The complete history of Mario Kart

Mario Kart Wii

Dinosaurs, obviously, know how to ride motorcycles.

Above: Dinosaurs, obviously, know how to ride motorcycles.

Image Credit: Wikipedia

System: Wii
Release date: April 27, 2008
Number of racers: 25

Mario Kart Wii brought a lot of new features to the series. Obviously, it took advantage of the system’s motion controls by enabling players to hold the Wii remote like a steering wheel. The game even came bundled with a peripheral in the shape of a steering wheel, which the Wii remote comfortably fit into. Still, players could opt for more traditional controls.

Mario Kart Wii also added motorcycles to the mix, and players could perform tricks in midair. It also had a massive roster of 25 characters, including newcomers Baby Peach, Baby Daisy, Rosalina, Funky Kong, and Dry Browser. You could also unlock your Mii avatar as a playable racer.

Mario Kart 7

Where we're going, we don't need roads.

Above: Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.

Image Credit: Video Games Blogger

System: Nintendo 3DS
Release date: Dec. 4, 2011
Number of racers: 17

Of course, Mario Kart 7 took advantage of the 3DS’s ability to display games in glasses-less 3D, but it also added gliders that enabled you to slowly descend to the ground after big jumps. You could also customize your karts by selecting different bodies, gliders, and wheels for your vehicle.

The roster went down to 17 characters, but Nintendo added new faces like Metal Mario, Honey Queen, Wiggler, and Lakitu. You could also play as your Mii avatar.

Mario Kart Arcade GP DX

Wait, they made three of these?

Above: Wait, they made three of these?

Image Credit: That Damn Pixel

System: Arcade
Release date: Winter 2013
Number of racers: 13

GP DX was the third arcade Mario Kart developed by Namco Bandai. It featured 13 racers, but some characters had different palette swaps. For instance, you could race as Mario in his fire-flower color scheme.

The only new racer to the series was Don-chan, the mascot for Namco’s Taiko: Drum Master series of rhythm games.

Mario Kart 8

Mario Kart 8

Above: The hell with gravity.

Image Credit: Nintendo

System: Wii U
Release date: May 30, 2014
Number of racers: 30

Coming out soon, Mario Kart 8 brings back the bikes from Mario Kart Wii and adds ATVs to the vehicle list. Courses also include gravity-defying elements, enabling racers to climb up walls and spiral upside down. Players can play on the TV or on the Wii U’s GamePad.

Mario Kart 8 features the largest roster yet. Players can pick between 30 racers, including all seven of the Koopalings. Just like in Mario Kart 7, you can also play as your Mii.

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keith maxx
keith maxx

That's an exhaustive list. It's nice to see the franchise's history, and I'm a bit embarrassed to say that I've only played the first title... to date. I'm going to correct that a bit with MK8 this weekend!

Michael Ajibade
Michael Ajibade

Great article.  I have played the second arcade release of Mario Kart via emulation.  I want to experience it in an actual arcade.

Jonny Good
Jonny Good

Super Mario Kart could support up to 4 people. I used to have sleepovers with 2 or 3 of my friends and we'd play all night on the gigantic 24" TV! Oh, those were the days.

Greg Wampler
Greg Wampler

@Jonny Good That's's only a 2-player game. Even with the multitap that could allow 5 players still wouldn't work as there is no 3 to 5 player mode in the game....

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