YMMV: Mario Kart


  • 8.8:
  • Accidental Innuendo: Given how the commentary works in Arcade GP 2, the announcer may say some... interesting things.
    "BOWSER is banging away MS. PAC MAN! BANG BANG BANG!"
  • Author's Saving Throw: Mario Kart Wii got released in Europe first. This is most likely in order to make up for Nintendo's earlier announcement they would release Super Smash Bros. Brawl in June 27, 2008, that is, three and a half months after North America's March 9, 2008.
  • Awesome Music: Plenty in every game. This page has more information.
  • Base Breaker:
    • Miis starting with Wii. Some love playing with their personal avatars while others think they feel awkward in the Mario universe.
    • The DLC characters in 8. While there are fans who love the crossover aspect and don't mind Cat Peach and Tanooki Mario, others see them as a waste of money, or feel that Zelda and Animal Crossing don't gel well with Mario universe.
  • Best Level Ever:
    • Mario Kart: Double Dash!! features Mushroom City, a race around the eponymous city which features many forks that can shave precious seconds off your lap times; Wario Colosseum, a rollercoaster-esque circuit which is so long that a normal race takes only 2 laps instead of the usual 3; and Baby Park, which is the smallest course in the entire series but which compensates by having seven laps and which often evolves into a ridiculous, chaotic mess with shells bouncing off of every wall.
    • Mario Kart DS has Waluigi Pinball, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin: a giant pinball machine where players are launched to the top, then race back down while avoiding bumpers and giant pinballs. It even replaces the sound effects with 8-bit, casino-style jingles. Airship Fortress is also popular due to its clever and challenging design and being based on the already-popular airship levels from Super Mario Bros. 3.
    • Mario Kart Wii has Koopa Cape, which features a large river that speeds up players that drive in it, and a shark tunnel. Mario Kart 7 takes it one step further by filling the shark tunnel with water to complement its underwater driving mechanic.
    • Mario Kart 7 introduces courses that forgo the usual roundabout design, instead using checkpoints rather than one finish line. Most people regard these as the best tracks in the game, especially Rainbow Road.
  • Breather Level: Mario Kart 64's Rainbow Road, unlike the tracks before it and its Super Mario Kart counterpart, is merely extremely long, and, unlike later incarnations, has rails on the entire track instead of just the curves.
  • Broken Base:
    • Maka Wuhu had one for the online players due to the infamous cliff-falling glitch that puts the user of it ahead of others by several seconds. One portion considered it unfair for those who don't know about it or just want a simple race while the other portion said it's fair game for anyone since it's in there. Nintendo's response to the outcry by keeping said glitch did not help ease the fire, so to speak. In May 2012, they released a patch that would fix the exploit. After the patch's release, it became mandatory to have installed to be able to play online.
    • Similarly, snaking in Mario Kart DS. Some took advantage of it, while others (derogatorily referred to as Scrubs by the other side of the base) thought it was cheating. And others don't mind either way.
    • Is "Nintendo Kart" the next logical step for the Mario Kart series, especially after the introduction of cross-over DLC characters in 8? Better hope you have a riot shelter to dunk into when this debate is brought up.
  • Character Tiers: In every single game. Notable examples are:
    • Mario Kart 64 has Toad and Yoshi, who drive circles around any of the other racers.
    • Mario Kart Wii had each character give invisible bonuses, with the more favorable quickly reaching Tier-Induced Scrappy levels. Expect to see Funky Kong and Daisy a lot.
    • 8's tier system is based on weight classes; Bowser, Morton, Wario, and heavy Miis are ubiquitous in Time Trials. It's averted in casual play and especially 200cc, though.
    • 7 is the only game that averts this altogether. There's no real "tier" system, and every character can be used just about equally, though Metal Mario is very common.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome:
    • Almost a standard in the Wii version, where most people will only use a bike and certain characters just for the sake of being slightly faster than others.
    • In Mario Kart 7, Metal Mario became the go-to character for competitive players because heavyweights were considered to have an advantage, and Metal Mario takes up the least amount of screen space. Between that and Japanese players' love for Metal Mario, he became the most-used character in Mario Kart 7 by far.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse
    • Waluigi. Many were sad when he was omitted in 7. But he was one of the first characters announced to be returning in 8, making his fans very happy.
    • Koopa Troopa is a favorite in Super Mario Kart, and is still popular even today.
    • Similar to Koopa Troopa, Dry Bones is one of the most popular racers from Mario Kart DS and Mario Kart Wii.
    • Rosalina is very popular online in 8. Fitting, as she's a series-wide Ensemble Darkhorse since Wii.
    • Metal Mario, particularly among Super Smash Bros. fans since he joined the Mario Kart roster in 7.
    • Funky Kong enjoyed some popularity in Wii, as did Dry Bowser. Fans were happy to see the latter's return as DLC in 8.
    • Wiggler from 7 was also surprisingly popular, to the point that some fans lamented its exclusion in 8.
  • Fandom Rivalry: With that of Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, due to their vastly different approaches to steering and the effect of items in a race. Mario Kart has a slower pace, toon physics, and items that impact outcomes in significant ways, whereas Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed emphasizes fast-paced arcade-style racing with deliberately weak items and strong defenses against long-range items. In other words, Mario Kart games are about rapid shuffling of positions where no one is safe, whereas '"Transformed'' is built around long, sustained leads and defensive driving. As a result, fandom wars have broken out about which gameplay style is more fun and more fair. While this rivalry isn't quite as widespread or well-known as most other video game rivalries, it is among the most bitter, as Mario Kart is the poster child of luck-based video gaming, deserved or not.
