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The Item Box is the quintessential representation of the Mario Kart series: They are the unique, rotating boxes or panels which give players various types of Items to secure or take the lead.

Uses

Item Boxes give an Item to any player who runs into them. The Item is randomly determined, but players who are generally in lower places will receive more useful Items, such as a Star or Bullet Bill, and players who are in higher places will get Items that do not help as much as those, such as a Green Shell or a Banana. Racers in middle places will receive Items that are in the middle, such as a Mega Mushroom or a Spiny Shell.

In Balloon Battle or Shine Runners for Mario Kart DS, once a player is eliminated, they can still drive around, and the get Item Boxes themselves as Items. They can be thrown out in front of the Kart and even dragged behind it, and they work exactly like regular Item Boxes.

History

In Super Mario Kart, item boxes didn't technically exist- they were instead flat panels on the ground, and were called Question Blocks. If one is driven over, the item list would come up, and the items will quickly scroll vertically in a roulette-like fashion; the item it stops on is the item a player can use. Its essence stays throughout the whole series.

Mario Kart 64

The boxes are now 3D (due to the Nintendo 64's support for 3D graphics), are orange and blue in color, and are somewhat diamond shaped. It is impossible to tell from a distance if a Fake Item Box is really an Item Box due to their similar appearances, except for a barely noticeable upside-down question mark for the Fake Item Box. There are still question marks in the middle, and the boxes rotate. They must be driven through rather than over.

Mario Kart: Super Circuit

Item Boxes are now their signature box-shape. Their 3D model usage is carried over from the previous game, and they cycle through a rainbow palette. They rotate horizontally and make roughly the same sound when they are hit as they do in Mario Kart 64.

Mario Kart: Double Dash!!

Item Boxes went through a drastic redesign in this game. They are now cubes with little squares around them arranged in a checkerboard fashion, and the cubes rotate like they did in the previous games, but the question marks now have a part in the animation, as they bounce every time the cubes turn. Double Dash was also the first Mario Kart game to introduce Item Boxes that move independently around the track. Additionally, Double Item Boxes were added to this game, and obtaining them grant both the driver and the thrower items.

Mario Kart DS

Item Boxes are practically exactly the same as they are in Double Dash!!, bearing a cube design with a rainbow checkerboard pattern and a question mark in the middle. They appear as rainbow squares on the touch screen. Certain Missions require the player to break a certain number of Item Boxes in a given time. Unusually, on DK Pass, there is an Item Box located on a large hill that, regardless of place, will always give a Star, Triple Mushrooms, a single Mushroom, or very rarely, a Red Shell.

Mario Kart Wii

The item boxes aren't too different from the previous game, except that the square pattern was changed with a circle pattern on the cubes. The cubes are still animated, having the same animation as in Double Dash!!. However, they do reappear at a slower rate than its predecessors, and it is seen in Toad's Factory that the Item Boxes are made out of normal Brick Blocks.

Mario Kart 7

The Item Boxes reuse most of the same design as their Mario Kart Wii appearance. Unlike Mario Kart DS, they do not appear on the touch screen. While the Item Box in DK Pass remains the same, the Item Boxes in Luigi Raceway and Koopa Troopa Beach that previously gave only Spiny Shells would now give the normal item roulette or a Coin, respectively.

Mario Kart 8/Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

The Item Boxes now have a crystalline grey color and the question mark is larger. The triple items players get from these and the Crazy Eight item, are now activated automatically. The biggest differences between this iteration and Mario Kart 7's version is that players can no longer hold two items at once, and that items appear in the driver's hands. Unlike the previous Mario Kart titles, it has a new sound effect for both obtaining and the item roulette.

On certain tracks, the Item Box has different effects or behaviors. In Animal Crossing, there are Item Boxes held up by balloons after the glider ramp, which can obtained by gliding through the physical Box, or popping the balloon, and the item roulette plays a variant of the music when a profile is loaded or saved; the Item Boxes on Hyrule Circuit play the chest opening jingle when cycling the roulette, and the Item Boxes on Urchin Underpass play the stat slot sound from Splatoon when cycling the roulette.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe brings back the Double Item Boxes from Double Dash!!. Like in said game, players can hold up to two items at once, even if they aren't dragging one, though the second item is held in reserve while the first one is in use.

Gallery

Mario Kart DS
Racers
Light ToadPeachYoshiDry BonesShy Guy
Medium MarioLuigiDaisyWaluigi
Heavy WarioDonkey KongBowserR.O.B.
Vehicle parts
Karts Mario Standard MRB DasherShooting Star
Luigi Standard LGPoltergust 4000Streamliner
Peach Standard PCRoyaleLight Tripper
Yoshi Standard YSEgg 1Cucumber
Toad Standard TDMushmellow4-Wheel Cradle
Donkey Kong Standard DKRambi RiderWildlife
Wario Standard WRBruteDragonfly
Bowser Standard BWTyrantHurricane
Daisy Standard DSPower FlowerLight Dancer
Dry Bones Standard DBBanisherDry Bomber
Waluigi Standard WLGold MantisZipper
R.O.B. Standard RBROB-BLSROB-LGS
Shy Guy Standard SG
Tracks
Nitro cups Mushroom Cup Figure-8 CircuitYoshi FallsCheep Cheep BeachLuigi's Mansion
Flower Cup Desert HillsDelfino SquareWaluigi PinballShroom Ridge
Star Cup DK PassTick-Tock ClockMario CircuitAirship Fortress
Special Cup Wario StadiumPeach GardensBowser's CastleRainbow Road
Retro cups Shell Cup SNES Mario Circuit 1N64 Moo Moo FarmGBA Peach CircuitGCN Luigi Circuit
Banana Cup SNES Donut Plains 1N64 Frappe SnowlandGBA Bowser's CastleGCN Baby Park
Leaf Cup SNES Koopa Beach 2N64 Choco MountainGBA Luigi CircuitGCN Mushroom Bridge
Lightning Cup SNES Choco Island 2N64 Banshee BoardwalkGBA Sky GardenGCN Yoshi Circuit
Battle Courses Nintendo DSTwilight HousePalm ShoreTart TopN64 Block FortGCN Pipe Plaza
Miscellaneous
Hardware Nintendo DS
Software Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection
Objects Item Box Items BananaBlooperBob-ombBooBullet BillGreen ShellItem BoxLightningMushroomRed ShellSpiny ShellSuper Star
Other CoinDash PanelFake Item BoxFire ChainLaunch StarShine Sprite
Hazards Angry SunBig BullyBusBoss BassCarCargo TruckChain ChompCheep CheepChief ChillyEyerokFire SnakeGhostLavaMonty MoleMoo MooPiantaPiranha PlantPokeyRocky WrenchSwoopThwompWalking TreeWiggler
Techniques DriftHopMini-TurboRocket StartSlipstreamingTrickWheelie
Miscellaneous EmblemFinish LineStarting GridTrophy
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