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Mario Kart
File:Mario Kart logo.png
Logo used since Mario Kart DS (2005).
Genres Racing video game
Developers Nintendo
Retro Studios
Namco/Namco Bandai (arcade games)
Publishers Nintendo
Creators Shigeru Miyamoto
First release Super Mario Kart
1, 1992 (1992-09-01)
Latest release Mario Kart 7
4, 2011 (2011-12-04)

Mario Kart (Japanese: マリオカート Hepburn: Mario Kāto?) is a series of go-kart-style racing video games developed and published by Nintendo as spin-offs from its trademark Mario franchise. The first in the series, Super Mario Kart, was launched in 1992 on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System to critical and commercial success.[1]

To date, there have been four Mario Kart games released for home consoles, three portable games, and two Namco co-developed arcade games, with a total of nine Mario Kart. Additionally, two future games are in development; one for the Wii U system, and a third arcade title. The most recently released game of the Mario Kart series is Mario Kart 7.[2]

GameplayEdit

File:Mario-Kart-64-Battle.jpg

In the Mario Kart series, players compete in go-kart races, controlling one of a selection of characters from the Mario franchise. Up to eight participants can compete in each race (twelve in Mario Kart Wii). 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, and banana peels that can be laid on the track as hazards. The type of weapon received from an item box is random and often influenced by the player's position in the race.[3] For example, players lagging far behind may receive more powerful items while the leader will only receive small defensive items.[3] This gameplay mechanic–called "rubber banding"– allows other players or computers a realistic chance to catch up to the leading player no matter how far ahead they are.[3]

As the series has progressed, each new installment has introduced new elements in order to keep the gameplay fresh.[3] Changes typically include new items, new stages, and new methods of obtaining speed boosts.[3] Changes new titles have brought to the series include: Mario Kart 64 introducing 4-player racing and bringing the series into the third dimension, Mario Kart: Double Dash!! with a partner system and the Double Dash!!, Mario Kart Wii's use of motorbikes and 12 participants per race, and the newest entry into the franchise, Mario Kart 7, featuring hang gliders, submarines and an alternate first-person perspective as well as customizing karts.[3]

CoursesEdit

Many courses also recur throughout the series and each one is based on a game in the Mario franchise including Super Mario World. For example, most games have featured a circuit course, a desert course, a city or highway course with traffic, some form of a beach course, a stadium course, a jungle course, an ice or snow course, Bowser's Castle and Rainbow Road.[3] Each game in the series includes 16 original courses, with the exception of Super Mario Kart and Super Circuit, which holds 20. There are also three to six original battle arenas in each installment, designed exclusively for Battle mode. So far, there are 120 original courses and 30 original arenas. Additionally, there are 48 Retro courses and 10 Retro arenas. These consist of older material recreated for later games.

Recurring itemsEdit

  • Banana peel: deployed as a hazard to other racers. Sometimes appears in a group of three. Can also be used to block Koopa shells.
  • Green/Red Koopa shell: projectile fired at other racers. Green shells go straight and bounce off walls whereas red shells home in on other racers. Appears either as a single shell or as a group of three.
  • Spiny shell: indestructible shell that homes in on the player in 1st place. In Mario Kart 64, Mario Kart: Super Circuit, and Mario Kart 7, it travels along the ground and also knocks down other karts in its path; in the other games it is airborne and damages the leading racer only. Also known as Blue Shells. Also in later games, other racers can be affected by the explosion caused by the shells.
  • Starman: gives temporary invincibility and as well as an increase in speed. Knocks out other karts on contact.
  • Mushroom: gives user a speed boost. Sometimes appears in a group of three for time trial runs.
  • Golden Mushroom: gives user many speed boosts for a short time.
  • Coin: raises the kart's top speed when collected.
  • Bob-omb: A walking bomb that explodes after a set amount of time or on contact. When that happens, it sends the kart flying.
  • Lightning Bolt/Thunderbolt: strikes all other racers with lightning, temporarily causing them to shrink and slow down.
  • Boo: makes user temporarily invisible (to opponents) and invincible, as well as stealing another racer's item. This item has been dropped in later installments.
  • Fake Item Box: looks similar to a real item box, but is instead used as a hazard to trick other racers.
  • Bullet Bill: Transforms the kart to an automated bullet which travels the course at a faster-than-usual speed, knocking out any kart in its path. This debuted in Mario Kart DS.
  • Blooper: Bloopers obscure the view of players by squirting ink on the screen. This item affects every racer that is currently ahead of the player. If the player is affected by a Blooper, the player's Items stat determines how long the ink stays on the player's screen. The lower the player's Item stat is, the faster the ink goes away. If players are affected by a Blooper, they can use a Mushroom or drive onto a Boost Pad to get rid of the obstructive goop.

