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Retro Fire

Written: 12.30.12
Acquired: 4.9.06
Status: Cart only
Price: Trade via Halloween 4 Limited Tin Edition

Pub: NintendoSept. '92
Dev: Nintendo4 MEGS

Man, SUPER MARIO KART. Where do I start? The SNES is chock full of *AWESOME* games; my list of memories with this system run long and deep. This game is cemented in both categories for me. It's not only one of the very best, but it also gave me and my gaming buds so many rich memories. It was a brilliant idea... take Mario and his chums, and throw them in a crazy, zany go-kart world. It was instant Nintendo magic. And the rest, as they say, is history. Lightning in a bottle!
Damn, can you believe Super Mario Kart is now 20 years old?

                                                                           THE NIGHT *IT* CAME BACK HOME

You might have noticed above that I acquired Super Mario Kart by way of trade. It was for
a copy of a Limited Collector Tin Edition of Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers. Only 40,000 copies were distributed. My girlfriend at the time bought this for me in 2004. Two years later, I turned it around for Super Mario Kart, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time, Streets of Rage and Streets of Rage 2. At the time, the tin edition was going for roughly $25 to $30 on eBay. Goes to show you how great the retro gaming market still was back in early-mid 2006. Struck the deal with a nice guy off the Digitpress forums. While I'm a huge fan of the Halloween franchise, I couldn't pass up on the golden opportunity to get four of my childhood favorites in one fell swoop. It was one of the greatest swaps of my life. In fact, maybe the second best ever. What was my best trade?

                                                                   The best trade of my life was... well, read on...

Thanks for the steal of a swap, Mikey!  Uh, we *ARE* cool, right?

                                                MY BROTHER AND ME: NEW KINGS ON THE BLOCK

It was 20 years ago that my brother and I made the best trade of our gaming lives. Exchanging Death Duel for Super Mario Kart effectively made us kings on the block. For you see, all the neighborhood kids came flocking to our place weekend after weekend, month after month. Being the only ones who owned the game, our quaint little home had quite literally morphed into a madhouse. We had friends coming and going nonstop. I still can vividly recall hearing the incessant chime of our doorbell on a lazy Sunday morning as I would be lying in bed trying to enjoy my sleep. No such chance, as by 8:45 AM every Sunday, on the dot, Ben and our other friends were banging down our door. Under normal circumstances... you might think I'd be annoyed at the disturbance. But, being Super Mario Kart, hey, sleep is overrated. Why snooze when you can experience the sheer joy of knocking out your friend senseless with a well-aimed green shell?  Or shrinking them down to size before running them over?  Such great memories. While it lasted, it was nice to be KING!


My mom and I used to go shopping all the time. I always hit the same ole five stores: Suncoast, Kay Bee Toys, Walden Books, some times Sam Goody, and of course, the classic SOFTWARE ETC.

Now rarely did she buy me anything, but it was fun enough thumbing through books, EGM mags and drooling at the various awesome action figures

BRIGHTLAND MALL: a childhood classic and now relic... *sniff*

Being December and all, Santa was there on hand. Taking pictures, kissing babies and shaking little hands. At nine and a half years old now, I was too old for that stuff, but not old enough to not still believe in the magic of Christmas, as hokey as that may sound to the rest of us. So instead of sitting on Santa's lap, I sat back from afar... and admired what had been, and what once was

                                                 That little blond kid was me just a year or two ago...

My mom came over and asked if I wanted to meet the mall Santa, but I told her I was too old. She looked at the kids rushing up to Santa just twenty feet away from us, lost in her thoughts. Somewhere in her aging face I saw her loosen up, as if she suddenly missed the days when I was that young and scampering around. Perhaps it was the right kind of Christmas magic I'd need for what was about to transpire...

There it was, in big and bold blue letters. I always made it a point to hit up SOFTWARE ETC. every time we visited the mall, but of course I could only DREAM of my mom complying to buy me a video game. Still, like a moth to flame, those bold blue letters always sucked me in. I stood there that evening in sheer awe of the endless shelves of SNES goodies, games in which I could only dream of owning. And then, there it was. High on one shelf I saw it, like a beacon of light. KING OF THE MONSTERS for the Super Nintendo! I nearly had an accident in my pants, recalling to myself how it was just ONE year ago that I'd beaten the arcade and thought to myself, "Man, I can't wait for this to come home!" And now, it finally has. Only one problem, of course. How can
I convince Mom to buy it? Standing there, staring at the pristine shiny King of the Monsters box, my mind raced through everything I could think of in order to weigh the odds in my favor

I didn't have very long to think...

