Super Mario Kart (styled as SUPER MARIOKART and abbreviated to SMK) is the very first video game in the Mario Kart series, made for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in September 1992. Later it was pre-installed onto the Super NES Classic Edition in September 2017, 25 years after its original release. Players race go-karts as one of eight characters from the Super Mario series and aim for the gold.
Super Mario Kart can be played by one or two players. All gameplay uses a forced split-screen view. In single-player mode, the top part of the screen displays the course in behind-kart view, while the bottom half of the screen can either display a rear-view mirror perspective, or an overhead view of the whole track, displaying where all the racers are at the moment. In multiplayer, the bottom screen is assigned to the second player's view.
- - Accelerate, Rocket Start
- - Use items, stop item roulette
- - Pause/Select
- - Switch view
- - Steer/Navigate menu
- - Switch view
- - Brake
- /: Drift/jump
Single Player Modes
The first single-player mode is Mario GP (later known as Grand Prix), in which one player races seven computer-controlled drivers. Engine classes of 50cc, 100cc, and 150cc are available, but 150cc must be unlocked by beating the game in 100cc difficulty. Larger engines result in faster vehicles and as such a greater level of difficulty. There are four cups to select: the Mushroom Cup, the Flower Cup, the Star Cup, and the Special Cup. The Special Cup must be unlocked by winning gold in the other three Cups, in 100cc mode. Each cup consists of five tracks, and the player must finish the race in fourth place or better to advance to the next track. Racers ranked fifth to last are "RANKED OUT" and are forced to either use a continue to try again if applicable (Thus so losing a kart), or retire and end the game. All tracks are five laps long. If the player presses & at the same time, the selected character will be small until the player presses the buttons together again.
Mario GP scoring process
In order to win the cup, the player must have the highest total number of points at the end of the fifth track of the cup. Points are awarded at the end of each track, as follows :
- 9 points,
- 6 points,
- 3 points,
- 1 point.
Ending the cup as 1st to 3rd gives the player the gold, silver or bronze cup respectively while ending in 4th do not award any cup. The character is shown during the award ceremony near the podium, crying while the first three CPU racers celebrate and rejoice, with a special theme played and a text displayed on-screen. No cup is awarded in this case, and therefore the player must restart the entire cup, in hopes of achieving a better performance.
Time Trial mode has the player race through one track of his/her own choice, with the racer of its choice, in an attempt to set a record for the best lap or overall course time. Due to the SNES's hardware limitations, the times recorded are deleted as soon the console is turned off. All items are taken out in this mode, and so the times achieved rely solely on driving skills. If the driving session is perfect (no falling, spin out or offroad), the ghost can eventually reappear on following sessions, allowing the player to further improve his/her driving skills.
Mario GP mode plays just like the single-player version, but with one less computer-controlled driver. In order to proceed to the next track, only one player must rank in the top four. The first player will receive a Game Over if they rank out three times, and the other player continues alone.
Match Race mode (later known as VS. Mode), pits the two players in a one-on-one race on any track.
In Battle Mode, two players choose from four battle arenas specially designed for Battle Mode and try to pop the three balloons surrounding the other player (representing their lives) by hitting them with items such as Koopa shells or banana peels. The last player with at least one balloon wins.
The eight available drivers can be classified by four attributes: top speed, steering, strength, and acceleration. The eight characters are grouped in pairs, each pair sharing the same stats and having the same bonus to a particular attribute. Here are the racers :
The main character of the Mario series, and has balanced stats. As an AI opponent, he can use an unlimited number of stars.
Both him and Luigi are good for beginners.
|Mario's brother and secondary protagonist in most games; like Mario, he has balanced stats. Luigi also has an unlimited star supply when he's controlled by the AI.||The Bros.|
The princess of the Mushroom Kingdom, whom Mario ventures to save from Bowser, Peach has the best acceleration stats along with Yoshi, but smallest top speed overall. When controlled by the AI, she uses an unlimited number of poison mushrooms, which make the player's drivers shrink.
