You are at the starting line and got ready to race. The countdown begins. One light after another, red, yellow, green!
All the racers start, but one gets ahead of the pack, taking the early lead of the race by a few meters. This is possible thanks to the concept of rocket start.
Pioneered by the Mario Kart series of games, the idea behind it is pretty simple, yet it is an important technique for anyone aiming to be the best around the track.
The idea is basically wait until the right time, then open the throttle to warm up the engine to give yourself a small, yet sufficient boost to overtake most of your competition on the grid.
Most games feature only one appropriate timing to open the gas during the countdown in order to activate the rocket start, like in Mario Kart DS and Wii as an example, the number 2 is the key when using it. Yet in other games, like F-Zero GP Legend demand more from the driver since each machine has it´s unique timing depending on it´s boost capacities.
If the player misses the time by too much, normally the vehicle will overheat and have a very slow start, or not start at all; this is why it is an important, yet tricky technique to master. In Super Mario Galaxy, the techinque is also used during the Cosmic Mario races. When the word GO! appears on the game screen, Mario's body will turn yellow and runs twice as fast in order to get stars easier, but for a little while. Another game that uses the rocket start concept is Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games. In this game, players use the Wii Remote or the DS to access the technique by shaking it, or holding a corresponding button when the timer is on 2 and activating it when the word GO! appears on the screen. The technique is only used in Moguls, Short Track 500m & 1,000m, Alpine Skiing Giant Slalom, Ski Jumping and more! The name of the technique in Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games is called a Starting Dash.
There is another type of rocket start that only appears in Mario Kart: Double Dash!! called the Double Dash!!, which allows the kart to go double speed when the race begins. To use this super technique, both players must press the gas button at the same time when Lakitu's Start Signal turns exactly green in order to achieve it. 3, 2, 1... DOUBLE DASH!!