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This article is about the yellow lightning bolt. For a dog character from the Saturday Supercade episode Junior Meets Kid Dynamo, see Lightning (character). For an obstacle found in platform games, see Lightning (obstacle). For a captain command in the Minion Quest: The Search for Bowser mode of Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions, see Lightning (move).
Lightning in Mario Kart 8
First appearance Super Mario Kart (1992)
Latest appearance Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit (2020)

Lightning (also called Lightning Bolt,[1] Thunder Bolt,[2] or Lightning Blast[3]) is an attack item found in various Mario games. On its use, it summons a powerful lightning bolt from the sky, usually shrinking opponents.


Mario Kart series[edit]

LINE sticker showing Bowser being struck by lightning

In the Mario Kart series, Lightning is an extremely powerful item that racers usually receive when they are in (or near) last place in a race. When used, Lightning will temporarily shrink all the other racers, making them slower and weaker, in addition to making them spin out and drop their items. It also temporarily makes the racers' voices high-pitched and sped up until being back to normal or getting squashed. It is also the emblem for the Lightning Cup.

In Mario Kart 64, Mario Kart: Super Circuit, and Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, when Lightning is used, a sound like that of a tiny alarm is heard during its effect. In Super Mario Kart that sound is only heard when the Lightning is launched, and in Mario Kart DS onwards, the music in the race is affected when the player is hit by it. In Mario Kart 7, the extra beat that plays in 1st place goes out of sync with the music for a few seconds after the attack. Lightning's effect can be avoided if a racer has a Mega Mushroom, Star, Boo, or Bullet Bill item activated when the bolt strikes, or if they are flying through the air after being shot out of a cannon in all games prior to Mario Kart 7 or are frozen by an Ice Flower in Mario Kart Tour.

Super Mario Kart[edit]

In Super Mario Kart, if any shrunken racers are driven over, they will be squashed and unable to move for a few seconds. While shrunk, the character's weight is equal to other shrunken players. This game's iteration of Lightning has a duration that is approximately twice as long as that of all future games. This item can be obtained if the player is in 5th place or lower for most tracks and 2nd or lower for Bowser Castle and Rainbow Road tracks, but overall is the rarest item in the game.

Mario Kart 64[edit]

Lightning striking Mario and Toad

Lightning returns in Mario Kart 64, behaving the same as in Super Mario Kart. However, if two shrunken racers run into each other, they will both crush each other. The racer can obtain a Lightning if they are anywhere from 2nd to 8th place.

In the Virtual Console version, the flash from the Lightning has been toned down due to the possibilities of players getting seizures from it in the original version.

Mario Kart: Super Circuit[edit]

Lightning returns again in Mario Kart: Super Circuit, behaving like in Super Mario Kart, though shrunken racers now spin in place if they come in contact with a normal-sized racer. The duration of the item is the shortest in the series, lasting six seconds. Princess Peach, Wario, and Bowser are the only three CPUs that are able to obtain the item.[citation needed]

Mario Kart: Double Dash!![edit]

Lightning strikes Petey Piranha and King Boo.

In Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, Lightning can also scatter racers' items across the road when used. However, the item does not affect racers that are currently indisposed (such as having just been hit by another item, or having fallen over a cliff). Also, unlike in Super Mario Kart, Mario Kart 64, and Mario Kart: Super Circuit, shrunken racers will not get squished if they ram into normal sized racers. However, tiny karts will be easy to push around, even by the Bullet Blaster, which is the lightest kart in the game. Lightning can be dropped on the road after getting hit by something that causes racers to lose their items (e.g. Freezies). However, the Lightning will only stay on the road for a few seconds.

Mario Kart DS[edit]

Lightning striking Toad

In Mario Kart DS, the effect of being hit by Lightning wears off much faster depending on the rank that the racer is in. For example, someone hit by one while in seventh place will return to normal almost immediately, while the one in first place will remain shrunk for up to seven seconds. Also, racers who get hit by other items can still be affected by this item. This item can be obtained if the racer is anywhere from 6th to 8th place, with CPUs only being able to obtain it in 8th place.

