Why Mario Kart Leaves Other Racing Games in the Dust

We know, there are some great racing game franchises out there. Need for Speed may have some bad games, but there are just as many fantastic games in that franchise. Both Forza and Gran Turismo were in the running as well, but in the end we had to give it to Mario Kart, watch the video to see why, and if you still need to hate on my childhood and the concept of fun, so be it.
The Greatest Racing Game Franchise of All Time - Mario Kart

Racing games have been a huge part of the video games going as far back as before the Golden Age of arcade games. There were many exciting titles that tapped into our inner speed freaks with their fantastic sounds and challenging gameplay. To this day, we still get some stellar racing games, but none have made a bigger impact than Nintendo’s legendary kart-racing series, “Mario Kart”.

“Mario Kart” has been a flagship franchise for Nintendo since its inception in 1992. With each new installment, Nintendo sees massive success both critically and commercially. Of course, with great success comes imitators. Many kart-racers have tried replicating the success of “Mario Kart”, but very few have broken the mold, such as “Crash Team Racing.” So, what is it about “Mario Kart” that keeps players coming back?

As simple as Mario Kart’s gameplay is, it quickly proves to be more than that. While it doesn’t appear so, “Mario Kart” does boast an element of strategy. You’re constantly trying to figure out the best ways to keep your lead with the drifting mechanics and items. “How long should I be drifting around this corner? Should I keep these bananas for a bit of defense or use them now so I can get a new item? Am I about to waste this horn on a red shell, or should I take the hit?” Its split-second decisions like those that keep “Mario Kart” engaging, fast-paced, and infinitely replayable.

With every new game in the series, our first thoughts are, “So, what’s new?” For starters, “Mario Kart” is constantly expanding its roster, adding in major and minor characters. (Dry Bones for the win!) The biggest (and arguably, the best) roster is the recent “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe”, which features other Nintendo characters such as Link from “The Legend of Zelda”, Isabelle from “Animal Crossing”, and the Inklings from the “Splatoon” series. So, you’ve got a big buffet of playable characters. On top of that, the series has kept its track selection fresh, with half of the courses being brand new and the other half being “remasters” of tracks from previous games. This allows you to enjoy newer content while revisiting classic courses such as Baby Park from “Double Dash” or Rainbow Road from “Mario Kart 64”.

While we’re on the subject of keeping content fresh, “Mario Kart” manages to introduce new gimmicks without feeling too imposing. “Double Dash” incorporated cooperative gameplay by placing two characters in one kart. This would not only affect which karts you could select but mixing your characters would give you access to different special items. “Mario Kart Wii” introduced bikes to the series, which featured drifting mechanics that were different to driving a kart. Then, you have “Mario Kart 7”, which veered away from standard kart selection in favor of interchangeable parts, allowing players to build vehicles that adhere to different playstyles. Overall, every entry has something special that changes the formula while keeping the gameplay simple.

Of course, the biggest part of “Mario Kart” is the MULTIPLAYER. Whether it’s on the couch or online, playing “Mario Kart” with friends can incredibly addictive... if sometimes strenuous on your relationships. While the racing will never get tiring, if you are looking to spice things up, “Mario Kart” boasts an insanely fun “Battle Mode” and tons of ways to play outside of the traditional racing mode. The series’ is unapologetically fun, which means that while some modes may seem over the top or ridiculous, they're always worth trying because of the familiar controls and game mode variety.

With its high replayability and fun game modes, “Mario Kart” hasn’t just become Nintendo’s number one racing game; it’s become an icon. The franchise has amassed so many fans that its referenced in various forms of pop culture. It has served as a perfect opportunity to invite friends over and spend entire nights racing around its many classic tracks. There’s a reason it’s become the topic of conversation whenever a new Nintendo system is mentioned. It’s a simple game, something that anyone can learn quickly and have fun playing. When you go further down the rabbit hole, you’ll find a racing franchise that continues pushing itself in different ways, whether it’s expanding the roster, adding a new item, or experimenting with new mechanics. The series has set a standard for racing games that no other franchise has managed to replicate. With all that being said, we hereby name “Mario Kart” to be the Greatest Racing Game Franchise of All Time.