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THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF MARIO KART GAMES

THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF MARIO KART GAMES

It’s hard to believe there was an era when the karting sport wasn’t even in existence.

In the last 30 years, we’ve witnessed a variety of IPs turn into racing events for the entire group with varying degrees of satisfaction.

From classic gaming titles such as Sonic, Crash Bandicoot, and Final Fantasy to more unusual licenses such as Power Rangers, The Muppets, and Crazy Frog, there has been a myriad of karting contests throughout the years, all too content to include some well-loved characters.

This would not have happened were it not for the popularity of Super Mario Kart, which is 30 years old the same day that the article was released (August 27, 2022).

The huge popularity that was Mario Kart led not only to sequels that were inevitable and sequels but also to the birth of a completely new genre that continues to be a source of new imitations to this day.

To celebrate everything Mario Kart Then we’ve decided to go through each game of Mario Kart, from the primary entries to spin-offs.

Get your feet up 3 and 2 (hold the accelerator for a moment) 1, let’s begin.

SUPER MARIO KART

  • Original release – 27 August 1992
  • Format – SNES
  • Players – 2
  • Characters – 8
  • Tracks – 20 races, 4 battle
  • Character debuts – Mario, Luigi, ‘Princess’, Yoshi, Bowser, Donkey Kong Jr, Koopa Troopa, Toad
  • Gimmicks The entire concept behind an all-kart racing game

It is a testament to the fact that many of the key components that comprise Super Mario Kart remain in the game more than 30 years later.

The 50ccc, 100cc, and 150ccc speed settings are also used in AI difficulties levels. This is the Grand Prix setup with its race series as well as points or totals.

It is true that a green shell runs straight and a red shell is a home for while the fact that a Star can make you immortal and speeds up your speed. the Mushroom provides you with an acceleration boost.

Also, it is the fact that hitting your friend in the back by a shell in Battle Mode is hugely satisfying.

The fact that Nintendo got so much right on its first try may be the reason Super Mario Kart wasn’t just an isolated spin-off of Yoshi’s Woods as well as Yoshi’s Safari and resulted in the creation of one of the most well-known genres.

MARIO KART 64

  • Original release 14 December 1996 14th December 1996
  • Format – Nintendo 64
  • Players – 4
  • Characters – 8
  • Tracks – 16 races, 4 battle
  • Characters make their debuts in the form of Donkey Kong Wario
  • Gimmicks – Four-player multiplayer, blue shell, drift boost

When Nintendo first showed off its Nintendo 64 at the Shoshinkai Software Exhibition held in Japan in 1995, the console also showed off a few of the games that were planned for the console’s launch.

Mario Kart R, which was slated to take over Nintendo’s Mode 7 courses with fully polygonal ones, wasn’t available to go live until day one however when it finally came out with the name Mario Kart 64 it proved to be well worth the long wait.

Completely substituting entirely the SNES Engine, Mario Kart 64 used the same technique that was prevalent in the beginning of 3D games. This was because it was true that the N64 had only the capacity to manage a specific number of polygons. It was the only game where the environment was polygonal.

 

The characters were pre-rendered CG Sprites (similar to Donkey Kong Country), which varied based on the direction you looked at them, giving an illusion of real 3D.

Mario Kart 64 also introduced several new concepts that quickly became the mainstays of the series. If you flick the stick when drifting, for instance, you could gain an acceleration boost and this concept is still in use today (minus the waggle, which is thankful).

The most notable was the introduction of the infamous blue shell, which was the most hated weapon ever in Mario Kart history, and the “great leveler,” which made sure that no one could ever be better than they were at playing the game.

MARIO KART: SUPER CIRCUIT

  • Original release 21 July 2001
  • Format – Game Boy Advance
  • Players – 4
  • Characters – 8
  • Tracks – 40 races, 4 battle
  • Character debuts – None
  • Gimmicks – First handheld Mario Kart, retro courses

The original announcement was Mario Kart Advance, this was among the games Nintendo presented to showcase the capabilities that were the new Game Boy Advance handheld.

It also worked. Although many believed that the GBA was basically the portable SNES, Mario Kart: Super Circuit showed it actually was more powerful.

