This is where all the Koopa Shell and Banana Peel tossing began!
Now, where do I begin? It's a Mario Kart game, of course! You race around the tracks trying to get 1st place before your opponents do, while you get Items along the way, like Mushrooms to give you a speed boost, Banana Peels to make opponents spin out when they run one over, Green and Red Shells to hit opponents and make them spin out of control, and even a Lightning Bolt which strikes and shrinks all 7 of your opponents! But wait, there's more - a Star that makes you invincible and raises your top speed temporarily, and the not-so-well-known Feather that makes you jump much higher than how you hop. Quite a nice arsenal of items for you to use, don't you agree? Your opponents can use items as well, but how they use items are a little different in this game, unlike the later Mario Kart games. Your opponents only use one item, for example, Mario and Luigi can use Stars, Princess Peach and Toad can throw Poison Mushrooms at you, and so on and so forth. That makes the game a little easier in my opinion, but hey, it's the very first Mario Kart game, so that's understandable. This is also one of the very few Mario Kart games where you get coins during races. Collecting coins will make your kart go faster, so you should keep an eye on them. But, you will lose coins when you bump into opponents, fall down, and get hit by shells and run over a banana peel. When you have no coins, and when you bump into an opponent, you'll spin out! So trying to collect coins is definitely recommended.
As far as game modes go, up to 2 players can play this game. When you're playing on your own, you can enter a Grand Prix, and you'll pick either 50cc or 100cc, pick any of the eight characters (Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Yoshi, Bowser, Donkey Kong Jr., Koopa Troopa, and my favorite, Toad), and pick from the Mushroom, Flower, and Star Cups. In a cup, you'll race in 5 tracks, and you get points depending on what rank you placed. However, when you place 5th or below in a track, your character goes poof, and you'll be ranked out! You'll have to try that same track again, and that decreases the number of tries you have, as well. At the end of a cup, you'll get a trophy, if you finish in the top three. If you get 4th place or below, sorry, you get nothing! When you finish the Mushroom, Flower, and Star Cups in 100cc, you will unlock the super-tough Special Cup! And I do mean super-tough, because most of the tracks in that cup are pretty difficult, especially Rainbow Road! It is, in my opinion, the hardest track in any Mario Kart. There are no guard rails, and if that's not enough, there are also flashing Thwomps, as well, and you'll spin out when you bump into one after they land! Once you finish Special Cup, you'll unlock the 150cc mode, and I am gonna say it right here, right now... it is by far the hardest mode in the game! You will go much faster than in 50cc and 100cc, and the opponents are even more aggressive. If you can beat 150cc, kudos to you! And besides the Grand Prix mode, there is the Time Trials mode where you can race on a track for the fastest time. And when you try that same track again, you'll race against a ghost of you racing on it the first time around, that way you can attempt to improve your best time. Nothing much to say here really, except when you replay, sometimes you can use the L and R buttons to rotate the camera. It doesn't happen all the time, but it's a little cool nonetheless. Now, when you're playing with a buddy, you can enter a Grand Prix like you could with yourself, and see who gets more points as you two progress through the cup. You can also do a Match Race with each other, pick any track, and see whoever gets 1st place! There is even a Battle Mode, where you can pick any of the 4 Battle Courses, and try to pop all three of your opponent's balloons with items! So yeah, that's pretty much every mode I covered. And boy, what a big paragraph I wrote! Moving on.
The soundtrack is awesome, no question about it. From the title screen music, to Mario Circuit, to Donut Plains, to Koopa Beach, to Rainbow Road, and even to the ending music, every single music track I have listened to are very memorable. Graphically, the game looks nice as well. Everything looks very colorful, from the character sprites, to the background and track environments. I like how the game utilizes the SNES's Mode 7 hardware scaling and rotation effect on the tracks too.
Bottom line - Super Mario Kart is awesome. Whether you're playing it on the good ol' SNES or on the Wii Virtual Console, it is a fast-paced and just plain fun kart racer, and it marks the beginning of the kart racing genre, as well. Without Super Mario Kart, we wouldn't have games like Diddy Kong Racing, Crash Team Racing, and even Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing! If you never had an SNES back then, you can still take my word for it, and you can go right on the Wii Shop Channel, and download Super Mario Kart for just 800 Wii Points! An awesome 16-bit classic!