In the Mario Kart Arcade series, the Porcupuffer, known in the earlier two titles as the Needle Bomb (針爆弾), is an Item that can be used right at the start of the first two games and can be unlocked for the third. Their appearance varies and usage varies a little throughout the series, but their common goal of bursting tires remains the same.
Known in these two games as the Needle Bomb, the player can pick up these from an Item Hexagon. Once the driver has been horizontally following an enemy racer for a few seconds, the target will turn red, meaning it's all good to fire. Once an opponent is hit, their two right tires explode, making them lose control and speed. Unlike many Items found in Mario Kart Arcade GP and Mario Kart Arcade GP 2, the Needle Bomb will linger on the course until someone hits it.
Originally red with much longer spikes, the Needle Bomb, now referred to its common name, the Porcupuffer, takes on the standardized purple-ish, yellow-spiked look. It also takes on a new method of attack; the Porcupuffer now can be placed BEHIND the user's vehicle to cause damage from behind.(However, the puffer fish cannot be thrown forward anymore...)
Protectionkart like they normally can in main-series Mario Kart there's just a few limited options to choose from... one is to have a Starman, Absorbing Mushroom, or other invincible Item on hand, and the other strategy is to simply be fast enough to keep away from any chance of being hit by it.
As a place-behind Item in Mario Kart Arcade GP DX, the Porcupuffer isn't as much of a threat as in the previous two games. Simply remember to not tailgate and stay out of the middle of the track. Like before, a Shield or Star will neutralize the Porcupuffer immediately.
- In Super Mario World, their first appearance, they were spelled as "Porcu-Puffer".
- Porcupuffers are sometimes mistaken for Boss Bass, Big Berthas, and Cheep Chomps. The difference is that these types of Cheep Cheep try to EAT Mario/Luigi, while the Needle Bomb relies on its melee spikes.
- The Japanese name for blowfish, "Fugu" (ふぐ), combined with the words for ten thousand years, "man'nen" (万年), gives the name "Fuguman'nen" (フグマンネン), the 日本語 name for the Porcupuffer.
- A triple variant of the Porcupuffer can be unlocked in Mario Kart Arcade GP DX, the Triple Porcupuffer.