Video Game / Mario Kart 8

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The eighth installment in the Mario Kart console series, available on the Wii U.

It is the first game in the series to feature HD graphics, as well as the first one to have orchestrated music. The main gameplay concept of this installment is the addition of anti-gravity, which allows racers to drive on walls or even upside-down, in addition to the glider and underwater driving of Mario Kart 7.

It's notable for reconciling unforgiving game elements that recurred throughout the series, such as having Lakitu immediately rescue you when you fall off the course like he once did in Mario Kart: Super Circuit, without going through a place-costing Fade to Black first. There are also less stipulations on getting star ranks (getting Triple Star in a cup in a higher engine class counts for all lower classes too), and several new power-ups, most notably the mighty Super Horn, a counter to the nemesis of all leaders, the Spiny Shell. However, racers can't hoard items anymore, and must use their current item before getting another one. Also notable for its inception of Slow Motion cuts.

The game has amiibo functionality, compatible with several figures outside of the Mario universe that unlock Mii Racing Suits.note  The game was also the first Mario Kart to have paid Downloadable Content in the form of two packs featuring tracks, characters, and vehicle parts from The Legend of Zelda, Excite Bike, F-Zero, and Animal Crossing alongside extra Mario universe content.

It has been confirmed for an enhanced port for the Nintendo Switch under the name Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Deluxe not only includes the original game and the DLC additions, but adds new items and racers, including the Inklings, as well as a revamped Battle Mode with actual battle arenas.


This video game contains examples of:

  • Always Night:
    • N64 Rainbow Road takes place in the night sky of a city (the original was set in space).
    • SNES Rainbow Road in the DLC Triforce Cup floats above a field with rainbow-colored hills and scattered Toad houses.
    • N64 Toad's Turnpike
    • Twisted Mansion
    • Electrodrome
    • Bowser's Castle
    • Animal Crossing (Winter)
    • 3DS Neo Bowser City.
  • Alliterative Name:
    • N64 Toad's Turnpike
    • Cloudtop Cruise
    • N64 Royal Raceway
    • In the PAL regions, 3DS Music Park is known as 3DS Melody Motorway
    • In the PAL regions, 3DS Piranha Plant Slide is known as 3DS Piranha Plant Pipeway
    • Rainbow Road, N64 Rainbow Road, and SNES Rainbow Road
    • Dragon Driftway
    • Wild Woods
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: All three Rainbow Road tracks (New, N64, and SNES) along with Electrodrome with all of the flashy colors.
  • Amusement Park:
    • Water Park combines this with Under the Sea, being a partially-submerged amusement park with an ocean theme.
    • GCN Baby Park takes place on a ride in a more traditional amusement park that bears some resemblance to Disney Theme Parks.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: The Palette Swaps for Yoshi and Shy Guy, obtained by purchasing both DLC packs. The Mii Racing Suits from amiibo, as well.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: This game has notably gotten rid of some of the more problematic elements of previous games.
    • Finishing a Grand Prix in the 150cc engine class now automatically counts as finishing the same cup in lower engine classes, awarding you the appropriate trophy and stars for all of them. No more wasting time completing Grand Prix again in 50cc and 100cc just for 100% Completion! Mirror Mode and 200cc do not count, however, so you will still have to go through them separately.
    • Usually, you cannot collect an item if you already have one, but if you collect an item box just before a Piranha Plant item runs out, you still get the new item. When you throw a boomerang, it doesn't count as having the item while it's in the air, so another item can be collected in its place.
    • In the Animal Crossing DLC course, after the glider ramp, there is an area where there are a bunch of Item Boxes hanging from balloons. You can get an item by hitting the Item Boxes proper, and you can also get them by breaking the balloons holding them up.
  • Anti-Grinding: The amount of VR you obtain in online races is directly affected by how much the others racers have. If you have less than theirs, you'll obtain far more points even if you didn't finish in first place, though the reverse can also happen, forcing you to look for others with a large amount of VR.
  • Arc Symbol: The track maps often feature the number "8" somehow.
    • New Mario Circuit, Mario Kart Stadium, Animal Crossing, and N64 Toad's Turnpike are shaped like an 8.
    • 8's Rainbow Road, N64 Yoshi Valley, N64 Rainbow Road, GBA Cheese Land, and GBA Ribbon Road all have 8's in their track layouts.
  • Art Evolution: Mario Kart 8 is the first HD game in the series, and it shows. The courses in this game feature far more detail than the ones in previous installments. This includes the retro tracks, which get total graphical revamps.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • 200cc is a challenging race for players and the AI alike. Computer-controlled racers still attempt to drive as if they were in a 150cc race, resulting in a lot of bashing into walls and falling off course.
    • A.I players cannot seem to handle the Blooper item very well either. It can be a minor inconvenience to experienced players that know the course from muscle memory alone, but Computer-controlled characters swerve nearly all over the place once inked.
  • Ascended Meme:
    • Waluigi's description in the official Prima guide is "It's always Waluigi time."
    • A statue of Baby Pink Gold Peach appears in the background of GCN Baby Park, as a nod to fans who jokingly suggest her to be playable.
  • Astral Finale: Rainbow Road takes place in and around a space station. N64 Rainbow Road takes place above a city.
  • Athletic Arena Level:
    • Mario Kart Stadium is designed like one, resembling an F1 Grand Prix course. What makes it different is the anti-gravity sections, which include a segment where the drivers have to descend into the surface as a landing plane.
