Mario Kart Tour
Mario Kart Tour

Mario Kart
Mario Kart is a series of go-kart-style racing video games developed and published by Nintendo as spin-offs from its trademark Super Mario series. The

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Mario KartGenre(s)RacingDeveloper(s)Publisher(s)NintendoCreator(s)Shigeru MiyamotoPlatform(s)First releaseSuper Mario Kart
August 27, 1992 (1992-08-27)Latest releaseMario Kart 8 Deluxe
April 28, 2017 (2017-04-28)

Mario Kart[a] is a series of go-kart-style racing video games developed and published by Nintendo as spin-offs from its trademark Super Mario series. The first in the series, Super Mario Kart, was launched in 1992 on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System to critical and commercial success.[1]

With six Mario Kart games released on home consoles, three on portable handheld consoles, four arcade games co-developed with Namco and one for mobile phones on the way, the Mario Kart series includes a total of fourteen entries. The latest game in the main series, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, was released on Nintendo Switch in April 2017. The series has sold over 100 million copies worldwide to date.

Contents History The original logo, used up until Mario Kart Arcade GP 2

The first title in the Mario Kart series, Super Mario Kart, was released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1992. The development of the first game was overseen by Shigeru Miyamoto, the Japanese video game designer who created the original Super Mario Bros., as well as many other successful games for Nintendo. Darran Jones of NowGamer suggests that the original success of Super Mario Kart was the result of including characters previously seen in Mario Bros. games, while also being a new type of racing game.[2]

Gameplay Mario driving upside-down using the anti-gravity mechanic introduced in Mario Kart 8.

In the Mario Kart series, players compete in go-kart races, controlling one of a selection of characters, typically from the Mario franchise. Up to twelve characters can compete in each race, the exact number varies between games.

One of the features of the series is the use of various power-up items obtained by driving into item boxes laid out on the course. These power-ups include mushrooms to give players a speed boost, Koopa Shells to be thrown at opponents, banana peels, and fake item boxes that can be laid on the course as hazards. The type of weapon received from an item box is influenced by the player's current position in the race.[3] For example, players lagging far behind may receive more powerful items while the leader may only receive small defensive items. Called rubber banding, this gameplay mechanism allows other players or computers a realistic chance to catch up to the leading player. They can also perform driving techniques during the race such as mini-turbos, slipstreams, and rocket starts.

As the series has progressed, each new installment has introduced new gameplay elements, such as new circuits, items, modes, and playable characters.[3] These changes include :


Mario Kart mainly features characters from the Mario franchise. The Mario Kart Arcade GP series features Bandai Namco characters such as Pac-Man.[6] The DLC for Mario Kart 8 added Link from The Legend of Zelda, and Villager and Isabelle from Animal Crossing.[7] Mario Kart 8 Deluxe features 42 characters, including the Inklings from Splatoon.[8]


Many course themes recur throughout the series. Most are based on existing areas in the Mario franchise (Bowser's Castle being among the most prominent), but there are a number of courses that have not appeared elsewhere, yet still belong in the Mushroom Kingdom, such as Rainbow Road.[3] Each game in the series (following the original game) includes at least 16 original courses and up to 6 original battle arenas.[3] Each game's tracks are divided into four "cups", or groups in which the player has to have the highest overall placing to win. Most courses can be done in three laps, except in the original game where all circuits required 5 laps to complete. The first game to feature courses from previous games was Mario Kart: Super Circuit, which contained all of the tracks from the original Super NES game. Starting with Mario Kart DS, each entry in the series has featured 16 "nitro" (brand new courses introduced for said game) and 16 "retro" tracks (reappearing courses from previous Mario Kart games), spread across four cups each with four races. In Mario Kart 8, 16 additional tracks are available across two downloadable packages, eight for each package downloaded, including seven retro courses, four original courses, and five courses based on other Nintendo franchises, including Excitebike, F-Zero, The Legend of Zelda, and Animal Crossing.[5]

Modes of play

Each installment features a variety of different modes. The following four modes recur most often in the series:

