When choosing a particular character strength, I usually lean toward agility and speed over straight up power or strength. This is probably due to my own real life characteristics, but I also just find it to be a more interesting approach in general. Stealth is more appealing than rushing through guns blazing, being an artful dodger more appealing than being a tank who is only good at taking damage. So it’s no wonder that in racing games I tend to go with handling and acceleration over top speed. And since the only racing games I usually bother with begin with “Mario”, that means that I’m always repping Toad.
Why Toad over the other lightweight racers? It really began in Super Mario Bros. 2. It was Toad’s first role as a player character, and at the time I was super excited to play as a new character in a mario game. But I really grew to appreciate the speed that he had. The rare moment when I needed to play as a different character, it would be almost excruciating with how slow the other characters were. This preference lived to this day, where I played Toad (for the most part) in Super Mario 3D World.
So playing as Toad in my early NES days led me to just generally liking the little guy, and became my automatic choice once Mario Kart started making the rounds. Yoshi was cool, but I had just gotten my fill from him in Super Mario World. Seeing Toad as a racer was comforting to me, and I had just associated quickness with him since playing SMB 2. And so he became, for the most part, my man of choice for playing Mario Kart. With the occasional substitution by Dry Bones. Because skeletal turtles are pretty rad.
Favoring acceleration over max speed does seem like the easy way. It could be argued that it requires less skill because it gives more chances to make up from crashing or making other mistakes. But I would say it’s the harder choice to make. To require to drive with finesse, and to make ground by making skillful and risky tight turns instead of being able to drive quickly in a straight line. And that’s why the man with the spotted cap will always be my racer of choice.
Also, shouting “HEHRRO” as loudly and high pitched as I can is fucking hilarious and will absolutely never get old.