Can You Play Mario Kart with One Joy Con?


Mario Kart is a fundamental party game, at its most fun when shared with a friend. Can you play Mario Kart with just One Joy-Con? 

Yes! There are a few different options for playing Mario Kart. 

How to Play Mario Kart with a Single Joy-Con

  • One option is to use the Switch menu to activate one Joy-Con as your controller, then load into Mario Kart.
  • A more straightforward way is to press the Connect button on both Joy-Cons (this button is located between the SL and SR buttons). Then, press the SL and SR buttons on the Joy-Con you plan to use as a controller. 
  • Another option is available in the first game loading screen for Mario Kart. You’ll be asked to press L and R to proceed on this screen. If you choose to press the SL/SR, it will tell the game you plan to use the single Joy-Con as the controller. 

How Do You Make it Easier to Play on a Single Joy-Con

Use the shoulder straps to add a little extra bulk, particularly if you have larger hands, as the tiny buttons can cause the hand to cramp up after an intense bout of playing. 

How to Attach a Joy-Con Strap 

When you detach a single Joy-Con controller, Nintendo advises that you always use the included Joy-Con Strap. To attach it, follow these simple steps: 

  1. Check first to see if that strap lock is in the down or unlocked position. You’ll see the word ‘LOCK’ imprinted on the shoulder strap where the long strap is. The white button there can toggle from locked to unlocked. 
  2. Align the minus or plus symbol on the controller with the same symbol on the strap. This is how you ensure the right strap gets attached to the right controller. 
  3. Slide the strap along the rail on the side of the Joy-Con controller. You’ll hear a click once it is secured.
  4. Loop the wrist strap over your wrist, hold the controller firmly in your hand, and set the shoulder strap to locked.
  5. Tighten the strap by sliding it towards your wrist while pressing the lock button. This will help prevent it from falling off. Be mindful that you don’t tighten it too much or you could cause yourself harm and discomfort. 

How to Detach a Shoulder Strap from a Single Joy-Con

When you are ready to unite the individual Joy Con’s back to your Nintendo Switch, removing the shoulder straps is a fairly straightforward process. 

  1. Slide the locking mechanism to the unlocked position.
  2. Push the shoulder strap up along the rail, moving away from where the wrist strap hangs. 
  3. That’s it! You’ve successfully removed your wrist strap. 

Add-Ons to Consider for Ease of Playing a Single Joy-Con

While the wrist straps are included with the Nintendo Switch, they are not the best solution to comfortably using the single Joy-Cons as a control for your games. You can order a relatively inexpensive set of grips that will transform the small handheld controllers into something that more closely resembles a traditional console controller. These are silicone molds with a slot for the Joy-Con to nestle into for easier use. Typically, these run about $10 and are easy to find at most online retailers that sell gaming accessories. 

How Many Players Can Play Mario Kart with a Single Nintendo Switch? 

One Nintendo Switch comes with two Joy-Con controllers. With both controllers connected, they serve as a single more sizeable controller for one person. Detached, they can each act as a single, smaller controller for two people. With a single Nintendo Switch, using both sides of the Joy-Con controllers, two people can play Mario Kart. It’s possible to connect additional Joy-Con controllers to the Switch to allow more friends to play the same game. 

It’s also possible for two players to share a single Nintendo Switch if both players are using a Nintendo Switch Pro-Controller. 

How Many Players Can Play on a Local Mario Kart Game? 

With multiple Nintendo Switches available, up to 8 players can play together on a single Mario Kart game using a local wireless connection. Every Switch connecting via wireless to play a locally hosted game must have its own copy of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. 

How Do You Host a Local Multiplayer Game of Mario Kart on a Nintendo Switch? 

If you have a group of friends who each have their Switch and a copy of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, it’s easy to set up a group game. Here’s how: 

  1. One player serves as the host. They’ll start the game and select either the 1p or 2p option next to Wireless Play in the initial menu. 
    1. There’s only one option next: Create Room. Select it. 
    2. This will create a hosted LAN room. Other players connected to the local wireless network will then be able to join. 
  2. To join an already hosted room, they will select 1p or 2p next to Wireless Play. 
    1. On the next screen, they should see the host player’s name under ‘Lobby’. Select that name to join. 
  3. The host will then pick the game settings and type before starting the match. 
    1. The first option selects the battle type, for example, a 150cc, 200cc, Balloon Battle, or the like. 
    2. The subsequent choices allow the host to toggle Teams, Item Usage, Race Counts, COM, and Vehicle selection. 
    3. Once settings have been chosen and all players have joined, the A button will set the choices in place. 
  4. Everyone will pick their Mario Karts and favorite characters, select their track of choice, and it’s off to the race. 

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