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Resident Evil 4 Proves That We Need To Bring Back Minecart Madness

Resident Evil 4: Remake marks the return of a particular trend in gaming that began during the 16-bit era: minecart madness. Perhaps most famously known from Donkey Kong Country, minecart madness puts your little guy in a minecart and then has them dodge enemies while quickly jumping over gaps. It’s a great way to rev up the action in your game and to raise the stakes for the adventure at hand. 

You better act fast if you want all those KONG letters.

Once developers saw how much fun gamers had riding in a minecart as Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong, we would see this pop up more and more, and pretty quickly. It wasn’t just platformers either– RPGs, shooters, and a ton of other video game genres would catch a case of minecart madness. After all, it’s a great way to pick up the pace momentarily, while breaking away from the traditional gameplay that would be expected from the rest of the game, keeping players on their toes. It’s an on-rail segment, quite literally.

But for a long time, this trend had become relatively dormant. Was it just overdone? Did we not know how to innovate the idea further? Did we think we were better than them? Because we’re not, and society had slowly begun to collapse as soon as we saw less of them. But when I saw the trailer for the Resident Evil 4 remake, I noticed there was a minecart segment, and I saw a glimmer of hope: is the world ready for a minecart renaissance?

It’s beautiful…

The original Resident Evil 4 also had a minecart segment, of course, which saw Leon shooting his way out of an invasion of plague-infected Spaniards ambushing him at every turn. But what we saw in this trailer looked a little, dare I say, wackier? You’re still shooting and dodging but there are more cart tracks and more things coming at you, and it got me thinking: every game needs minecarts!

But then I calmed down and thought about this more logically.

Most games need minecarts. Or at least, more than we have now. Certain things never go out of style– jumping on Goombas, shooting at oil barrels near groups of enemies, and even turn-based RPGs are having a bit of a renaissance themselves. There’s a reason why we saw so much minecart madness in games for a time: because it’s fun, and it works.

Minecarts and Mode 7, together at last.

A lot of modern games are trying hard to be very cinematic, and perhaps they feel that minecarts just don’t fit into their agenda. The thing is, nobody cares. Hell, if your game is too cinematic, people might just end up preferring the HBO TV series adaptation of it in the end. Games work for a reason: because they are video games. They can make us feel things and portray deep messages and gripping stories, but in the end, games are meant to be fun. And what’s more fun than casting aside the traditional conventions of your game as you take a break to barrel down the tracks in a rickety minecart?