuit 37
Peach Beach 37
Baby Park 554
Dry Dry Desert 37
Mushroom Bridge 37
Mario Circuit 37
Daisy Cruiser 36
Waluigi Stadium 36
Sherbet Land 36
Mushroom City 36
Yoshi Circuit 36
DK Mountain 36
Wario Colosseum 37
Dino Dino Jungle 37
Bowser Castle 36
Rainbow Road 36

The 33 rounds (528 races) of two-player, grand prix, all-cup present an interesting look at each course with other variables controlled (if there is such a thing as control in Mario Kart). In this mode two humans race eachother on all 16 courses with six non-human racers also competing. The novel thing about this mode is the chaos caused by the six computer-controlled racers. The expectation would be that the two human racers would finish every race in some combination of 1st and 2nd place with drones placing 3rd-8th. In practice human racers finish outside the top two slots. Looking at these results, we can see which of the 16 courses proved to be most difficult, volatile, and chaotic.

Most Chaotic Courses

Course Races 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th Points
Rainbow Road 66 30 14 8 5 6 1 1 1 501
Waluigi Stadium 66 32 21 9 2 1 0 0 1 553
Baby Park 66 31 24 6 3 2 0 0 0 556
Mario Circuit 66 31 24 9 1 1 0 0 0 563
Sherbet Land 66 30 28 6 1 1 0 0 0 567
Dry Dry Desert 66 33 28 0 2 1 1 1 0 568
DK Mountain 66 33 25 6 1 0 1 0 0 572
Luigi Circuit 66 33 27 2 4 0 0 0 0 574
Wario Colosseum 66 32 29 3 2 0 0 0 0 578
Peach Beach 66 33 27 5 1 0 0 0 0 580
Dino Dino Jungle 66 33 30 1 0 2 0 0 0 582
Bowser Castle 66 32 30 4 0 0 0 0 0 584
Mushroom Bridge 66 32 31 3 0 0 0 0 0 586
Yoshi Circuit 66 33 31 1 0 1 0 0 0 587
Mushroom City 66 33 30 3 0 0 0 0 0 588
Daisy Cruiser 66 33 32 0 1 0 0 0 0 590

Rainbow Road is the most difficult course in the game. It has many naked turns and big jumps that can cause large time penalties particularly if you get caught back in the pack.

Waluigi Stadium is a technical course with many large and small jumps. There are plenty of other obstacles too like thwomps, fire rings, piranhas, and thick mud. Falling from 3rd to 8th place in a matter of seconds is common.

Baby Park might seem out of place on this list at first. It has none of the obstacles or jumps of the other 15 courses. You might argue that it isn’t really a course at all. It was likely something used during testing to check that lap counters were incrementing properly and race start/finish mechanics worked as expected. It is a simple oval and each of each of seven laps takes ~10 seconds. But herein lies the chaos. You can’t stay out of trouble by front running quite the same way you can on any other course. If you get too far out in front you run into the back of the 8th place racer and you’re right back in the fray.

Baby Park

The Course Distribution above brings to light how much we’ve enjoyed playing Baby Park. The following charts look into the 500 recorded races of four-player, local multiplayer with frantic item boxes and 9 laps per race.

Unlike Drivers, Karts can appear multiple times in a single race. The Barrel Train is the clear favorite.

Most Frequent Kart Usage (min. 20 races)

Kart Races 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Points Pts/Race
Barrel Train 889 299 236 190 164 2448 2.7537
Toad Kart 556 104 141 166 145 1316 2.3669
Green Fire 169 20 32 47 70 340 2.0118
Waluigi Racer 113 21 24 23 45 247 2.1858
Red Fire 109 29 33 30 17 292 2.6789
Turbo Yoshi 60 7 11 14 28 117 1.95
Toadette Kart 45 9 12 19 5 115 2.5556

Since Drivers are unique in a given race, there is plenty of contention over who gets which characters. We would always play in clusters of 50 races with five players rotating into four slots, each player would race 40 of 50 races and sit out for ten. The rotation and driver re-selection would occur every ten races. Here are the most frequently selected characters, again, specifically in the 500 four-player races at Baby Park.

Most Common Drivers (min. 100 races)

Driver Races 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Points Pts/Race
Toadette 500 190 127 101 82 1425 2.85
Diddy Kong 500 168 137 103 92 1381 2.762
Toad 500 140 126 118 116 1290 2.58
Koopa 500 124 123 127 126 1245 2.49
Bowser Jr. 500 92 126 148 134 1176 2.352
Paratroopa 500 92 122 156 130 1176 2.352
Waluigi 300 60 80 72 88 712 2.3733
Baby Luigi 241 51 56 63 71 569 2.361
Baby Mario 238 57 65 56 60 595 2.5

Toadette, Diddy Kong, Toad, Koopa, Browser Jr., and Paratroopa were picked in all 500 races. Beyond those, the strategies vary. It is interesting to see you may be better off having the heavyweight Waluigi in your kart than lightweights Bowser Jr. or Paratroopa.

Double Dash’s title feature is having two characters in each kart. Each character can carry one item and they are rotated between the front and rear seats. Looking at common combinations adds additional color.

Most Common Driver Pairs (min. 50 races)

Driver 1 Driver 2 Races 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Points Avg
Bowser Jr. Koopa 166 31 43 52 40 397 2.3916
Diddy Kong Toadette 145 63 45 19 18 443 3.0552
Diddy Kong Paratroopa 130 33 32 38 27 331 2.5462
Diddy Kong Koopa 124 40 31 30 23 336 2.7097
Bowser Jr. Paratroopa 95 11 22 37 25 209 2.2
Baby Mario Toadette 90 31 20 18 21 241 2.6778
Baby Luigi Toad 85 20 20 25 20 210 2.4706
Toad Waluigi 80 19 23 16 22 199 2.4875
Bowser Jr. Toadette 76 27 18 20 11 213 2.8026
Koopa Toad 75 22 26 14 13 207 2.76
Bowser Jr. Toad 65 17 16 16 16 164 2.5231
Baby Mario Paratroopa 58 5 17 22 14 129 2.2241
Paratroopa Toadette 56 18 16 14 8 156 2.7857
Baby Mario Toad 55 19 18 12 6 160 2.9091
Baby Luigi Toadette 50 19 11 10 10 139 2.78

Diddy Kong and Toadette were a monster team, finishing 1st or 2nd in 108 of 145 races they started.

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I am a software developer in Los Angeles.