    • Battle Stadium, which is a Deluxe battle stage set in a stadium similar to Mario Kart Stadium
  • Awesome, but Impractical: There are only a handful of car parts that improve the Speed stat, but they all have a likewise net loss in the rest of the stats:
    • Slim tires increase Speed and decrease Acceleration by .25 each. However, Traction goes down by .5 for a .25 increase in Handling, for a .25 loss in stats.
    • Metal and Gold tires increase Weight and decrease Acceleration by .5 each, while Traction takes a .5 hit for a .25 buff in Speed, for another .25 loss in stats.
    • The Circuit Special and its reskins, as well as the Slick tires, all have the same attributes; they increase Weight and decrease Acceleration by .25 each, while Traction takes a whole 1.0 loss for a .5 buff in Speed, for a .5 loss in stats.
    • Meaning that while it's possible to perfectly balance heavier characters to match the acceleration and handling of lighter onesnote , you cannot turn lighter characters into speedsters without sacrificing a little ability.
  • Band Land: 3DS Music Park, going as far as having some parts of the track modeled after instruments like a piano, a drum or a xylophone.
  • Battle Amongst the Flames:
    • Wii Grumble Volcano takes place in an active volcano.
    • Bowser's Castle, naturally.
  • Battle in the Rain: 3DS Neo Bowser City takes place at night during a rainstorm
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: The background Toads on Rainbow Road need spacesuits, but the racers don't.
  • Battle Boomerang: The Boomerang Flower allows players to throw up to three boomerangs when they get it.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: Twisted Mansion takes place in a haunted, distorted mansion that even includes an underwater section to give the Fish Bones some screentime.
  • Biker Babe: With the return of bikes (and the introduction of ATVs), Peach, Pink Gold Peach, Daisy, and Rosalina get alternate biker suits.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The intercom voice in Super Bell Subway speaks in (grammatically incorrect) German.
  • Bookends: The staff ghost for the first course, Mario Kart Stadium, is Mario himself. The staff ghost for the final course in the second DLC Pack, Big Blue, is also Mario.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • For the babies, Toadette, and Waluigi, who were excluded from 7. Dry Bowser returns in the April 2015 DLC. Bowser Jr, Dry Bones and King Boo, absent since Mario Kart Wii, returned in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on Switch.
    • In terms of items, the Cape Feather from the original Super Mario Kart and the Boo item last seen in Mario Kart DS both return in Deluxe.
  • The Cameo:
    • A Blue and Yellow Toad appear as the poster characters for the Two-player Online feature (and can sometimes be seen floating in space in the online play menus, along with a Green Toad). They previously appeared in New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Super Mario 3D Land.
    • Birdo, who is only seen in the "Women of Racing" ads on N64 Royal Raceway (and she isn't even playable in this one).
    • The classic F-Zero characters, including Captain Falcon, appear on electronic billboards scattered throughout Mute City.
    • Every major character from Animal Crossing appears on its course, along with several minor ones.
    • Luigi's Mansion makes a cameo as a haunted house in GCN Baby Park, prior to being brought back as a retro Battle stage in Deluxe.
    • Multiple Mini-Toads and yarn Yoshis can be seen in GBA Ribbon Road.
  • Bubbly Clouds: Cloudtop Cruise, which is designed in the style of Gusty Garden Galaxy of Super Mario Galaxy fame. The drivers have to go through clouds as well as branches of giant bean trees, an airship from Super Mario Bros. 3, and a mechanical anti-gravity platform where the clouds are electrified.
  • Cap: 99,999 VR is all you'll ever be allowed to get in online races and battles.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: Featured on the front of the Koopa Clown Car in Deluxe, as well as two Koopa Clown Car-themed jack-in-the-boxes on the glider segment of GBA Ribbon Road.
  • Coolest Club Ever: Electrodrome is one the size of a city, with upbeat rave music playing from every wall of speakers, multiple crowded dance floors, and a giant disco ball.
  • Compressed Adaptation: N64 Rainbow Road, known for being one of the longest Mario Kart tracks ever back in its original console, is a lot shorter in the 8 revamp. It's now one long lap divided into three segments.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Several of Tanooki Mario's tricks are references to Super Mario 3D Land: in particular, one of them is a reference to his artwork (which is in turn based on an artwork of Raccoon Mario from Super Mario Bros. 3), and his anti-gravity trick sees him transform into a statue.
    • The eight different Shy Guy colors were available in Download Play for Mario Kart DS and Mario Kart 7, but they can now be accessed as a bonus for purchasing both DLC packs, or as a default feature in Deluxe.
    • Sunshine Airport features a Koopa-shaped island during the final gliding section, similar to Mario Kart 64's Koopa Troopa Beach.
    • The Snowmen in GCN Sherbet Land are now given blue caps and orange scarves, resembling not only the enemies in previous Mario Kart titles but also a similar group of Snowmen in Paper Mario 64.
  • Credits Medley: The Staff Credits theme, unlike past Mario Karts, which tended towards entirely original pieces, features excerpts from a variety of songs from the rest of the game, most notably Mario Kart Stadium, Electrodome and Mount Wario (which segues perfectly into a reprise of the original Super Mario Kart theme, which itself makes its usual appearance in the new title screen theme if you wait around long enough).
  • Crossover:
    • The first two batches of DLC include Link, the Blue Falcon, two Villagers, Isabelle, and new tracks based on the series they come from. Deluxe adds the Inklings and a Splatoon themed Battle course.