Mario Kart Wii[edit]

Several racers shrunk by lightning

In Mario Kart Wii, as in Mario Kart DS, the effect of Lightning lasts more briefly the lower the rank the racer is in, and even if hit by other items, they will still be affected by it. If the racers are under the effects of a Mega Mushroom, they will shrink back to normal size immediately and will not spin out or lose their items. In Battle Mode, unlike other items, Lightning does not take away a balloon or coins. This item can be obtained if the racer is anywhere from 9th to 12th place, with CPUs only being able to obtain it in 12th place. There is also the Thunder Cloud, which gives the recipient a speed boost prior to striking them with lightning.

Mario Kart 7[edit]

Wario shrunk by lightning

In Mario Kart 7, as in Mario Kart DS and Mario Kart Wii, the effect of being shocked by Lightning will be determined on the level rank the racer is in, from last place having decreased time and first place being shrunk for longer. As before, the music of track will be altered, and even if hit by another item, the racer will still be shrunk. Any racers that are shrunk will also be squished if run over by normal sized racers, an effect returning from Super Mario Kart, Mario Kart 64, and Mario Kart: Super Circuit. Unlike in Mario Kart Wii, when a driver is shot out of a cannon, the shrinking effect will still happen and the driver will fall while gliding in midair. Additionally, up to three racers can hold a Lightning Bolt at a time, potentially unleashing two or three lightning attacks at once. This item can be obtained if the racer is in 7th or 8th place, with CPUs only being able to obtain it in 8th place.

Mario Kart 8 / Mario Kart 8 Deluxe[edit]

Green Shy Guy shrunk by lightning

In Mario Kart 8 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, the effect of this item is very similar to its effect in Mario Kart 7. In these games however, when a character is shrunken, the loss of speed makes it more difficult for the racer to perform tricks and to drift. Unlike in previous Mario Kart games, when a racer is hit with Lightning, they will lose the item they are holding even if they are under the effects of a Star (in the original version only). Like the first three games and Mario Kart 7, when a racer is shrunken by Lightning, and another one with the normal size drives on them, they will be squished. Up to three racers can hold a Lightning Bolt at the same time.

Mario Kart Tour[edit]

Lightning returns in Mario Kart Tour, with its effect being similar in previous games. Unlike in the previous two games, when a racer is hit with a Lightning while gliding, the glider does not retract. During a Lightning Frenzy, one racer will get struck each time the item is used. When non-Frenzy Lightning is used, interactable objects around the course react to it as they do when hit with an offensive item, but do not give points.

Normally, the player will lose all of their items when hit by Lightning, though if the player is using a Coin Box, Bob-omb Cannon, Mushroom Cannon or Banana Barrels when hit, the item will still be retained.

The following gliders increase the chance of getting Lightning and points for hitting racers with one.

Special skill Gliders
Lightning from Mario Kart Tour.
Lightning Plus
Increases your chances of getting Lightning. Using one will get you more points.
+5 points
Lightning Oilpaper from Mario Kart Tour
+8 points
Glitter Glider from Mario Kart TourLuma Parafoil from Mario Kart TourTreasure Map from Mario Kart Tour.Butterfly Wings from Mario Kart Tour8-Bit Star from Mario Kart TourPlanet Glider from Mario Kart TourStarry Great Sail from Mario Kart TourShip's WheelRed and Gold Umbrella from Mario Kart TourCloud Glider from Mario Kart TourRainy Balloons from Mario Kart TourDream Glider from Mario Kart TourWario's Mustache from Mario Kart Tour

Mario Pinball Land[edit]

Lightning appears as an item in Mario Pinball Land. When used, it defeats all on-screen enemies.

Mario Power Tennis[edit]

In Mario Power Tennis, Lightning appears as an item in the Item Battle in Exhibition Mode. When used, it shrinks the player's opponent(s), reducing their speed and power. Lightning also appears in 8-bit Mario Bros. styled sprites in the mini-game Coin Collectors, where it is used when the player grabs it.

Mario Baseball series[edit]

Mario Superstar Baseball[edit]

In Mario Superstar Baseball, Lightning is one of the items resulting from landing the ball in the ? space. If the player receives it, they can switch the leading player's coins with their coins.

