Super Mario Kart
Super Mario Kart is a racing game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and the first game of the Mario Kart series, as well as the game that sets precedents to fictional kart racing genre. It was first released in 1992 and re-released in 1996 as a Player's Choice title. It was re-released on the Wii's Virtual Console in Japan on June 9, 2009, North America on November 23, 2009, and in Europe and Australia on April 2, 2010. Super Mario Kart was re-released again on the Wii U's Virtual Console in Japan on June 19, 2013, Europe on March 27, 2014, Australia on March 28, 2014, and North America on August 6, 2014, and exclusively for the New Nintendo 3DS's Virtual Console in Europe on March 17, 2016, Australia on March 18, 2016, North America on March 24, 2016, and Japan on May 9, 2016. Part of this game is heavily based on another successful game, Super Mario World.
Modes of play
The Mario GP is the main mode in Super Mario Kart. Here players can race against seven (six if in two-player mode) other CPU-controlled opponents in a five-course cup. The top four players receive points based on their ranking: first place earns the player nine points, second earns six, third earns three, and fourth earns one, while fifth and below get zero points. Players who rank fifth or below, can try again using one of three lives. If they rank fifth or below four times, the game ends. A single extra life can be earned by placing in the same position three times. The maximum score in a GP cup is forty-five, obtained by winning five times. The three best drivers move on to the award ceremony where they receive their trophies. Third place gives the player a bronze trophy, second gives silver and first gives gold (the player can watch the ceremony only when they place first: however, a protoype version has animations for second and third). Each race is five laps long. If players beat all cups in Class 150cc, the Message "Excellent driving, you are now a Super Mario Kart expert" pops up, thus officially telling players they have completed the game. If the player wants a harder challenge, they can hold and at the character selection screen. This will make the character permanently small as if under the effect of a Lightning or Poison Mushroom until the player presses the buttons again.
This mode is two-player only: the players can race each other like if they were in a GP, only that CPU racers do not appear, they can freely choose the track where to race in. Black objects slide around the courses as well, and coming in contact with one will result in the kart spinning out and the object disappearing as if it were a Green Shell. The game keeps track of wins and losses of each player.
This one-player mode have the player to race through five laps of the selected track the fastest they can without items. The five faster times are recorded, as well as the fastest lap and the characters used, for each track.
Another two-player mode, it is completely different from a normal race and adds some variety to the game. For this mode, there are four square-shaped tracks that are the only selectable. The player's goal is using the items to pop the opponent's balloons. Each player has three balloons that can't be recovered in any way. The first to pop all the opponent's balloons wins.
The game features eight playable characters from the Mario series, such as Mario, Luigi, Yoshi and Bowser. However, some other characters from the series acts as obstacles in the game's tracks, like Thwomps, Monty Moles, Piranha Plants and Cheep Cheeps. Boos don't act as enemies, but both as item and as part of the Ghost Valley tracks' background.
As stated in the game's manual, Lakitu is the owner of all the racetracks, thus overseeing all races. It will appear on the track to start the race, to warn the player they are going backwards, and when they fall off the edge of the track or go out of bounds. If the latter happens, Lakitu will transport the racer back to track at the price of two Coins.
Super Mario Kart has eight available drivers, divided into statistically identical pairs of two. These four categories have no official name, but are referred in the manual as different classes. Later Mario Kart titles categorize characters into weight classes to organize their stats. The stats presented here are derived and inferred from the manual. 
The game has 20 race courses and 4 battle courses, the first being divided in four cups. Aside from Rainbow Road, all of the courses are numbered.
Items are obtained through ? Panels, scattered around the track. When the player passes over one, it will turn red (used) and not return orange (though in Battle Mode they did). Once a racer passes over one, with a few exceptions, they will receive an item in their box from the following:
Super Mario Kart has a different rival system from the rest of the series; the rivals contain one very fast driver, one fast driver, one medium driver, one slow driver and three very slow drivers. It is notable that when one of the three slower drivers gets hit, that kart will keep its place, while when one of the faster cars gets shot, it will usually resume its previous place very quickly unless unable to catch up fast enough before the race ends. For this reason, the drivers (except the human racer) will (if unaffected) always finish in the exact same order. Also, if the player tries to hit an opponent, the opponent jumps over the item a majority of the time.
The rivals for each driver are always the same, the list will be in the order the line up for the first race. It is possible to change the order if the rivals can't recover their place at the end (Eg. If someone is playing as Luigi and Yoshi finishes last, Yoshi will then become one of the three slower drivers while everybody takes the next position up). It happens mostly on 100cc and 150cc.
The rivals are determined by the current points standing, meaning that if Yoshi was still only second to the player, he will boost back to first position from the start.
Super Mario Kart was born out of the idea of making a two-player racing game following F-Zero, which was exclusively single-player. The prototype initially only featured a generic "guy in overalls". The decision to include Mario characters and concepts was made three to four months in development, when the developers added Mario driving one of the karts because they were curious about how the game would look, and decided that it looked better. The battle mode was implemented because the developers thought it would be a good idea to include a form of one-on-one battles that didn't involving competing for ranks during the races.
Pre-release and unused content
In addition to the above, a prototype cartridge of the game features several differences, such as the presence of animations on the podium screen when the player ranks 2nd or 3rd place, a music track for Vanilla Lake 1 that does not appear in the final build and a different Battle Course 3 set in Choco Island.
Super Mario Kart met with very favorable reviews. The game was placed 32nd in the 100th issue of Nintendo Power's "100 best Nintendo games of all time" in 1997.. In the book, Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition for 2009, Super Mario Kart was placed as the #1 best console game. The game was placed 33rd in the 200th issue of GameInformer's "Top 200 Games of all Time" in December 2009. The game was awarded the Most Critically Acclaimed Mario Kart Game by Guinness Book of World Records Gamer's Edition 2009 - 2014.
Super Mario Kart is the 3rd best selling game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, selling 8.76 million copies worldwide as of December 31, 2009.
References to other games
References in later games
Names in other languages