    • Using certain amiibo in the game also unlock various Mii Costumes that include non-Mario characters such as Samus, Olimar, and Kirby, as well as non-Nintendo characters Sonic, Mega Man, and Pac-Man.
  • Death Glare: When two characters pass each other, they'll stare for a brief moment. This can have an unsettling effect with certain characters, such as Luigi or Yoshi.
  • Demoted to Extra: Several:
    • Dry Bones initially is reduced to a course hazard in Bone-Dry Dunes and spectator in Bowser's Castle and 3DS Neo Bowser City. Deluxe promotes him back to playable.
    • Dry Bowser becomes a Desert Skull in Bone-Dry Dunes. The April 2015 DLC pack promotes him back to playable.
    • Paratroopa becomes an audience member on Cloudtop Cruise, GCN Dry Dry Desert, 3DS Piranha Plant Slide, and 3DS Neo Bowser City.
    • Wiggler is only available as an ATV.
    • Bowser Jr. becomes the mascot of the Bowser Ship in GCN Baby Park. Deluxe also promotes him back to playable.
  • Desert Skull: Dry Bowser's skull is seen in Bone-Dry Dunes.
  • Design-It-Yourself Equipment: Like 7, you can customize your vehicle, and greatly so if you have all of the DLC packages. There are 37 vehicle bodies (22 karts, 6 outside drifting bikes, 5 inside drifting bikes, 4 ATVs), 21 sets of tires, and 14 gliders available for usage. The math means that there's 10,878 possible combinations of vehicle, tires and glider on the base version. It is impossible for a combination to have any stat less than 1 or greater than 5.75. Furthermore, the vehicles are not weight-class restricted, so any character can get any vehicle.
  • Difficult but Awesome: Naturally, using Circuit Special and Slick tires together on the heaviest characters results in nearly-maxed Speed with a hefty Weight stat to mow through race tracks and opponents. Unfortunately, you'd better have a good grip on drifting turns and avoiding items if you don't want your horribly-slammed Acceleration, Handling and Traction to get in the way.
  • Disco Tech: Electrodome, a very psychedelic course where several parts are illuminated with different lights and effects. The Piranha Plants are adorned with these effects as well.
  • Downloadable Content:
    • Mario Kart 8 features, of all things, downloadable Mercedes Benz karts. They're free and were released on August 27th, 2014.
    • Released November 2014 and April 2015 are two add-on packs, which include retro courses such as Wii Wario's Gold Mine and GBA Ribbon Road, new courses and karts based off of The Legend of Zelda, F-Zero,Animal Crossing, and Excitebike; and characters including Tanooki Mario, Cat Peach, Link from The Legend of Zelda, two Villagers and Isabelle from Animal Crossing: New Leaf and Dry Bowser. Eight different-colored Yoshis and Shy Guys are included with purchase of both packs.
    • In addition to the above, several updates were added to improve the overall game experience. For example, previous updates have included raising the VR Cap to 99,999, adding the ability to display the minimap on the TV screen, tracking in-game totals such as how many coins you've collected, enabling amiibo support to unlock Mii Racing Suits, and adding the crazy-fast 200cc mode.
  • Dramatic Disappearing Display: During online play, the rank display in the HUD disappears when on the last stretch of a track on its final lap, increasing suspense for close finishes.
  • Dummied Out: Datamimers have uncovered a driver icon consisting of a Magikoopa's hat and glasses, implying that Kamek (or a generic Magikoopa) was either considered for but cut from the roster or will be added to the game as future DLC. This would mark Kamek's playable debut in the series, although he was earlier planned for 64 as a sort of fallback in case Nintendo was unable to secure Rare's permission for the Donkey Kong model.
  • Easter Egg:
    • Totaka's song can be (barely) heard on any track with Yoshi spectators. By removing the BGM and driving up next to one random Yoshi, you may be able to hear it humming the song (Kazumi Totaka is the voice of Yoshi). Notably, this is the first time the song makes an appearance in a game that was not composed by Kazumi Totaka.
    • If you don't have an item, you can tap the button you use for items to sound the horn. The only known thing it does is spook nearby drivers.
    • Some courses, such as Water Park and GCN Yoshi Circuit, have a map posted on billboards within the course. These maps are exactly the same as the minimap found on the Gamepad screen and the TV.
    • Holding down the L, R, ZL, or ZR buttons on the GamePad when selecting the Animal Crossing course in Vs. mode or the Crossing Cup in Grand Prix mode will guarantee a particular season for the course (e.g. L will set the course in spring, R will set the course in summer, ZL will set the course in autumn, and ZR will set the course in winter).
  • Everybody Owns a Ford: The Mercedes-Benz DLC trailer, though only one of the three models is contemporary.
  • Every Things Better With Cows: Wii Moo Moo Meadows takes place on a dairy farm and has cows that wander all over the track.
  • False Camera Effects: Lens flares, of course. Rain gets on the camera in 3DS Neo Bowser City, as does waterfall mist in Big Blue.
  • Fantastic Nature Reserve: N64 Yoshi Valley takes place in a nature reserve for the Yoshis, known as the Wild Yoshi Sanctuary.
  • Four-Seasons Level: The Animal Crossing course changes seasons each time it's played.
  • Friendly Fire: In team-based gameplay, after being averted in Mario Kart Wii, items can now be used to attack drivers on the same team. The only exception to this is the Lightning Bolt, which only strikes everyone on the team opposite of the user's.
