Super Mario Kart[a] is a 1992 kart racing video game developed and published by Nintendo for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System video game console. The first game of the Mario Kart series, it was released in Japan and North America in 1992, and in Europe the following year. Selling nine million copies worldwide, the game went on to become the fourth best selling SNES game of all time. Super Mario Kart was re-released on the Wii’s Virtual Console in 2009, and on the Wii U’s Virtual Console in 2013. Nintendo re-released Super Mario Kart in the United States in September 2017 as part of the company’s Super NES Classic Edition.
In Super Mario Kart, the player takes control of one of eight Mario series characters, each with differing capabilities. In single player mode players can race against computer-controlled characters in multi-race cups over three difficulty levels. During the races, offensive and speed boosting power-ups can be used to gain an advantage. Alternatively players can race against the clock in a Time Trial mode. In multi-player mode two players can simultaneously take part in the cups or can race against each other one-on-one in Match Race mode. In a third multiplayer mode – Battle Mode – the aim is to defeat the other players by attacking them with power-ups, destroying balloons which surround each kart.
Super Mario Kart received positive reviews and was praised for its presentation, innovation and use of Mode 7 graphics. It has been ranked among the best games of all time by several organizations including Edge, IGN, The Age and GameSpot, while Guinness World Records has named it as the top console game ever. It is often credited with creating the kart-racing subgenre of video games, leading other developers to try to duplicate its success. The game is also seen as having been key to expanding the Mario series into non-platforming games. This diversity has led to it becoming the best-selling game franchise of all time. Several sequels to Super Mario Kart have been released, for consoles, handhelds and in arcades, each enjoying critical and commercial success. While some elements have developed throughout the series, the core experience from Super Mario Kart has remained intact.