 

Instead of being a straight SNES version, Super Circuit looked more like a mid-point that was in-between Super Mario Kart and Mario Kart 64 that had track tracks that rotated, mimicking Mario Kart 64’s Mode 7 trickery of the SNES game, but with the character models and features from the N64 version (like the four-player multiplayer, blue shells and so on).

The most impressive feature was the capability to unlock each Super Mario Kart track, which increased the number of tracks by 20-40.

It was a true “wow” moment, and the opening of retro tracks has been a Mario Kart tradition ever since.

MARIO KART: DOUBLE DASH!!

  • Original release 7 November 2003 7 Nov 2003
  • Format – GameCube
  • Player 4 4. (16 across LAN)
  • Characters – 20
  • Tracks – 16 races, 6 battle
  • Character debuts – Daisy, Birdo, Baby Mario, Baby Luigi, Koopa Paratroopa, Diddy Kong, Bowser Jr, Waluigi, Toadette, Petey Piranha, King Boo
  • Gimmicks 2 characters in a Kart. Selectable vehicles and LAN multiplayer

Double Dash!! is a bold departure from the series, but not just for its unforgivable choice to use two exclamation marks within the name.

The concept of riding on your own was completely eliminated in the era of karts that were driven by two people at the same time (one in front driving and the other at the back with weapons).

Due to this new method, Nintendo also had to dramatically increase the number of characters that could be played, which at the time was a constant number of eight characters per game.

This meant that the majority of the characters on Double Dash’s roster were comprised of new characters appearing in the Mario Kart game for the first time. Not only that, one of the characters (Toadette) made her first appearance in a Mario game, and it was rumored that Toad might have a friend.

Double Dash!! also included Double Dash! also introduced a new feature that’s not ever been noticed since the game: exclusive items. Each character was given an exclusive weapon that only they had the ability to make use of (similar to what AI players could use on earlier versions of the SNES initial version).

Mario and Luigi were able to shoot fireballs. Peach as well as Daisy could create hearts to defend their Kart. Donkey and Diddy had a huge banana that they could throw. This kind of thing.

Another new concept that stayed in the mix was the introduction of a variety of karts to pick from instead of universal karts to suit everyone. This gave you more options when it came to selecting the best setup for your race style.

The game also brought LAN gameplay, which allowed users to link up to eight GameCubes locally, so there could be up to 16 people competing. It’s because everyone had seven friends with GameCubes and loved to carry their large CRT televisions around.

MARIO KART DS

  • Original release 14 November 2005 14 Nov 2005
  • Format – Nintendo DS
  • Players 8 8. (4 online)
  • Characters – 12
  • Tracks – 32 races, 6 battle
  • Characters debut with Dry Bones, R.O.B., Shy Guy
  • Gimmicks Online multiplayer with mission mode

After the concept of two racers caused a split among Mario Kart fans, Nintendo decided to bring the wild back and return to regular single-character karts for its next handheld game.

Some things remain, such as the option to choose your kart as well in the general game engine that continues to operate in a modified state until today.

Mario Kart DS wasn’t without its own unique innovations. It also introduced two new objects including The Blooper along with Bullet Bill. Bullet Bill – which were both a bit annoying and amazing.

The game also introduced a stunning Mission mode, giving the player 63 challenges to tackle including collecting all coins in a single lap running a section backward in an allotted time, and even participating in boss fights.

Unfortunately, this style did not take off, and the style was never used again.

The thing that was different, however, was online multiplayer. It was introduced on Mario Kart DS and quickly became popular, despite the fact that the Wi-Fi connectivity of the DS was less reliable than that of an adolescent with measles.

MARIO KART ARCADE GP

  • Original release 19. November
  • Format – Arcade
  • Players – 4
  • Characters – 11
  • Tracks 12 – 12. (race only)
  • Character debuts – Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, Blinky
  • Gimmicks The arcade’s first Mario Kart, Pac-Man crossover

At the beginning of 2000, an amazing agreement was signed that saw Nintendo, Sega and Namco teamed together to design a new arcade system known as the Triforce.

Despite the marketing hype, Triforce was really just an altered variant of GameCube hardware. The intriguing aspect of the agreement was that Nintendo allowed the racing brands of its own to get handled by a different entity at first and handed tasks to their new partners.

