The 'Shroom:Issue 200/MK Trivia From A Nerd
MK Trivia From A Nerd
Written by: cpcantimark
I am a big fan of anything to do with the Mario Kart series, ranging from fan-favorite Wii courses to the live-band performances for 8/8 Deluxe. Over time, I've discovered random facts about the series that I find interesting. Since I enjoy sharing anything I'm passionate about with others, I wanted to take this opportunity for special Shroom submissions to do just that. These are just some of the fun facts there are to learn about the racing games that still make impressions on gamers today.
Super Mario Kart (SNES)
Starting with the debut title of the Mario Kart series, there's only one piece of trivia I have to share. However, this sheds light onto what the future of the series could've looked like. In the original lineup of tracks planned for this game, Rainbow Road is noticeably absent. Instead of the first of many iconic courses, the original list contained a third Choco Island track. Take a moment to imagine what might've happened if Nintendo went with Choco Island 3 over Rainbow Road: We might have never gotten any Rainbow Roads in future installments.
Mario Kart 64 (N64)
The second game changed how courses work: Instead of numbered courses and a select few environment, each track has its own unique atmosphere. Some courses in particular are longer than most, a prime example being N64 Rainbow Road. This course is the longest in 64 as well as the series' longest course. Despite being shortened to a 3-section course in Mario Kart 8, the original version of this track can take around two minutes to complete a single lap. Compared to almost every other track in the series, this one can require more patience if you prefer quicker races.
Mario Kart: Super Circuit (GBA)
Designed with a feeling similar to the original game, Super Circuit has courses filled with sharp turns, new environments, and more. Until Mario Kart 8, this game was also the last entry in the series to not have a new DK-named track. Double Dash!! received DK Mountain; DS introduced DK Pass; Wii brought us DK Summit; and 7 had DK Jungle. 8 marked the end of this 4-game streak, making it the 3rd installment to not include a new DK course. However, Riverside Park and Lakeside Park give Super Circuit players two courses with atmospheres and songs that makes up for the lack of a true DK track.
Mario Kart: Double Dash!! (GCN)
The fourth entry of the Mario Kart series is recognized for its core mechanic: Using two drivers instead of one. Although less of a fact and more of a development timestamp, Double Dash!! began the real transition from flat drivers and tracks to 3D racing action.
One track (GCN Luigi Circuit) goes beyond this and allows racers to drive on a strip of the track in both directions. This road strip is used towards the beginning and middle of each race, leading drivers to either half of the track. Unless you count certain Tour tracks that have appeared in 8, this is currently the only track in the series where this long of a road can be driven both ways in such a fashion. Even though this latter fact is more commonly known than others on this list, it's still fun to watch the chaos of racers going in both directions on one road.
Mario Kart DS (DS)
Moving from the console classic to the handheld hit, Mario Kart DS introduces courses with the likes of giant pinballs, rainbow loop-the-loops, and rush-hour traffic. Aside from the 16 brand-new tracks, DS also brings back retro tracks for the first time in Mario Kart history (not counting the extra cups in Super Circuit).
Steering away from the courses, however (pun intended), the fifth game of the series brings to the roster of drivers a character who did not originate from a Mario game. The at-home companion R.O.B. became the first ever "third-party" driver, with characters such as Link from The Legend of Zelda eventually making their way into the series.
Mario Kart Wii (Wii)
The sixth title, Mario Kart Wii, marks many firsts for the racing series, such as allowing players to drive as customized characters (Miis) and bringing halfpipes to tracks. One major inclusion in this entry that made a huge difference in installments that followed was tricking. Performing a trick when going off of certain ramps/edges and getting a jump boost can provide big advantages during a race. This mechanic also makes certain tracks play a little better than before. For example, DK Mountain has a few huge falls from various cliffs and edges; being able to perform tricks on these jumps makes a simple fall to a lower part of the course into a valuable opportunity for an extra boost.
Mario Kart 7 (3DS)
Responsible for the gliding mechanic is none other than the seventh entry, Mario Kart 7. One simple yet interesting fact that many people look over pertains to Wuhu Loop and Maka Wuhu. No, I'm not referring to sectional courses; I'm actually referring to tracks taking place in an environment not from the Mario franchise. Wii Sports Resort takes place on Wuhu Island, where both Wuhu courses are held in 7. As unfortunate as it is that we have yet to see remakes for either of the tracks in 8 Deluxe or Tour, the pair opened up new possibilities for courses in later games.
Mario Kart 8 (N/A as of writing)
The most recent console entry -- Mario Kart 8 -- debuted on the Wii U, despite finding unexpected popularity on the Switch with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Before moving onto the latter of the two, however, there are a couple of fun facts about the former that are worth sharing. This game marks a few firsts for the series, including but not limited to the inclusion of live-band arrangements in Mario Kart, more than one Rainbow Road in a single game, and paid DLC (in the form of the Egg, Triforce, Crossing, and Bell Cups).
Mario Kart Tour (Tour or Mob)
We'll come back to Deluxe, as some of the info pertains to the Booster Course Pass. The mobile installment of Mario Kart holds various records (i.e. largest roster of drivers; largest track selection), but something that has always interested me is the total inability to purposely drive off-road unless an intended shortcut is nearby. Unlike smart-steering in 8, this feature cannot be turned off or toggled at all. While likely due to the limited controls of the mobile game, this feature also makes it a little easier to maintain drifts -- as long as you're not attempting to turn the wrong way, that is.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (N/A as of writing)
Finally, we reach the best-selling game on the Switch (as of writing). Mario Kart 8 Deluxe not only brings back every track from 8, adds real battle courses, and includes a few new racers: it even doubles the number of playable tracks with the Booster Course Pass. By the end of 2023, the entry will have a whopping 96 courses, the most for any game in the series. Although every DLC course's in-game model is the same as their respective Tour model (with various visual improvements to textures, lighting, etc.), many fan-favorites finally got to return, such as Moonview Highway and DS Mario Circuit.
Alongside these tracks are courses advertised to be brand-new... which, technically, is half truthful. While Ninja Hideaway, Sky-High Sundae, Merry Mountain, Yoshi's Island, and Squeaky Clean Sprint were all created for Tour, three of the five debuted in the Booster Course Pass first. But just because these courses were designed for the mobile game doesn't make them any less enjoyable or change the fact that they have given a nice surprise to fans here and there.
I know that some of these facts were more common than others, but even those sorts of facts have always intrigued me. If you have any extra facts you would like to share or questions about the trivia mentioned in this article, feel free to send me a private message and I'll get back to you ASAP!