Mario Kart (series)
Mario Kart logo
The current logo used from Mario Kart DS to present.
The classic logo used from Super Mario Kart to Mario Kart Arcade GP 2.
Developer Nintendo

Intelligent Systems (Super Circuit) Retro Studios (Mario Kart 7) Namco (Arcade GP series)

Publisher Nintendo
Creator Shigeru Miyamoto
Platform of origin SNES
First release Super Mario Kart (SNES, 1992)
Latest release Mario Kart Arcade GP DX (Arcades, 2013)
Genre Kart-Racing
The Mario Kart series is a spin-off of the Mario series that is one of the big Mario spinoffs like Mario Party. It's a racing series created by Nintendo that have an installment on all most every Nintendo console.


Title, Original Release and System Synopsis
Super Mario Kart

SMK BoxCover2

Super Mario Kart was the first Mario Kart game released. The game has a total of eight playable characters and 20 different racecourses to select from, all of which have five laps due to their short length. This is the only title featuring five courses per cup, whereas all later installments only consist of four. Additionally, this is currently the only installment of the series where courses feature five laps as opposed to three in subsequent titles (possibly due to the shorter lengths of each of the tracks). Super Mario Kart is also the only Mario Kart game to feature Donkey Kong Jr. as a playable character; he is replaced by Donkey Kong in all subsequent titles. Koopa Troopa is also playable in the game, but did not reprise this role until Mario Kart: Double Dash!! as he was replaced by Wario in Mario Kart 64 and its succesor. Though the game is on a 16-bit system, it features three-dimensionally rendered surroundings, giving the graphics depth and a more realistic feel. This particular Mario Kart game is heavily influenced by Super Mario World, with some graphics and locations taken directly from the sidescroller. Yoshi's tongue noise from Super Mario World is also present, as is a computer-generated "hoomph" for Donkey Kong Jr.; actual voice acting was not yet possible. Super Mario Kart was later re-released on the Virtual Console for 800 points.

Japan 1992

Super Nintendo Entertainment System

Mario Kart 64

MK64 Cover

Mario Kart 64 was the first 64-bit Mario Kart game, which allows for fully three-dimensional graphics, such as the course layouts. The courses, instead of being flat, now have different forms of terrain. However, it still uses 2D frames for the characters and items. The game features 16 normal race courses, as well as four battle courses. Mario Kart 64 was later re-released on the Virtual Console for 1,000 points. This is the first Mario Kart game to have Donkey Kong and Wario as playable characters, although there is still a total of eight drivers to choose from.
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Mario Kart: Super Circuit


Mario Kart: Super Circuit (known as Mario Kart Advance in Japan) is the first Mario Kart title to be brought to a handheld gaming system. It is compatible with the Game Boy Advance (now with the Nintendo DS as well), and is a 32-bit game. It is highly influenced by its two home console predecessors, especially Mario Kart 64. VS mode is not playable in single player. In VS mode, the only courses to choose from are the four SNES courses. The players are all the same character-- Yoshi, but in different colours. The game featured eight playable characters once more, all of whom are in Mario Kart 64. A total of 20 racecourses (plus the 20 courses from Super Mario Kart) could be selected from. This is the first Mario Kart game to have a feature that allows players to swap Ghost data (via the use of a Game Boy Advance Link Cable).
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Mario Kart: Double Dash!!


Mario Kart: Double Dash!! was the fourth game released in the franchise. The game introduces many new features. One difference is that there are two drivers per kart, in contrast to all other games in the Mario Kart series; this allowed characters to hold more items simultaneously. Another new feature is Special Items: each pair of drivers has their own unique Special Item that only they could obtain, with the exception of King Boo and Petey Piranha, who could obtain any Special Item except Luigi's Green Fireballs, and the Birdo Egg. Mario Kart: Double Dash!! features 16 racecourses, as well as an All-Cup Tour, unlocked by beating the 150cc Special Cup. There are 20 different characters to select from, except that they are all partnered up. In total, there are 190 possible combinations of teams.It is also the first game that has uniquely designed karts for each character, rather than just color variations. The only exception is the Parade Kart, which can be used by any character of any weight, and its colour does not change no matter what combination of characters the player uses.
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Mario Kart Arcade GP


