Super Mario Bros is one of the most recognized franchises in all of gaming and the greatest selling game franchise of all time. Due to the success of the first game in the series, Mario has become the most recognizable character both in and outside of gaming, even overtaking Mickey Mouse at one point in terms of popularity. The Super Mario games are best known as platform titles but that all changed in the 90’s when the Mario characters left the platforming world and hit the racing circuit. Rev up your engines, J1 Fans. This is a Super Mario Kart: 25th Anniversary Edition of Time Warp Review.
Mario creator and video game guru Shigeru Miyamoto was looking for another way to reinvent gaming experience. His development team set out to create a game that displayed two players simultaneously. Hideki Konno stated that development started with a desire to create a two-player racing game in contrast to the single player gameplay of SNES launch title F-Zero, which was also produced by Miyamoto. However, due to the limitations of the SNES hardware, the tracks for the soon-to-be new racing game would not be as elaborate as F-Zero. While the team worked on ideas for the new game, they started out with an early prototype of one of the racers, a generic man in overalls in a kart about three heads tall. Interestingly, the decision to include Mario was not made until nearly three months after the start of initial development. Thinking that having Mario in the driver seat looked to be a great idea, the team went with it and thus, a Mario themed racing game was born.
Super Mario Kart features eight racers from the Mario series-Mario, Luigi, Toad, Princess Peach, Yoshi, Bowser, Koopa Troopa and Donkey Kong Jr. Each character came with their own unique abilities. For example, Yoshi drops eggs that causes a racer unlucky enough to hit to spin out and lose coins while Donkey Kong Jr. tosses bananas. Each character’s kart has different attributes with differing levels of speed, acceleration and handling. For instance, racers with more heft to them like Bowser and Donkey Kong tend to drift more while turning corners and accelerate slowly. On the other hand, lighter characters, such as Toad and Princess Peach, accelerate quickly and have tighter turns. Super Mario Kart has two single player modes, Mario Kart Grand Prix and Time Trial. In the Grand Prix, a single player must trace against the other seven computer controlled racers in five races in each of the three cups— Mushroom Cup, Flower Cup and Star Cup—at two difficulty levels, 50cc and 100cc. Winning all three cups at 100cc unlocked the Special Cup and if you win that cup, the highly difficult 150cc becomes available. Time Trial is used to set the best time where you can beat it afterward. The very familiar Battle Mode and Race Mode pitted two players in head to head matches.
Super Mario Kart was a commercial success and received critical acclaim. It received the Player’s Choice award after selling one million copies and eventually sold nine million copies, making it the third bestselling game ever for the SNES. The game was praised for its Mode 7 graphics, which have been called “superb”, and addictive gameplay. Super Mario Kart has been credited for inspiring other franchises to follow Nintendo’s footsteps. Sega released Sonic Drift two years after Super Mario Kart with Ubisoft releasing Street Racer that same year. After joining the console game market, Sony would release several racing games in the Crash Bandicoot series. It is also the first game to feature multiple characters from the Mario franchise that is not a platform title. This opened the door for more games outside of Mario’s main stream platforming to be created including Super Mario RPG, a host of sports titles and the long running board game based Mario Party series. The original eight racers have returned in following Super Mario Kart sequels with new characters from other Nintendo franchises being added including Princess Daisy (Super Mario Land), Princess Rosalina (Super Mario Galaxy) and Link and Princess Zelda. Because of Nintendo’s joint development with Namco, Pac-Man and Bliny made it into the Mario Kart circuit. Super Mario Kart (now shown without the “Super” prefix” and simply referred to as Mario Kart) is still racing strong today crossing from the SNES to the N64, the DS and now Wii U. Mario Kart Wii, released for the Wii in 2008, became the best-selling worldwide, surpassing Wii Fit and Grand Theft Auto IV. The current title in the series, Mario Kart 8 was released for the Wii U in 2014. Many of the aspects of style and gameplay have been retained throughout Mario Kart’s history. Sadly, this has led to Nintendo being criticized for lacking in originality. Nevertheless, the series is still a beloved household name, known for its familiar core gameplay that will continue to entertain for years to come.
The History of Mario Kart!! Courtesy of Nintendo Life
Super Mario Kart Gameplay