  • Furry Confusion: Bloopers, which are relatively normal squid, appear in the same race as the heavily anthropomorphized Inklings in Deluxe.
  • Gimmick Level:
    • Mario Circuit is designed as a Mobius Loop. You go twice around the course in one lap, once normally and then upside-down.
    • The F-Zero tracks, Mute City and Big Blue, are completely done in anti-gravity. There are no coins on the track; instead, you have to obtain coins by driving over recharge strips, though you can still obtain coins from item boxes and by knocking them out of other racers.
    • The Excitebike Arena features a track layout that changes every time you play it. There are over 200 possible layouts. The exception is in Time Trials, where there is just one standardized layout.
    • Big Blue and Mount Wario are point-to-point races, done in three segments instead of three laps.
    • Animal Crossing has four different seasonal variants, with each variant having a different version of the music, and different hazards.
    • Baby Park is unique due to having 7 laps (as opposed to the usual 3, due to the course being so short) and, like the F-Zero tracks, being entirely within anti-gravity.
    • Wild Woods is unique for being the sole track to have the start-finish line be in anti-gravity, but the track not to be in anti-gravity in its entirety.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Now go karting with the Koopalings too, since they became playable for the first time in a Mario game.
  • Gravity Screw: A major selling point of the game is the anti-gravity feature.
  • Guest Fighter: Isabelle and two Villagers from Animal Crossing, Link from The Legend of Zelda, and the Blue Falcon from F-Zero in the paid DLC packs. Also the promotional Mercedes-Benz karts which are downloadable for free. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe adds the Inklings from Splatoon.
  • Hammerspace: Whenever Link does a boost jump or trick, he somehow produces his sword and raises it. He can also produce the Triforce when performing a trick off of an anti-gravity ramp. All of the characters does this when they get an item from the roulette.
  • Harder Than Hard: 200cc mode, released in April 2015. On top of the crazy speed and the required use of the brakes, not only is the computer even more of a cheating bastard, but it will also make full use of shortcuts whenever it gets a mushroom.
  • High-Altitude Battle:
    • Cloudtop Cruise takes place on a floating beanstalk, actual clouds, an airship, and an anti-gravity platform through a thundercloud.
    • Sunshine Airport has an elevated anti-gravity platform hovering just off the edge of the runways.
    • All three versions of Rainbow Road.
  • Hitbox Dissonance: Unlike in previous games, Mario Kart 8 had some bugs in regards to certain walls, fences, ramp sides, and barriers that previous games didn't have. The effects of this dissonance can vary depending on the surface, but players have found themselves stopped completely just by simply brushing up against the surface's side or when boosting, being thrown 90 degrees away from the surface's side. Items that are shot ahead often bounce off these sides back at the users even if the user fires them at an angle.
  • In-Name-Only: Some of the retro courses are so overhauled that they are almost unrecognizable.
    • The GBA courses get this a lot. Cheese Land now has lots of hills, and new shortcuts and hazards. Ribbon Road goes from being one long red ribbon set in a cloudy sky with large presents in the background, to being a multicolored ribbon around a toy castle in a bedroom.
    • N64 Toad's Turnpike gets this because, even though it's the same figure-8 layout, the original course had no backdrops, other than the giant sound barriers along the side of the highway. Now there's a city in the backdrop on the front half of the course, and the back half of the course takes place in forests on the outskirts. Some of the walls are also anti-gravity segments.
  • Kid-Appeal Character: Baby Rosalina is introduced in this game, as well as the returning baby forms of Mario, Luigi, Peach and Daisy. Deluxe adds Bowser Jr. to the roster.
  • Large Ham: Several characters, but most notably is Mario himself, who screams the title and sounds like he is on helium during gameplay.
  • Last Lousy Point: In Grand Prix mode, getting triple stars in some of the faster classes and Mirror Mode can border on insanity when the computer decides to hate your guts. It's quite common for many players to have their triple star runs ended in-progress due to either:
    • CPU item spam when you don't have any items or just Coins in first place.
    • Not getting any helpful items while the CPU in first place speeds to the finish and the other CPU don't get anything good to slow the lead CPU down.
    • Getting knocked off the track by CPU attacks, track hazards, or CPU shoving allowing other CPU to pass ahead to the finish.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Bowser's Castle and Wii Grumble Volcano. In both courses, fire serves as the primary obstacle in the form of Podoboo chains, falling volcano debris, and rising lava fluids. DS Wario Stadium has the spinning fire rings.
  • Level Ate:
    • Sweet Sweet Canyon is made of cakes, doughnuts, candy, and other treats. The battle stage Sweet Sweet Kingdom in Deluxe is more of the same, with a slightly remixed version of Sweet Sweet Canyon's music.
    • GBA Cheese Land looks more appetizing than before. There are even large formations in the far background shaped like slices of pizza, with Toad houses on top resembling pepperoni.
  • Long Song, Short Scene:
    • N64 Rainbow Road's theme. You'll very likely already be done with section 2 and kick in the Final Segment version of the song before you've made the song loop once.
    • The title screen music is a very long, varied piece, but it cuts to different music as soon as you've made your initial main menu selection.
    • The "Final Lap version before full loop" also applies to Big Blue.
  • The Lost Woods: Wild Woods from DLC Pack 2, naturally, featuring gigantic trees and lily pads to race on, and a Hidden Shy Guy Village for good measure.
  • Ludicrous Speed: 200cc engine class can have shades of this. Some glider and boost pads can exaggerate this moreso.
