I know this is a recurring theme sometimes, but I still feel like I should point this out: Once again one of your complaints with Nintendo is being executed well by GameFreak with Pokemon. Pokemon’s VGC (and even cards if that’s your thing) tournaments are amazing and pretty popular every year. They have age categories, online setups, it’s really involving. The format is fun too. At the very least, they’re way better than the mess that the Smash Bros Invitational was, it was okay as a first step and as a gameplay demo but sorry, they have a long ways to go before it becomes watchable as a big tournament.
I say this is a recurring theme because for some reason GF is never acknowledged for these efforts. Forget Nintendo, there are common complaints across the entire game industry that GF is somehow silently executing perfectly and no one points it out. For example, you speak of how Nintendo’s Japanese branch drowns in its own culture, meanwhile a British member of GF is now designing Pokemon, and the developers take direct inspiration (including trips) from everywhere in the world except Japan.
Regarding Mario Kart, I played it today and had a lot of fun with it. You worried that anti-gravity is anti-cohesive gameplay like the gliding, but it’s actually a way to diversify play styles in the same gameplay (in addition to just going on the floor, you can also go on the wall of the house next to you). Item usage was also great, I haven’t had any problems with them outside of red shells combos (which are always the most problematic). Battle Mode absence is terrible.
Pokemon is largely invisible because there is a huge stigma of an adult playing with Pokemon in the Western World.