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Super Mario Kart

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This article is about the game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. For the microgame from WarioWare Gold of the same name, see Super Mario Kart (microgame).
"SMK" redirects here. For information about the manga, see Super Mario-kun.
Super Mario Kart
The NA box art of Super Mario Kart.
North American box art
For alternate box art, see the game's gallery.
Developer Nintendo EAD
Publisher Nintendo
Platforms Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Virtual Console (Wii, Wii U, New 3DS), Super NES Classic Edition, Super Nintendo Entertainment System - Nintendo Switch Online
Release date SNES:
Japan August 27, 1992
USA September 8, 1992[1]
Europe January 21, 1993
Player's Choice:
USA May 20, 1996
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
USA August 6, 2014
Virtual Console (New 3DS):
Europe March 17, 2016
Australia March 18, 2016
USA March 24, 2016
Japan May 9, 2016
Super NES Classic Edition:
USA September 29, 2017
Europe September 29, 2017
Australia September 30, 2017
Japan October 5, 2017
Super Nintendo Entertainment System - Nintendo Switch Online:
USA September 5, 2019[2]
Japan September 6, 2019[3]
Europe September 6, 2019[4]
Australia September 6, 2019[5]
HK September 6, 2019
South Korea September 6, 2019
Fully souped up!:
Japan May 26, 2021
USA May 26, 2021
Europe May 26, 2021
Australia May 26, 2021
Genre Racing
Rating(s) SNES:
ESRB:ESRB's K-A rating symbol - Kids to Adults
Virtual Console:
ESRB:ESRB E.svg - Everyone
PEGI:PEGI 3.svg - Three years and older
CERO:CERO rating A - All ages
ACB:ACB G.svg - General
Mode(s) 1-2 players
Media
SNES:
SNES icon for use in templates. Game Pak
Wii:
Digital download icon for use in templates. Digital download
Wii U:
Digital download icon for use in templates. Digital download
Nintendo Switch:
Digital download icon for use in templates. Digital download
Nintendo 3DS:
Digital download icon for use in templates. Digital download
SNES Classic Edition:
Built-in
Input
Super NES:
Wii:
Wii U:
Nintendo Switch:
Nintendo 3DS:
SNES Classic Edition:

Super Mario Kart is a racing game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, which was first released in 1992 and re-released in 1996 as a Player's Choice title, being the first title in the line up. Unlike the other racing games at the time, which focused on single-player pure racing with more complicated tracks, Super Mario Kart had a development focused on two players and was designed to be an easy and intuitive "pick up and play" experience that heavily involves the use of acquiring weapons on an obstacle course-like track to impede another player's progress. The development of a one-on-one Battle Mode was invented as another way to enjoy the competitive system by another means. A notable aspect of the game is its Mode 7 graphics, where the game simulates a 3D plane by rotating and scaling a background graphic on a scanline-by-scanline basis, allowing players to simulate driving through a track. Part of this game is heavily based on Super Mario World in terms of graphics and overall theme, such as sprites reusing assets from Super Mario World and the game's soundtrack rearranging Super Mario World melodies.

The game's high success has created the hugely influential Mario Kart series, as well as being the pioneer of the kart-racing genre. Due to the game's success and creation of the Mario Kart spin-off, many elements from the game has found their way into multiple other Mario series, such as Super Mario 3D World receiving a level designed after one of its courses. The game's use of its wider cast of characters such as Bowser and Peach has likely influenced the creation of later multiplayer-oriented Mario spin-off titles that involved a playable, larger cast of Mario characters such as Mario Tennis and Mario Party. It has ranked among the greatest games of all time by various organizations due to its legacy and its gameplay.

Super Mario Kart was re-released on the Wii's Virtual Console in 2009-2010, on the Wii U's Virtual Console in 2013-2014, on the New Nintendo 3DS's Virtual Console in 2016, is one of the 21 titles included on the Super NES Classic Edition, and is one of the 20 launch titles for Super Nintendo Entertainment System - Nintendo Switch Online, which also released a special version titled Super Mario Kart: Fully souped up! with 150cc and the Special Cup unlocked on May 26, 2021.

Gameplay[edit]

Title screen for Super Mario Kart.

Players pick a Mario character out of a cast of 8 characters to race against opponents; racers have their own stats which determine how they will control, though it is not displayed in-game. In a race, players must rank high in the opposition by completing a race around a racetrack first, which consists of five laps due to their short length. Integral to the gameplay is the item system, where players can pick up items from Question Blocks mostly clustered around parts of the track, where the item obtained is dependent on their position. For example, players farther behind obtain stronger items such as the invincible, speed-raising Star or the Lightning that can shrink all racers while players in better positions receive the basic Banana Peels and Green Shells items. Question Blocks get depleted whenever a player runs over them, and they do not respawn their items until all Question Blocks in the track get used up.

At the start of the race, players can rev up for a boost, though if they rev up too much, they accelerate much slower. Players can hop if they press either L Button and R Button. If they hold the button after hopping while holding either left or right, they can power slide, which will enable them to drive through harder turns while losing less speed than steering through them. A slight drift is also possible by only holding either the left or right button after a hop. While karts in this game can brake with Y Button, they cannot go in reverse: players need to perform a U-Turn or hop around to go backwards. Some tracks feature water that players can fall into: if players fall into deeper areas, players can move around for a little while before eventually being picked up by Lakitu. Players immediately get rescued by Lakitu if they fall into pits or into lava, however.

In the course, coins are picked up, which increase the player's top speed as well as shield them from other racers: if a player runs into another racer while they have zero coins, they spin out. Having ten coins is the max speed a player can drive in, though players are able to collect extra coins. Players start out with a number of coins depending on their rank: first and second start with two coins, third and fourth start with three coins, fifth and sixth start with four coins, and seventh and eighth start with five coins. Players lose four coins if they are hit with an item, they lose two coins if they are picked up by Lakitu if they fall off the track, and they lose one coin if they bump into another racer. The number of coins found on each course varies from one course to another.