"C'mon honey, we gotta go back home now,"
my mom interrupted my train of thought


"What is it?"

"That..." I pointed to the King of the Monsters box sitting on the top shelf.

OK, so much for poetic language and convincing arguments

My mom then gave me the look. Uh oh. This task was going to be about as easy as Quantum Physics... "Honey, that's fifty-five dollars," she started

"No, it's fifty-four ninety-nine!"  I quickly countered. HA!  I had her -- ahhh, the bliss of being nine...               The box sat there high on the shelf like a beacon of light

"Well actually with tax it's about sixty," she corrected

Well DAMN. Talk about backfiring!

And then, out of nowhere, it hit me. My trump card. I explained to her how it was my favorite
game, how I HAD to have it, and how much joy it would bring Kevin and me. And that if she bought it, it would be my Christmas gift AND my Birthday's as well!  Yes, I wanted it BAD

My mom grabbed the box and examined it. "Hey, isn't this the game you played all night last
year at Chuck E. Cheese's?  Is this the same one?"

                                      ***FLASHBACK TO DECEMBER 1991***

I'll never forget December of '91. My parents took me and my bro to our favorite place, Chuck E. Cheese's, to celebrate the end of the year. Now my mother in particular was rather strict and whatnot, so these rare opportunities where she allowed us to binge on our desires were not taken for granted!  They ordered two large pizzas and got Kevin and me 50 tokens!  I knew where I was gonna be for the rest of that night... on the King of the Monsters cab determined to beat it! It was ONE EPIC NIGHT!
More than an hour and 25+ quarters later, Rocky rose to the top!

                                         ***BACK TO DECEMBER 1992***

I nodded furiously and watched as my mom bit her lower lip, contemplating what to do. Finally, after what seemed like forever, she took the game to the counter. I stood there as they swiped her credit card, and I just couldn't believe it. It was the first video game she ever bought for me. Outside I could hear the chattering of youngsters and the HO-HO-HO's of the Mall Santa. The magic of Christmas is still very much alive and well, I told myself with a hearty grin. My bro and
I played King of the Monsters as soon as I got home. It turned out to be a ho-hum translation...

But the funny thing is, even as a kid I knew it was a butchered port, and that the game was average at best, but somehow,
I still loved it. It still played like the arcade game, the cities were still fun to trash, and it was still King of the Monsters in my living room. A couple days after my mom bought the game, I was playing it one night with my brother when she urged us to turn the game off so we could drive downtown to see the fancy Christmas lights. It was a basic tradition in my family that every Yuletide we do so. Again, it's funny, I knew the port wasn't very good, but I still couldn't help but love it in a strange way. I loved the lights, but that year my parents had to pry me away from my Super Nintendo.
I guess as my brother and I got older and older, the more my mom fought to keep certain traditions alive. Like the night she bought me the game, how she urged me to go sit on Santa's lap. I guess that's something I'll find out for
myself one of these days...

                                             Downtown Christmas was a tradition in my family growing up

Christmas '92 proved to be one for the record books, indeed. In addition to my mom buying me King of the Monsters, that year our uncle had bought for me and my bro DEATH DUEL. I remember the ad from EGM. It looked cool and all, but honestly, my brother and I were a bit disappointed. Of all the games on our wish list, DEATH DUEL certainly wasn't in the top 20. We tried not to complain though, as our mom always taught us to be grateful, and that any gift was better than none at all. Still, Kevin and I went home that night and we talked about how awesome it would have been had Death Duel magically been Super Mario Kart instead, which topped our wish list. It was rare that my bro and I both wanted the same game, as he was a "mainstream" guy and I was the one who always loved and supported the more obscure or underdog titles. However, Super Mario Kart transcended all of that -- even I wanted it, y'see

And then, as we were talking, a lightbulb popped up over our heads. We recalled the ad for Death Duel in EGM. We flipped to it and there it was. Not suggested for children under 14. I was only nine, and my bro was 11. We wouldn't be able to play Death Duel for another three years, well, my bro anyhow. It was five for me! Not that we can't break rules, but when the rules benefit you, why not follow?  *wink*

                                                       Good thing my brother wasn't already 14!

