Super Mario Kart came out for the SNES more than 15 years ago, and though there have been many challengers since, the venerable Mario Kart franchise it spawned has remained the undisputed king of kart racing games.
The series has changed remarkably over the years, both in terms of graphics and gameplay. While the original laid the foundation by introducing many of the core items and characters, it wasn't until Mario Kart 64 that the series would take shape as we know it today--blue shells and all.
Join us on an odyssey through time as we look at the long history of console Mario Kart games and examine how the characters, items, and tracks have visually transformed over the years.
The CharactersMario Kart began with a cast of eight, all of whom have (mostly) gone on to appear in every game since. This number has gradually swelled up to the current 25-character roster, but we took a look at the original eight to see how time has worked in their favor.
The magnificently mustachioed plumber always leads the pack. Is he supervising Bowser and making sure that kidnappings aren't on the agenda? Maybe he just wants another win to add to his savior-complex wall? Nah, he's more likely just stuck fulfilling endorsement deals for the next hundred years!
The princess of the Mushroom Kingdom has never been one to skip out on an adventure or one of the annual sporting events around her demesne. There are protocols in place to discourage the royals from participating in such vulgar, lowbrow happenings, but Peach's fiery personality and clear disregard for the rules allow her to freely mix with the common folk. Her people love her for it, but few approve of the sizeable expenditure necessary for proper rescue operations. When you put yourself at risk so recklessly and so often, don't be surprised if they only send a plumber to save you.
It takes a lot of self-confidence to go shirtless with a vest, but Peach's royal underling has managed to work it well enough that you've probably never noticed. He worked his way up to become an unlockable character in Mario Kart: Double Dash, but fell back into the common ranks after Nintendo realized that unlocking Toad was the reward equivalent of receiving socks for Christmas.
Yoshi driving a go-kart makes about as much sense as Sonic hoverboard racing. We're more interested in why Mario's always-faithful mount has chosen to participate in the competition: to get a chance to be the rider instead of the beast of burden, or to get revenge on Mario for dropping him down that pit in the Star World? Perhaps a little bit of both.