Mario Kart is one of Nintendo’s most well known franchises. From humble beginnings on the Super Famicom all the way up to 8 Deluxe, the series has always had a home on Nintendo’s consoles. Whether you prefer Mario Kart 64 at home, or Super Circuit on the go, there has always been a Mario Kart to play. The franchise also includes some arcade versions, as well as a mobile version called Mario Kart Tour for your cellphone. I can’t say I’ve played any of the arcade versions, nor the mobile version, but I have played most of the home and handheld entries in the series and always enjoyed them.
My introduction to the series was Mario Kart 64, which was the very first Mario Kart game I owned. While I did find aspects of the game frustrating at times, it still had its charms that made me come back for more. Then I bought a copy of Double Dash, and it too had its moments of frustration, but also moments of pure excitement when I won races and unlocked more tracks. After those two I was gifted a copy of Mario Kart DS, and even for a handheld version of the series it still had a lot to offer. My next experience was Mario Kart 7 on my 2DS. This one I found to be a bit more frustrating than the others, but still very enjoyable.
It wasn’t until 2021 when I finally bought a copy of Super Mario Kart that I could experience where the franchise started. I had given it very brief attempts here or there, through emulation, but I never actually sat down with the determination to play it all the way through. Now, when I say I played through the game I mean the Grand Prix mode only, I’ve not even touched Time Trials, or any of the other modes in the game. Which should tell the uninitiated just how much fun each game in the series has jam packed into it.
Recently I’ve been playing Mario Kart Wii, through emulation. It took no time, I was hooked. The ability to use a Gamecube controller, moreover a Wavebird, really puts my opinion of this game over the top. I like some games that use the Wii Remote like a steering wheel, but they never felt calibrated properly. Maybe that’s on me. Regardless, Mario Kart Wii is absolutely amazing. I love how with each new iteration they pay tribute to the past versions by including tracks from the previous games. It also seems as though Rainbow Road is remodeled with each new version as well. While I prefer a sim style racing game, the Mario Kart franchise will always have a place on my gaming shelf.