  • Macro Zone: GBA Ribbon Road takes place in a gigantic bedroom.
  • Me's a Crowd: There's no limit to how many players in an online room can play as the same character. This can result in strange room.
  • Mickey Mousing: Several elements move in time to the music, such as the stereo on the Badwagon and the Super Horn item. In addition, a few courses do this as well:
    • At Electrodrome, objects like the disco balls, Piranha Plants, and stars to the side move with the music.
    • At 3DS Music Park/Melody Motorway, the instruments in the background move with the music, as well as the Piranha Plants, the metronome and the bouncing notes.
    • At DS Tick-Tock Clock, the several gears in the background all move along to the music.
    • In SNES Rainbow Road, the hills in the background change color in time with the music.
  • Minsky Pickup: Sweet Sweet Canyon, N64 Yoshi Valley, GCN Baby Park
  • Musical Nod:
    • Mount Wario is partially a rearrangement of Athletic Theme 2 from Super Mario 3D World.
    • The music of Dragon Driftway and Dragon Palace seem to take a few cues from Super Mario Land's Chai Kingdom.
    • Hyrule Circuit's music makes several nods to classic Zelda themes, such as Zelda's Lullaby and both the Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess versions of Hyrule Field. In addition, the item roulette sound is replaced with the music that plays when opening a chest in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
    • Animal Crossing, meanwhile, has four different themes, one for each season, featuring nods to every game across the series. The first half of each theme is a cover version of the main theme for Animal Crossing New Leaf, played with different instruments to correspond with the respective seasons. The second half changes to incorporate music from the Animal Crossing series depending on each season:
      • Spring - The main theme for Animal Crossing.
      • Summer - The second half of the main theme for Animal Crossing: New Leaf.
      • Autumn - The main theme for Animal Crossing Wild World and Animal Crossing City Folk.
      • Winter - A medley of the music that plays on Christmas Eve and the 7 PM theme in Animal Crossing: New Leaf.
      • The results theme is replaced with the music from The Roost.
    • Mute City and Big Blue both have remixes of their respective themes from the F-Zero games.
    • Super Bell Subway adds a dynamic bassline of the original Super Mario Bros. underground theme when in the train tunnels.
    • The dramatic new awards ceremony theme where your trophy and ranking is displayed after the MKTV recap features a few moments containing the opening notes of Mario Kart 64's ending theme.
    • Cloudtop Cruise includes parts of Gusty Garden Galaxy and Sky Station Galaxy.
  • My Future Self and Me: The baby characters, who are the past selves of Mario, Luigi, Peach, Daisy and Rosalina.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Mario Kart 64's Rainbow Road appeared in F-Zero X and was remade for Mario Kart 8. Blue Falcon from the F-Zero series appeared in Mario Kart Wii and returns to 8 as a kart along with two F-Zero themed tracks.
    • In the F-Zero tracks, you get coins by driving over recharge strips.
    • In Animal Crossing, sometimes a Bell will come out if you hit a rock.
    • The Blue Falcon has 111 written on the side, which is what was on the Blue Falcon on the cover of the original F-Zero.
    • Some of the time trial ghosts make references to what world the Koopalings were bosses in Super Mario Bros. 3. For example, Lemmy is the ghost of GCN Sherbet Land, Ludwig is the ghost of 3DS Piranha Plant Slide, and Wendy is the one in Dolphin Shoals.
  • Nerf:
    • Bikes can no longer wheelie (a measure taken to prevent it from being overpowered, unlike in Mario Kart Wii). They will still do one when you get a speed boost from a mushroom or a Boost Panel, but it's just visual.
    • On the Wii U version, players can only hold one item at a time. In the Deluxe port for the Switch, it's possible to grab another item while still trailing your first one.
    • Bob-ombs take longer to explode.
    • Blue Shells now can be destroyed by using the Super Horn.
  • New Neo City:
    • 3DS Neo Bowser City, which now has a greatly overhauled skyline.
    • N64 Toad's Turnpike takes place in one of these.
  • Non-Indicative Name: GCN Dry Dry Desert has a big oasis.
  • Nostalgia Level:
    • Once again, by default, there are four "Nitro" cups (Mushroom, Flower, Star, Special) with 16 new tracks, and four "Retro" cups (Shell, Banana, Leaf, and Lightning) with 16 tracks from older Mario Karts. The DLC cups (Egg, Triforce, Super Bell, and Animal Crossing) include seven older Mario Kart tracks, as well as nine tracks that include new tracks and crossovers with other games.
    • What sets 8 apart is that it goes a step beyond the previous games when it comes to the retro tracks. In the old games, they usually just ported the old track as was and modified it to incorporate the new physicsnote . The retro tracks in 8 have been remade with updated HD visuals, new set pieces and remastered music. This means the retro tracks look and feel new with the upgrades, but they also still play in a way most old fans would remember them for. On top of all this, some retro tracks use the anti-gravity and glider mechanics to give the old tracks a fresher feel to them without deviating from the original design of the tracks.
    • Another thing 8 does with its retro tracks, that none of the predecessors ever did, was to modify the banner for the start-finish line to something appropriate for the settingnote  The remastered tracks also have all-new recordings of their soundtracks rather than remastering the original soundtrack. Some notable remasters include N64 Rainbow Roadnote  and GBA Ribbon Roadnote .
