Mario Madness at O’Kelly’s draws longtime fans for Mario Kart 64 tournament
Mario and all his pals took over O’Kelly’s Sports Bar and Grill on Wednesday night.
College students made their way to 2000 S. Mission St., not to drink, but to participate in a video-game tournament.
Three of the restaurant’s six HD projection screens were alive with colorful Nintendo 64 graphics from the 1997 classic “Mario Kart 64.”
Forty-eight people took part in the bracket-style tournament. Each player participated in four races and received a certain number of points depending on where they finished each race.
Marine City sophomore Bryan Brown said he was surprised to get eliminated from the tournament after the first round, finishing last in two of the four races. The $400 raised benefitted the American Red Cross.
“I had higher expectations,” Brown said. “I got dominated.”
The top 16 in points after the first round moved to round two, round three was the top eight, and the final round featured the last four contestants.
The four rounds were based around the four different cups in “Mario Kart;” Mushroom, Flower, Star and Special.
The restaurant filled with cheers when a player took a shortcut in the race, got hit by an item or made a pass for the lead.
Though he didn’t win, Brown said he was glad he competed.
“It was still fun, though. I enjoyed it,” Brown said.
The event also drew fans from outside of Mount Pleasant. Barryton resident Chris Brisbane said he heard about the event on Facebook.
Brisbane came in fourth place in the tournament.
“I’ve been playing ‘Mario Kart’ the whole 15 years it’s been out,” Brisbane said. “This event was definitely a lot of fun.”
The top three in the tournament were awarded trophies. CMU alumus Steve Cline came in third, Mid-Michigan Community College student Sean Gorman came in second, and Grand Rapids senior Michael Hoover came in first place.
“It’s great. I really didn’t expect it at all,” Hoover said.
Hoover gave special thanks to his friends from high school who urged him to play “Mario Kart 64.”
“I started playing in freshman year of high school every night with my friends,” he said. “I guess it pays off.”
Spring Lake senior Morgan Witham, a student who helped host the event, said she was very pleased with how Mario Madness turned out.
“I most definitely consider this a success,” she said. “We had a big turnout.”
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