List of Mario Kart games Timeline of release years1992Super199319941995VB (cancelled)19966419971998199920002001Super Circuit20022003Double Dash20042005DSArcade GP20062007Arcade GP 22008Wii200920102011720122013Arcade GP DX201482015201620178 DeluxeArcade GP VR20182019Tour Console games Year Game Platform Virtual Console Wii Wii U 3DS New 3DS 1992 Super Mario Kart SNES Yes No Yes 1996 Mario Kart 64 N64 No 2001 Mario Kart: Super Circuit GBA No Yes [note 1] 2003 Mario Kart: Double Dash GCN No 2005 Mario Kart DS DS No Yes 2008 Mario Kart Wii Wii No No 2011 Mario Kart 7 3DS No No No 2014 Mario Kart 8 Wii U No No 2017 Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Switch No
This game runs on the newer system by using backward compatibility instead of the Virtual Console. For the Wii, later models omit backward compatibility.
  1. ^ Mario Kart: Super Circuit can be played on Nintendo 3DS systems that feature the Nintendo 3DS Ambassadors program.

At one point, there was also a Mario Kart game planned for the Virtual Boy in 1995. Tentatively titled VB Mario Kart, it was likely to be the first sequel to Super Mario Kart. The game was cancelled due to the Virtual Boy's commercial failure, but was revealed in a 2000 issue of German gaming magazine The Big N.[9]

Arcade games Mobile games Other appearances

Several Mario Kart-related items appear in the Super Smash Bros. series, with Super Smash Bros. Brawl in particular featuring a Mario Circuit stage based on Figure-8 Circuit from Mario Kart DS,[13] Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS featuring a Rainbow Road stage based on its appearance in Mario Kart 7, and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U featuring a Mario Circuit stage based on its appearance in Mario Kart 8, along with the returning Mario Circuit stage from Brawl.

Certain courses from the series have also appeared in F-Zero X, Fortune Street, the Mario & Sonic series, Paper Mario: Color Splash, and the WarioWare series. Various items from the series can also be seen in games such as Nintendogs and Animal Crossing.


The Mario Kart series has had a range of merchandise released.

Among them are a slot car racer series based on Mario Kart DS, which comes with Mario and Donkey Kong figures, while Wario and Luigi are available separately. A line of radio-controlled karts have also been marketed, with are controlled by Game Boy Advance-shaped controllers, and feature Mario, Donkey Kong, and Yoshi. There are additional, larger karts that depict the same trio and are radio-controlled by a GameCube-shape controller.

Japanese figurines of Mario, Luigi, Peach, Toad, Yoshi, Wario, Donkey Kong, and Bowser are also available for purchase as well as for Mario Kart 64, figures of Mario, Luigi, Wario, Bowser, Donkey Kong, and Yoshi were made by Toybiz. There are also Sound Drops inspired by Mario Kart Wii with eight sounds from the game. A land-line telephone featuring Mario holding a lightning bolt while seated in his kart, has also been marketed.

K'Nex released Mario Kart Wii sets, with Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, and Bowser in karts and bikes, as well as tracks from the game.[14] Mario Kart 7 and Mario Kart 8 K'Nex sets have also been released.

Nintendo's own customer rewards program Club Nintendo released merchandise from the series as well. These included a Mario Kart 8 soundtrack, a Mario Kart Wii-themed stopwatch, and gold trophies modeled after those in Mario Kart 7. Before Club Nintendo, a Mario Kart 64 soundtrack was offered by mail.

In 2014, McDonald's released Mario Kart 8 toys with Happy Meals. They featured eight of the characters in karts that were customizable with stickers.

In 2018, the board game Monopoly Gamer features a Mario Kart theme with courses from Mario Kart 8 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe serving as properties, ten playable characters as tokens, (Mario, Luigi, Peach, Toad, Donkey Kong, Shy Guy, Metal Mario, Rosalina, Bowser, and Yoshi) and a special die with power-ups taken from the series.