Sega received the approval to develop F-Zero AX and GX, that was released at arcades, and also on GameCube and GameCube, respectively. Namco in turn was given keys to the revered Mario Kart license. It was the result that came out: Mario Kart Arcade GP.

It was like the other Mario Kart games in a variety of ways, but distinct from other games. It featured a staggering number of 93 types of items that were randomly chosen during each race.

It also took your picture before you raced, and then included a funny Mario mustache and hat, so other racers could see your image when you passed them. After you had finished, you could print the small ticket that had your race’s progress and then put it in the arcade cabinet for the next time you play.

It was the thing Arcade GP was best known for was the introduction of the first guest characters that were not Nintendo to the series: Pac-Man Ms. Pac-Man and the red Pac-Man ghost Blinky.

MARIO KART ARCADE GP 2

  • Original release 14 March 2007.
  • Format – Arcade
  • Players – 4
  • Characters – 13
  • Tracks — 16 (race only)
  • Character debuts – Mametchi
  • Gimmicks – Tamagotchi crossover

The initial Mario Kart Arcade GP was so well-received that Namco (now called Namco Bandai) chose to launch a sequel.

Arcade GP 2 wasn’t a real sequel, in the traditional sense but it’s best described as an improved version of the first that added more features.

The tracks added to the collection include four more Two Yoshi-themed tracks and two stadium-themed tracks.

The app also included additional comedy frames for your photos, and you can transform yourself into a pirate or bear.

The most notable thing is that it added two additional figures: Waluigi and Mametchi. Ma-who-the? We’ll explain.

Namco’s acquisition of toy maker Bandai allowed it to utilize all of its licenses as well, which led to the introduction of Mametchi one of the characters of the virtual Tamagotchi pet obsession.

MARIO KART WII

  • Original release — the 10th of April, 2008
  • Format – Wii
  • Players 4 (12 online) 4. (12 online)
  • Characters – 25
  • Tracks – 32 races, 10 battle
  • Characters debut – Baby Peach, Baby Daisy, Rosalina, Dry Bowser, Funky Kong, Mii
  • Gimmicks Bikes or jumping tricks, motion control Plastic steering wheel gizmo

As April 2008 arrived, it was nearly 5 years ago since Double-Dash which is why console players who were enjoying Nintendo’s revival through the Wii were really begging for a new dose of Mario Kart goodness.

Imagine the joy that followed when Mario Kart Wii turned up one year and a half into the Wii’s existence with more characters than any Mario game before.

As with its DS version, it also included online multiplayer. Not just for four players like the handheld version, but for up to 12 players. It also had Funky Kong in it, which immediately makes it one of the top video games ever developed.

Mario Kart Wii was also significant for another reason. It was the first game in the series that can be enjoyed by anybody.

Mario Kart’s rather simple gameplay meant that previous games could be played by almost everyone player, those who had never played with the controller in their life were clearly at a disadvantage.

The introduction of motion controls as well as that material Wii Wheel accessory that came with the game Mario Kart became much more accessible for novices.

The outcome was evident that with more than 37 million games sold it just was the top-selling Mario Kart game (at the time) however, it also became the top-selling racing game ever, and one of the most popular games ever made.

The inclusion of bikes – that is in fact a joke – could make a mess of what was probably the most successful point of the series.

MARIO KART 7

  • Original release date – January 1, 2011
  • Format – Nintendo 3DS
  • Players 8 Eight (8 online)
  • Characters – 17
  • Tracks – 32 races, 6 battle
  • Character debuts – Metal Mario, Honey Queen, Wiggler, Lakitu
  • Gimmicks Kart customization as well as underwater racing and gliding

Nintendo recognized it had the right track when it launched Mario Kart Wii, so the next handheld release was similar to the previous one but more impressive.

The most significant new feature of this version was the capability to completely customize your kart. Instead of picking from a range of existing vehicles, you can mix different body wheels, wheel, and glider models to design your unique kart.

Glider models? Yes, that’s right. Mario Kart 7 added flying sections that would start whenever you stepped off an icy blue ramp as well as letting players race underwater for the first time.

Mario Kart 7 also added several new features. Fire Flower: Fire Flower introduced some mild destruction to the game by the ability to throw a lot of fireballs over the tracks as well as The Super Leaf gave you a Raccoon tail that which you could use to strike opponents or – if did it correctly – to throw missiles.

