Mario Kart World Tour: Race Around the Globe with Your Favorite Characters
Mario Kart[a] is a series of kart racing games and a spin-off Mario franchise developed and published by Nintendo. Players compete in go-kart races while using various power-up items. It features characters and courses mostly from the Mario series as well as other gaming franchises such as The Legend of Zelda, Animal Crossing, F-Zero, and Splatoon.
In the Mario Kart series, players compete in go-kart races, controlling one of a selection of characters, mainly from the Mario franchise. Up to twelve characters can compete in each race (varying per game).
The Mario Kart series has had a range of merchandise. This includes a slot car racer series based on Mario Kart DS, which comes with Mario and Donkey Kong figures and Wario and Luigi are separate. A line of radio-controlled karts are controlled by Game Boy Advance-shaped controllers, and feature Mario, Donkey Kong, and Yoshi. There are additional, larger karts which are radio-controlled by a GameCube-shape controller. Many racer figurines have been made. Sound Drops were inspired by Mario Kart Wii with eight sounds including the Spiny Shell and the race start countdown. A land-line telephone features Mario holding a lightning bolt while seated in his kart. K'Nex released Mario Kart Wii, Mario Kart 7, and Mario Kart 8 sets. LINE has released an animated sticker set with 24 stickers based on Mario Kart 8 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Nintendo's own customer rewards program Club Nintendo released a Mario Kart 8 soundtrack, a Mario Kart Wii-themed stopwatch, and three gold trophies modeled after those in Mario Kart 7. Before Club Nintendo, a Mario Kart 64 soundtrack was offered by mail. In 2014, McDonald's released Mario Kart 8 toys with Happy Meals. In 2018, Monopoly Gamer features a Mario Kart themed board game with courses from Mario Kart 8 serving as properties, ten playable characters as tokens (pingas) and a special die with power-ups. In 2019, Hot Wheels released Mario Kart sets of cars and tracks. In commemoration of Mario Day celebrations for March 10, 2021, Hot Wheels also released a Mario Kart track set based on Rainbow Road on June 24, 2021. In 2020, for the Super Mario Bros. 35th Anniversary, Cold Stone Creamery released Mario themed desserts including a Rainbow Road themed ice cream cake, from September 30 to December 15.
In September 2016, Nintendo filed an objection against the Japanese company MariCar, which rents go-karts modified for use on public roads in Tokyo along with costumes resembling Nintendo characters. MariCar's English website warned customers not to throw "banana peels" or "red turtle shells". The service is popular with tourists.
Mario Kart is a series of kart racing games developed and published by Nintendo as a spin-off of its flagship Super Mario franchise. It was inaugurated in 1992 with its debut entry, Super Mario Kart for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, which was critically and commercially successful. There have been a total of 15 titles in the series: 5 original home console games, a home console port, 3 portable games, a mobile game, 4 arcade games co-developed by Bandai Namco Entertainment, and an RC-based game.
Following the Japanese launch of F-Zero, a Super Nintendo Entertainment System game which was exclusively single-player, Nintendo developers decided to create a two-player racing game for that console as a follow-up. They made a prototype that featured a generic "guy in overalls"; it was decided that Super Mario characters and concepts be included when the developers added Mario driving one of the karts, out of curiosity as to how the game would look, and were satisfied with it. Thus, the Mario Kart series was born, with its first title, Super Mario Kart, released for the SNES on August 27, 1992. Development of the first Mario Kart game was overseen by Shigeru Miyamoto, then the general manager of Nintendo's EAD division, who is best known for creating the Super Mario franchise and other successful Nintendo properties. Darran Jones of Imagine Publishing's magazine NowGamer attributed the original success of Mario Kart to its use of the Super Mario characters and to being a new type of racing game.
In the Mario Kart series, players compete in go-kart races, distributed among several single-player and multiplayer modes, and control one of a selection of major Super Mario franchise characters. Up to twelve (usually eight) characters can compete in each race. When the characters are ready to begin racing in the starting grid, Lakitu comes in with a traffic light hanging from a fishing pole, which starts the countdown; when the light turns green (blue in certain games), the race officially begins. During the race, the player's viewpoint is from behind or in front of his or her kart. The goal of the game is to either finish a race ahead of other racers, who are controlled by the computer and other players, or complete a circuit in the fastest time.