Three speeds are available: 50cc, 100cc, and 150cc. 50cc is the slowest and therefore easiest difficulty while 150cc is the fastest and hardest engine class that much be unlocked by clearing all cups in the 100cc engine class. Vehicles in all modes outside of Mario Kart GP use 100cc engines.

The game is always split in two screens. The top screen is the main screen that players see the gameplay in while the bottom screen displays an overhead map, displaying progress of all characters. If players press X Button or Select Button, they can switch the overhead map to a backwards view. When two players are playing, the bottom map is replaced by the second player's screen.

If players want to delete their save data, they need to press L Button, R Button, Y Button, and A Button at the title screen. If players want to delete just Time Trial records, they can go to the course records they wish to delete and press the same button combination.

Controls[edit]

Action(s)
SNES Wii (Classic Controller) New Nintendo 3DS Wii U Nintendo Switch
Change option during the Menus/Steer +Control Pad Classic Controller Left Control Stick / +Control Pad Circle Pad / +Control Pad +Control Pad / Left Stick Directional Buttons / Control Stick
Use items, stop Item Roulette A Button Classic Controller a Button A Button A Button A Button
Accelerate B Button Classic Controller b Button B Button B Button B Button
Switch view X Button / Select Button Classic Controller x Button / Minus Button X Button / Select Button X Button / Minus Button X Button / Minus Button
Brake Y Button Classic Controller y Button Y Button Y Button Y Button
Jump / Drift L Button/R Button Classic Controller L Button/Classic Controller R Button L Button/R Button L Button/R Button L Button / R Button
Pause / Select Start Button Plus Button Start Button Plus Button Plus Button

Game modes[edit]

Mario Kart GP[edit]

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

The Mario Kart GP is the main mode in Super Mario Kart. Here, up to two players can race against seven other CPU-controlled opponents in a five-course cup; they first start out in eighth place and must make their way to the top position; players keep their position for the next race if they end in that position. 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 lose one of three lives. If both players rank fifth or below, the race must be tried again. If the player ranks fifth or below without any lives left, 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 of the cups in the 100cc engine class, the message "Excellent driving, you are now a Super Mario Kart expert" pops up, thus officially telling players that they have completed all four of the cups. If the player wants a harder challenge, they can now replay through the game in the 150cc engine class. If players beat all of the cups in the 150cc engine class, the same message as before pops up. If the player wants a more difficult challenge, they can hold A Button and Y Button at the character selection screen. This makes the character permanently small as if under the effect of a Lightning or Poison Mushroom until the player presses the buttons again.

Time Trial[edit]

This one-player mode have the player to race through five laps of the selected track the fastest they can without items or coins in the 100cc engine class. The five lap times are recorded which are then combined to make the total time, as well as the fastest lap time and the characters used, for each track.

If the player enters the cheat code L Button, R Button, L Button, R Button, L Button, L Button, R Button, R Button, A Button on the cup selection menu in Time Trial, the Special Cup is unlocked. In the Japanese version, a Boo sound is heard upon successfully inputting the code.[6]

Match Race[edit]

This mode is two-player only: the players can race each other like in GP, except CPU racers do not appear and players can freely choose the track to race in. Bullet Bills 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.

Battle Mode[edit]

Donkey Kong Jr. and Mario in Battle Mode
Main article: Battle Mode

A two-player exclusive mode where players combat each other with items in an arena. The goal is to eliminate the opposing player's balloons, which are represented by colored spheres rotating around the character. Each player has three balloons that cannot be recovered. The first to pop all the opponent's balloons wins.

Characters[edit]

Character selection screen.

The game features eight playable characters from the Mario franchise, such as Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, and Bowser. However, some other characters from the series acts as obstacles in the game's tracks, like Thwomps, Gophers, Piranha Plants, and Flopping Cheep Cheeps. Ghosts do not act as enemies, but both as item and as part of the Ghost Valley tracks' background. Yoshi, Bowser, and Donkey Kong Jr. are the only drivers in this game to have their own taunts when surpassing other racers regardless if they are being used by the player or CPU. The others do not have their own taunts and instead the standard beep is heard when surpassing other racers, but can only be heard when used by the player.

As stated in the game's manual, Lakitu is the owner of all the racetracks, thus overseeing all races. He appears on the track to start the race, to warn the player if they are going the wrong way on the course, and when they fall off the edge of the track or go out of bounds. If the latter happens, Lakitu transports the racer back onto the course at the price of two Coins. A Cheep Cheep balloon distributes the trophy to the GP winner.

Drivers[edit]

Super Mario Kart has eight available drivers, divided into statistically identical pairs of two. While subsequent Mario Kart games would classify characters based on weight class, in this game other criteria are used. The stats presented here are derived and inferred from the manual.[7] The Bros are average drivers with a high top speed, The Dragon and The Lady have the highest acceleration with low handling, The Showdown have low acceleration and handling with the highest top speed and weight, while The Small Guys have high acceleration and handling, which makes them recommended for beginners. Each pair of characters has different engine sounds for their karts, which reflect their appearances and characteristics. All drivers also have a unique theme music whenever they finish a race with a good position.

On a side note, this is only one of two Mario Kart games to feature Donkey Kong Jr. as a playable character (subsequent installments have replaced him with Donkey Kong), the other being Mario Kart Tour.