Mario Super Sluggers[edit]

In Mario Super Sluggers, Lightning appears as an error item, but only in Toy Field, where the losing player may receive it.

Mario Hoops 3-on-3[edit]

In Mario Hoops 3-on-3, Lightning is a usable item. If it is used, it stuns all players and makes the ball drop out of one's grasp.

Mario Party series[edit]

Mario Party 8[edit]

While Lightning itself does not appear in Mario Party 8, it cameos on the wrapper of the Cashzap Candy.

Mario Party 9[edit]

King Boo struck by Lightning in Mario Party 9

In Mario Party 9, Lightning appears in King Boo's Puzzle Attack. Lining three of them will give ten points to whoever lined up three of this item, while taking away three points from their opponents. It also unleashes lightning that will damage King Boo more than the other items do.

Mario Party: Island Tour[edit]

Wario struck by the Lightning Score Striker in Mario Party: Island Tour

In Mario Party: Island Tour, Lightning is referred to as a Lightning Score Striker and will subtract three from an opponent's roll.

Mario Party: Star Rush[edit]

Lightning reappears in Mario Party: Star Rush as a usable item in Coinathlon that, when used, stuns an opponent for a few seconds.

Mario & Sonic series[edit]

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games[edit]

Yoshi is struck by lightning in Dream Race.

In the Wii version of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, Lightning appears as an item in Dream Race, where it temporarily stuns all other characters and causes them to lose speed when used, but can be defended against by using either a Starman or invincibility from a Chaos Emerald.

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games[edit]

Lightning appears as an item in Dream Alpine, Dream Ski Cross and Dream Snowboard Cross, Dream Short Track and Dream Bobsleigh in the Wii version of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games, where it strikes all of the opponents with Lightning when used, knocking them over and causing them to lose speed. It also appears as an item in the Individual version of Dream Ski Jumping, where it can be used to strike all of the opponents and cause them to lose height, speed, 10 points and a Bonus panel, but can be defended against using a Barrier. In the Individual and Team versions of Dream Gliding, Lightning can be used to strike all of the opposing players and knock them out of the sky.

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020[edit]

In Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, Lightning appears as an item in Dream Racing, albeit referred to as Thunder. When used, it simultaneously hits all racers besides the user, but unlike in the Mario Kart series, it does not cause shrinking, instead causing racers hit by it to spin out of control and lose some of their Rings.

Super Smash Bros. series[edit]

Lightning appears in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as an item. The item usually shrinks all of the player's opponents. However, at times it might backfire and shrink the player who grabbed the item. Lastly, there is a small chance that the item makes the opponents giant-sized, as if they all touched a Super Mushroom. As with the Super Mushroom and Poison Mushroom, figthers only have to touch the item to activate its effects.

Fighters who get shrunk by the Lightning will be set to the exact same size as when they touch a Poison Mushroom (0.5x normal size), but their direct attacks deal 0.7x their normal damage, instead of 0.6x. Also, if players become giant from the Lightning, they will be much bigger than when they grab a Super Mushroom (2.4x normal size, instead of 1.7x), and their direct attacks will deal 1.84x their normal damage.

Additionally, the Lightning item is depicted as a trophy in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, and as a sticker in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. In The Subspace Emissary, the sticker can be used on any fighter to boost their electric attacks by 4 points.

Super Mario-kun[edit]

Lightning makes a brief appearance in volume 6 of Super Mario-kun. While struggling, Mario receives this item and then uses it to pulverize Donkey Kong Jr. and win the race. It is also used in another chapter to shrink the Mega Mole that Mario was fighting, giving it the size of a regular Monty Mole.


Mario Kart series[edit]

Super Mario Kart[edit]

  • Instruction booklet bio: Use the Lightning Bolt and you'll see a big flash, all of the other racers will become smaller in size for a while. During this time, they will move slower and are very vulnerable.
  • Wii Virtual Console manual bio: Strikes all other karts with lightning, shrinking them and making them slow and vulnerable to being flattened by other karts.

Mario Kart 64[edit]

  • Operation Card bio: Use this to attack every other Kart. When struck by a thunder bolt, a Kart will shrink, its speed will drop and it can easily be crushed.