Question mark boxes are arrayed on the race tracks and give power-up items to a player-character if their vehicle passes through them. Common power-ups include the Dash Mushroom, which gives players a speed boost; the shells of Koopa Troopas, which can be thrown at opponents; banana peels, which can be laid on the track as hazards; Boo, who turns the player's kart invisible so that obstacles will not hit it and steals for them an item from another racer; a Bullet Bill, which sends the player rocketing ahead, plowing over other racers who get in the way; lightning bolts, which a player can use to electrocute and weaken all of the other racers; and the Starman, which renders the player's kart temporarily invulnerable to attack. The type of weapon received from an item box is often random, though sometimes influenced by the player's current position in the race. For example, players lagging far behind may receive more powerful items while the leader will only receive small defensive items. This gameplay mechanic is designed to give other players or computers a realistic chance to catch up to the leading player.
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In some games, lines of coins are found on the courses, which if run over and collected, will increase a kart's top speed and can be used to unlock kart parts. Having coins also helps players when their kart is hit by another: instead of spinning and losing control, they lose a coin. Coins are also lost when karts are struck by power-ups or fall off the tracks. The series also features advanced maneuvers such as drifting (also called power sliding), which allows a kart to rapidly turn in a direction preventing the need to brake; and hopping, which helps a kart to avoid obstacles or off-road parts and sometimes can be used to execute tighter turns (the kart makes a short hop and turns in the air, speeding off in the new direction when it lands).
Many course themes appear throughout the series, including circuit, plains, highway, beach, desert, snow, jungle, mountain, haunted, and castle tracks. Most courses are based on an existing Super Mario location (such as Bowser's Castle), but there are a number of courses that have not previously appeared elsewhere, such as Rainbow Road. Each game in the series includes at least 16 original courses at least 3 original battle arenas. Each game's tracks are divided into at least four "cups," or groups in which the player has to have the highest overall placing to win; in most games, each cup contains four tracks. Most courses are completed after three laps. Course outlines are marked out by impassable barriers and feature a variety of bends, ranging from sharp hairpins to wide curves which players can drift around. Numerous obstacles appear on the tracks, ranging from generic obstacles to those themed after the Super Mario games. For example, the Bowser's Castle tracks often feature Thwomps and sometimes Fire Bars or Lava Bubbles; beach courses may feature Sidesteppers and/or Cheep Cheeps; and the Mario Circuit tracks, depending on the game, may incorporate anything from pipe barriers to franchise-staple enemies like Piranha Plants and Chain Chomps. Another common type of obstacle is off-road sections which slow down the karts, such as shallow water, fields, or mud.
The Mario Kart series' player-character rosters generally consist of memorable characters from the Super Mario universe, including the main protagonist Mario; his brother Luigi; his love interest Princess Peach; his sidekick Yoshi; his friends Toad, Princess Daisy, and Rosalina; his antagonists and rivals Donkey Kong, Wario, and Waluigi; and his nemesis Bowser; among others. Each character's kart has different capabilities with differing levels of top speed, acceleration and handling.
The Mario Kart series has been referenced in three of the Paper Mario games. Luigi references it in an "adventure" of his which he recounts between chapters of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, where in the third of his stories, he states that he visited a location called "Circuit Break Island" where kart races are organized every day. Later, in Paper Mario: Color Splash, once all six Big Paint Stars have been retrieved, Luigi drives his kart on Rainbow Road to transport Mario to Bowser's Castle to defeat him and restore peace to Prism Island; when Bowser (who has been transformed by black paint) is reverted to normal upon his defeat, he asks Mario if they have a kart race scheduled. Luigi's kart also appears in Paper Mario: The Origami King several times throughout the game. Additionally, several stages based on Mario Kart have appeared in the Super Smash Bros. series: Super Smash Bros. Brawl features a Mario Circuit stage based on Figure-8 Circuit from Mario Kart DS, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS features a Rainbow Road stage based on its appearance in Mario Kart 7, and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U features a Mario Circuit stage based on its appearance in Mario Kart 8, as well as reusing the Mario Circuit stage from Brawl. Although not actually shown in the first Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 64, the franchise (which at that time had been composed of just Super Mario Kart and Mario Kart 64) was alluded to in a promotional ad for the game in Nintendo Power, where it mentioned that Nintendo's famous cast had previously "raced go-karts" when announcing their new role in the fighting ring.