    • There are some retro tracks that are virtually unchanged at all, in particular the tracks ported from 7. For instance, Music Park in the Leaf Cup has no changes to its layout of any kind, though there are some visual changes madenote  Likewise, Neo Bowser City's layout is unchanged other than converting the three quarter turn before the finish line into an anti-gravity segment with spin boosters. And Piranha Plant Slide is unchanged save for turning the underwater segment into an anti-gravity segment and making it arc downhill through a giant tank.
    • 3DS Piranha Plant Slide is a double dose since it's a retro track from 7, and it's a throwback to Super Mario Bros. 1.
  • Obstacle Ski Course: Mount Wario is a three-leg ski down a mountain that involves going through sheer, icy cliffs in the first segment, a dam and support platforms, plus a dense forest, in the second segment; and finally a slalom course and ski jump in the final segment.
  • Obvious Rule Patch:
    • Bikes in this game were changed slightly by not allowing the player to pop a wheelie for boosts of speed, which now makes bikes more on par with karts. A common criticism of the bikes in Mario Kart Wii was that they trumped karts so much that it was impossible to find any time trial record that wasn't a bike user and online play (when the Nintendo WFC was active) was also mostly a bike user game. However, they will perform a purely-aesthetic wheelie during a boost from another source (e.g. a Mushroom).
    • Lakitu resets players who drive the wrong way for a certain amount of time with the usual three coin fee. This was likely done to prevent griefers from camping near item boxes and spamming offensive items at other racers, or simply not taking the game seriously.
  • Palette Swap: Several vehicle parts have different colors depending on the character using them. For a more traditional example, ordering both DLC Packs nets you 8 extra colors for the Yoshis and Shy Guy.
  • Palmtree Panic:
    • DS Cheep Cheep Beach. The ability to drive underwater makes the coast segment more manageable than in its original version.
    • Dolphin Shoals, which is combined with Under the Sea.
  • Port Town: Toad Harbor, a lively urban location where people move from one spot to another via San Francisco style cable cars (which naturally will serve as obstacles during the race).
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: N64 Rainbow Road is drastically shortened in its remaster for 8. Not only that, but it's also divided into three segments for 8 rather than three laps.
  • Product Placement:
    • The free Mercedes-Benz DLC karts. A tournament by Mercedes-Benz can be accessed in online play for those that want to compete with the new karts. It's part of a cross promotion where Mario is used in a series of Mercedes-Benz GLA Class commercials in Japan and Nintendo has the GLA Class available as a free kart.
    • As with series tradition, ads for in-universe products are scattered around the game. Alongside the usual billboards in the tracksides... this time, there's also sponsor logos on some of the karts (like the Circuit Special) and at the end of the credits. In fact, Super Bell Subway and GBA Ribbon Road have advertisements for Mario Kart 8 itself!
  • Promoted to Playable: This is the first game in the Mario series to feature the Koopalings as playable characters. Also applies to Isabelle from Animal Crossing New Leaf in DLC Pack 2.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: The Miis' stats are solely based on the size of the Mii rather than gender. Unlike in Super Smash Bros., the Villagers are not an example of this trope; despite sharing the same slot, the boy is slightly heavier and faster, while the girl is a touch lighter and has better acceleration.
  • Randomly Generated Levels
    • Excitebike Arena has over 200 different possible variations of jumps and mud patches. It does have a standard layout for time trials, though.
    • Animal Crossing has four different seasonal variants.
    • N64 Toad's Turnpike has a bunch of different traffic patterns that are chosen at random. In some, traffic in all three lanes drives in the same direction as the racers. In others, the cars in the far right lane are driving against the racers.
  • Real Is Brown: Many of the tracks have a strangely subdued, low-contrast palette. This is particularly notable in the remastered Retro tracks, when you compare both versions and notice just how much brighter the old versions are (compare Piranha Plant Slide from Mario Kart 7 to its appearance in 8, for instancenote ). There are still plenty of courses with the familiar bright colors of past Mario Kart games, though, and the tracks are generally much better at distinguishing what amount of less saturated colors is actually more realistic than some other courses.
  • Retraux: The retro tracks have had their soundtracks greatly overhauled, with almost every track receiving a new cover.
  • Ribcage Ridge: On Bone-Dry Dunes, one can drive along a series of ribs that act as an anti-gravity segment.
  • Roaring Rapids:
    • Shy Guy Falls has you drive up a waterfall with boost pads on it. You must drive over the boost pads in order to negate the opposing water flow. Once at the top of the hill, you do a U-turn and proceed to drive down another waterfall to a gliding ramp.
    • 3DS Piranha Plant Slide, Wild Woods, and Big Blue all have running water slides that speed you up if you drive on it.
  • Rollercoaster Mine: Wii Wario's Gold Mine. Unlike the original course, the minecarts are not hazardous. Instead, racers can get spin boosts by colliding with them.
  • Rule of Three:
    • Three Rainbow Roads: a new one in the Special Cup, the N64 version in the Lightning Cup, and the SNES version in the Triforce Cup.
    • Three Wario themed courses: Mount Wario, DS Wario Stadium, and Wii Wario's Gold Mine
    • Three snow-themed courses: Mount Wario, GCN Sherbet Land, and Ice Ice Outpost
  • Ruins for Ruins' Sake:
    • Thwomp Ruins, a wrecked course where Thwomps serve as the primary obstacles. Due to the damaged state of the ruins, some parts are anti-gravity segments.
  • GCN Dry Dry Desert has greatly overhauled ruins, including falling pillars from Mario Kart Wii's Dry Dry Ruins from which you can do aerial tricks.