Mario Kart: Super Circuit[edit]

  • Instruction booklet: Drop lightning on all your opponents, shrinking them and slowing them down for a few seconds.

Mario Kart: Double Dash!![edit]

  • Instruction booklet bio: This mighty bolt strikes all opponents at the same time, causing them to spin out, drop their items, and shrink in size, which reduces their max speeds.

Mario Kart DS[edit]

  • Instruction booklet bio: Make all opponents spin out, drop their items, and shrink for a brief period of time.

Mario Kart Wii / Mario Kart 7[edit]

  • Mario Kart Wii and Mario Kart 7 instruction manuals bio: Lightning zaps your opponents, causing them to spin out, drop their items, shrink, and drive more slowly for a while.
  • Mario Kart 7 North American website bio: Use this item to send a bolt from the sky on to all of your opponents, shrinking and slowing them down.

Mario Kart 8[edit]

  • Instruction manual bio: Strikes all opponents with lightning, causing them to lose their items. It also temporarily shrinks them, reducing their speed.

Mario Kart Tour[edit]

  • Tips & Tricks: Calls down lightning to spin out your opponents and destroy the items they hold. Those struck will be smaller and slower for a set amount of time.
  • Mario Kart Tour Twitter: This powerful item calls bolts of lightning down from the sky to strike your opponents with electrifying accuracy! If you get hit, your kart will shrink and slow down.
    Channel mother nature to make a comeback for the ages...and maybe bring a thunder rod.

Super Smash Bros. series[edit]

Super Smash Bros. Brawl[edit]

Name Image Game Description
Lightning BrawlTrophy500.png SNES Super Mario Kart An item that goes off the moment you touch it. It may shrink every other character on the screen. Tiny players suffer a reduction in their attack power and become easier to send flying. After a set amount of time, all the characters will return to their normal sizes. In the Mario Kart series, all players but the item user shrunk, and get flattened when run over.
N64 Mario Kart 64
Name Image Artwork from Effect in The Subspace Emissary
Lightning Lightning Sticker.png Mario Kart DS [Electric] - Attack +4

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Super Smash Bros. for Wii U trophy[edit]

Name 3DS Image Wii U Image Appears in American English description British English description
Lightning LightningBoltTrophy3DS.png Lightning's trophy render from Super Smash Bros. for Wii U SNES Super Mario Kart (09/1992)
Wii U Mario Kart 8 (05/2014)
If there is one thing I've learned from Mario Kart, it's that lightning can strike without a cloud in the sky. Picking this up will hit your foes with a character-shrinking blast of lightning, making them really easy to launch into the distance. If you get struck, you'd best run until the fight is fair again. Don't let sunny weather fool you! Lightning can strike at any time. This mighty force of nature can make you feel small...and actually make you small, too. In this state, you'll be quite weak and easily launched, so just try to stay out of everyone's way until you go back to normal. THEN you can get your own back!

Blue indicates exclusive to the Wii U version.


Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese イナズマ[5] (Super Mario Kart)

Chinese (Simplified) 闪电
Chinese (Traditional) 雷電[6] (Mario Party 9)
閃電 (Mario Kart series / Super Smash Bros. Ultimate)

Dutch Bliksemschicht (Mario Kart 8)
Bliksem (Mario Kart 7)
Lightning bolt
French Éclair Lightning
German Donnerblitz
Blitz (Mario Kart 8 / Mario Kart Tour)
Italian Fulmine
Saetta (Mario Kart DS)
Korean 번개
Portuguese Relâmpago Lightning
Russian Молния
Spanish Rayo Lightning


  1. ^ Super Mario Kart North American instruction booklet. Page 14. Retrieved February 3, 2015.
  2. ^ Mario Kart 64 North American instruction booklet. Page 13. Retrieved February 3, 2015.
  3. ^ Nintendo Magazine System (AU) issue 49. Page 39Media:NMS Australia 49 MK64 drivers and items.jpg.
  4. ^ mariokarttourEN (September 23, 2019). Twitter. Retrieved March 13, 2020.
  5. ^ Super Mario Kart Japanese instruction booklet. Page 13. Retrieved June 10, 2022.
  6. ^ Chinese website for Mario Party 9. Retrieved February 12, 2020.