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

Maximum speed[edit]

The Japanese Official Nintendo Guidebook of the game lists the maximum speed in the 100cc engine class in various conditions.[8] This maximum speed is increased by 1 km/h per each coin collected, until 10 coins are collected.[9]

Maximum speed in the 100cc engine class
Driver Maximum speed (km/h)
Normal road Circuits' sand Choco Island's rocks Choco Island's mud Donut Plain's grass Koopa Beach's water Vanilla Lake's snow
Mario
Luigi
130 84 40 90 82 82 76
Princess
Yoshi
125 88 44 94 86 86 70
Bowser
Donkey Kong Jr.
135 86 42 92 80 88 74
Koopa Troopa
Toad
120 90 46 96 84 88 72

Acceleration[edit]

A graph showing the speed as a function of time when accelerating from a standstill with various characters. The horizontal axis shows the time in seconds. The red line refers to Mario and Luigi, the green line refers to the Princess and Yoshi, the light blue line refers to Bowser and Donkey Kong Jr., the yellow line refers to Koopa Troopa and Toad.

Performance chart[edit]

The official instruction manual illustrates a chart that details how well characters perform on tracks and their stats. It notes that Toad and Koopa Troopa have the best steering while the Princess and Yoshi steer worse. Another point it mentions is that Toad and Koopa Troopa can get knocked aside by Bowser and Donkey Kong Jr.

A chart in the instruction manual that details performance for characters in Super Mario Kart.

Non-playable[edit]

Characters and elements
Character/element Location Description
A Bullet Bill found in Super Mario Kart
Bullet Bill
N/A Appears in Match Races where they bounce back and forth between two walls and causes racers who drive into them to spin out.
CheepCheepSMK.png
Flopping Cheep Cheep
Koopa Beach Out-of-water fish that spins players out if they come in contact with them.
Ghost from Super Mario Kart
Ghosts
Ghost Valley, appears as an item Background elements in the Ghost Valley courses. They also appear as an item in Match Race and Battle Mode.
A Monty Mole from Super Mario Kart
Gopher
Donut Plains Gophers attach themselves onto racers if ran into, which cause them to lose speed and coins. Players must hop repeatedly to get them off.
Lakitu
Lakitu
N/A A helpful track manager who oversees the race. He starts the race up, pulls racers out of lava, water, and pits, tells players that they are going the wrong way, and waves a checkered flag for a racer who has finished.
A Piranha Plant from Super Mario Kart
Piranha Plant
Choco Island A carnivorous plant that acts like a stationary obstacle. Players who run into them spin out.
SMK Thwomp.png
Thwomp
Bowser Castle, Rainbow Road A hovering rock that stays stationary in the first lap of a course. In subsequent laps, they slam onto the floor in a pattern, and any racer caught in them get flattened. Flashing variants of Thwomps called Super Thwomps appear in Rainbow Road and act identically to Thwomps, though touching them causes racers to spin out, unlike regular Thwomps.

Courses[edit]

The game has 20 race courses and 4 battle courses, the former being divided in four cups. Super Mario Kart is the only game in the Mario Kart series to have five courses per cup, as opposed to four in later games.

Race courses[edit]

Aside from Rainbow Road, all of the courses are numbered. In the credits, each character is assigned a course.

Some common hazards include the following:

  • Water: Racers who fall in have a few seconds to drive out, before Lakitu picks them up. Koopa Beach contains shallow water that is safe to drive through. In Vanilla Lake, racers appear frozen when they are fished out.
  • Lava: Racers who fall in immediately get picked up by Lakitu.
  • Abyss: Racers who fall immediately get picked up by Lakitu.
  • Destructible blocks: Walls that get destroyed when struck in Ghost Valley and Vanilla Lake.
  • Dirt: Decreases traction when driven on in Donut Plains.
  • Chocolate Mud: Decreases traction and slows speed when driven on in Choco Island.
Name Terrain and obstacles
The map for Mario Circuit 1. Mario Circuit
The map for Donut Plains 1. Donut Plains
  • Terrain: Grassy
  • Slipperiness: 2
  • Obstacles: Gophers, Water, Pipes
  • Assigned character: Princess
The map for Ghost Valley 1. Ghost Valley
  • Terrain: Wooden
  • Slipperiness: 1
  • Obstacles: Falling walls
  • Assigned character: Yoshi
Bowser Castle 1 Bowser Castle
  • Terrain: Stone
  • Slipperiness: 1
  • Obstacles: Thwomp, Lava
  • Assigned character: Bowser
The map for Choco Island 1. Choco Island
The map for Koopa Beach 1. Koopa Beach
The map for Vanilla Lake 1. Vanilla Lake
  • Terrain: Ice/Snow
  • Slipperiness: 4
  • Obstacles: Icy water, destructible blocks, Pipes.
  • Assigned character: Toad
The map for Rainbow Road. Rainbow Road


Mushroom Cup Mushroom Cup Text for Mushroom Cup race from Super Mario Kart Mushroom Cup Mushroom Cup
Flower Cup Flower Cup Text for Flower Cup race from Super Mario Kart Flower Cup Flower Cup
Star Cup Star Cup Text for Star Cup race from Super Mario Kart Star Cup Star Cup
Special Cup Special Cup Text for Special Cup race from Super Mario Kart Special Cup Special Cup

Course features and obstacles[edit]

Feature Description
Artwork of a Coin from a Nintendo Power feature about Super Mario Kart.
Coin
These are scattered throughout the course and increase the player's speed as well as give them durability against opponents. They do not respawn once taken.
Artwork of Jump from Super Mario Kart
Jump
Players hop if they drive over this. Driving over it at high speeds causes racers to jump higher and farther.
Oil Slick from Super Mario Kart
Oil Slick
Located in the Mario Circuits, players spin out if they drive over them.
A green Warp Pipe from Super Mario Kart An orange Warp Pipe from Super Mario Kart
Pipe
Stationary obstacles found in Mario Circuit, Vanilla Lake, and Donut Plains that act as walls and slow players down when struck.
Artwork of Question Block from Super Mario Kart
Question Block
These panels gives players an item if driven over. Once they are driven over, they are depleted until all Question Blocks in the course get depleted, in which they will respawn.
Artwork of Zipper from Super Mario Kart
Zipper
Zippers give a burst of speed for players who drive over it.

