Super Mario Kart

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
"When racing becomes an adventure!"

Super Mario Kart is a 1992 Racing Game for the Super NES that inspired the Mario Kart series and, with it, a whole slew of Wacky Racing imitators.

Due to technological limits, older driving games felt little like racing on a track and more like watching the track twist below you as other racers materialized or vanished at whim. In 1990, F-Zero changed everything with the Super Nintendo's Mode 7 hardware, finally creating a realistic system with a 3D track and real racers.

But Super Mario Kart was the game that perfected Mode 7 into a fast, wacky, and thrilling challenge. Your racer must navigate the track--shown in the bottom split-screen--rife with obstacles such as grass, pipes, oil slicks, fish, and many an outright Bottomless Pit. Not to mention the other racers--and their obstacles. Yes, both you and your opponents may pick up items to throw in each others' path; this is one of the many kart racing tropes Super Mario Kart started.

Tropes used in Super Mario Kart include:
  • Always Night: The Ghost Valley tracks.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: The psychedelic Rainbow Road, Super Mario Kart's final track.
  • Banana Peel: This mainstay item of the Mario Kart series started here.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: The Ghost Valley tracks, though the Boos just float in the background and don't interact with the racers.
  • Bottomless Pits: In the Ghost Valley tracks and Rainbow Road. Lakitu will fish racers who fall down for the price of two coins.
  • Car Fu: Heavier karts can bully lighter ones, especially if one racer has been shrunk or is using a Star.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Perhaps one of the worst offenders in the series, if not the worst. Every character has a specific item they can never run out of (Yoshi has eggs, Koopa has shells, Donkey Kong Jr. has bananas, etc.). To top it all off, they can leap items, speed back into their designated spot (even if they make ahead of theirs), and deflect items at will.
    • They don't follow the same rules as items go; each enemy racer can use only two items (a "signature" item such as Mario's star or Toad's poison mushroom, plus the Feather for avoiding obstacles), but they needn't run over an item box to use them.
  • First Installment Weirdness: Despite the claims of Strictly Formula regarding the rest of the series, Super was a somewhat different beast compared to the formula that 64 would create; AI karts don't use item box power-ups and have their own signature abilities that they can use at will, the deck is nowhere near as stacked against you if you're ahead, there's a coin = speed boost mechanic that wouldn't be touched upon again until Super Circuit and 7, and the Blue Shell didn't exist (which the European VC release trailer mercilessly lampshades). Also there are twenty tracks with five laps rather than sixteen tracks with three laps.
    • The steering mechanics in this game are crippled/slippery/oversensitive and every player-controlled kart will slide all over the place due to having little to no sense of traction. Requiring very delicate input just to stay on the road and not end up hitting the walls or falling off.
      • The crippled/slippery/oversensitive steering mechanics were carried over to Mario Kart: Super Circuit.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: In the Japanese version of Super Mario Kart, Bowser and Peach will drink their bottle of champagne if they get First Place Gold. This was censored out in the International versions.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: The Trope Namer.
  • Gravity Barrier: The Ghost Valley tracks and Rainbow Road.
  • Green Hill Zone: Mario Circuit.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: In the original SNES game.
  • Jack of All Stats: Mario and Luigi.
  • Lethal Lava Land: The Bowser Castle tracks.
  • Mighty Glacier: Bowser and Donkey Kong Jr.
    • One could consider these two a subversion. Believe it or not, they actually had the highest top speed out of all the characters in the game, despite their horrid acceleration. (for the lighter characters, the inverse was true: they had great acceleration but lower top speeds).
  • Nintendo Hard: Especially the Special Cup on 150cc.
  • The Rival: Depending on who the player drives as, there will be certain characters that perform better and try their best to annoy the player. The rival will always be the same for each character, and that rival will do their best to not let you win. As shown in the page picture above, pick Koopa Troopa and the CPU giving you the most trouble will be Luigi, but pick Luigi and Yoshi will suddently give you the most grief, and so on.
  • Rubber Band AI: Pretty severe, and especially occurs if a computer that has earned many points in the GP falls behind.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: By pressing Y+A on the character select, you can shrink your racer. This slows you down and makes you vulnerable to being crushed if a computer so much as touches you.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The Vanilla Lake tracks.
  • Wacky Racing