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Nickelodeon Kart Racers isn’t the prettiest game, but it’s captured our millennial hearts

It’s maybe not the Nicktoons game we want, but it’s the one our inner kids deserve

artwork from nickeldeon kart racers GameMill Entertainment/Nickelodeon

Nickelodeon is leaning hard into nostalgia with a flurry of 1990s cartoon revivals and returns. The cable network is now expanding that strat to include video games, with a Nicktoons-centric kart racing game heading to consoles on Oct. 23.

Nickelodeon Kart Racers, developed by GameMill Entertainment for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, will include characters from 12 different series. We’re led to believe by its screenshots that the roster will stretch back to the golden days of Nicktoons — Hey Arnold! is represented, as is Rugrats. Some racers come from SpongeBob Squarepants, because obviously. But the other cartoon that GameMill has confirmed is not one most of us ex-kids associate with Nick. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles make up four members of the roster, their look based on designs from Nick’s reboot of the old-school fave.

We can accept this reimaginged cartoon classic if the rest of what we get speaks directly to us millennials’ childhoods. (Because how dare they make a kids game for kids!) The announcement of Kart Racers begat a conversation in the Polygon newsroom amongst genuine adults about what Nickelodeon’s all-time best cartoons were, a list I can definitely abide by:

Here are some of the shows we hope make it to the starting line:

  • Rocko’s Modern Life, our pick for the Greatest Nicktoon Ever, which is set to receive a new TV movie later this year. What we would give to see Rocko’s starring trio — a neurotic wallaby, neurotic turtle and neurotic steer — forced into race cars;
  • Invader Zim, another cartoon that has a comeback in the works. Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus! will reunite the maniacal alien with his cryptid-obsessed human enemy, Dib. Fight it out on the racetrack instead, boys;
  • Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, starring some monsters-in-training whose designs still freak me out to this day;
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender, which doesn’t quite fit the comedic mold set by the other Nicktoons. That being said, should we define Nicktoons as “cartoons produced by Nickelodeon,” this inspired, lore-heavy action show definitely fits the bill;
  • Doug, a legal unlikelihood, considering that Disney bought the rights to this slow-paced, slice-of-life Nicktoon in the mid-1990s. But we can dream!

That brings our total up to nine series, leaving room for Nickelodeon to throw in three more of its newer shows for some nice promo. That’s fine by us, so long as those of us who refuse to grow up can choose from the characters we still love the most.

Look: This appears to be a hurried tie-in, the sort of game you’d mysteriously find for sale at your grocery store a decade ago. And yet, despite our minds telling us to resist its trashy charms, our hearts scream yes.

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