My mom then called up our uncle and asked him if he kept a receipt. Luckily, he kept it, and we hadn't opened the game yet. So later that week my mom took me and Kevin to the game shop to exchange Death Duel for Super Mario Kart. I remember thinking that it was the greatest trade in the history of mankind. Ah, such is the sheer vibrant innocence of youth. I still laugh thinking about this Christmas memory; who knew an ad could bring about such a dramatic turn of events and turn a Christmas completely around?  I'm sure we would have been OK with playing Death Duel, but one thing's for sure -- it definitely wasn't no Super Mario Kart!  I can still recall vividly how, just about 20 years ago to the day, my brother and I pointed frantically to the Super Mario Kart box on the top shelf when my mom asked us which game we wanted to replace Death Duel with. It was a unanimous decision, and the greatest trade in video gaming history. I'll never forget that 10 minute car ride home. For the first time ever, my brother and I didn't have any backseat verbal splats. We were both preoccupied with studying the back of the box until we got back home. We wasted no time ripping into it, and the rest is history. We never looked back...

My bro and I played the crap outta Super Mario Kart that Christmas season. We played it well into 1993, too. It was such a fun and awesome game. My favorite character was Yoshi. My brother loved using Koopa. One of our friends, Ben, his guy was Bowser or Donkey Kong Jr. Ben liked to push us around that's why. We were the only kids in the neighborhood who had Super Mario Kart, so you can better believe our neighborhood friends were quite literally banging down our door to have a little taste of go-kart action. I'm not even exaggerating. I remember many Sunday mornings where the sound of the doorbell would wake us up at 8:45 AM!  Kevin and I became kings of our block, all thanks to SMK
                                                                           Few two player games are as compelling!

What a great Christmas season '92 proved to be. First it was King of the Monsters -- a dear arcade favorite of mine and the FIRST game I ever bought (err... at least the first game I managed to get my mom to buy for me). As if that wasn't enough, my bro and I traded in Death Duel for Super Mario Kart and became the *KINGS* of our neighborhood for a solid month or four. Yes indeed, Christmas of 1992 turned out to be a wonderful season. We were busy stomping cities and firing red shells at one another. What a perfect time it was to be a carefree kid  ^_^

Super Mario Kart: Champion of the ages!

                                      The game that along with Street Fighter II defined the SNES in '92

Super Mario Kart
gave me and my bro serious elite status for at least a solid three, four months. From late December 1992 to April 1993-ish, we had
our local friends literally banging down our door

Owning Super Mario Kart made my brother and me ROCK STARS

                                                                  THE GO KART CONTENDERS

There are a total of eight racers, but really four different types, as they come in pairs in terms of strengths and of course, weaknesses. Here's a look at the competition

                                           I loved how it gave you the ability to cancel. How thoughtful

Mario takes a break from stomping goombas, but this is hardly R&R! He is sort of a jack of all trade, master of none type. He doesn't have the highest top speed and his acceleration is only average, but he doesn't have any glaring flaws, either. Also, because of his build, he's able to hold his own when bumped by Bowser or Donkey Kong

The man who lives in the shadow of Mario. I always liked Luigi, because I always enjoyed cheering for the underdogs, or those characters who never really got the spotlight. He has the same abilities as Mario for all intents and purposes, although he seems to not be as 'squirrelly' coming out of tight corners as Mario is. Makes sense...

The damsel in distress is out to get hers!  She's top of the line when it comes to acceleration, but only average when it comes to top speed. Look at those demon-possessed eyes. What did Mario ever see in her? Ah, how love blinds...

Here's my personal fave from way back in the day. C'mon, a dinosaur in a go-kart? You just can't beat that. The beauty and the beast share the same qualities and both are especially ideal for Donut Plains and the battle mode, but they rather stink on Vanilla Lake

For the first time ever,
you could control one
of gaming's most iconic villains. Using a special customized XXL go-kart, Bowser is as nasty as he ever was. Because of his enormous size, he's slow to accelerate but once he gets going, there's *NO* stopping that IMMENSE momentum... unless you bump into a barrier. Then it's back to square one, but as far as top speed is concerned, Bowser's king

My friend's favorite, because Donkey can shove the competition aside, and the only one who can withstand the impact of Bowser. Both struggle with Donut Plains and battle mode, but excel at Koopa Beach 1 and 2

This guy was my bro's choice back in the day. What he lacks in top speed he makes up for greatly in the realm of control. Koopa corners *extremely well,* which means you can stay on the gas longer than most other racers

Toad is similar to Koopa but rumor has it Toad has the SLIGHT edge in terms of acceleration (being just a hair better... again, just a rumor). Both of them are cornering champs and perform well on Choco Island. But look out for Bowser or Donkey Kong Jr.!