Reception Sales and aggregate review scores
As of March 31, 2019. Game Year Units sold
(in millions) GameRankings Metacritic Super Mario Kart 1992 8.76[15] 94% 94/100 Mario Kart 64 1996 9.87[15] 87% 83/100 Mario Kart: Super Circuit 2001 5.90[15] 92% 93/100 Mario Kart: Double Dash 2003 9.69[15] 87% 87/100 Mario Kart DS 2005 23.60[16] 91% 91/100 Mario Kart Wii 2008 37.20[17] 82% 82/100 Mario Kart 7 2011 18.26[18] 85% 85/100 Mario Kart 8 2014 8.44[19] 88% 88/100 Mario Kart 8 Deluxe 2017 16.69[20] 93% 93/100 This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (June 2008)

The Mario Kart series has received acclaim from critics. Nintendo Power listed the series as being one of the greatest multiplayer experiences, citing the diversity in game modes as well as the entertainment value found.[21]

Guinness World Records listed 6 records set by the Mario Kart series, including "First Console Kart Racing Game", "Best Selling Racing Game" and "Longest Running Kart Racing Franchise". Guinness World Records ranked the original Super Mario Kart number 1 on the list of top 50 console games of all time based on initial impact and lasting legacy.[22] Super Mario Kart has been inducted into the Video Game Hall of Fame in 2019.[23]


Like the Super Mario series, the Mario Kart series has achieved successful sales with over 138 million copies sold in total.[24] Super Mario Kart has sold 8.76 million copies and is the fourth best-selling game on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System console.[15] Mario Kart 64 is the second-bestselling game for the Nintendo 64 (behind Super Mario 64), selling a total of 9.87 million copies.[15] Mario Kart: Double Dash has sold 6.96 million copies.[15] It is the second best-selling game on the GameCube (next to Super Smash Bros. Melee). Mario Kart Wii has achieved highly successful numbers, selling a total of 37.20 million copies.[17] It is the best-selling installment in the series and is the second best-selling game for the Wii (next to Wii Sports).[17] Mario Kart 8, released for the Wii U, has shipped 1.2 million copies in North America and Europe combined on its first few days since launch, which was the console's fastest-selling game until the record was beaten by Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.[25][26] It sold a total of 8.44 million copies and is the Wii U's best-selling game.[19] In contrast, the enhanced port for the Nintendo Switch system, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, has sold 459,000 units in the United States in one day of its launch, making it the fastest-selling game in the series to date.[27] Deluxe sold a total of 16.69 million copies worldwide, outperforming the original Wii U version, and is the best-selling Nintendo Switch game of all time.[20] Both versions sold a combined total of 25.13 million copies.

In the portable entries, the series also performed outstanding sales. Mario Kart: Super Circuit, has sold a total of 5.9 million copies, making it the fourth best-selling game on the Game Boy Advance.[15] The second portable game, Mario Kart DS, has sold a total of 23.60 million copies.[16] The third best-selling game for the Nintendo DS, it is also the best-selling portable game in the series.[16] Mario Kart 7, released for the Nintendo 3DS, has sold 18.26 million copies, and is the best-selling 3DS game as of June 2018.[18]

Rental go-kart dispute Go-karters dressed as Nintendo characters in Harajuku, Tokyo

In September 2016, Nintendo filed an objection against the Japanese company MariCar, which rents go-karts modified for use on public roads in Tokyo along with costumes resembling Nintendo characters.[28] MariCar's English website warned customers not to throw "banana peels" or "red turtle shells".[29] The service is popular with tourists.[28]

Nintendo argued that the MariCar name was "intended to be mistaken for or confused with" Mario Kart, citing games commonly known by abbreviations in Japan, such as Pokémon (for Pocket Monsters) and Sumabura (Super Smash Bros.). In January 2017, the Japan Patent Office dismissed the objection, ruling that MariCar was not widely recognized as an abbreviation of Mario Kart.[28]

In February 2017, Nintendo sued MariCar over copyright infringement for renting unauthorized costumes of Nintendo characters and using their pictures to promote its business.[28] In September 2018, MariCar was ordered to stop using the characters and pay Nintendo ¥10 million in damages.[29]