Modes of playEdit

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

  • Grand Prix – players compete in various "cups," groups of four courses each (five in Super Mario Kart). Players earn points according to their finishing position in each race and the player with the most points overall at the end wins. In four installments, a ranking system is also included to determine the player's overall performance. Can be played solo or for two people.
  • Time Trial – (single player) the player races alone to finish any course in the fastest time possible with three mushrooms to be used at anytime. The best time is then saved as a ghost, in which the player can compete against in later trials.
  • VS – multiple human players race against each other on any course with customized rules.
  • Battle – players use race items to battle each other in a closed arena. Each player starts the match with three balloons and loses a balloon with every hit sustained; the last player possessing at least one balloon wins. More battle games were added as the series progresses ranging from throwing Bob-ombs to collecting coins. Since Mario Kart Wii, the battles have a time limit to make it fair.

List of Mario Kart gamesEdit

File:Mario kart first logo.png

Console gamesEdit

Arcade gamesEdit

Other appearancesEdit

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.[8] Certain courses from the series have also appeared in F-Zero X, Itadaki Street DS, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games, Fortune Street and Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Various items from the series can also be seen in games such as Nintendogs and Animal Crossing.

CharactersEdit

Console charactersEdit

Driver Super 64 Super
Circuit
Double
Dash!!
DS Wii 7 Total appearances
Baby Daisy Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:Y Template:N 1
Baby Luigi Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:Y Template:N Template:Y Template:N 2
Baby Mario Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:Y Template:N Template:Y Template:N 2
Baby Peach Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:Y Template:N 1
Birdo Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:Y Template:N Template:Y Template:N 2
Bowser Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y 7
Bowser Jr. Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:Y Template:N Template:Y Template:N 2
Princess Daisy Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y 4
Diddy Kong Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:Y Template:N Template:Y Template:N 2
Donkey Kong Template:N Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y 6
Donkey Kong Jr. Template:Y Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:N 1
Dry Bones Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:Y Template:Y Template:N 2
Dry Bowser Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:Y Template:N 1
Funky Kong Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:Y Template:N 1
Honey Queen Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:Y 1
King Boo Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:Y Template:N Template:Y Template:N 2
Paratroopa Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:Y Template:N Template:N Template:N 1
Koopa Troopa Template:Y Template:N Template:N Template:Y Template:N Template:Y Template:Y 4
Lakitu Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:Y 1
Luigi Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y 7
Mario Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y 7
Metal Mario Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:Y 1
Mii Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:Y Template:Y 2
Petey Piranha Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:Y Template:N Template:N Template:N 1
Princess Peach Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y 7
R.O.B. Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:Y Template:N Template:N 1
Rosalina Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:Y Template:Y 2
Shy Guy Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:YTemplate:R Template:N Template:Y 2
Toad Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y 7
Toadette Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:Y Template:N Template:Y Template:N 2
Waluigi Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y Template:N 3
Wario Template:N Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y 6
Wiggler Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:N Template:Y 1
Yoshi Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y 7
Total 8 8 8 20 13 25 17 --
Notes
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Arcade charactersEdit