The mushroom is a classic, basic and useful card to have in your hand. When you're at the beginning of a long straight path, or right before a super jump bit, press A to give yourself a short and sudden burst of speed. Remember using this to scream ¼ across the tracks of Ghost Valley 1, or Mario Circuit 2?  ^_^

Ah, the green shell. The shell for real men, as it were. This simply shoots out straight, so that means you have to aim it with skill. Of course, some luck factors in as well, but the green shell is largely based on positioning and skill. If you misfire, it will ricochet off walls until it finds a victim. Don't get in its way; green doesn't discriminate. Also, you can drop it behind ya

For less skill but a much higher rate of success, the homing red shell will quickly stir up words not quite appropriate for this site. On a rare occasion, you can avoid the red shell, like when you just barely power slide around a corner, but the wise and discerning player will only fire this shot when their target is right there for the taking. A banana peel or green shell can nullify...

Speaking of the banana peel, here it is. It's not the best offensive tool in the game, but it can be surprisingly effective when you're neck and neck with the competition. You can also launch a banana peel ahead of you, which is a fun sight to behold, but rarely effective. The best thing about
the banana peel is not its offensive capabilities, but rather its defensive potential; its ability to serve as a defensive buffer to a shell is priceless

Although it doesn't enjoy the glamor among Mario Kart fans as the vaunted lightning bolt does, the Star has always been my favorite. It's a combination
of various powers: your speed is increased, you're immune to track obstacles
and enemy weapons, but best of all, anyone you touch will instantly spin out. However, don't fall into water, lava, or off an edge, as you will lose your powers

Here it is, the game's most infamous and adored power-up. The fact that it's so rare only increases its legend. Releasing the lightning bolt affects
all seven competitors, shrinking 'em down which decreases their speed, but best of all, it allows you an opportunity to sadistically crush (literally) the competition. No doubt about it... the lightning bolt's a game changer!

The coin is often viewed as the worst item of the lot, but it's not without some benefits. Definitely a no-brainer type of item though, since as soon as you get
it, you should press 'A' to use it. It will give you two coins to your count. Coins
of course affect your overall top speed, with 10 being the max. So while it may
not be as appealing as the rest, it's a Godsend when you have few or no coins

Mr. Ghost is only available in Battle Mode, sadly. I wish it was available in the two player GP mode as well, but I guess one can't have it all. When employed, the ghost snatches your friend's item and makes you and your kart "invisible." When stealing a red shell or a star in particular, it causes the other person to erupt in a fit of rage, which is probably at least half the fun of the battle mode ;)

The feather allows you to make one great leap of faith. Particularly handy for Ghost Valley 1 and a few other tracks that allow you to cross a short chasm with this power-up in tow. Sure, you can jump with the L or R button but this turns you into the second coming of Michael Jordan. You can also use it to leap over an incoming shell (which is super satisfying) or a well-placed tricky banana peel or green shell. You can cut corners too. I BELIEVE I CAN FLY

You get the goodies by passing a question mark tile. Let the randomness run its course or if you're
in a rush then press 'A' to stop it. Grabbing coins is also highly critical to your success. Great system...
                                        Collectin' coins and scoring the best weapon is all part of the fun



This is by far the easiest course of the game... easing you into the addictive world of Super Mario Kart's mechanics. There are no major tight corners and plenty of straight away paths. Not a lot of frills or thrills here, but that's OK... seeing how there are 19 other tracks for you to navigate. A classic 1st stage


At first sight, to the casual observer, this track is a tranquil setting with a beautiful pond. However, experienced kart drivers know behind the serenity
lies a deceivingly semi-tough course that can eat up unsuspecting novices.
Some corners have loose dirt and debris strewn about. Ease up on the gas


Ah, Ghost Valley. The mushroom super jump bit, the feather trick and its unique elevated wooden track make this course one to remember. Oddly enough, whoever built this course from long ago randomly inserted a jump
bar in the middle, serving no purpose at all other than to be imaginative...


