? Panels (originally known as Question Blocks) are the ground-based version of the ? Block. While ? Blocks hover in mid-air, ? Panels lay flat against the ground. These objects first appear in Super Mario Kart. ? Panels litter the racetracks of the game. Each course contains one set of twelve ? Panels, though two courses contain ten in one set, and one contains fifteen. In some courses, one or more ? Panels can be found not close to the set, such as Ghost Valley 1 and Koopa Beach 1. When a racer drives over a ? Panel, they receive an item. Although normally yellow with a black question mark, ? Panels turn red with a smiley face after driven over, signifying they are deactivated. Red ? Panels remain deactivated through the rest of the race (unless every ? Panel in the course is deactivated, in which case every ? Panel turns yellow and once again offer items). ? Panels are replaced by Item Boxes in Mario Kart 64 and future Mario Kart games.
? Panels later appear in Mario Hoops 3-on-3. These panels are scattered across the game's various basketball courts. When a player on offense dribbles the ball over a ? Panel, they typically acquire Coins used to boost points, but may also receive an item. A player on defense always receives a special item if they run over one of these panels. Fake ? Panels also appear in the game and can be used to trip up other players. Purple ? Panels appear in the Jr. Street stage when one of the spotlights shines on the ? Panel. Those contain Slot Coins.
? Panels reappear in Mario Sports Mix. They have the same effect as in Mario Hoops 3-on-3.
? Panels reappear in Mario Party 9. They appear in Fungi Frenzy where the players try to earn the highest score by ground-pounding panels with Mushrooms in them. Before each of the three rounds, the panels will briefly show what they contain. Points in this game are solely based off of the number of Mushrooms a player collects. Some panels will contain one Mushroom, others contain two, and the rest contain three. Players can stun each other by ground-pounding them. After three rounds, the player with the highest score wins.
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