[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Super_Mario_Kart_(US).004.png]]
[[caption-width-right:350:It's always Luigi, dammit!]]

'''''Super Mario Kart''''' (1992) is a DrivingGame on the SuperNintendo that inspired the ''VideoGame/MarioKart'' series and, with it, a whole slew of WackyRacing imitators.

Due to technological limits, older driving games felt little like racing on a track and more like watching the track twist below you as other racers materialized or vanished at whim. In 1990, ''[[VideoGame/{{F-Zero}} F-Zero]]'' changed everything with the Super Nintendo's Mode 7 hardware, finally creating a realistic system with a (technically fake[[note]]The aforementioned Mode 7 hardware could scale and rotate backgrounds, resulting in a 3D-like effect.[[/note]]) 3D track and real racers.

But ''Super Mario Kart'' is the game that perfected Mode 7 into a fast, wacky, and thrilling challenge. Your racer must navigate the track--shown in the bottom split-screen--rife with obstacles such as grass, pipes, oil slicks, fish, and many an outright BottomlessPit. Not to mention the other racers--and their obstacles. Yes, both you and your opponents may pick up items to throw in each others' path; this is one of the many kart racing tropes ''Super Mario Kart'' started.

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!!The game features examples of these tropes:

* AlwaysNight: The three Ghost Valley tracks.
* AmazingTechnicolorBattlefield: The psychedelic Rainbow Road, ''Super Mario Kart'''s final track.
* BalancePowerSkillGimmick: The playable characters are grouped into pairs: Mario and Luigi are balanced, Bowser and Donkey Kong Jr. have slow accelaration but high top speed, Yoshi and the Princess have fast accelaration but low top speed, and Toad and the Koopa Troopa are the gimmick with high traction and low weight.
* BananaPeel: This mainstay item of the VideoGame/MarioKart series started here, though you weren't able to drag it (along with the shells) behind you until ''64''.
* BigBoosHaunt: The Ghost Valley tracks, though the Boos just float in the background and don't interact with the racers.
* BottomlessPits: In the Ghost Valley tracks and Rainbow Road. Lakitu will fish racers who fall down for the price of two coins (or one, or zero, if you have less than two. He's a nice guy like that.)
* {{Bowdlerise}}: In the original Japanese version, Bowser and Peach would drink from the champagne bottle upon winning first place at the awards ceremony. It was changed in international versions to simply tossing the bottle around.
* TheBusCameBack: Toad returns after being [[ChuckCunninghamSyndrome left out]] of ''VideoGame/SuperMarioWorld''. This is also Donkey Kong Jr.'s first appearance, playable or otherwise, since 1983.
* CarFu: Heavier karts can bully lighter ones, especially if one racer has been shrunk or is using a Star.
* TheComputerIsACheatingBastard: They don't follow the same rules as items go; each enemy racer can use only two items (a "signature" item such as Mario and Luigi's star or Princess (Peach) and Toad's poison mushroom, plus the Feather for avoiding obstacles), but they can be used ''at will''. Its {{egregious}} use of multiple items without visiting an item box (as the player character has to) is perhaps best demonstrated when a stationary computer uses five or six feathers in a row to avoid an item just under its wheels.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: Despite the claims of StrictlyFormula regarding the rest of the series, Super is a somewhat different beast compared to the formula that 64 would create; [=AI=] karts have special powers discussed above under TheComputerIsACheatingBastard, the deck is nowhere near as stacked against you if you're ahead, there's a coin-for-speed boost mechanic that wouldn't be touched upon again until Super Circuit and 7, and the Blue Shell didn't exist (which the European VC release trailer [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzbsW-HFrBI mercilessly lampshades]].) Also there are twenty tracks with five laps rather than sixteen tracks with three laps.
** The steering mechanics in this game are slippery and sensitive[[note]]Then again, the Super NES controller is digital only, like most console controllers were at the time.[[/note]]. Very delicate input is needed just to stay on the road and not end up hitting the walls or falling off. ''Mario Kart: Super Circuit'' carries on with similar mechanics. And instead of the traditional item boxes, there are item tiles, which each can be used up once per track, and since there's only one batch of item panels on each track, players will under most cases be limited to only one item per lap.
** Each race has 5 laps, which hasn't been used in future games that opted for 3 laps due to the first game having simpler track designs and shorter length. The first game is also the only game (along with ''64'' and ''Super Circuit'') that uses lives and it's possible to not even finish a grand prix due to running out of lives for not placing in the top 4.
* FollowTheLeader: This game is responsible for kicking off the WackyRacing MascotRacer genre.
* GoKartingWithBowser: The TropeNamer
* GravityBarrier: The Ghost Valley tracks and Rainbow Road.
* GreenHillZone: The four Mario Circuits
* IdiosyncraticDifficultyLevels
* JackOfAllStats: Mario and Luigi
* LethalLavaLand: The three Bowser's Castle tracks.
* MightyGlacier: Bowser and Donkey Kong Jr., though in a sense they subvert this trope. They actually have the highest top speed in the game despite their horrid initial acceleration. The inverse is true for lighter characters.
* NintendoHard: Due to the awkward drifting mechanic present in this game and ''Super Circuit''[[note]]You can only make inwards drifting and not switch between inwards and outwards drifting with the Control Pad, and to boost, you must straighten yourself out by allowing the game to gradually straighten you out to receive your boost, signaled by your engine revving up for a second.[[/note]],combined with the slippery controls and limited availability of items (one per lap, unless the player hits a second item panel that are not commonly seen in the tracks of ''Super Mario Kart'') anything past 50cc will definitely prove to be difficult even for players that can master the non-Mode 7 games.
* TheRival: Depending on who the player drives as, there will be certain characters that perform better and try their best to annoy the player. The rival will always be the same for each character, and that rival will do their best to not let you win. As shown in the page picture above, pick Koopa Troopa and the CPU giving you the most trouble will be Luigi, but pick Luigi and Yoshi will suddenly give you the most grief, and so on.
* RubberBandAI: Pretty severe, and especially occurs if a computer that has earned many points in the GP falls behind.
* SelfImposedChallenge: By pressing Y+A on the character select, you can shrink your racer. This slows you down and makes you vulnerable to being crushed if a computer so much as touches you.
* SlippySlideyIceWorld: the Vanilla Lake tracks
* SuperTitle64Advance: Even though there was no "non-Super" Mario Kart game on the NES before this one.
* UnwinnableByMistake: While item panels on the Battle Mode courses will refresh after they've all been used, there's an oversight on Course 3, which has two such panels in areas you need a feather to get to. Use all the other panels and don't have feathers? You're stuck.
* WackyRacing
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