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Mario Kart 8’s free update lets you pick your power-ups — or ban them from the race

Custom Items feature threatens all kinds of groovy mayhem on Rainbow Road

A Mario Kart 8 player uses the Bullet Bill powerup during a race, transforming into a speeding, destructive missile. Image: Nintendo
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

A free update to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, available right now, promises to create all kinds of mayhem — the good kind — in offline VS Races and some online team modes. With the new Custom Items option, players can specify which items appear in the game, and even allocate them to specific teams.

Custom Items lets players randomize which power-ups appear in boxes, or lets them turn them all off. Or players can do all-Bullet Bill power-ups, or a mix of classic Super Mario Kart power-ups.

If you’re immediately thinking: Oh, God, what would an all-Blue Shells race look like? Well, so is everyone else!

It works in both directions, too. Get rid of those damnable power-ups that always stop you dead once you get into first place!

It also means you can get rid of coins as an Item Box prize, because who else doesn’t loathe picking up change when you’re desperate for a Red Shell or a Fire Flower?

The free update is available right now. It arrives alongside the launch of the premium Booster Course Pass’s third wave of DLC, which adds another eight tracks to the game, for a total of 24. Another three waves in 2023 will bring the full total to 48. The Booster Course Pass costs $24.99, but it’s also included with the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack subscription, at $49.99 per year.