Super Mario Kart is the first game in the Mario Kart series. The game was released on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1992 and rereleased in 1996 as the Player's Choice. It was also released in Japan on June 9, 2009 in United States on November 23, 2009 and on April 2, 2010 in Europe and Australia as a Virtual Console title. It features a 1-player Grand Prix mode, a 2-player mode, a Time Trial mode, and even a Battle mode. There are plenty of items to use and courses to play, with a total of eight playable characters: Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Yoshi, Koopa Troopa, Toad, Bowser, and Donkey Kong Jr.

Super Mario Kart is arguably one of the most influential video games of all time. It was notable at the time of it's release for it's use of the SNES's Mode 7 technology which gave the illusion of racing in a three-dimensional space. It's concept of a colorful cast of characters racing in miniature vehicles, and using weapons against their competitors, has served as the blueprint for countless racing games since, in the form of not only it's many sequels but also a huge number of imitators. Even the designers of futuristic anti-gravity racer Wipeout acknowledged Super Mario Kart, with its speed boost pads and weapons, as an influence.

The game was made available for the Virtual Console if you reached gold status in Club Nintendo in 2012.


Super Mario Kart screen

An example of the single-player split-screen

Super Mario Kart is a racing game that can be played with one or two players (the latter being split-screen), contrary to the other games in the series where at least four people can play (in Mario Kart DS and Mario Kart Wii, 8 and 12 players can play at once, respectively). In single player mode, it will still be split-screen though the bottom will feature a map of the stage.

Before the player starts the race, he/she has to pick one of eight different characters, including Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Yoshi, Bowser, Toad, Donkey Kong Jr., and Koopa Troopa. Afterwards, they have to pick one of four different cups with five courses in each. After each course, the player is rewarded a set amount of points; nine for first, six for second, three for third, and one for fourth. The top three characters with the most amount of points in the end of the five races wins. If the players get lower than fourth place, they have to retry the race (like Mario Kart 64 and Mario Kart: Super Circuit), costing one of the player's four karts. When no more karts remain, the mode is over.

In all, there are three levels of difficulty - 50cc, 100cc and 150cc, with each one resulting in faster karts and harder computer controlled characters.

There are a multitude of different items that help the player out, some being better than others. For example, the Koopa Troopa Shell and Bananas aren't the best items available, though others such as the Red Koopa Troopa Shell are capable of homing in on enemies and thus give those who get it a slight advantage. Each computer controlled character has their own special item that only they can use. For example, only the computer Yoshi can use Yoshi Eggs.


A-Use items, stop Item Roulette

B-Accelerate, Rocket Start


Select-Switch view

D Pad-Change option using the Menus/Steer

X-Switch view(Single Player only)




Picture Character name Weight CPU item
Bowser Sprite (Super Mario Kart) Bowser Heavy Lava balls
Donkey Kong Jr. Sprite (Super Mario Kart) Donkey Kong Jr. Heavy Banana
Koopa Sprite (Super Mario Kart) Koopa Troopa Light Green shell
Luigi Sprite (Super Mario Kart) Luigi Medium Star Power
Mario Sprite (Super Mario Kart) Mario Medium Star Power
Princess Peach Sprite (Super Mario Kart) Princess Peach Light Mini Mushroom/Poison Mushroom
Toad Sprite (Super Mario Kart) Toad Light Mini Mushroom/Poison Mushroom

Yoshi Sprite (Super Mario Kart)

Yoshi Light Yoshi Egg


Mushroom Cup Flower Cup Star Cup Special Cup
Mario Circuit 1 Choco Island 1 Koopa Beach 1 Donut Plains 3
Donut Plains 1 Ghost Valley 2 Choco Island 2 Koopa Beach 2
Ghost Valley 1 Donut Plains 2 Vanilla Lake 1 Ghost Valley 3
Bowser Castle 1 Bowser Castle 2 Bowser Castle 3 Vanilla Lake 2
Mario Circuit 2 Mario Circuit 3 Mario Circuit 4 Rainbow Road


  • Banana Peel - Press A to lay it down behind the kart, or UP and A to throw it ahead of the kart. If any kart hits the banana, the driver will spin out.
  • Mushroom - Using this will give the player a nice boost of speed, like a turbo.
  • Green Shell - Press A to shoot it straight forward or DOWN and A to lay it down like a banana peel.
  • Red Shell - The red shell will automatically target opponents (unlike the green shell, which just shoots forward).
  • Coin - This item gives the player two coins. Coins make the kart move faster and won't spin out if it gets bumped.
  • Feather - When the feather is used, the kart will do a high 360º jump. This is useful for avoiding shells in Battle Mode or using shortcuts in racing.
  • Boo - This item temporary gives the player invisibility and invulnerability from most attacks. It also steals an opponent's item or weapon. (Note: This item is only available in Battle Mode)
  • Lightning - When a Lightning Bolt is used, it will shrink all other drivers in the game, causing them to go slower.
  • Star Power - The star gives the player invincibility from all attacks, increases speed, and if the player using the Star hits an opponent, they spin out.

Battle Mode

This is a two player mode where players are given three balloons and are put in a square stage. Whoever loses all of their balloons loses the game. All of the items in the game can be used.


  • The game was featured on the cover of Nintendo Power V41.
  • The computer controlled Toad and Peach are able to throw Poison Mushrooms which are not usable by the player.
  • Several sound effects from Super Mario World are reused. For example, the music in Bowser's Castle sounds the same as Super Mario World's final battle theme. Such as the Lakitu and Thwomps bear a resemblance to the ones in Super Mario World. However, the Poison Mushrooms in this game act like themselves if a normal-size driver hits it, but as Super Mushrooms if a small driver hits it.
  • All twenty of the courses appear in Mario Kart: Super Circuit but all of the track hazards are removed. Item boxes are at diffrent places too.
  • In the manual, the name of the vehicles known as "karts" (when referring to the remaining ones during Mario kart GP) were misspelled with a "C".
  • In the Japanese version, Peach and Bowser are seen drinking alcohol during the Trophy Presentation. The North American and PAL versions altered the sprites to simply as Peach tossing the bottle up in the air and then catching it, and Bowser shaking the bottle up and down, in order for the game to be suitable for all ages, though ESRB that produced ratings for video games was established two years later.
  • This is the only Mario Kart game where Donkey Kong and Wario don't appear as playable characters as Wario doesn't appear until Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins is released. They are introduced in the next game, Mario Kart 64.
  • The reason behind Donkey Kong Jr.'s inclusion in this game is that the game was released on the 10th anniversary of the Donkey Kong Jr. Arcade game.
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