Bowser's got some of the trickiest tracks around, but his first one is fairly straight forward, yet it still has some memorable features that help to make
it stand out to this very day. Midway through there are three zipper bars for
you to drive over, granting you a quick speed burst. Watch out for Thwomps!


I have always enjoyed the Mario Circuits because to me, they have always
had a sort of 'pure' untainted kart track feel to them, yet holding just enough gimmicks to keep things interesting. This one is most notable for its famous Great Big Jump bump at the end. Sabotaging players here was wickedly fun


A slippery dirt course way out in the desert, the infamous piranha plant calls this place home. The terrain's dominated by bumpy surfaces and mud slicks so don't get too gas happy. Be weary of the mud bog that lies somewhere in the last quarter of the track -- try using a mushroom to see what will happen!


While the first Ghost Valley track will always be the best in my book, all of them are special in their own unique way. This one has a zipper for the final stretch of the course, with a small jumper* off to the far right side... allowing you to take to the skies. *I wish you would step off from the ledge my friend


This one is littered with even more monty moles up the wazoo. They pop out of holes in the ground and they even magically jump out of the grassy areas.
If caught, shake 'em off. Try out the mushroom to skip the edge of the pond!
This course is a perfect place to show off your great power sliding technique


This place can be a little confusing at first. Luckily, Bowser's kind enough to place some arrows to guide you along. You can choose from different routes
to take. Basic, but the choice is nice. If you have a feather you can pull off a really awesome trick but it requires absolute precision unlike Ghost Valley 1


There are a dozen square ? blocks waiting for you just after the start / finish line, which may allow players to get an early advantage right out of the box. There is a serious hairpin turn in the middle of the track, and just for the hell
of it there's a nifty turbo plate in the final straight away leading up to the goal


The good news: there aren't any tight turns. The bad news: the sand surface isn't the best for traction. Your kart has just enough magicalness to it that it can travel safely across the water... except for the deeper, darker blue parts. Touch that and then you'll be swimming with the fish!  [HAR HAR HAR -Ed.]


This track makes me crave for Coco Puffs. This time around there's a much bigger patch of chocolate goo waiting for you in the middle. There is also a
very narrow road -- the perfect place to drop a green shell or a banana skin.
Avoid the heavy dirt off-road sections... they will slow drivers down to a crawl


Brrrr... it's a good thing the engine of your go-kart is so hot because you will need the warmth as you race around this slick frozen lake!  It's probably the
shortest track around, but it's filled with annoying ice blocks that can really slow ya down if you can't skirt around 'em successfully, which is hard to do


As he went along creating his personal tracks, Bowser got fancier with each layout. This one gives you three different lanes to select from. The inside and outside lanes have a turbo tile to zip you past the competition, while the one
in the middle has two ? blocks, but will require a well-timed leap to acquire...


A fairly long track that's packed with corners of all sizes and shapes. It also has many pesky pipes looking to block your path. Nothing beats the thrill of successfully blowing past them on your way to the victory line, but nothing's worse than being clipped by a centimeter, slowing you down to finish in 2nd


Graced by two rickety ol' bridges, but oh noes, one of them is missing some wooden planks and the second bridge is REALLY FUBAR... requiring you to leap safely across. It's so narrow too that when crowded it's trickier than you might first think. Don't fall into the pond!  And there are the monty moles still


It's time for another BASH AT THE BEACH, but this time around, the island
is loaded with some serious greenery that will slow down anyone who drives
on it. As before, watch out for the dark deep blue patches of water, as they'll drown you faster than you can say "CRIKEY!  FLOPPING CHEEP CHEEP!"


The trickiest of the three Ghost Valley tracks, this one is filled to the brim
with gaping holes. You have to carefully and wisely navigate your way here
or else you'll fall over the edge of the track and that will be the difference in
the race. Just like the other two variations, the feather comes in real handy!


A super slippery course that's more lake than land. Advanced players know how to jump around the edges of the lake to shave a precious second or two
off their time. To complicate matters, this track is filled with ice barriers that
can bring you to a complete and fatal stop. This ain't no Winter Wonderland!