It was the Lucky Seven, though, was probably the most ridiculous thing out of the bunch. It provided the player with an acorn as well as a Banana and a Red Shell, a Green Shell as well as a Blooper an OMB, and a star all simultaneously. It was a little too excessive.

MARIO KART ARCADE GP DX

  • Original release date – 25, July 2013,
  • Format – Arcade
  • Players – 4
  • Characters – 16
  • Tracks 12 – 12. (race only)
  • Character debuts – Don-chan
  • Gimmicks – Fusion Karts, Taiko no Tatsujin crossover

Not content with only two Mario Kart arcade games, Namco Bandai released a third in 2013.

Mario Kart Arcade GP DX was a different, improved version of its predecessors, however, it also introduced several new concepts, like very interesting co-op gameplay.

Two players can now race as a team and help each other out. If one player was to pick the special Fusion object, that player can activate it, triggering Fusion Kart. Fusion Kart.

It teleported their friend onto them and joined the two karts to create a huge tank-like thing. One person could drive the vehicle while the other was using the wheel to aim the gun turret.

It’s similar to Halo when one player drives the Warthog and the other is in charge of the gun, but in place of Master Chief, it’s Mario and Peach.

Other features were simple. Don-chan, the main character from Namco’s Taiko no Tatsujin (Taiko Drum Master) games were the first character to make the Mario Kart debut, while many more things have been added, bringing the number to a genuinely absurd 100.

In addition, players could select alternate egos of certain characters, so Tanooki Mario, Ice Luigi, and Dry Bowser were added to the game.

MARIO KART 8

  • Original release date – 29 May 2014.
  • Format – Wii U
  • Players 4 (12 online) four (12 online)
  • Characters 30- 30, (36 including DLC)
  • Tracks 32 (48 with DLC)
  • Character debuts The characters are Iggy, Roy, Lemmy, Larry, Wendy, Ludwig, Morton, Baby Rosalina, Pink Gold Peach, Tanooki Mario, Cat Peach, Link, Villager, Isabelle
  • Gimmicks Anti-gravity racing ATVs, amiibo costumes, and downloadable content

The Wii U may not have been a huge success Nintendo was hoping for – in fact, it was far from it but it did have perhaps the greatest Mario Kart.

Mario Kart 8 wasn’t revolutionary in any way, it simply used everything that was successful in previous entries and packed it into one stunning package.

The game did have some concepts that included anti-gravity racing was simple, but fun new method that led to insane track layouts.

The racing and gliding in Mario Kart 7 returned, making their console debut on the home as did motorcycles from Mario Kart Wii also came back (joined this time by ATVs).

It was essentially a blend of the best elements from the previous games and was made even better as it became the first Mario Kart game to offer downloadable content.

The DLC also included cross-overs to other Nintendo franchises including Zelda, Animal Crossing, F-Zero, and Excitebike to Mario Kart for the first time.

The only thing that was missing was the high numbers of sales. The figures were high in the case of Mario Kart, we mean that it sold well for a Wii U game. Perhaps if it was on a system that was more popular and more people bought it.

Hmmm.

MARIO KART 8 DELUXE

  • Original release 28 April 2017.
  • Format Nintendo Switch
  • Players 4 (12 online) 4. (12 online)
  • Characters – 42
  • Tracks 48 races (96 including DLC) 8 battle
  • Character debuts – Inkling Girl, Inkling Boy
  • Gimmicks It is playable on handheld and TV, Splatoon crossover

There is no doubt about the fact that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the greatest Mario Kart game ever made.

Technically, it’s not an entirely new game, but this is the first time that a Mario Kart title is essentially a “special edition” of the game that came before it.

But, considering that Mario Kart 8 didn’t reach its full potential due to the system it initially came out on, many were prepared to give it another chance to shine which it has received with enthusiasm.

The game has seen some upgrades. The resolution for rendering is now 1080p rather than 720p (when it’s played on a TV) In addition, six additional characters are included in the game’s roster with two of them from Splatoon.

A fully-fledged Battle Mode has also been added to compensate for the widely criticized Wii U one, with five arenas and eight different battle modes.

