Ghost (Mario Kart series)

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A ghost is the recording of a player's driving performance in the Mario Kart series. The concept of ghosts has appeared in most games in the series. Ghost drivers appear as semi-transparent characters and behave as players who used them did while achieving a high score. These drivers cannot be touched and pass through karts and obstacles. Driving against one's own ghost enables a player to directly compete against their own record. Ghost data can be recorded only in Time Trial mode; recording this data may be impossible in races that are too long in some games due to memory limitations.

In Mario Kart 64, because none of the available controllers have a Controller Pak slot, it is impossible to record ghost data on the Wii and Wii U Virtual Console versions of the game.

In Mario Kart: Super Circuit, players are able to save up to ten ghosts. Ghosts can be traded between players using the link cable, allowing up to two ghosts to be raced against on a single track (the player's own ghost and the traded ghost). There can be up to two traded ghosts saved to the game.

Starting in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, every course has a staff ghost, a recording by a Nintendo staff member that acts as a baseline time to beat (staff ghosts were present in Mario Kart 64, but only for Luigi Raceway, Mario Raceway, and Royal Raceway). In Mario Kart Wii and Mario Kart 7, there are normal and expert staff ghosts; in the North American release of Mario Kart Wii, expert staff ghosts are called "fast staff ghosts." Mario Kart 7 has staff ghosts from Retro Studios in addition to Nintendo.

While Mario Kart 8 has only one set of staff ghosts, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe includes separate staff ghosts for 150cc and 200cc, which effectively serve as a replacement for expert staff ghosts. Generally, the characters used for the staff ghosts match the theme of the course, such as Mario for Mario Circuit, Bowser for Bowser's Castle, etc.

In Mario Kart 7, players who are met online will be added as ghost data.

In Mario Kart 8 in Team Battle mode, if the player loses all of their balloons, they will play as a ghost, but they will not be able to get any points. In Time Trials, unlike in prior games in the series, ghosts in Mario Kart 8 actually mirror the player's actions, including hacked ones and edits to the model's bones, rather than recreating the player's route by copying stored inputs.[1]

Ghost rewards in Mario Kart Wii[edit]

  • Playing Time Trials on 8 courses: Magikruiser
  • Playing Time Trials on 16 courses: Birdo
  • Playing Time Trials on all 32 courses: Toadette
  • Unlocking an expert staff ghost in Time Trials: Tiny Titan
  • Unlocking 4 expert staff ghosts in Time Trials: Funky Kong
  • Unlocking 8 expert staff ghosts in Time Trials: Baby Luigi
  • Unlocking 12 expert staff ghosts in Time Trials: Spear
  • Unlocking 24 expert staff ghosts in Time Trials: Sprinter
  • Unlocking all 32 expert staff ghosts in Time Trials: Mii Outfit B

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Chinese (simplified) 车影[2]
Chē Yǐng
Literally "Kart Shadow"

Chinese (traditional) 幻影車手
Huànyǐng Chēshǒu
Phantom Rider


  • In Mario Kart 64, if the player turns off or lowers the background music by using the L Button button during a ghost race and a ghost drives past them, they can hear engine sounds from the ghost. Also, in Mario Kart: Super Circuit, voice clips used for the ghost can be heard.