For a long time we considered Super Mario Kart, the 1992 SNES classic, the best in this celebrated series. Rightly so! It’s fantabulous and started a fantabulous franchise which represents the very post about video games.
After ’92 gamers were able to enjoy the great fun (if flawed) N64 version, the middling GameCube edition, and two fun handheld efforts. Then things really went up a notch with the epic 2008 Wii romp, which was bettered in 2014 by the arrival of Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U – the masterpiece of the series. For today, we’re taking a look back at where this kart based journey started. Join us, morons, on a whimsical trip into the past!
Super Mario Kart
Back in 1992 Nintendo took Mario and a batch of his antagonist and protagonist mates and stuffed them into a frenetic world of 5 lap dashes. There were more “serious” racing games on the SNES, such as Nintendo’s launch title F-Zero, but for anyone who grew up in this era Super Mario Kart was The One.
As game mechanics go the gameplay’s timeless, which is why the series remains iconic and enduring. You get a bunch of beloved Nintendo characters, have them race across vibrant circuits from the world of the Mushroom Kingdom (nothing to do with LSD, kids, honest), and you can pelt each other with objects to hinder progress. Plus there’s a multiplayer mode which, nowadays, means international races with 12 players at once. It’s carnage, but brilliant fun.
In ’92 everyone was restricted to 2 player action for battle or Grand Prix mode, but it was still a great laugh and led to all sorts of trickery (indeed, you can read our post about the psychology of Mario Kart). It was a difficult game in 150cc (mode), too, and to this day we’re pretty sure we’ve never won the race at Donut Plains 3. Perhaps as we got so confused by the word “mode”.
The Arrival of Rainbow Road
Certain freaks of nature (industry lexicon has them dubbed as “games players”) could become seriously good and perform impossible feats, which we are, like, totally in awe of! For instance, some got ridiculously impressive around the hellish nightmare horror story of Rainbow Road with its notorious lack of barriers. The very final track.
This is the Super Mario Kart equivalent of Formula One’s the Nurburgring in the 1960s. All you have to shout is “Rainbow Road!” and you’ll have gamers quaking in their boots. Or, if any Hippies are present, they’ll remember some distant trip they had at Woodstock ’69.
For this track one would have to steel oneself and drive flat out between moments of anxiety-ridden terror. No lifting, just total commitment. Should one fail, the sheer embarrassment would be enough to see you laughed out of your country.
Retro Gaming Heaven!
Glorious stuff! If you’ve got a Wii U download the SOB and enjoy. You can also relive the glory days with this video above as two groovy sorts discuss and reminisce about a fabulous game. Hurrah.