Usually, doing things for real is more fun than doing them in the virtual world.
Looking at pictures of far-flung places for instance isn't quite the same as actually being there. And all those dirty videos filling your hard drive? Not quite the same as doing the deed for real.
Likewise, no racing game can really replicate the fun of getting into a real car and going for a blast. If that means hitting your local kart track with a few mates, even better.
But for sheer hilarity, Super Mario Kart and its descendants get pretty close.
It's hard to believe that it's over 20 years since Mario, Luigi, that kidnap-prone liability of a princess and all the other characters first hit the circuits, but it's true - Super Mario Kart debuted in late 1992 in the U.S. and Japan, and early 1993 in Europe.
Anyone who grew up in the 32-bit and above eras of gaming may not see what all the fuss is about. After all, the graphics leave much to be desired and the single-player mode is limited in its scope. But if ever the way a game played was more important than its graphics, Mario Kart was it. It's analogous with any Mario game in fact - realism and fancy polygons don't really matter if the game plays right, and SMK really did.
Basic it may be, but it takes Stig-like skills to get around each of the circuits both unscathed and with a maximum coin tally. Braking isn't really a requirement but timing is, and newcomers will be surprised just how quickly everything moves.
Throw in the multi-player mode and you get to the core of how great SMK is - and how much better racing against a bunch of mates in the same room is compared to the isolation of online gaming.
Mario Kart was born for multiplayer, and that's something which hasn't changed from the very first game to the most recent. Mario Kart 64 brought 3D computer graphics into the fray, and the Wii and 3DS titles offer extra challenges and stunning scenery, but the core of the game is the same - race, shoot stuff, shout things at your opponents.
And it's simple to pick up, even if it's hard to master. If you're playing on the SNES, you've got some buttons to move and stop and some more to steer. Then there's one for drifting, which is quicker but largely optional.
For accessibility, your best way to the classic game is still to grab an original SNES off eBay with a copy of the game. There's nothing quite like clunking that cartridge into the console, after all. For a little bit more dosh you could opt for a Wii and download SMK from the Wii store for a few quid - since you'd then have the option to play Mario Kart Wii too.
Blow the budget and Mario Kart 8 will be around when the Nintendo Wii U appears. But why do that when the others are so good?
There's the music, the characters, and the ever-present hair-puller that is negotiating Rainbow Road - experiences you'd struggle to match going karting for real. Maybe the virtual world isn't so bad after all...