  • Scenery Porn: Nintendo pulled out all the stops for the first HD entry in the series. Not only is everything gorgeous, but every track, even the retro tracks, is littered with tiny details that really make the world feel alive.
  • Sequel Escalation: An update for the game adds an even faster and harder mode than has ever been featured in the series: the 200cc class.
  • Schmuck Bait: A number of the courses have areas and turns that look like good places to drift...when doing so will result in you going off course or into a wall. Some examples of this are the mini-turn after the waterfalls in Shy Guy Falls, the winding road prior to the finish line in Dolphin Shoals, and the sand dune cave at the end of Bone-Dry Dunes.
  • Shifting Sand Land:
    • Bone-Dry Dunes, complete with rivers of sand and even sand fountains.
    • GCN Dry Dry Desert. It's a bit less dry than before, now featuring an oasis where the players drive underwater, passing over underwater jets similar to the pipes in Dolphin Shoals.
    • GBA Cheese Land resembles one in appearance, though it's actually made of cheese.
  • Shout-Out: Plenty of them in the crossover DLC tracks.
    • In Hyrule Circuit, the coins have been replaced with rupees, the Piranha Plants and Swoops in the last section have been replaced with Deku Babas and Keese, and the item roulette sound has been replaced with the music that plays when opening a chest in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and when you hit all the crystals inside the castle staircase and reveal the Master Sword shortcut, it plays the "secret revealed" fanfare from the Zelda games.
    • In Mute City and Big Blue, the race intro jingle and victory results music are replaced with the corresponding music from the original F-Zero game. Instead of coins, there are energy strips like the recharging ones in F-Zero that refill your coins, complete with the recharge sound effect from F-Zero X. Big Blue even calls out "Yeah! The final lap!" upon reaching the third segment.
    • The Animal Crossing track is filled with nods to its origins for dedicated fans. For example, just like the games, the season changes every time you play the track. Coins are replaced with Bells, collecting an item makes the appropriate sound, Mr. Resetti appears taking the place of Monty Moles, and multiple important NPCs appear as spectators near their respective establishments. The theme for Nook's Cranny can faintly be heard as racers drive past. Even K.K. Slider can show up, and he of course plays music on his guitar. There's even little touches like Public Work Projects from New Leaf — park benches, a fountain, and balloon arches — being scattered across the track. Like the F-Zero tracks, the race results theme is replaced, in this case with The Roost's background music.
    • A poster in the background of GBA Ribbon Road advertises Kung Fu Lakitu, which is also a reference to Dragon Driftway from the first DLC package, featuring many Lakitu motifs.
    • The Baby Castle in the background of GCN Baby Park is clearly meant to evoke the castle attractions at various Disney Theme Parks, most closely resembling the Cinderella Castle at Tokyo Disneyland.
  • Skyscraper City:
    • N64 Toad's Turnpike now takes place on an inner city highway, with buildings in the background, and the traffic moves slower than the original.
    • 3DS Neo Bowser City has a greatly revamped city skyline.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World:
    • Mount Wario is a race down a snowy mountain, from the summit all the way down to the base.
    • GCN Sherbet Land. Ice-skating Shy Guys and Freezies appear on the track as obstacles. However, unlike the original track, the Freezies do not freeze you on contact; instead, they simply cause you to spin out.
    • Ice Ice Outpost takes place in and around several icebergs.
    • Animal Crossing (Winter) is much more slippery than in other seasons, increasing lap times by about two seconds.
  • Songs in the Key of Panic: It's Mario Kart tradition ever since Double Dash!! to speed up the music and raise it a half-step on the final lap. 3DS DK Jungle raises the music up a full step for the final lap. GCN Baby Park takes this further by having seven laps and speeding up the music after every single lap.
  • Space Zone: Rainbow Road is set in and around a space station.
  • Speaking Simlish: Isabelle's voice clips consist entirely of high-pitched gibberish, just like in the series she hails from. Because of the way her "language" worksnote , most of her voice clips have actual phrases behind them... good luck deciphering any of them, though. The same applies to the animal spectators on the Animal Crossing course.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills:
    • There are Toads wearing scuba gear in the underwater sections of Dolphin Shoals, while the racers get along just fine.
    • Considering that Inklings usually exhibit the opposite trope, it's a bit weird to see them driving underwater with no problems.
  • Stealth Pun: In Sweet Sweet Canyon, there are bottles of soda spraying liquid. You know, soda fountains.
  • Third-Person Seductress: Like Mario Kart Wii, playing any of the adult human female characters with a bike will cause them to wear a body-clinging suit instead of a frilly dress (which would be very impractical to wear on a bike). They also will wear their biker suits if you use an ATV.
  • Title Scream: Mario delivers this as hammy as possible. Luigi does, too.
  • Tomorrowland: Mute City and Big Blue (obviously, considering the source franchise) as well as 3DS Neo Bowser City. All three wind around futuristic metropolises, with lots of bright lights, shiny towers, and flying vehicles for backdrops.
  • Toy Time: GBA Ribbon Road is revamped and now takes place in a kid's bederoom, featuring giant toy boxes scattered around and wind-up toys both as spectators and as hazards.
  • Tree Top Town: Wild Woods has a village inhabited by Shy Guys inside the tree.
  • Truck Driver's Gear Change: The music modulates up a half-step on all of the tracks for the final lap, with a few exceptions: Big Blue, where the final segment's music is a different variant of the music from the first two segments; same for Mount Wario; 3DS DK Jungle has its music modulate up a full step for the final lap; and GCN Baby Park's music modulates a half-step up on every lap.
