Super Mario Kart

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Super Mario Kart
SMK BoxCover2.jpg
Developer(s) Nintendo EAD
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Platform(s) Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Virtual Console (Wii, Wii U)
Release date SNES:
Japan August 27, 1992
USA September 1, 1992, (re-released May 20, 1996 as Player's Choice)
Europe January 21, 1993
Virtual Console (Wii)
Japan June 9, 2009
USA November 23, 2009
Europe April 2, 2010
Australia April 2, 2010
Virtual Console (Wii U)
Japan June 19, 2013
Europe March 27, 2014
Australia March 28, 2014
Genre Racing
Rating(s) SNES
ESRB:ESRB K-A.png - Kids to Adults
Virtual Console
ESRB:ESRB E.svg - Everyone
PEGI:PEGI 3.svg - Three years and older
CERO:CERO A.png - All ages
ACB:ACB G.svg - General
Mode(s) 1-2 players
Media SNES.png Cartridge
Media DL icon.svg Digital download
Wii U:
Media DL icon.svg Digital download
Super Nintendo:
Wii U:

Super Mario Kart is a racing game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System released in 1992 and re-released in 1996 as a Player's Choice title. It was also released in Japan on June 9, 2009; in United States on November 23, 2009; and on April 2, 2010 in Europe and Australia as a Virtual Console title. It is the first installment in the Mario Kart series and the game that set precedents to the kart racing style of video games.


Character select screen.

As well as the eight playable drivers, various other Mario series characters appear in Super Mario Kart. Thwomps, Piranha Plants, Monty Moles, and Cheep-Cheeps are enemies that serve as obstacles in certain tracks and Boos appear in the background of other tracks, as well as serving as a usable item.

As stated in the Super Mario Kart manual, Lakitu is the owner of the Super Mario Kart Race Track, and as such, he oversees all races. He holds up the starting signal and various other signs and for the price of two Coins, he also uses his fishing rod to lift any fallen drivers back onto the racetrack.

Button controls[edit]


  • B Button - Accelerate, Rocket Start
  • A Button - Use items, stop Item Roulette
  • Start Button - Pause/Select
  • Select Button - Switch view
  • +Control Pad - Change option during the Menus/Steer
  • X Button - Switch view
  • Y Button - Brake
  • L / R - Drift

Modes of play[edit]

Mario GP[edit]

The first race of the Mario Kart GP is about to start.

The Mario GP is the main mode for Super Mario Kart. Here, players can race against seven other opponents in a five-course cup. The four best drivers will receive Driver Points for placing in the top four. First place gives the player nine points, second gets six, three points for third and only one for fourth. If players get fifth or below, they can try again using one of three limited lives. If they get it four times, the mode is over. A single extra life was earned by placing the same position three times. The maximum score in a GP cup is forty-five. The three best drivers will move on to the award ceremony where they can receive their trophies. Third place gives the player a bronze trophy, second gives them silver and gold for the winner. Each race is five laps long. If the player wants more of a challenge, he or she could highlight his or her character and press the A Button and Y Button buttons at the same time. Their character will be permanently small until the player presses these buttons again.

Vs. Mode[edit]

In this two-player mode, players can race against each other. The player who crosses the finish line after five laps wins the race. Hazards will also be placed on the track to add to the challenge.

Time Trial[edit]

In this single-player mode, players can get the fastest time within the required number of laps. The best lap time and race time is recorded after all of the laps are played.


Battle Mode

In this mode for two people, players can battle against each other with balloons. To pop them, the player must hit their opponent with an item. The Item Panels will automatically restock after all of them have been used. Each player gets three balloons to begin the battle with and the first person to pop all the other players' three balloons wins the battle.


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.

Acceleration Top Speed Weight Handling
Medium Medium Medium Medium
Acceleration Top Speed Weight Handling
High Medium Medium Low
Acceleration Top Speed Weight Handling
Low High High Medium
Acceleration Top Speed Weight Handling
Medium Low Low High


Racing courses[edit]

Battle courses[edit]


* - Do not appear in the Battle Mode.
** - Do not appear in the Mario Kart GP Mode.


The rivals always finish in a particular order. In this case, though, Princess got a lower spot than normal.

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 a majority of the time, they jump over the item.

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).

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.

Character Rival Order
Very Fast Fast Medium Slow Very Slow
Mario Donkey Kong Jr. Princess Yoshi Luigi Toad Bowser Koopa Troopa
Luigi Yoshi Mario Bowser Koopa Troopa Princess Donkey Kong Jr. Toad
Princess Bowser Toad Mario Donkey Kong Jr. Luigi Yoshi Koopa Troopa
Yoshi Koopa Troopa Donkey Kong Jr. Princess Bowser Mario Toad Luigi
Bowser Mario Luigi Princess Yoshi Donkey Kong Jr. Toad Koopa Troopa
Donkey Kong Jr. Toad Bowser Koopa Troopa Luigi Princess Mario Yoshi
Koopa Troopa Luigi Yoshi Princess Mario Bowser Donkey Kong Jr. Toad
Toad Princess Donkey Kong Jr. Mario Yoshi Luigi Koopa Troopa Bowser


Super Mario Kart was born out of the idea of making a two-player racing game following F-Zero, which was exclusively single-player [1]. 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 [1]. 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 [1].

Beta Elements[edit]

Main article: List of Super Mario Kart beta elements

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.[2]. 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 copies worldwide as of December 31, 2009.


Main article: List of Super Mario Kart staff

References to other games[edit]

References in later games[edit]


For this subject's image gallery, see Gallery:Super Mario Kart.


Main article: List of media from Super Mario Kart


Main article: List of glitches in Super Mario Kart

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese スーパーマリオカート
Sūpā Mario Kāto
Super Mario Kart
Spanish Super Mario Kart Super Mario Kart
French Super Mario Kart Super Mario Kart
German Super Mario Kart Super Mario Kart
Italian Super Mario Kart Super Mario Kart
Korean 슈퍼마리오 카트
Supeo Mario Kateu
Super Mario Kart


  • In the Japanese version of Super Mario Kart, every character has a winning animation that involves a bottle of champagne. Bowser and Peach/Toadstool drink champagne in their said animations, which goes against Nintendo of America's policy on the depiction of alcohol, as it was considered inappropriate for younger children. Instead, they just toss and catch the bottles in the Western versions.
  • This is the only game in the Mario Kart series to have 5 courses per cup, as opposed to 4 in later games (not counting All Cup Tour in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!).
  • This is also the only game in the Mario Kart series where Wario and Donkey Kong do not appear and the only game in the Mario Kart series where the Spiny Shell does not appear.
  • There is a prototype cartridge that belongs to a collector with some differences from the final. [3]


  1. ^ a b c Iwata Asks: Mario Kart Wii (accessed March 22 2012)
  2. ^, retrieved 6/4/2009
  3. ^