Battle courses[edit]

Items[edit]

Items are obtained through Question Blocks scattered around the tracks. When the player passes over one, it will deactivate until all other Question Blocks are used. Once a racer passes over one, with a few exceptions, they will receive an item in their box from the following:

Item Description Notes
Banana (Banana Peel) (in-box version) SMK Banana.png
Banana Peel
When a kart hits a Banana Peel, it will spin out. Can be thrown backward and forward. Also used by Donkey Kong Jr. if he is CPU-controlled.
Green Shell from SMK Green Shell (in-track version) in SMK
Green Shell
The Green Shell will send an enemy into a spin if they are hit. Green Shells can bounce off barriers. Throwing it backwards will cause it to remain stationary. Can be thrown backward and forward. Used by Koopa Troopa if CPU-controlled, but they behave similar to Banana Peels even when thrown forward, and remain stationary.
Red Shell (in-box version) in SMK Red Shell (in-track version) in SMK
Red Shell
The Red Shell acts similarly to a Green Shell, but homes in on the target instead. It does not bounce off walls, however. Can be thrown only forward.
Feather
Feather
A Feather allows the user to perform a high jump, high enough to take normally impossible shortcuts and to sail over obstacles and other racers. Can be used by every CPU.
Mushroom (Dash Mushroom) from SMK
Mushroom
The Mushroom is a more common item than a Feather or a Star, and grants the user a slight boost. It can either be used to slam an opponent or drive over hazards such as sand and grass without losing speed. When using a Mushroom in front of a jump pad, the jump will be higher and farther.
Sprite of a Star item from Super Mario Kart.
Star
The Star provides two benefits, allowing the user to receive a small speed boost and to become invulnerable to everything. Contact with other racers will cause them to spin out. Used also by Mario and Luigi if they are CPU-controlled. They do not receive a speed boost, however, and the effect does not last as long.
Ghost (Boo) from SMK Ghost from Super Mario Kart
Ghost
The Ghost turns the user transparent for a few seconds and steals an opponent's item. Exclusive to Battle Mode and Match Race.
Coin in the Item Box (SMK) How the Coins appear when you use it in SMK (flips for a second above your head)
Coin
The Coin adds two coins to the total coin count, increasing the user's overall top speed. Does not appear in Battle Mode and Time Trial. Maximum benefit is achieved with 10 coins.
Lightning (Lightning Bolt) from SMK
Lightning
The Lightning Bolt shrinks all the racers except for the user, making them slower and vulnerable to being squashed by normal sized racers. The effect wears off after a brief period of time. Does not appear in Battle Mode.
Yoshi Egg Super Mario Kart.png
Egg
Works similar to a Banana Peel. Usable only by Yoshi if he is CPU-controlled.
Fireball
Fireball
Similar to a Banana Peel, but oscillates from left to right on the spot, making them harder to pass safely. Usable only by Bowser if he is CPU-controlled.
Poison Mushroom
Poison Mushroom
A stationary item. If one is run into, the victim shrinks, as if hit by a Lightning Bolt. Shrunken racers who run into it revert to normal size. Usable only by Princess and Toad if they are CPU-controlled.

Probabilities[edit]

The following tables are derived from the Japanese Nintendo Official Guidebook of the game and report the probability of obtaining each item in the various modes with letter codes ranging from A (most likely) to F (unlikely).[10] In the races, the probability of obtaining an item depends on the track theme, on the current lap and on the rank of the driver, while in Battle Mode the probability is not affected by any factor.

Mario Kart GP[edit]

In Mario Kart GP races, during the first lap all the drivers receive items with the same probabilities they would obtain if they were in first place, regardless of their rank.

Track theme Rank Mushroom (Dash Mushroom) from SMK Feather Sprite of a Star item from Super Mario Kart. Banana (Banana Peel) (in-box version) Green Shell from SMK Red Shell (in-box version) in SMK Ghost (Boo) from SMK Coin in the Item Box (SMK) Lightning (Lightning Bolt) from SMK
Mario Circuit 1st C F F B C B D F
2nd-4th E F F A B E A F
5th-8th A F D E E A F E
Donut Plains 1st B F F C C B D F
2nd-4th E F F B A E A F
5th-8th A F C E E A F E
Ghost Valley 1st C B F D C D D F
2nd-4th E E F A C E A F
5th-8th A B C E E D F E
Bowser Castle 1st D D F C C D D F
2nd-4th E E F C A E A E
5th-8th A D C E E B F E
Choco Island 1st B E F C C C D F
2nd-4th E E F A A E C F
5th-8th A E D E E A F E
Koopa Beach 1st B E F F C C D F
2nd-4th E E F A A E C F
5th-8th A C D E E C F E
Vanilla Lake 1st C C F C D C D F
2nd-4th E E F A A E C F
5th-8th A C D E E C F E

Match Race[edit]

Track theme Lap/Rank Mushroom (Dash Mushroom) from SMK Feather Sprite of a Star item from Super Mario Kart. Banana (Banana Peel) (in-box version) Green Shell from SMK Red Shell (in-box version) in SMK Ghost (Boo) from SMK Coin in the Item Box (SMK) Lightning (Lightning Bolt) from SMK
Mario Circuit 1st lap C F F B B C E E F
1st place E F F A A E F B F
2nd place A F D E E A E F E
Ghost Valley 1st lap C B F B E D F E F
1st place E D F B B E B B F
2nd place B B E E E D E F E
Donut Plains 1st lap B F F B C C E E F
1st place E F F B A E F A F
2nd place B F C E E B E E E
Bowser Castle 1st lap C F F C C D E E F
1st place E E F C A E F A F
2nd place A E D E E B E F E
Choco Island 1st lap C D F C C C E E F
1st place E E F A B E F B F
2nd place A E D E E B E F E
Koopa Beach 1st lap C D F C C D E E F
1st place E E F A B E F B F
2nd place A E D E E D E F E
Vanilla Lake 1st lap C C F C C D E E F
1st place E E F A B E F B F
2nd place A D D E E D E F E