Mario Kart Arcade GP was the first Mario Kart title released into an arcade. Though many of the same elements from previous games are still featured in this game, it is entirely unique from the rest at the time. This game features a total of 11 playable characters; 8 are from the Mario series, while the remaining three are from the Pac-Man series. This is the first Mario Kart title to feature third-party characters. It also features 12 racecourses to select from, with two in each cup. It is notable for having many more items than other Mario Kart games.
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Mario Kart DS


Mario Kart DS is the fifth mainstream installment in the Mario Kart series, and is the second title to be released on a handheld gaming system. Unlike Mario Kart Double Dash!!, this game returns to one-person driving and does not feature Special Items. The game features 64-bit graphics, and included an all new Mission Mode, for which the player needs to complete missions within certain time limits. This game features 13 playable characters: eight default racers, four unlockable racers, and one only available for racing via Download Play.

This game is also the second in the series to feature racecourses encountered in earlier titles (the first was Mario Kart Super Circuit, which included all Super Mario Kart tracks). All of the bosses in this game come from Super Mario 64 DS.

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Mario Kart Arcade GP 2


Mario Kart Arcade GP 2 was the second Mario Kart title released in arcades. It features the same playable characters as Mario Kart Arcade GP plus Waluigi and Mametchi. This title also features something different from the last arcade release: unique Karts for each playable character, just as Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, Mario Kart DS, Mario Kart Wii, and Mario Kart 7 did. This game features a total of 16 racecourses.
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Mario Kart Wii


Mario Kart Wii is the sixth mainstream game in the series. A new feature in Mario Kart Wii is Bikes. Bikes allow the players to do Wheelies, speeding them up temporarily. Also, the players can do Tricks as they jump off certain ramps to get a short boost when landing. This is also the first game to feature races with up to 12 competitors. Another new feature is the Mario Kart Channel. This channel, installable on the Wii Menu, allows players to check rankings, race ghosts, and compete in tournaments. Similar to the Retro racecourses, the game also has five Retro battle courses. One Retro battle course is featured from each of the past five games in the series, in addition to five all-new battle courses. Mario Kart Wii has 25 playable characters, with 32 courses to choose from, 16 being new and 16 being retro. Unlike the past titles, this is the first game to have a size system used instead of a weight system, although the two are somewhat similar.
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Mario Kart 7


Mario Kart 7 is the seventh main installment in the series. Wi-Fi play is utilized to exchange Ghost Data or to race. New features introduced into the Mario Kart series are the ability to glide, drive underwater, and build customizable vehicles with unlockable parts instead of using premade vehicles. Eight racers compete once again instead of the twelve racers seen in Mario Kart Wii. Retro race tracks also return and, for the first time ever in the series, racers can see the race in first-person view and race with the motion sensor. The game also introduces the community mode for online play, where players race with customizable rules.
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Mario Kart Arcade GP DX


Mario Kart Arcade GP DX, the third Mario Kart title released for arcades, was developed by Namco Bandai Games in partnership with Nintendo. It features the return of gliders and underwater racing from Mario Kart 7. The game's new playable characters (for the arcade series) are Bowser Jr., Rosalina and Don-chan. However, Ms. Pac-Man, Blinky and Mametchi do not return. It was released in July 2013 in Japan and Winter 2014 in North America.
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Mario Kart 8

Mario Kart 8 NA cover

Mario Kart 8 is the upcoming eighth installment in the main series. The title's main new feature is anti-gravity, which lets racers drive along walls and ceilings, allowing for more alternate paths in courses. Also, features from past installments (such as bikes from Mario Kart Wii, and gliding and underwater driving from Mario Kart 7) will be reused. Another new feature is the ability to switch between traditional and gyroscopic controls on the Wii U GamePad by touching a button on the touchscreen during gameplay. Buggies, a new type of vehicle, will appear alongside karts and bikes. The game will be released in May 2014.

May 29, 2014

Wii U