Peach and Yoshi are perfect for beginners and players with offroad habits.
|The Dino & The Princess|
|Trusty sidekick of the Mario series, Toad's driving specialty is his excellent handling. As with Peach when controlled by the AI, Toad hurls an unlimited amount of poisonous mushrooms.||The Small Guys|
|Mario's trusted pal who gives Mario a ride through Dinosaur Land, and eats enemies with his long tongue. His acceleration is matched only by Peach. When controlled by the AI, Yoshi hurls an unlimited number of eggs on the track.||The Dino & The Princess|
|The main antagonist of the Mario series who commonly kidnaps Peach. Heaviest driver and the highest top speed of the game: Bowser and Donkey Kong Jr. are the perfect choice for the SMK experts, and most of the world time trial records are achieved with them. As an AI character, Bowser spits fireballs on the track without any limit.||The Showdown|
|Son of the original Donkey Kong (now known as Cranky Kong) and protagonist of the game "Donkey Kong Jr.", this is his only Mario Kart appearance. He was replaced by his own son (also named Donkey Kong) in all later titles. His stats match Bowser's. As an AI character, he can spit banana skins on the track without limits.||The Showdown|
|One of Bowser's minions who attempts to halt Mario on his quests. The Koopa Troopa is similar to Toad in that his handling ability is among the best in the game. When placed as an AI character, he will attempt to attack the player with an unlimited number of green shells.||The Small Guys|
Super Mario Kart features a total of 20 race tracks, divided into four cups of five each. Tracks with numbers are part of a series, which means that all tracks with the same name but different numbers are set in the same universe, and as such share the same name, background, track elements, enemies, obstacles and music theme. This was due to the SNES hardware limitations of the time, that did not allow the original Mario Kart game from having all-distinctive courses. The game could only handle eight different universes, and Rainbow Road is the only one that has an entire universe for its own, having an exclusive background, enemies (Rainbow Thwomps), name and theme song. In Mario Kart DS and so on, the original console abbreviation (SNES) is put before the track name (ex. SNES Donut Plains 3). In later games after this one, cups only have four courses instead of five.
|Mushroom Cup||Flower Cup||Star Cup||Special Cup|
Mario Circuit 1
also in Mario Kart DS and Mario Kart Tour
Choco Island 1
Koopa Beach 1
Donut Plains 3
also in Mario Kart 8
Donut Plains 1
also in Mario Kart DS
Ghost Valley 2
also in Mario Kart Wii
Choco Island 2
also in Mario Kart DS and Mario Kart Tour
Koopa Beach 2
also in Mario Kart DS
Donut Plains 2
Vanilla Lake 1also in Mario Kart Tour
Ghost Valley 3
Bowser Castle 1
Bowser Castle 2
Bowser Castle 3
Vanilla Lake 2
Mario Circuit 2
also in Mario Kart 7 and Mario Kart Tour
Mario Circuit 3
also in Mario Kart Wii and Mario Kart Tour
Mario Circuit 4
also in Mario Kart 7 and Mario Kart Tour
Super Mario Kart has its own Battle Mode dedicated stages to battle on. These aren't circuits, but battle arenas instead.
Battle Course 1
also in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Battle Course 2
Battle Course 3
Battle Course 4
also in Mario Kart Wii
Like all the other Mario Kart games, Super Mario Kart has its own Time Trial World Records. Here is a list of the current times for each course.
NTSC version (Japan, North America, Brazil, ...)