Battle Mode[edit]

Mushroom (Dash Mushroom) from SMK Feather Sprite of a Star item from Super Mario Kart. Banana (Banana Peel) (in-box version) Green Shell from SMK Red Shell (in-box version) in SMK Ghost (Boo) from SMK Coin in the Item Box (SMK) Lightning (Lightning Bolt) from SMK
E D E E A A E

Rivals[edit]

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 (except for Mario Kart: Super Circuit); 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 slowest 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 may jump over the item similar to when they jump over CPU-placed items. Also, the rivals are not determined in pairs, so that even if Donkey Kong Jr. is Mario's rival, Mario will not be Donkey Kong Jr.'s rival, as shown in the table below.

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 (for example, 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.

Character Rival Order
Very Fast Fast Medium Slow Very Slow
Mario from Super Mario Kart
Mario
Donkey Kong Jr.
Donkey Kong Jr.
Princess from Super Mario Kart
Princess
Yoshi
Yoshi
Luigi
Luigi
Toad from Super Mario Kart
Toad
BowserSMK.png
Bowser
Koopa Troopa
Koopa Troopa
Luigi
Luigi
Yoshi
Yoshi
Mario from Super Mario Kart
Mario
BowserSMK.png
Bowser
Koopa Troopa
Koopa Troopa
Princess from Super Mario Kart
Princess
Donkey Kong Jr.
Donkey Kong Jr.
Toad from Super Mario Kart
Toad
Princess from Super Mario Kart
Princess
BowserSMK.png
Bowser
Toad from Super Mario Kart
Toad
Mario from Super Mario Kart
Mario
Donkey Kong Jr.
Donkey Kong Jr.
Luigi
Luigi
Yoshi
Yoshi
Koopa Troopa
Koopa Troopa
Yoshi
Yoshi
Koopa Troopa
Koopa Troopa
Donkey Kong Jr.
Donkey Kong Jr.
Princess from Super Mario Kart
Princess
BowserSMK.png
Bowser
Mario from Super Mario Kart
Mario
Toad from Super Mario Kart
Toad
Luigi
Luigi
BowserSMK.png
Bowser
Mario from Super Mario Kart
Mario
Luigi
Luigi
Princess from Super Mario Kart
Princess
Yoshi
Yoshi
Donkey Kong Jr.
Donkey Kong Jr.
Toad from Super Mario Kart
Toad
Koopa Troopa
Koopa Troopa
Donkey Kong Jr.
Donkey Kong Jr.
Toad from Super Mario Kart
Toad
BowserSMK.png
Bowser
Koopa Troopa
Koopa Troopa
Luigi
Luigi
Princess from Super Mario Kart
Princess
Mario from Super Mario Kart
Mario
Yoshi
Yoshi
Koopa Troopa
Koopa Troopa
Luigi
Luigi
Yoshi
Yoshi
Princess from Super Mario Kart
Princess
Mario from Super Mario Kart
Mario
BowserSMK.png
Bowser
Donkey Kong Jr.
Donkey Kong Jr.
Toad from Super Mario Kart
Toad
Toad from Super Mario Kart
Toad
Princess from Super Mario Kart
Princess
Donkey Kong Jr.
Donkey Kong Jr.
Mario from Super Mario Kart
Mario
Yoshi
Yoshi
Luigi
Luigi
Koopa Troopa
Koopa Troopa
BowserSMK.png
Bowser

Soundtrack[edit]

While Super Mario Kart has no officially released dedicated soundtrack, it is featured in various compilation soundtracks. Super Mario Compact Disco, a compilation soundtrack featuring tunes from mulitple Mario titles released in August 1993, features a hip hop-styled remix of the title screen music from Super Mario Kart. In the 'Nintendo Sound Selection series, Nintendo Sound Selection Vol.2: Loud Music contains the Bowser Castle music, titled simply "Castle".

For the instruments in the soundtrack, samples from the Roland D-550 synth and Roland R-8 drum machine were used, along with the Yamaha TG77 and an Akai sampler.[11]

Media[edit]

Main article: List of Super Mario Kart media
Audio.svg Title theme - The theme for title screen
File infoMedia:SMK-Music-MainTheme.oga
0:30
Help:MediaHaving trouble playing?

Staff[edit]

Main article: List of Super Mario Kart staff

The staff for Super Mario Kart has consisted of 15 members. Super Mario Kart was directed by Tadashi Sugiyama and Hideki Konno, the latter who would go on to play prominent roles in later main entries of the Mario Kart series with the exception of Mario Kart: Double Dash!! Yoichi Kotabe, Mie Yoshimura, and Yoshiaki Koizumi has provided the illustrations for the game. Soyo Oka has composed the game's soundtrack, with Rainbow Road being one of her favorite compositions.[12]

Development[edit]

Super Mario Kart was born out of the idea of making a two-player racing game following F-Zero, which was exclusively single-player.[13] The team wanted to make a fun, multiplayer-oriented alternative and was aimed to be enjoyed "with family and friends." according to Nintendo Producer Hideki Konno.[14] The prototype initially only featured a generic "guy in overalls". The design for the characters onscreen were three heads tall as opposed to F-Zero's seven heads tall to suit the design of the karts. At first, there was no racing involved; it was a test of two karts moving freely. 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 moving around because they were curious about how the game would look, and decided that it looked better.[13] Before Banana Peels were added, oil cans that spill their substance out were used to spin karts out. 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 did not involve competing for ranks during the races.[13]

Pre-release and unused content[edit]

Main article: List of Super Mario Kart pre-release and unused content

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.