It would only be appropriate if the final course was also the toughest. That is the case here, as there's no room for error with narrow paths and some very difficult to avoid Thwomps. Oh yeah, the Thwomps are now enhanced to be electrical. Touch and you'll spin out. This track is for weekend warriors only!

In the two player battle mode, you get to select from one of four
battle zones. The first is basic and pretty much wide open, while
the second one has more nooks and crannies for a driver to hide.
The third one is, surprise surprise, the slipperiest of the four, and
the fourth is the nuttiest, as you can well see for yourself above...

It's real simple. Each player has three balloons
and the first to pop all three of the other player
wins. This led to some serious cutthroat battles.
The Ghost icon was a bitch!  Great memories...

The Battle Mode got real intense, real fast

And who could ever forget this classic performance chart from the Super Mario Kart manual?  They just don't make 'em like they used to, do they?  No sir!

                                             I remember studying these two pages for HOURS on end...

Super Mario Kart has a simple
but effective ranking system. If
you ranked at 5th or worse, you
had to then replay that course.
The  point system is as follows:

1: 9 points
2: 6 points
3: 3 points
4: 1 point

It was a scoring system that
worked really well I've always
thought. Take a look below...

Classy, elegant and yet simple. Gotta love it. The music played here was awesome and to this day remains stuck in my head

                                       One of those images from your youth that's burned in your retina

Photo finish races were always heart-thumping and exhilarating. Check out how crazy close DK came to my Yoshi... 1'17"52 vs. 1'17"53!

The competition suddenly became ardently stiff in 150cc mode...

I loved the set-up screen here. Super Mario Kart just oozes with class and brilliance. You start out by earning the Gold Cup on all three races of the 50cc class, before doing the same in 100cc... which then unlocks Special Cup and if you earn the Gold there, you'll unlock 150cc. Made for some awesome times with your friends!

                                       Special Cup, particularly on 150cc, was definitely NO DAMN joke

Few things were as sweet as using the mushroom to burst past your top rival during that finish line finale

Drivers turning their neck to see who zipped by was a nice touch

Power sliding around a tight
corner at just the right time
and zooming by the others
is yet another high point to
the game. And if ya had the
star, then using it right after
a power sliding corner really
puts you ahead of the comp!

                                              I always love seeing the exhaust fumes kick up like that, heh

The green shell is deadly in the hands of a skilled user. I liken it to a bow and arrow. When aimed properly and used effectively, it's fatal and satisfying. It really shows off your skill and ability to project accurately  [And some luck... -Ed.]  Here I set up poor Koopa for the taking... let's see what happens to ol' turtle face

OK wind slanted 17 MPH east...

Release the sucker at just the right timing and BAM!  They spin out in
a frenzy dropping coins every which way as you speed on ahead. Was there anything better than this? The red shell even a mere child can use. Ahh but the green shell was for true Mario Kart masters, believe that  ;)

                                                       I love how Koopa's eyes bug out like that. Good stuff!

Brief look through the rest of the tracks on Mushroom Cup...

                                         The rear view mirror was a cool option as opposed to the map

OK so the CPU AI wasn't too hot... this game thrives on 2 players!

                                      Ahhh, nothing beats the vintage and vaunted Ghost Valley 1 track

Screaming 200 feet across the wooden planks was quite THE rush

                                       Try to grab it if you can, but watch out not to slip over the edge...

Avoiding a fall by the skin of your teeth was uber intense

                                         The green shell is arguably the most satisfying hit in the game

Seeing them spin out and cursing as you speed by is priceless!

                                       Definitely not a game to be played with emotionally fragile folk...

This is probably still my favorite track in the entire game. Love it

                                       Ah thank you Nelly, my dear ol' best friend, for those great lyrics

The 1st time I saw my bro randomly pulling this off was HISTORIC!

                                        Timing absolutely is, and 50% of life is just about showing up...

Fun debates waged back in the day for mushroom versus feather

                                       Like I said, this game tested friendships and bruised a lot of egos

Thwomps soon become a MAJOR nuisance. Grrrrr....

                                       But, be careful your momentum doesn't send you into an alcove!

On the flip side, getting crushed is controller-chucking crappy

                                            A last second change on their or your part screws it all up!

Ah, that split half second of despair knowing you can't do a thing

                                       Green shells can either make you a legend... or a laughing stock!

