That's how it looked on the projector in the living room. Anyway, after a brief dinner, we started playing in the online Vs. mode with random people from all around the world. It's not quite Xbox Live (no voice, no gamertags, no easy way to set up a party of friends to go race random people) but it's still decent. After you've swapped 12 digit PIN numbers (which is a pain in the ass), you can finally find each other and play.
John was able to join my race in progress, which he spectated while I was competing against 9 or 10 other people. After that, he hopped in and we were part of a 10 or 12 person race. We did similar races like this until around 11:30 when Andrew showed up. Andrew joined John on his Wii in the living room hooked up to the projector while I played in the office on my smaller TV. Andrew was also the first of us to try playing with the Gamecube controller. He says it's pretty good (I stuck with the Wiimote, Nunchuck combo so far). After many online matches, I moved out to the living room too and we played some good old fashioned offline Vs. mode.
The first thing we tried was the new battle mode but none of us liked it much. It makes you pick teams, so instead of a random match with just the three of us, we had a bunch of computer partners playing. It was pretty hard to tell what was happening. Battle Mode was definitely the one problem with the game so far and I miss the old version already.
After that one crappy Battle Mode match, we switched to offline VS. Mode which was much more fun. We raced 5 or 6 more races, which John won pretty easily. Finally called it a night around 1am. So there we have it: My first 7 hours with Mario Kart Wii. I must say, it's a pretty damn awesome game. So far, I rate it as one of the best two (if not the best version) ever.