Mario Kart is a series of go-kart-style racing video games developed and published by Nintendo as spin-offs from its trademark Super Mario series. The first in the series, Super Mario Kart, was launched in 1992 on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System to critical and commercial success.
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 course as hazards. The type of weapon received from an item box is often random, though sometimes influenced by the player's current position in the race. For example, players lagging far behind may receive more powerful items while the leader will only receive small defensive items. Called rubber banding, this gameplay mechanism allows other players or computers a realistic chance to catch up to the leading player.
As the series has progressed, each new installment has introduced new gameplay elements, such as new courses, items, modes, and playable characters.
Modes of play:
- Grand prix
- Time trials
- VS race
- Super Mario Kart, 1992
- Mario Kart 64, 1996-1997
- Mario Kart: Super Circuit, 2001
- Mario Kart: Double Dash, 2003
- Mario Kart DS, 2005
- Mario Kart Wii, 2008
- Mario Kart 7, 2011
- Mario Kart 8, 2014
- Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, 2017
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With Nintendo Switch, fans can enjoy the definitive version of Mario Kart 8 anywhere, anytime; The Mario Kart you know and love, with many new features. Hoping to pick up a discounted Mario Kart? Check out the best Mario Kart deals our community of bargain hunters have found including consoles, games and bundles. See a full breakdown of everything that Mario Kart 8 has to offer in terms of characters, courses, items and game modes!
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- eBay You can find great deals here for Mario Kart in their video games section from the original Mario Kart for Super Nintendo featured pads that gamers rolled over to collect special items to later versions.
- You can now hold two items at the same time. The improvement is significant. It alleviates one of the few problems with the original version of the game. Now, if you’re holding onto a useful item like a fire flower or a super horn, you don’t have to use it in order to pick up another item.
- When you start Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, you’re greeted with a huge roster: there are 42 characters in total, including a handful of new additions. All of them are available from the beginning. Unlike in the original Mario Kart 8, you no longer have to spend hours grinding through the Grand Prix mode to unlock new characters or race tracks for multiplayer.
- Like most Nintendo Switch games, Mario Kart 8 benefits a great deal from the console’s portability.
- The original Mario Kart 8 was an incredible racer, but it lacked one big thing: a robust battle mode. Deluxe fixes this with eight arenas designed specifically for battle mode — four new, four based on arenas from previous games — and five different kinds of battles.
- One of the new additions to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is something called “smart steering.” Essentially, the feature makes it easier to stay on the track, subtly correcting your steering to avoid accidents.
- The original Mario Kart 8’s downloadable content added many new tracks and characters, some from outside of the Super Mario universe.
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Mario Kart Merchandise
The Mario Kart series has had a range of merchandise released.
Among them are a slot car racer series based on Mario Kart DS, which comes with Mario and Donkey Kong figures, while Wario and Luigi are available separately. A line of radio-controlled karts have also been marketed, with are controlled by Game Boy Advance-shaped controllers, and feature Mario, Donkey Kong, and Yoshi. There are additional, larger karts that depict the same trio and are radio-controlled by a GameCube-shape controller.
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. A land-line telephone featuring Mario holding a lightning bolt while seated in his kart, has also been marketed.
Nintendo's own customer rewards program Club Nintendo released merchandise from the series as well. These included a Mario Kart 8 soundtrack, a Mario Kart Wii-themed stopwatch, and gold trophies modeled after those in Mario Kart 7. Before Club Nintendo, a Mario Kart 64 soundtrack was offered by mail.