  1. ^ Japanese: マリオカート, Hepburn: Mario Kāto?
  1. ^ Crecente, Brian (2009-26-2). "Super Mario Kart: Most Influential Video Game in History." Kotaku. Retrieved January 27, 2012.
  2. ^ Jones, Darran (November 28, 2011). "Super Mario Kart: The Complete History of Nintendo's Kart Racer". NowGamer. Imagine Publishing Ltd. Archived from the original on June 25, 2013. Retrieved September 15, cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:"\"""\"""'""'"}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Dan. "Mario Kart Franchise Retrospective". Retrieved February 5, 2012.
  4. ^ Sato, Yoshi (February 6, 2008). "Mario Kart Wii Detailed". Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved May 21, 2013.
  5. ^ a b Farokhmanesh, Megan (August 26, 2014). "Link, F-Zero and Animal Crossing are coming to Mario Kart 8 as DLC". Polygon. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  6. ^ "Mario Kart Arcade GP". Nintendo Life. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
  7. ^ Matulef, Jeffrey (August 27, 2014). "Mario Kart 8 getting Zelda and Animal Crossing DLC". Eurogamer. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
  8. ^ Bashore, Nicholas (April 28, 2017). "Here's Every New Character in 'Mario Kart 8 Deluxe'". Inverse. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
  9. ^ "VB Mario Kart". Big N. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  10. ^ "Namco Formally Announces Mario Kart Arcade Grand Prix DX - Arcade Heroes". February 5, 2013.
  12. ^ "Mario Kart Arcade GP VR announced for Bandai Namco's virtual reality arcade, played with HTC Vive - Nintendo Everything". June 13, 2017.
  13. ^ "Smash Bros. DOJO!!". Archived from the original on September 28, 2012. Retrieved September 21, 2012.
  14. ^ "K'NEX Mario Kart Wii Building Sets". October 20, 2011. Archived from the original on September 2, 2012. Retrieved September 8, 2012.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h O'Malley, James (September 11, 2015). "30 Best-Selling Super Mario Games of All Time on the Plumber's 30th Birthday". Gizmodo. Univision Communications. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  16. ^ a b c "IR Information : Sales Data – Top Selling Software Sales Units – Nintendo DS Software". Nintendo. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  17. ^ a b c "IR Information : Financial Data Wii". Nintendo. Nintendo, Co. Ltd. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  18. ^ a b "Top Selling Title Sales Units (Nintendo 3DS)". Nintendo. Nintendo, Co. Ltd. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  19. ^ a b "IR Information : Financial Data - Top Selling Title Sales Units - Wii U Software". Nintendo. Nintendo, Co. Ltd. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  20. ^ a b "IR Information : Sales Data - Top Selling Title Sales Unit (Switch)". Nintendo. Nintendo, Co. Ltd. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  21. ^ Nintendo Power 250th issue!. South San Francisco, California: Future US. 2010. p. 47.
  22. ^ Ivan, Tom (February 28, 2009). "Guinness ranks top 50 games of all time". Computer and Video Games. Retrieved March 14, 2009.
  23. ^ Good, Owen (May 3, 2019). "Wait a minute, the Video Game Hall of Fame inducted ... Solitaire? Yes, and also Mortal Kombat and Super Mario Kart". Polygon. Retrieved May 4, 2019.
  24. ^ Futter, Mike (June 2, 2014). "Mario Kart 8 Speeds To Over 1.2 Million Sales In Opening Weekend". Game Informer. GameStop. Retrieved June 2, 2014.
  25. ^ "Mario Kart 8 ships 1.2 million, fastest selling Wii U title to date". Nintendo Today. Nintendo Today. June 2, 2014. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  26. ^ Minotti, Mike (November 25, 2014). "Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is the system's fastest-selling game". VentureBeat. VentureBeat. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  27. ^ Cowley, Ric (May 2, 2017). "Mario Kart 8 Deluxe becomes fastest-selling game of the franchise with 459,000 units sold in the US". Pocket Steel Media Ltd. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  28. ^ a b c d Otake, Tomoko (March 9, 2017). "Patent authority rules against Nintendo, lets go-kart firm keep MariCar trademark". The Japan Times Online. ISSN 0447-5763. Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  29. ^ a b "Nintendo wins lawsuit against Tokyo's 'Mario Kart' tour company". Polygon. Retrieved September 28, 2018.
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