Or, zap them with the lightning bolt right before... *EVIL LAUGH*

                                       Koopa's in for one hell of shellshock [Ha ha you so funnay!  -Ed.]

Super Mario Kart is as wacky and entertaining as it is sadistic

                                                The music here is still stuck in my head... *hums tune*

Good Heavens never... we're squeaky clean Nintendo...  *BLUSH*

                                               Nowadays 150cc Special Cup just laughs at me  *sigh*


Not surprisingly, there would be the inevitable flow of Mario Kart clones on the Super Nintendo, but shockingly, most of them came out in Japan only. The most blatant clone
SD F-1 Grand Prix. It's kind of like Super Mario Kart meets Chuck E. Cheeses. It's quite
a good racing game, with smoother graphics than SMK. However, it doesn't play quite as well. The same can be said for all these clones below. They're all very competent and fun
in their own right, but they are all "NAGASMK" (not as good as Super Mario Kart). SD F-1
is probably my favorite of the lot though, and comes highly recommended to SMK fans :)

If you were like me, then at some point back in the mid '90s you too dreamed about a crossover between Super Bomberman and Super Mario Kart. And the closest answer
to that prayer was a Super Famicom game by the name of
Battle Cross. Featuring six drivers (five of which can be played by humans) and various weapon power-ups, it's
a quick single screen racing warfare to the finish. It's perhaps however more fun to
watch than it is to actually play. I fell in love with Battle Cross back in 2006 when I
first played it, but once the novelty wore off, I realized it's not the best playing title
in the world. Still competent, but definitely not "great." Not quite the totally stellar crossover I was hoping for, but still recommended for any complete SNES library

Battle Racers took Bandai's infamous Kamen Rider-related characters and dumped them into a Mario Kart-esque game. I love the gorgeous sunset effect as seen above. It's a very solid racing game but as stated before, it's simply NAGASMK. Still, it's worthy to acquire

The lone American clone, Street Racer, featured a four-player split-screen mode. That alone makes it something to write home about and well worth adding into your SNES collection. It's got its own bizarre personality and world. Check it out if you never did

Finally, we have Rider's Spirits. This game was made by the same folks who brought us such great fun games as BS Out of Bounds Golf and Zen Nippon Pro Wrestling Budokan. They really were an underrated developer who made some of my favorite games on the system. Not surprisingly, Rider's Spirits is solid

                                       It's a shame the SNES never saw a Super Mario Kart 2 circa '95  :(


My bro and I back in the day absolutely loved utilizing this code!

My bro and I created our own mini-game out of the shrink code. The rule was simple. If you were "IT" you could pick any driver. The other person had to select Bowser or Donkey. The goal was to simply try and tag big ole Bowser or Donkey. We found Vanilla Lake 2 most conducive for this makeshift mini-game. I can't tell you how many hours we wasted fooling around on this mode... trying to tag each other. Did anyone else do this back in the day? It was so cool because I felt like my bro and I had found out this extra 'secret mode' to the game, which only increased its longevity which was already stellar to begin with. When shrunk, the small courses suddenly loom large, and what healthy child doesn't love a spot or two of tag?  It only added to the game's brilliance, and was a sheer testament to just how good the game was. GP Mode?  Battle Mode?  They're great and all... but for sheer laughs and kicks, try out the man-made TAG mode!  My bro and I loved tagging each other, then switching controllers. Whoever has the most tags in 10 minutes wins... classic childhood innocence with that impeccable Nintendo magic firmly at the forefront!


Super Mario Kart was an epic hit in virtually all video gaming circles. While today many are divided on where they stand (some think it hasn't aged too well while others think later renditions have rendered the original a bit useless... other than for the spot of nostalgia), back in 1992 everyone was blown away for the most part and on the same page that this was a very special game. Along with Capcom's Street Fighter II, SMK was THE two player game to have on the Super Nintendo, and no doubt those two epochal games were responsible for selling Super Nintendo systems by the truckload over 20 years ago in mid-late 1992. EGM gave it ratings of 9, 9, 8 and 8. GameFan rated it with scores of 90%, 95%, 96% and 97%. Super Play Magazine awarded it with a massive score of 93%. In EGM's Top 100 Games list printed in issue #100 (November 1997), Super Mario Kart ranked in at a lofty #15. I loved their "Most Challenging Moment" blurb
(<--- see far left) because I completely agree with them! Oh it was a heated argument back in the day on which was better... the original or Kart 64

