When people talk Mario Kart in 2022, most people mean Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the Switch. That’s where Nintendo puts its focus, adding new courses and game elements like customizable items, so it’s odd to see a new update to a Mario Kart game that isn’t Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Weirder still, Nintendo’s latest news affects Mario Kart 7, a game that launched on the Nintendo 3DS over 10 years ago.
Nintendo quietly released a new patch for Mario Kart 7 on Tuesday, Dec. 13, and players don’t know what to make of it—partly because Nintendo won’t tell anyone what’s actually in the update. According to the official release notes, Mario Kart 7 version 1.2 addresses “several issues” to “improve the gameplay experience.” What that means is anybody’s guess.
And guess, they have! Twitter user OatmealDome guesses the update patches a severe security vulnerability seen in other Nintendo games like Splatoon 2 and Animal Crossing, since it’s possible Nintendo reuses the same code for its first-party titles.
As Nintendo Life points out, the update could also have something to do with Nintendo’s plans to shut down the 3DS eShop next year. It’s not clear what the motive here is, but there could be something that Nintendo wanted to update before the eShop’s March 27 closing date, at which point you won’t be able to install updates like this at all.
No matter what the cause of the patch, Nintendo requires you to have it to continue playing online and for local multiplayer.
Interestingly, this patch is only the second in Mario Kart 7 history. The last update came over a decade ago on May 15, 2012, fixing shortcut exploits. The update was require for online multiplayer play, but not for single player or local multiplayer:
- An update has been made available to eliminate shortcut exploits in the Wuhu Loop, Maka Wuhu, and Bowser Castle 1 tracks when they are played in the Online Multiplayer Mode.
- The update is required to play the game’s Online Multiplayer Modes. However, the tracks in Single-Player and Local Multiplayer Modes will not be affected by this update. Players can continue to play in these modes without installing the update.
How to install the Mario Kart 7 update
To install Mario Kart 7 version 1.2, make sure your 3DS is fully updated, or at least running menu version 4.1.0-8U or higher. From there, head to the eShop, then look for Mario Kart 7 Update. Choose Tap Here to Download, then wait for the update to install. When it’s ready, you can boot up Mario Kart 7 and should be good to go.
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