Gaming Greats – Super Mario Kart (1992)

Multiplayer motoring madness in the Mario mould. Drivers ready, keypads ready… Go!

With the exuberant Italian plumber in pole position, Super Mario Kart put some of the best-loved Nintendo characters in the driving seat for a game that changed our lives.

Whether on your own or with a room full of mates, racing has never been as much fun as when you were playing Super Mario Kart.

Each of the oddball characters had a track they call home, so we got to play on tarmac, dirt, beach, gopher-infested farmland, lava-encircled castles and the magical Rainbow Road – which remains the toughest test of driving between the lines.

They littered their home courses with power-ups too, so by cruising through a floating question mark you were armed with a classic Mario weapon. Lay a banana skin for racers behind, fire a heat-seeking red shell at the driver in front, shrink everyone with a lightning bolt or get the all-empowering star and watch everything bounce off you as you cut across the grass.

Powersliding and hopping around tight corners became essential skills when taking on the computer in GP mode, but arguably the most fun was to be had on the multiplayer modes.

Using the four-player options arriving on the later Mario Kart 64 for the N64, you could either race against each other or switch to battle mode, with the karting taking on a first-person-shooter-style quest to hunt and hit the other players. The last man holding on to one of his three balloons was the victor.

It spawned an entire subgenre of games and became the third biggest-selling SNES game of all time, with appearances on every Nintendo console to date.

Sadly Mario Kart 3D's not due to be one of the 13 launch games for Nintendo 3DS – but it's coming soon.

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