For an up-to-date version and for 1-lap records, see the official NTSC world records page
|Mario Circuit 1||0'55"97||Sami Cetin||11-23-2014|
|Donut Plains 1||1'08"54||Guillaume Leviach||10-19-2014|
|Ghost Valley 1||0'59"22||Oliver Segarra Gonzalez||05-01-2011|
|Bowser Castle 1||1'25"37||Guillaume Leviach||08-24-2014|
|Mario Circuit 2||1'01"90||Florent Lecoanet||04-13-2014|
|Choco Island 1||0'52"95||Karel van Duijvenboden
Oliver Segarra Gonzalez
|Ghost Valley 2||0'57"86||Guillaume Leviach||03-23-2014|
|Donut Plains 2||1'22"78||Guillaume Leviach||01-19-2014|
|Bowser Castle 2||1'37"69||Guillaume Leviach||10-19-2014|
|Mario Circuit 3||1'24"67||Oliver Segarra Gonzalez
|Koopa Beach 1||0'45"76||Tyler Worley||03-29-2015|
|Choco Island 2||1'02"61||Guillaume Leviach||01-19-2014|
|Vanilla Lake 1||0'47"60||Guillaume Leviach||03-22-2015|
|Bowser Castle 3||1'26"66||Karel van Duijvenboden||09-20-2009|
|Mario Circuit 4||1'29"90||Guillaume Leviach||01-26-2014|
|Donut Plains 3||1'13"43||Guillaume Leviach||03-30-2014|
|Koopa Beach 2||0'52"80||Guillaume Leviach||12-11-2011|
|Ghost Valley 3||1'12"27||Sami Cetin||05-04-2014|
|Vanilla Lake 2||0'46"21||
Ha Nyan Guillaume Leviach
|Rainbow Road||1'23"74||Guillaume Leviach||11-09-2014|
PAL version (Europe, ...)
For an up-to-date version and for 1-lap records, see the official PAL world records page
|Mario Circuit 1||0'57"90||Sami Cetin||12-29-2013|
|Donut Plains 1||1'10"36||Karel van Duijvenboden||03-21-2010|
|Ghost Valley 1||1'01"35||Guillaume Leviach||12-08-2013|
|Bowser Castle 1||1'27"85||Guillaume Leviach
|Mario Circuit 2||1'07"85||Guillaume Leviach||12-15-2013|
|Choco Island 1||0'55"20||Karel van Duijvenboden||07-29-2007|
|Ghost Valley 2||1'00"49||Guillaume Leviach||12-08-2013|
|Donut Plains 2||1'25"39||Aron Langerak||09-20-2015|
|Bowser Castle 2||1'40"73||Guillaume Leviach||03-23-2014|
|Mario Circuit 3||1'26"98||Sami Cetin||11-20-2011|
|Koopa Beach 1||0'47"79||Aron Langerak||03-22-2015|
|Choco Island 2||1'04"75||Florent Lecoanet||08-09-2009|
|Vanilla Lake 1||0'48"95||Florent Lecoanet||01-17-2010|
|Bowser Castle 3||1'29"25||Guillaume Leviach
Karel van Duijvenboden
|Mario Circuit 4||1'32"65||Guillaume Leviach||07-28-2013|
|Donut Plains 3||1'15"54||Florent Lecoanet||10-10-2014|
|Koopa Beach 2||0'54"84||Guillaume Leviach||06-04-2012|
|Ghost Valley 3||1'14"66||Sami Cetin||05-08-2011|
|Vanilla Lake 2||0'48"09||Guillaume Leviach||07-07-2013|
|Rainbow Road||1'26"64||Sami Cetin||02-19-2012|
|Images||Item Names||Functions||Does Not Appear In|
Can be dropped on the track, or thrown in front of the driver. Any racers who run into it will spin out (unless using a Star or Boo). It can also be dragged behind the player to block Koopa shells coming from behind.