Glitches[edit]

Main article: List of Super Mario Kart glitches
A demonstration of the glitched lap counter in Mario Circuit 4.

Turn Off Music[edit]

In any two-player game, after Lakitu gives the green light, the player must keep mashing Start Button in both controllers. Occasionally, the music will not play.

Continue boost[edit]

The player should pick up a Mushroom. They should use and hop very nearby the corner. If done correctly (can be tricky), the player should always facing left regardless they are not steering and will under the effect of a Mushroom longer than normal. Note that the effect can wear off and the player will need to do the trick again. The player should get a time of a lap under 10 seconds.[15]

Glitched lap counter[edit]

When some glitches are performed, occasionally Lakitu shows glitched lap counters, such as "LAP 05" or, rarely, "LAP 16". "LAP" is normal, but to the right the counter is invisible, showing the mentioned numbers in pile and red.[15]

Regional differences[edit]

See also: tcrf:Super Mario Kart § Regional Differences
Bowser's victory animation from Super Mario Kart.Bowser's wining animation from the Japanese version of Super Mario Kart.
The left image is Bowser's international victory animation,
while the right is his Japanese victory animation.

Several graphical changes consisting of minor touch-ups and even censoring of questionable material has been made to international versions of the game.

  • The logo in the title screen for international versions have an enlarged "O" and "E" in the title, "Super Mario Kart" and overall increased box size. The trademark symbol is in a different position as well.
  • In Super Mario Kart, every character has a winning animation that involves a bottle of champagne. In the Japanese version, Bowser and the Princess drink champagne in their animations (with the latter becoming drunk in the process), which goes against Nintendo of America's policy on the depiction of alcohol, as it was considered inappropriate for younger children.[16][17][18] In the Western releases of the game, Bowser merely poses happily and Peach tosses and catches her bottle.
  • Yoshi has a more defined head in the North American versions of the game. The European version retains the Japanese version's head.
  • International versions of the game save the player's choices, having them already selected the next time they go through menus.
  • The Japanese version plays a Boo sound when pressing L Button, R Button, L Button, R Button, L Button, L Button, R Button, R Button, A Button on the Time Trial menu, while in international versions, it unlocks the Special Cup.
  • Karts are stalled less when they are overreved at the start of the race in the North American version of the game

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Super Mario Kart met with very favorable reviews, scoring a 93.60% on GameRankings based on 10 reviews.[19] Much of the praise of the game has been attributed to its bright and colorful graphics, fun gameplay involving its items that set it apart from F-Zero, intuitive controls, its Mario franchise theming, and retroactively, its legacy that helped pioneer the kart-racing genre and the overall introduction of the Mario Kart series. While Super Mario Kart does not have an official Metacritic entry due to the game coming out before its inception, the user score for the Wii Virtual Console is mixed, scoring 7.4, with common laments being that while the game is regarded as a classic, it is outclassed by later Mario Kart entries.[20]

Shey Stevens from the magazine, Electronic Games gave the game a 93%, citing how the game changes up mechanics from F-Zero such as the item-based system to deliver a unique experience. Stevens has additionally praised the one-on-one combat modes the game offers.[21] A section by Bro. Buzz from the Game Pro magazine has given the game a score of 5.0 in graphics, control, and fun factor and a 4.0 in sound, ending with, "Super Mario Kart makes wheel-spinning, bumper-grinding, motor racing actually cute! The little guys definitely have a lot of drive."[22] Nadia Oxford from USgamer, reviewing the game's release on the Super NES Classic Edition, has called the game "the SNES Classic Edition's most perfect inclusion." and has generally praised how well the game is held up, despite its simplicity compared to later Mario Kart entries, with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe being compared to in the review.[23] The flaw Oxford has cited was the single-player splitscreen and the fact that the game supports only two players rather than four. Electronic Gaming Montly has given the game an Editor's Choice award in its November 1992 issue.[24]

Super Mario Kart has seen frequent placements in Top Games lists. The game was placed 32nd in the 100th issue of Nintendo Power's "100 best Nintendo games of all time" in 1997.[25] 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.

Reviews
Release Reviewer, Publication Score Comment
SNES Shey Stevens, Electronic Games 93% "Super Mario Kart has a fast-paced feel with plenty of in-depth play. While the game isn't totally revolutionary, the action does deviate from what we've exposed to in the past to make this new driving adventure something worthwhile to add to a collection, whether you're a fan of driving titles or Mario."
SNES Karn Spydar Lee Bianco, Cubed3 9/10 "It's the original ultimate racer, it has everything you could ever want then adds some more and that all important 'Nintendo difference'. It's hard to express in words how perfect this game is, you really MUST play it right NOW."
SNES Jason Venter, HonestGamers 5/5 "Chock full of great visuals, awesome sound, tight play control, amazing track design, items galore and a multi-player mode that's hard to beat, Super Mario Kart is my favorite game of all time. It’s also one of the main reasons to own a Super Nintendo."
SNES Brett Alan Weiss, allgame 5/5 "Super Mario Kart has spawned numerous imitators over the years, but it finishes in front of the pack every time."
Wii Nintendo Life Staff, Nintendo Life 9/10 "Super Mario Kart has certainly made its mark on gaming history, spawning several sequels on successive Nintendo consoles, not to mention many imitators. To play it today is every bit as enjoyable as it ever was; sure the graphics and sound may have dated, but the core gameplay is still top notch. This is one hell of a fun racing game with enough playability to keep you coming back for more. It's amazing that Nintendo chose to wait three years before treating us to this seminal game on the Virtual Console, but we're glad they finally saw sense!"
Wii Lucas M. Thomas, IGN 9/10 "Where each of the N64, Cube and Wii installments of the series have focused on multiplayer, more characters and more crazy items, though, this SNES original keeps things simpler -- emphasizing, instead, the actual racing instead of the combat within each race. It's a different take on the same idea, which is interesting since it's the original take on that idea. So stick with the other Kart games if you want the multiplayer chaos, but come on back to this very first racing adventure with Mario and his crew. It's absolutely worth 800 of your Wii Points to re-experience, or to play for the very first time."
Super NES Classic Edition Nadia Oxford, USgamer 4.5/5 "Super Mario Kart is pretty bare-bones compared to its feature-laden sequels, but in many ways, its simplicity is its strength. Super Mario Kart's core concept is still a whole lot of rad fun, and that's what matters most."
Aggregators
Compiler Platform / Score
GameRankings 93.60%

