Super Mario Kart for the Super Famicom

Super Mario Kart, the game that started the franchise, obviously. Although, as I’ve previously admitted, Super Mario Kart wasn’t where it all started for me. Super Mario Kart 64 was where I got my start and from there it was Double Dash and Mario Kart 7. All of which are really good games, but I really had to see, play and experience where the franchise officially broke ground. When I accidentally won a Super Famicom copy of Super Mario Kart on ebay I figured that was my chance, so here we go!

I started off by using the clear memory button combination so that all records would be my own. Even though I had never played the English version of the game before, navigating the menu was still fairly straight forward. There is a lot of Japanese text in this game, because it’s the Super Famicom version, but I never had any problems getting started. I started off with the 50cc class and it honestly took me a little bit to acclimate to the controls. Each track has a different feel, different traction and different pitfalls. Once I figured out how to maneuver each track I actually found that it wasn’t very challenging, but it was still very good fun.

After I had won the cup for all three series in the 50cc class I decided to try my hand at 100cc. This is where the challenge started to really ramp up. I understood that each coin increased the speed of my kart, but the ability to collect them, and retain them, was more of a challenge, as well as the fact the competition seem to have honed their skills since I defeated them all in the 50cc class. Needless to say I am still working on the 100cc class, but I am having a good time learning the tracks and doing better each time I try.

Facing defeat in the 100cc class has taught me that placing anywhere below third will cost me a life, of which I start out with three and can earn extra lives. The question blocks are clearly secret weapons that can be used, although I find the red shell doesn’t always hit the person I want it to hit when I thought that was its sole purpose. And don’t get me started on how second place seems to have an endless supply of their personalized secret weapons, and they know exactly how and when to use them. Ah yes, the old turbo start, something that I thought I had down from playing the other Mario Kart games, but for Super Mario Kart it is very hit or miss, but it’s still in there.

My only real complaint, and it might just be me and my aging eyes, is that some of the tracks spinning around in Mode 7 give me a headache. Back in the day the mode 7 stuff really looked great, but some tracks have textures that are really jagged and flash that my eyes and brain just can’t handle. Most of the tracks are perfectly fine, but there are a handful that hurt my eyes and give me a headache.

Now that I now own some form of Super Mario Kart I’m really sad that young me never got the chance to experience Super Mario Kart. Sure I saw people playing it, sure I thought about it from time to time, but it never fell into place like I had hoped it would. I thought surely a copy of the game would have popped up in a thrift store or flea market for a couple bucks, but somehow it never did. Maybe because it’s genuinely a really good game that has held it’s play value and nobody around here wants to get rid of it. Regardless of the reason I’m glad it panned out this way as I now own the Super Famicom version and I’m super glad I do.

Posted July 12th, 2021