|Coin||These Coins are found on track and in item boxes. They slightly increase the speed of a kart and give you a Coin.||Battle Mode|
|Feather||Allows the player to make a big jump, and provides it the ability to perform several shortcuts by jumping over walls or empty gaps.||Nothing|
|Boo||This item allows a racer to turn invisible temporarily and steal an opposing player's item.||Mario GP|
|Green Shell||This Koopa shell can be thrown either forwards or backward at other racers and makes them spin out if hit.||Nothing|
|Red Shell||Improvement of the Green Shell, this one homes in on the player directly ahead.||Nothing|
|Thunderbolt||Best and rarest item in the game, it shrinks every other player on the track. When shrunk, racers are vulnerable and can be crushed by others. Racers return to normal at the order of ranking they had when the lightning struck, reversed.||Battle Mode|
|Mushroom||Gives the player a short, single-speed boost similar to zippers, that can be used to cut through terrain, gain seconds, or be used upon jump bars for very big jumps.||Nothing|
|Star||As in every Mario game, stars make players temporarily invincible. They can't be harmed or slowed down in any way except falling, run faster and make others spin out on contact.||Nothing|
Items are either offensive or supportive and are picked up when driving over a yellow "?" tile sitting on the track. The probabilities of receiving a particular item are dependent on the place the player is in, with more powerful items such as Stars and Thunderbolts given when the player is further back.
The exception to this being the CPU players, who all have an unlimited amount of a certain item, such as Princess Toadstool and Toad's Poison Mushrooms, Mario and Luigi's infinite stars or Bowser's Fireballs.
- For this subject's image gallery, see Gallery:Super Mario Kart.
Executive Producer : Hiroshi Yamauchi
Producer : Shigeru Miyamoto
Programmers : Masato Kimura, Hajime Yajima, Kenji Yamamoto
C.G. Designers : Tadashi Sugiyama, Naoki Mori
Sound Composers : Soyo Oka, Taro Bando
Illustrators : Yoichi Kotabe, Mie Yoshimura, Yoshiaki Koizumi
Manual Editor : Atsushi Tejima
Directors : Tadashi Sugiyama, Hidequi Konno
- This is the only game in the Mario Kart series that has a two-player maximum for multiplayer. Later games would allow up to four players (or eight) to play at the same time.
- This game did not feature any unlockables other than the 150cc engine class and the Special Cup for the 100cc and 150cc classes.
- In the Western manuals, the vehicle known as a kart was incorrectly spelled with a "C" when talking about the number of remaining karts which can decrease by one by restarting a race after giving up or placing 5th-8th.
- In Mario Kart: Super Circuit all the tracks from Super Mario Kart can be unlocked. However they are known as "Extra Tracks" and the gameplay is exactly the same as it normally is in Super Circuit. (The characters, items and graphics are still the same)
- This is the only Mario Kart game on which cups have five courses instead of four. This excludes the Extra Cups in Mario Kart: Super Circuit.
- This is the only official Mario Kart game where Donkey Kong and Wario do not appear as playable characters as Wario does not appear until he is introduced in Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, and this is also the one and only official Mario Kart game in which Donkey Kong Jr. is a playable character. The eponymous game having been a commercial and critical failure, the character was scrapped in future games, in favour of his much more popular "senior" counterpart.
- The Poison Mushroom that is used only by CPU-controlled Toadstool and Toad is not a true Poison Mushroom in most cases. Unlike other games, it shrinks the driver who hits it while at normal size, but enlarges the driver back to his/her normal size when small. It takes on more of the appearance of a Golden Mushroom with red spots than an actual Poison Mushroom seen in Super Mario Bros : The Lost Levels (Japanese Super Mario bros. 2), which is indigo and bears a skull.
- The 3D-like textures featured in the game (Mode 7 texture mapping) were an advanced process in the time, and as such the game cartridges had superior quality hardware to cope with the game's needs.
- Special Items deployed by CPU characters cannot damage other CPU racers. Whenever they are about to collide with them, they simply jump as if they had a Feather. However, sometimes they simply can't avoid them, and they get hit anyway.
- Because of the game storage limitations, both Mario and Luigi share the same body textures, with a simple color palette swap for defining the two characters, which is commonly used in the NES games. Only their faces have distinct tiles.
- The original Japanese version of the game features Peach and Bowser drinking from a champagne bottle on the podium at the end of the cups, should they win. Due to the alcohol-consumption policies running at the time in the western world, this ending was removed in both American & European versions of the game, and replaced by Peach throwing the bottle in the air, and Bowser just holding the bottle.