[[caption-width-right:350:It's always Luigi, dammit!]]

''Super Mario Kart'' (1992) is a DrivingGame for the UsefulNotes/SuperNES that inspired the ''VideoGame/MarioKart'' series and, with it, a whole slew of MascotRacer 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/FZero F-Zero]]'' changed everything with the Super NES'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.

''Super Mario Kart'' utilized Mode 7 to make 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.
!!The game features examples of these tropes:

* AIBreaker: On higher difficulties, the computer will always jump over a banana peel on the track if it could reasonably see it coming. On courses where you need to hit a jump panel to proceed (which is how this game handled "figure 8" sections), placing a banana right where the computer would drive would cause all of them to miss the jump and be stuck, giving the player a clean victory.
* AlwaysNight: The three Ghost Valley tracks.
* AmazingTechnicolorBattlefield: The psychedelic Rainbow Road, ''Super Mario Kart'''s final track.
* ArtificialStupidity: Unless interfered with, the computer racers would always follow the exact same racing lines. Learn where that line is on each course, and a human has a huge leg up on beating the computer.
* AwesomeButImpractical: Bowser and Donkey Kong Jr. having the highest top speed. In order to make use of this it requires about a lap and a decent amount of coins to get up to speed and relies on the player not colliding with any objects or other karts to stay there, which on the harder tracks can be next to impossible. Averted in 150cc mode, where top speed is more easily reached and turns are easier to control and predict with the heavies. False starts can often be fully recovered in the first lap, which is next to impossible in 100cc. Veteran players and [[SpeedRun speedrunners]] alike prefer the heavies in 150cc for these reasons, as demonstrated [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmkEpvatJpE here]].
* BalancePowerSkillGimmick: The playable characters are grouped into pairs: Mario and Luigi are balanced, Bowser and Donkey Kong Jr. have slow acceleration but high top speed, Yoshi and the Princess have fast acceleration but low traction, and Toad and the Koopa Troopa are the gimmick with high traction, but have low speed and 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.
* BreakablePowerUp: Getting bumped by another racer removes a coin.
* TheBusCameBack: Toad returns after being [[ChuckCunninghamSyndrome left out]] of ''VideoGame/SuperMarioWorld''. This is also Donkey Kong Jr.'s first appearance, playable or otherwise, since 1982.
* 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 JustForFun/{{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. Additionally, if you hit an [=AI=] kart that's been shrunk by Lightning Bolts, they merely spin out rather than getting SquashedFlat the way human players will. Besides this, [=AI=] drivers can drive right through on-road obstacles like warp pipes.
** Additionally the AI players will change their track positions deliberately to block you. On lower difficulties it's most obvious that Mario and Luigi are doing it, but on 150cc cups ALL the [=NPC=]s will do this, including arcing wide on the corners to hit you ''as you're turning''. If you're using the L and R buttons to power slide around for tighter cornering this can completely ruin your trajectory.
** The AI is also impervious to all objects aside from weapons and other racers. This is most obvious in Bowser Castle 2, where four thwomps with unlucky RNG can trap you for seconds, while you watch the AI drive right through them. On the other hand, the AI can't steal your powerup boxes or use boost arrows either.
** The AI opponents will drive through the courses as though they're ''riding on a hidden rail'', taking hairpin turns flawlessly at high speed whereas the player will always struggle to avoid overshooting on them.
* DolledUpInstallment: This was originally going to be a generic racing game meant solely to provide a 2-player counterpart to the 1-player hit ''VideoGame/FZero'' a few years earlier. During production someone suggested seeing what it would look like to put Mario in a go-kart, and history was made.
* 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. Each cup also had five races as opposed to four.
** This is the only game in the series to have Donkey Kong Jr. as a playable character rather than Donkey Kong himself, though this is due to this game predating the release of ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountry1'' by a couple of years. Wario is also absent, though this game came out a few months before ''VideoGame/SuperMarioLand2SixGoldenCoins'', so it's kinda justified.
** The game 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.
** Each driver had their own ranking music, as opposed to the later games' standardized tunes.
* ExclusiveEnemyEquipment: The [=AI=] versions of Bowser can throw out fireballs that can be difficult to avoid due to its circular movement pattern while Peach and Toad have Poison Mushrooms, which shrink the victim like Lightning Bolts. Yoshi can toss his signature Eggs, which acts like a Green Shell if ran into.
* GoKartingWithBowser: The TropeNamer.
* GravityBarrier: The Ghost Valley tracks and Rainbow Road.
* GreenHillZone: The four Mario Circuits.
* IdiosyncraticDifficultyLevels: Each difficulty level affects how fast you and the AI will go. 50cc=Easy (You will easily lap the AI). 100cc=Normal (The AI can keep up a little bit, but you will be a bit faster than they are). 150cc=Hard (You and the AI race incredibly fast and it's difficult to keep a lead on them).
* JackOfAllStats: Mario and Luigi have middle-of-the-road top speed, acceleration, off-road performance, weight, and handling.
* LethalLavaLand: The three Bowser's Castle tracks have lava as the bottomless pits.
* LightningBruiser: Donkey Kong Jr. and Bowser have the heaviest karts which are also slow to accelerate, however this is balanced by having the highest top speed in the game.
* MascotRacer: This game is the TropeMaker. Though silly racing games existed before, this game set the standard for the genre.
* MightyGlacier: Bowser and Donkey Kong Jr. are standard examples of the racing game variant of this trope. While their top speed is high, their slow acceleration and [[DifficultButAwesome poor handling]] make it tough for them to actually reach and maintain it. However, their heavy weight means they can smack lighter characters around the track.
* 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. 150cc takes the icing on the cake for not only do you go insanely fast (and the slippery controls make it even more difficult), but the AI will go just as fast, if not ''faster''.
** The best demonstration of NintendoHard at work in this game would be Rainbow Road. Completing this track in the 150cc Special Cup is incredibly difficult because the track is surrounded by a BottomlessPit and unlike the Ghost Valley tracks it has no paving to stop you driving off the track at any points, plus the Thwomps from the Bowser Castle stages with an added bonus - they flash with invincibility so if you hit them you don't bounce off, you spin out, often all the way off the track. It's incredibly easy to go from 1st place with a flying lead to 8th with no way back in the space of a few seconds.
* 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.[[note]]The position of each character is always determined based on who you pick and your rival is always the racer in 1st or 2nd place, depending on whether you're 1st or 2nd on the leader board. Should your rival fall behind in the standings, whoever is next on the list will become the new rival. In the above image, if Luigi were to fall severely behind, then, assuming he doesn't fall behind in the same race as well, Yoshi would be the new rival.[[/note]]
* RubberBandAI: Pretty severe, and especially occurs if a computer that has earned many points in the GP falls behind. A rather interesting case with this trope is the AI will only rubber band back to their original position that matches their standings. For example, if an AI controlled Mario was ranked 3rd in the standings and he gets knocked down a few spots during a race, he'll only rubber band back to 3rd place and won't push for 2nd or 1st.
* SelfImposedChallenge: By pressing Y+A on the character select, you can shrink your racer. This makes you vulnerable to being crushed if a computer so much as touches you, but does not slow you down like enemy mushrooms do.
* SlippySlideyIceWorld: The Vanilla Lake tracks.
* 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.
* VideoGameLives: The only ''Mario Kart'' game alongside ''Super Circuit'' to use them. Rank in lower than 4th, and you lose a life. Lose all your lives, and it's GameOver, forcing you to start the cup over.
* WackyRacing: The cast of Mario characters racing in go-karts in exotic tracks while hurling objects at each other certainly fits the trope.