Super Mario Kart

super mario kart box art super nes nintendo
8.0 Overall Score
Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 8/10
Controls: 8/10

Revolutionary at its time, still a fun game

Hasn't aged well due to better quality remakes/sequels

Game Info

Game Name:   Super Mario Kart

Developer(s):   Nintendo EAD

Publisher(s):   Nintendo

Platform(s):   Super NES

Genre(s):   Retro/Sports/Racing

Release Date(s):   August 27, 1992 (Japan)/September 1, 1993 (US)

ESRB Rating:   Not Rated

super mario kart ghost valley 3 gameplay screenshot koopa troopa

Poor Koopa Troopa…he always looks terrified even when he’s winning

Rev up your engines and hop on a kart…you’re about to get racing with the biggest crew of drivers you’ve ever seen.  The cast is all there with Mario, Luigi, Toad, Princess Peach, Yoshi, Bowser, Koopa Troopa, and Donkey Kong Jr. and the courses are all in front of you…the time for racing is now and Mario and his friend (and enemies) are taking no prisoners!

Super Mario Kart (スーパーマリオカート or Sūpā Mario Kāto) is a racing game and released for the Super Nintendo.  The game received critical praise and became one of the Super NES’s best-selling titles of all time.  The game is available for download through the Nintendo Store.

I believe that Super Mario Kart was my “birthday” game in 1992.  I became rather obsessed with the game and playing all the characters and trying to get gold with each character at each level.  The style and gameplay of Super Mario Kart made me enjoy a racing game (something I didn’t really do much) and got me continuing to follow the series for the last twenty-five years.

super mario kart rainbow road special cup mario

The “holy hell” of seeing the Rainbow Road for the first time….

Super Mario Kart revolutionized racing games by really bringing the “kart” game to series.  The gameplay is a lot like the NES’s R.C. Pro-Am which took a lighter look at racing and provided weaponry for the cars.  The introduction of Mario players is just another reason that the series was a perfect match.  It allowed Nintendo to bring back some characters that hadn’t been seen in a while (like Donkey Kong Jr.) while also giving players different types of drivers which changed up the gameplay for multiple replays…it was genius.

Revisiting Super Mario Kart is a little frustrating due to the improvements over the years.  The controls have really been refined and here they are a little clunky.  There are a lot of moments when you feel that your kart should slide (it doesn’t) and times when it slides (when it shouldn’t).  It isn’t a very smooth ride though with easing on and off the “gas”, it does feel a little more receptive at points than the newer games which leave little room for error.  The game’s AI also is a bit irritating with those come from behind “rivals” always managing to keep up despite your skill level and lead.

super mario kart award ceremony ending donkey kong jr princess peach fish

Mario for the win (but I’d always pick DK Jr over him)

The graphics also are a little painful which contributes to the frustration.  At the time of it’s release, Super Mario Kart was amazing and that has to be remembered.  The 3D style race course was so much more detailed than many other racing games and it also had special short cuts and hiding places.  Now, it can be difficult to look at and new players will probably just want a newer version of the game.

With a solid two player mode, Super Mario Kart was a near perfect game for the Super Nintendo and still a solid play (depending on the price).  Levels of the game have been reworked for newer version so it is interesting to go back and see the old ones and remember strategies that I had forgotten.  It can almost remind you the fear and wonder of finally reaching the Rainbow Road course…which was an unexpected hell for first time players.  Despite loving Super Mario Kart, I never picked up its first sequel…which many also argue is one of the best N64 games.  Super Mario Kart was followed by Mario Kart 64 in 1996 in Japan and 1997 in the United States.

Related Links:

Mario Kart DS

Mario Kart Wii

Mario Kart 7

Mario Kart 8

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response