  • Uncommon Time: The music for Wild Woods is in 5/4 time, making it the only course theme that isn't in standard time. This is reflected with its unique backbeat variation.
  • Under the Sea:
    • Water Park mostly takes place in a flooded water park, and the majority of it is underwater.
    • Except for its anti-gravity segment on the rocks, Dolphin Shoals is entirely underwater. It's also the only course in the series where the starting line is underwater.
  • Undesirable Prize: The Coin item, which appear even after you've reach the maximum amount of coins you can hold, and are useless defensively. About the only thing they are good for at that point is for quickly replenishing your coins if you get hit by an item, but it's still best to use the coins to throw them away before hitting the next item boxes.
  • Unexpected Character:
    • The Villagers and Isabelle aren't too hard to believe to be DLC characters in a Mario Kart game despite being from a game series completely separate from the Mario franchise, but Link, a character from a game series where the most advanced technology so far is trains, being in a game with modern vehicles that have anti-gravity, is something nearly no one saw coming.
    • No one expected Nintendo would do a cross promotion with Mercedes-Benz, and have karts based on Mercedes-Benz vehicles available as DLC. Seeing Mario driving a shrunken SUV is just plain bizarre.
    • The Inklings make a surprise playable appearance in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, along with a battle arena based in Urchin Underpass.
  • Updated Re-release: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the Nintendo Switch. The update revamps Battle Mode to have eight actual stages instead of eight repurposed racetracks, adds several new characters, and a couple new vehicle bodies.
  • Variable Mix:
    • The menu music gains more layers based on how close you are to picking everything needed to have an actual race.
    • The music in races warps when certain power-ups, such as the lightning bolt, are used.
    • The percussion of the course's song gets deeper if the player is in the lead. Unless you're playing on 50CC.
    • Shy Guy Falls adds the sounds of mining equipment and chanting Shy Guys when driving past the mines. Wii Wario's Gold Mine also adds these effects in the mine's entrance, as does Wild Woods while passing by sling-gliding Shy Guys.
    • Water Park's music becomes calmer during the underwater sections.
    • Dolphin Shoals has three variations. Calmer versions play in the starting zone and cave, while the land section at the end features a more upbeat variant with a saxophone melody. Averted on the final lap, which only features the saxophone version.
    • Cloudtop Cruise has an epic, orchestrated, and trumpeting airy beat as its main theme, but then changes to a gritty rock guitar mix inside the more tension-filled thundercloud/anti-gravity segment.
    • Electrodrome, being a nightclub themed track, is built on medley magic. Its already pulse-pounding musical beat is accompanied by electronic riffs on the first anti-gravity segment as the player drifts across the interactive track. Then, there's a really trippy take of an anti-gravity area where the soundtrack changes to a twinkling variant, and even has several shimmering rectangular sparkles stimulating stronger beats popping up on the track surface. Plus, the track itself sounds off some musical stings increasing in key as the player hops across several staggered platforms which light up going into the second glider ramp. There's the aforementioned first place variant, the final lap variant, and, then there are versions for the normal and final laps of the crowds clapping in tune to the music, with Shy Guys chanting along, too.
    • Mount Wario's music gets more intense as you make your way down, eventually becoming a triumphant fanfare during the third and final segment.
    • 3DS Music Park still has you drive over piano, xylophone, and glockenspiel keyboard turns, which will create the appropriate sounds in harmony with the music.
    • Super Bell Subway has a few different variations. While it's normally an upbeat and cheery theme similar to Sunshine Airport, driving underground will cause the instrumentation to become more sparse as drums and bass take the lead. The Highlight Reel plays an extended version of the first theme, like Dolphin Shoals.
    • The Animal Crossing track has four variations that depend on the course's season. All versions of the track start with the first half of the theme from Animal Crossing: New Leaf, and the second half is a theme from another Animal Crossing game.
      • In Spring, it's the main theme for Animal Crossing.
      • In Summer, it's the second half of the main theme for Animal Crossing: New Leaf.
      • In Autumn, it's a blend of the main themes for Animal Crossing: Wild World and Animal Crossing: City Folk.
      • In Winter, it's a medley of the music that plays on Christmas Eve and the 7 PM theme in Animal Crossing: New Leaf.
    • Big Blue's final lap is, rather than a sped-up version of the regular theme, a guitar-and-sax solo to the same backing beat. The Highlight Reel transitions from one to the other.
  • Vocal Evolution: Thanks to new recordings, all the characters sound fresher and newer. Some voices in particular are much higher-pitched and louder, such as Mario, Yoshi, and Rosalina.
  • The Voiceless: The Villagers have no voice; they "speak" with Animal Crossing sound effects instead.
  • Wacky Racing: It's a kart racer with weapons like shells and banana peels. Naturally, it would fall under this.
  • Wutai: Dragon Driftway, a DLC course with a Chinese motif.
  • Your Size May Vary:
    • Spectator characters (Yoshis, Toads, Animal Crossing townsfolk, Shy Guys, Dry Bones, etc.) are noticeably larger than the playable versions of those characters.
    • In Animal Crossing: New Leaf, the Funny Animal characters vary in height but are generally only slightly shorter than the human protagonists. Here, the Villagers are both middleweight (with the boy being slightly heavier than the girl) while Isabelle is lightweight.

Alternative Title(s): Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/VideoGame/MarioKart8