Sales[edit]

Super Mario Kart is the 4th best-selling game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, selling 8.76 million copies worldwide as of December 31, 2009.[26]

Adaptations in other media[edit]

Super Mario 4koma Manga Theater[edit]

Mario driving a go-kart in the Super Mario 4koma Manga Theater.

Super Mario Kart is occasionally referenced in the gag comic series, the Super Mario 4koma Manga Theater, alongside other Mario titles.

Super Mario-kun[edit]

The sixth volume of the Super Mario-kun by Yukio Sawada completes the Super Mario World arc, though it contains a story that is heavily based on Super Mario Kart; the title even bases its Mario artwork off official artwork of the game.

Super Mario Kodansha manga[edit]

Three volumes feature Super Mario Kart in Kodansha's Super Mario series by Kazuki Motoyama. The first volume's cover features the cast driving on Rainbow Road.

Super Mario Kart Dokidoki Race[edit]

Photo for the Super Mario Kart Dokidoki Race

Super Mario Kart was adapted into a Japan-only electro-mechanical arcade game developed by Banpresto and Atlus called Super Mario Kart Dokidoki Race, released in 1994.[27] The playable characters are Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Yoshi, and Bowser, with Cheep Cheep, Monty Mole, and Lakitu in supporting roles. The game seems to operate on magnets to move the karts and is based on chance by who can press a series of buttons fast enough. There are five music tracks in total, two in particular being the music for the title screen and the Mario Circuit theme. The latter theme is sped up and has additional notes that play throughout the track with an ending note. A male announcer voice can also be heard throughout the gameplay. The other three music tracks are a preparation theme and two different victory themes.[28]

Merchandise[edit]

Due to the game's popularity and success, multiple merchandise based on Super Mario Kart has been sold. Diecast kart racers are frequent merchandise, with a few plush dolls.

References to other games[edit]

References in later games[edit]

  • Mario Kart 64: The title music from Mario Kart 64 is a slower and elongated remix of the title music from Super Mario Kart. Also, part of Banshee Boardwalk's music is a remix of the music used for the Ghost Valley courses in Super Mario Kart.
  • Mario Kart: Super Circuit: All twenty courses appeared in this game, but all of their track hazards have been removed, Item Boxes are at different places than where Question Blocks laid and some tracks changed a little. The music for all tracks is redone for the Game Boy Advance. Also, part of the music for Boo Lake/Broken Pier and Rainbow Road is a remix of the music from the Ghost Valley and Rainbow Road courses in this game, respectively.
  • Mario Kart: Double Dash!! - The game's title can be seen as a sponsor in some tracks, such as Dry Dry Desert and Mushroom City.
  • Mario Kart DS: Mario Circuit 1, Donut Plains 1, Koopa Beach 2, and Choco Island 2 all return to this game.
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl: An arrangement of the Mario Circuit theme plays on the Mario Circuit stage. Many trophies are from this game. The Banana Peel and Lightning Bolt appear as items in this game.
  • Mario Kart Wii: Ghost Valley 2 and Mario Circuit 3 return as retro tracks and Battle Course 4 returns as a retro battle stage.
  • Mario Kart 7: Collecting coins also returns from this game. Mario Circuit 2 and Rainbow Road return as retro tracks. Also, the rival system returned in this game. The kart now called Pipe Frame, returns in this game as an kart body, however it uses the dual exhaust design from Mario Kart 64 instead of the single exhaust from Super Mario Kart.
  • Fortune Street: The theme for the Mario Circuit board is an arrangement of Mario Circuit's music from Super Mario Kart.
  • Super Mario 3D World: The level Mount Must Dash is based on the Mario Circuit courses from this game. The music from the Mario Circuit courses also is remixed for that level.
  • Mario Kart 8: Part of the main theme is an orchestrated version of the main theme of Super Mario Kart. The Pipe Frame returns with the single exhaust design. Also, the Coin item returns with the same function as it did in this game. Donut Plains 3 returns as a retro track. The design of N64 Rainbow Road and Rainbow Road for this game are very similar to Rainbow Road, which also appears in this game in the DLC cup, Triforce Cup.
    • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe: The Feather item returns with the same function. Battle Course 1 reappears as a retro battle stage; a billboard in the course background is modeled after the player select screen from Super Mario Kart.
  • Super Smash Bros. for Wii U: Super Mario Kart appears as a masterpiece in this game.
  • Super Mario Maker: The invincible theme from Super Mario Kart is used when the Mario Kart costume uses a Super Star. Also, the race start fanfare is heard when Mario picks up the Mystery Mushroom. The 1st-4th place (course clear) and 5th-8th place (death) jingles are also heard. Ironically, when Mario is moving, the kart's engine sound is actually coming from Bowser and Donkey Kong Jr.'s karts, rather than his and Luigi's.
  • Super Mario Odyssey: An arrangement of Mario Circuit's music is used during the RC Car Challenge in New Donk City.
  • WarioWare Gold: This game contains a microgame that is based off of Super Mario Kart, which involves Mario staying on Rainbow Road while avoiding items that are on the track.
  • Super Mario Maker 2: One of the sound effects replaces the level music with the Mario Circuit theme.
  • Mario Kart Tour: Mario Circuit 1, Donut Plains 1, Ghost Valley 1, Mario Circuit 2, Choco Island 1, Donut Plains 2, Mario Circuit 3, Choco Island 2, Vanilla Lake 1, Koopa Beach 2, and Rainbow Road appear as returning courses. Much of the artwork from Super Mario Kart, such as Yoshi spinning out, are reused as badges in this game, in addition to the cover art of the game being used for the Super Mario Kart Glider. Mario and Donkey Kong Jr.'s sprites are reused from this game for separate playable variants. The sound effects used for the pre-race jingle, item roulette, and post-race jingle are reused from this game exclusively for the two aforementioned characters. The Mushroom's sprite was reused as a badge in this game. The Super Mario Kart Tour is named after this game.

