Super Mario Kart
Nintendo - 1992
Machine: Super Nintendo
The brilliance of Super Mario Kart really proved beyond all doubt that Mario was the greatest of all video game franchises. True, things got a little out of hand after the advent of this game with Mario popping up in all kinds of drivel. And it's probably best not to mention that film with Bob Hoskins in it. But Super Mario Kart ruled, and it represented a few of the last halcyon moments before Sony unleashed it's bastardised Nintendo technology on an unsuspecting public.
Super Mario Kart is one of the all time great multi-player games. Anticipating the four player madness of Super Smash Bros. you can choose to drive as one of the famous Nintendo characters including Donkey Kong, Yoshi, Peach (she is pure evil), Luigi, and, of course, Mario. Each character has various strengths and weaknesses. Some have good acceleration, some have high top speeds. There are loads of different courses to tackle, all cunningly designed to test your manual dexterity to the maximum. During the race, you can pick up power-ups to help you win the race such as banana skins, green shells, and special heat-seeking red shells... Gaaaaa it's just so ingeniously simple... Certainly, Super Mario Kart comes alive on the two player mode. It's so intensely enjoyable and there are so few games that seem to have captured this delicate balance between silliness and competition... more recent multiplayer games (racing and otherwise) seem to lack the humour that a good multi-player game invariably needs. Who wants to get in a huff because your mate wins?
Bubbaray 17 Oct '02
Mario Kart 64 Players Page - A fansite for the sequel with info on the original and world records.
Wikipedia's Super Mario Kart page - Lots of great information.