Driver Arcade GP Arcade GP 2 Arcade GP DX Total appearances
Blinky Template:Y Template:Y Template:? 2
Bowser Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y 3
Don Template:N Template:N Template:Y 1
Donkey Kong Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y 3
Luigi Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y 3
Mario Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y 3
Mametchi Template:N Template:Y Template:? 1
Pac-Man Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y 3
Ms. Pac-Man Template:Y Template:Y Template:? 2
Princess Peach Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y 3
Toad Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y 3
Waluigi Template:N Template:Y Template:? 1
Wario Template:Y Template:Y Template:? 2
Yoshi Template:Y Template:Y Template:Y 3
Total 11 13 9 --

MerchandiseEdit

Mario Kart has had a range of merchandise released. This includes a Scalextric style Mario Kart DS Figure-8-Circuit. It comes with Mario and Donkey Kong figures, while Wario and Luigi are available separately. A line of remote-controlled karts are available in stores. Each kart has a Game Boy Advance-shaped controller. It features forward driving and rotates when put in reverse, instead of steering. The current line-up of karts is Mario, Donkey Kong and Yoshi. There are three large karts that depict the same trio. These karts are controlled by a GameCube controller shape. 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 including an incoming Spiny Shell, a successful trick and an item box. There is also a land-line telephone featuring Mario holding a lightning bolt while seated in his kart, as seen here. K'Nex has released Mario Kart Wii sets, with Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, and Bowser in karts and bikes along with Donkey Kong and tracks from the game.[10] K'Nex will release Mario Kart 7 sets as well. Club Nintendo also released merchandise from the series including a platinum soundtrack from Mario Kart Wii, a Mario Kart Wii stopwatch and three gold trophies from Mario Kart 7.

ReceptionEdit

Nintendo Power listed the Mario Kart series as being one of the greatest multi-player experiences, citing the diversity in game modes as well as the entertainment value found.[11]

Guinness World Records awarded the Mario Kart series with five world records in the Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2008, including "First Console Kart Racing Game" and "Best Selling Handheld Racing Game." 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.[12]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Crecente, Brian (2009-26-2). "Mario Kart: Most Influential Video Game in History." Kotaku. Retrieved 2012-1-27.
  2. Harris, Craig (2010-06-15). "E3 2010: Mario Kart 3DS is Looking Slick". IGN Entertainment, Inc.. http://ds.ign.com/articles/109/1098453p1.html. Retrieved 2010-06-21. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Dan. "Mario Kart Franchise Retrospective". WatchMojo.com. http://www.watchmojo.com/video/title/Mario%20Kart%20Franchise%20Retrospective/. Retrieved February 5, 2012. 
  4. "Virtual Console バーチャルコンソール" (in Japanese). Nintendo. http://www.nintendo.co.jp/wii/vc/vc_mk/index.html. Retrieved 2008-07-14. 
  5. "Download New BIT.TRIP Kicks, Speeding Karts, Magic Castles and More". Nintendo of America. November 23, 2009. http://www.nintendo.com/whatsnew/detail/O-6Hu5sS3KndAbl1v6fJElEIDoveAwhn. Retrieved November 23, 2009. 
  6. http://www.nintendolife.com/news/2013/01/mario_kart_wii_u_driving_into_e3_this_year
  7. http://arcadeheroes.com/2013/02/05/namco-formally-announces-mario-kart-arcade-grand-prix-dx/
  8. "Smash Bros. DOJO!!". Smashbros.com. http://www.smashbros.com/en_us/stages/stage19.html. Retrieved 2012-09-21. 
  9. "K'NEX Mario Kart Wii Building Sets". Knex.com. 2011-10-20. http://www.knex.com/mariokartwii/. Retrieved 2012-09-08. 
  10. Nintendo Power 250th issue!. South San Francisco, California: Future US. 2010. p. 47. 
  11. Ivan, Tom (2009-02-28). "Guinness ranks top 50 games of all time". Computer and Video Games. http://www.computerandvideogames.com/209385/guinness-ranks-top-50-games-of-all-time/. Retrieved 2009-03-14. 

External linksEdit

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