Nintendo also took things up a gear earlier this year, when it introduced its Booster Course Pass. It is currently in working on adding 48 tracks spread across six waves.

It means that by the year 2023, the game is going to feature the equivalent of 96 courses for the sake of making it evident that it’s one of the best out of the bunch.

MARIO KART ARCADE GP VR

  • Original release 14 July 2017 14th July 2017
  • Format – Arcade
  • Players – 1-4
  • Characters 6 – 6, (only 4 of them playable)
  • Tracks – 1
  • Character debuts – None
  • Gimmicks Virtual real

Nintendo seldom plays around in virtual reality, and in a way, it wasn’t the case here: Like previous Mario Kart Arcade GP titles, This one was managed through Bandai Namco.

As the title suggests it’s a virtual-reality version of Mario Kart in which up to four players battle one another while wearing the VR headset.

As opposed to pressing buttons in order to throw weapons, the players need to throw by hand, which is detected with a small device worn on their wrists.

With just four characters and one track to pick from, it’s obvious it’s clear that Mario Kart Arcade GP VR is more of a one-off gimmick rather than a fully-fledged Mario Kart game.

It’s a spectacle in its own right It’s an item worth pursuing in spite of the fact that it’s rare to find units in the wild, and you are likely to end up getting sick after playing it.

MARIO KART TOUR

  • Original release date – 25 September 2019,
  • Format – Mobile
  • Players – 1-8
  • Characters – 175 to date
  • Tracks – 89 to date (rotating selection)
  • Character debuts Peachette, Pauline, Hammer Bro, Monty Mole, Dixie Kong, Captain Toad, Nabbit, Kamek, and Chargin’ Chuck (among others)
  • Gimmicks – First mobile entry, live service Mario Kart

For a long time, Nintendo refused to move to game on mobile devices, insisting that its hardware was the ideal platform for its innovations.

The game’s popularity changed dramatically around the mid-2010s when games like Animal Crossing, Fire Emblem, and New Super Mario Bros made the leap (literally in the case of the latter) into Android and iOS devices.

Mario Kart followed suit in 2019 with a mobile version of the franchise that included a variety of elements from other mobile games in a way that was either greater or less.

 

The new live service structure ensures that players will be presented with a constantly changing sequence of tracks, and an ongoing flow of players to play and win (there are, frankly speaking, 175 characters in all).

Due to this, it is evident that it has a substantial microtransactions component, which means that those who love the idea of having a fully-loaded roster almost definitely won’t have a chance of getting this.

MARIO KART LIVE: HOME CIRCUIT

  • Original release date – 16th October 2020
  • Format – Switch
  • Players – 1-2
  • Characters 13 – 13. (only 5 can be played)
  • Tracks – 30 environments
  • Character debuts – None
  • Gimmicks Augmented-reality, Real-world tracks created by users

Nintendo was not the primary creator of this virtual version of Mario Kart, and the same is true for the virtual reality version of it.

It was developed in collaboration with Velan Studios (which was later used to create Knockout City), Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit is a physical remote-controlled kart, which is controlled by either Mario or Luigi.

The kart features cameras that are placed behind Mario’s head. This is then sent a video feed to the Nintendo Switch and lets players observe what the kart is seeing from a typical Mario Kart third-person viewpoint.

Players can also design their own tracks by putting checkpoints on the ground, that the camera of the kart can recognize as being part of the track.

While you race in your game car raced across your living room which can scare the cat. probably getting stuck in the sofa.

 

If everything works as it was supposed to, it’s an incredibly engaging experience, and even though it’s unlikely to see an update anytime shortly, it’s still an exciting chapter of Mario Kart’s Mario Kart series.

To date, Mario Kart Live is still the latest Mario Kart title, and all eyes continue to be trained on Nintendo to see when Mario Kart 9 finally gets announced.

In the event of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s DLC is scheduled to run until 2023’s end, we might have to wait an extended time to see Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s next major line Mario Kart.

The game has been out for eight years now. Mario Kart 8 was released on the Wii U, and while the deluxe re-releases, AR as well as VR spin-offs, mobile take-offs, and spin-offs keep us busy This is the longest we’ve had to wait (by a long way) to get a new main game.

When it happens we’ll be waiting eagerly to press the accelerator just after the number ‘2’.