There are some crazy people in this world, some people have never seen Star Wars, some people have never heard of David Beckham.
And some people have never played Mario Kart.
Mario Kart exploded surprisingly onto the scene in 1992 for the Super Nintendo. The game pitted Mario, Luigi and six of their chums and enemies against one another over a number of courses.
Racing games had been at a bit of a lull at the time. Sure they had made games like F-Zero and F1 Exhaust Heat which took advantage of the Mode 7 chip, but they were both pretty average racers.
Mario Kart made racing fun.
The main game was split into 4 cups, each cup with 5 tracks. You race each other over those five tracks to gain points (the top four gain between 1 and 9 points), and the one with the most points at the end win. This game is nowhere near a serious racing game, as you can use shortcuts (the kart only loses speed on the dirt) or use one of the multitude of Mario themed weapons such as shells, stars and mushrooms to propel yourselves into the lead. You are encouraged to race dirty.
The races are fast pace and action packed. It doesn’t matter if you take the odd corner wide or you hit an opponant, you just pick yourself up and carry on racing. The memorable music and the fact that they fitted in all sorts of Mario kameos with the courses and the enemies made this a game for all audiences – the first timers to the Mario series, the veterans and racing fans.
Another place where this game shone was the two player mode. As well as racing with 6 of the other drivers, you also get a 2 player race, and battle mode which was immensely fun in it’s day. Each car gets three balloons and you need to land three hits on your opponant to win.
It was not perfect – the fact that the same four finished in the top four places annoyed me immensely, and the fact that the enemy overtakes you on the last corner a few too many times – but it is still fun today. Sure, it’s beginning to show it’s age, but it’s still one of the most defining racing games ever made.