Gallery[edit]

For this subject's image gallery, see Gallery: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
Chinese (Simplified) 超级马力欧卡丁车[29]
Chāojí Mǎlì'ōu Kǎdīngchē
Super Mario Kart
Chinese (Traditional) 超級瑪利歐賽車[30]
Chāojí Mǎlì'ōu Sàichē
Super Mario Kart
Korean 슈퍼 마리오 카트
Syupeo Mario Kateu
Super Mario Kart

Super Mario Kart: Fully souped up![edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese スーパーマリオカート フルコースでおもてなしバージョン
Sūpā Mario Kāto Furu Kōsu Omotenashi Bājon
Super Mario Kart Full Course Treatment Version
Dutch Super Mario Kart: Maximaal opgevoerd!
French Super Mario Kart: Sur les chapeaux de roues ! Super Mario Kart: At full throttle!
German Super Mario Kart: Komplett aufgemotet!
Italian Super Mario Kart: A tutto gas!
Korean Super Mario Kart 완전 파워 업!
Portuguese Super Mario Kart: A todo o gás!
Russian Super Mario Kart: Полный газ!
Super Mario Kart: Polnyy gaz!
Spanish Super Mario Kart: ¡A tope de revoluciones!

References[edit]

  1. ^ Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Masterpieces
  2. ^ Nintendo (September 4, 2019). Nintendo Direct 9.4.2019. YouTube. Retrieved September 4, 2019.
  3. ^ Nintendo (September 4, 2019). Nintendo Direct 2019.9.5. YouTube. Retrieved September 4, 2019.
  4. ^ Tweet by Nintendo of Europe (Super Nintendo Entertainment System - Nintendo Switch Online release date). Twitter. Retrieved September 4, 2019.
  5. ^ Tweet by Nintendo AU NZ (Super Nintendo Entertainment System - Nintendo Switch Online release date). Twitter. Retrieved September 4, 2019.
  6. ^ Super Mario Kart. The Cutting Room Floor. Retrieved September 16, 2019.
  7. ^ http://gamesdbase.com/Media/SYSTEM/Nintendo_SNES//Manual/formated/Super_Mario_Kart_-_1992_-_Nintendo.pdf
  8. ^ Super Mario Kart Nintendo Official Guidebook, page 17.
  9. ^ Super Mario Kart Nintendo Official Guidebook, page 15.
  10. ^ Super Mario Kart Nintendo Official Guidebook, pages 142 and 143.
  11. ^ NEWER VGM Sound Sources. Google Docs. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  12. ^ Interview between Rocketbaby and Soyo Oka. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
  13. ^ a b c Iwata Asks: Mario Kart Wii (accessed March 22 2012)
  14. ^ Otero, Joseph. (May 29, 2014). How Anti-Gravity Made Mario Kart Better. IGN. Retrieved November 27, 2020.
  15. ^ a b https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30iZWoq6c3o
  16. ^ https://youtu.be/hNZfd3JDFOA
  17. ^ https://youtu.be/2VjWfW6XCN (deleted video)
  18. ^ http://www.themushroomkingdom.net/smk_j2e.shtml
  19. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20150629081951/https://www.gamerankings.com/snes/588738-super-mario-kart/index.html Archived URL for GameRankings score for Super Mario Kart]. GameRankings. Retrieved November 27, 2020.
  20. ^ Metacritic score fr Super Mario Kart on the Wii. Metacritic. Retrieved November 27, 2020.
  21. ^ Stevens, Shey. (December 1992). Archive for Electronic Games magazine, page 79-80. Retrieved November 27, 2020.
  22. ^ Bro. Buzz (December 1992). "Super NES Pro Review: Super Mario Kart" Game Pro. No. 51. pp. 80–82. Retrieved November 17, 2020.
  23. ^ Oxford, Nadia. (January 23, 2019). Super NES Retro Review: Super Mario Kart. USgamer. Retrieved November 27, 2020.
  24. ^ Alessi, Martin; Harris, Steve; Semrad, Ed, Sushi X. (November 1992). Review Crew: Super Mario Kart. Electronic Gaming Monthly. p. 25. Retrieved November 27, 2020.
  25. ^ (September 1997). Nintendo Power's 100 Best Games of All Time - Sept. 1997. GameKult. Retrieved November 27, 2020.
  26. ^ Futter, Mike. (June 2, 2014). Mario Kart 8 Speeds To Over 1.2 Million Sales In Opening Weekend. Game Informer. Retrieved November 27, 2020.
  27. ^ [1] Borp's coverage on Mario boards
  28. ^ Super Mario Wiki (October 31, 2015). Super Mario Kart Dokidoki Race Gameplay. YouTube.
  29. ^ 超级马力欧兄弟 35周年! Nintendo. Retrieved September 4, 2020.
  30. ^ 超級瑪利歐兄弟 35週年! Nintendo. Retrieved September 4, 2020.

External links[edit]