I must've read EGM's Top 100 List a hundred times back in '97

Nintendo Power Magazine had their very own say when they published their very own Top 100 (Nintendo) game list in issue #100 (September 1997). By the way, I thought it was so cool (and such a wild coincidence!) that EGM and Nintendo Power Magazine reached 100 issues at around roughly the same time. But I digress. NP ranked Super Mario Kart in at #32, while Mario Kart 64 placed in at #4. NP hits the nail on the head with their very first sentence seen to your right. Call me a "purist" if you want, but I owned both Mario Kart games growing up, and while I really enjoyed Kart 64 as well... there was no question Super Mario Kart was my favorite. In some circles to this day, the SMK versus MK64 debate rages on still...

And not to be left out in the cold, and in fact they did it FIRST before EGM and NP, Super Play Magazine published their own Top 100 SNES games list back in April 1996. Top lists have been a favorite for many years wherever you go, whether it's picking up the latest gaming magazine at the newsstand, or loading up your favorite gaming website on the world wide web. On a side note, I've been asked by folks if I will ever construct a top list here on RVGFANATIC. Judging by how big of a fan I am in general of these lists, what do you think?  *wink*  I just always keep it in mind that everyone's top list will be different and no two will ever be alike. And that's part of the fun of it all  ^_^ Alas, I once again digress. Super Play was madly in love with Super Mario Kart; they gave the game extremely high honors when they ranked it in at #3

Not to be outdone, Retro Gamer Magazine printed a special article on the SNES back in issue #23 (March 2006), highlighting ten "perfect" SNES games. Look where Super Mario Kart ranks
                                                                          The original was a trailblazing innovator!

Almost everybody back in '92 was "Kart Fu Fighting"

                                                      SUPER MARIO KART "DY-NO-MITE!" COMMERCIALS

                                                           Check out commercial spot numero uno here

Here's commercial number two (UK's version)

                                                 And the third one here... based on the pics seen above


It's difficult to believe it's been 20 years now since my bro and I pulled off the greatest gaming trade in the history of mankind (or, at least, of our lives). This game was everything we had hoped it would be... and then some. From the intense battle mode to the heart-pounding GP race, to the brilliant makeshift tag mode we created out of a simple code, Super Mario Kart provided so many rich memories for me and my friends. It features great graphics (though it had to be seen in '92 to be appreciated), excellent sound, and the Big N's epic and typical finely tuned gameplay mechanics. The racing just feels right, and the creativity of the weapons and tracks only added to the game's zaniness and sheer fun of it all. Once again, Nintendo delivered another legendary GEM

Happy 20th Anniversary Super Mario Kart, and here's to 20 more!

When I got back into all things Super Nintendo in January 2006, not only was I looking forward to gaming redemption (by playing and beating so many classics and gems that I had missed out on back in the day), but also to replay the favorites from my childhood. To this day, Super Mario Kart sees frequent visits to my old SNES friend. It's a game that I can fire up for 15-20 minutes, either to smoke the competition in the GP mode, or trying to shave a second off of my time trial records. It always makes for a good time and it's one of my "go to" games whenever I feel like I might be heading into a gaming slump. It's like that tried-and-true classic on the menu that you always order when you want to be reminded of how good food can taste. When I play too many disappointing / subpar games in a row, Super Mario Kart helps remind me of why I love gaming
in the first place. It's got an outlandish universe filled with classic characters, interesting items, crazy courses and that oh so important it factor. 20 years later, the magic is still alive and well

Graphics: 9
Sound: 10
Gameplay: 10
Longevity: 10

Overall: 10


Regardless of later renditions and what else may come in the future, Super Mario Kart will forever be a winning testament to how GREAT video games can be. It's the best racing game on the SNES, and one of the best Super Nintendo games ever. Thanks, Shigeru Miyamoto!

                                       For over 20 years, these guys have battled it out. And it continues

By the way, this game was addicting in a wide variety of ways. One of which was trying to beat your friend's best time, or topping your own. Scoring both a new single lap and total time record on the same go was awesome. Now if you'll excuse me, I got more smashin' to do...

Always awesome setting a record by mere tenths of a second ^_^