  • Game Breaker:
    • Toad is by far the fastest character in 64 and Super Circuit due to the way the weight classes' stats were distributed. Normally lighter characters would have better acceleration and handling, while heavier characters had better weight and top speeds. In these two games, the acceleration and top speed bonuses were swapped between the lightweights and heavyweights.
    • "Snaking" is a technique where you constantly powerslide back and forth to gain mini-turbos on straightaways (normally you're only supposed to get mini-turbos when making a sharp turn). It's been essential for setting world records since at least Mario Kart Double Dash, but was rendered almost impossible from Wii onwards by making the mini-turbo dependant on how hard you turn during your powerslide.
    • Bikes in Wii, they massively overshadowed karts. More so with characters like Baby Luigi, Funky Kong or Daisy. Especially Funky Kong. They eventually lost the ability to gain additional speed by performing wheelies in 8.
    • The series have tracks that can cut down on your laps greatly due to abusing exploits of the checkpoint system (this determines where Lakitu drops you off if you fall from the track). A notable one is the glitch in the Grumble Volcano track in Mario Kart Wii; if done correctly, the player can finish the race in 30 seconds or less. Naturally, nearly everyone abused the exploit online and it was more obvious when people started to spam vote for the track. Mario Kart 7 also has a similar one with the Maka Wuhu track that allows people to skip huge sections of the track. Not only people began to abuse this online as always, but the exploit was found almost days after the game was released.
    • Several items are game breakers depending on the game they are used in:
      • Super Mario Kart had the mushroom give a huge boost and the star gave players insane speed boosts for several seconds which allowed them to cut across tracks with dirt/water/sand, etc. These items were nerfed and adjusted to be less game breaking but still useful, but perhaps the biggest game-breaker was the Feather, which allowed you to jump over the boundaries of the track, allowing for massive shortcuts. That item was never featured in another Mario Kart game after that.
      • The multi-banana peel in Mario Kart 64 gave you a trail of 5 peels, which meant up to 5 protections from shell attacksnote  and also 5 peels to spray the tracks with. Later games reduced the item to 3 peelsnote .
      • Mario Kart Super Circuit gave red shells a secondary function by allowing players to drop it behind them and the next player that passes it gets attacked by it. This made it too easy to place it by gaps or jumps in order to make people fall off the track, so the function got removed in future games.
    • Nearly every special item in Mario Kart Double Dash!! is a game breaker; Mario and Luigi's fireballs are a spreadshot that can hit multiple people, Bowser and Bowser Jr.'s giant shell is basically a faster and bigger version of the green shell that's difficult to avoid, Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong's giant banana peel is also difficult to avoid and it splits into 3 smaller peels when struck, Yoshi and Birdo's egg attack released several items when it broke and one of them could be a star, and Peach and Daisy's hearts allows you to absorb up to two items, including most special items, for your own use later, Baby Mario and Baby Luigi have the Chain Chomp which not only boosts their speed while it's out, it also wrecks any obstacle on its path (including other racers), Koopa and Paratroopa got exclusive control over the Triple Red/Green Shells, Toad and Toadette could spam the Golden Mushroom anywhere and jump to the front of the pack, and Wario and Waluigi could blow anyone off the road with the Bob-omb. And then there are Petey Piranha and King Boo who can use all of the special items available in the game...
    • The Boo item turned the player invisible, which made them immune to all forms of attack, and it stole another player's item. Players could also drive off road in the DS version without loss of speed with the Boo item as well.
    • Maple Treeway in Wii and 7 have piles of leaves that often contain items. One of the items you can get is a Super Star. And you can pick this up in any place you're in.
    • Double-shielding with items (holding one item in the reserve, and another behind you to protect from attacks). Removed from 8.
    • The Egg 1 kart is a bottle rocket. It boasts extremely fast acceleration, very finessed steering, and good handling in general. Egg 1 became an excellent vehicle for posting superb time trial records in DS because its ultimate weapon was snaking abuse. A bit watered down in 7, where you can customize the wheels to adjust its stats (Roller wheels replicate its acceleration perks) and snaking has been jolted from gameplay. The only downside is that it gets flung far away if a heavier vehicle strikes it.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Metal Mario is a Base Breaker overseas, as he is seen as a "lazy Mario clone", but Japanese players absolutely worship him.
  • Goddamned Bats: Some levels have hazards which can pop out at bad times to slow you down, including sliding walls, falling presses, and, yes, bats. Sometimes, the goddamned bats can be the other racers themselves as they can get in your way when you are trying to pass them or crash into them while performing a power slide and losing your momentum. This is much more noticeable with the AI since they don't deviate from their preferred path too much.
  • Hell Is That Noise:
    • You will panic every time you hear the alert of a homing item. Especially the Spiny Shell.
    • When someone else is under the effects of a Star, the usually-beneficial Invincibility theme gets doppler-shifted just enough to sound very alarming.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • According to Wii Sports Resort, only electric cars are permitted on Wuhu Island. That's apparently not the case anymore, according to 7. Apparently the restriction doesn't apply to karts, just "cars"?
    • 64's manual mentions Wario built Wario Stadium as a motocross track instead of a traditional speedway. 11 years later bikes were introduced. Bonus points for bikes being more popular.
    • 7 features an icy course apparently created by a blonde princess in a blue dress. Two years later...
    • When Wii was first released, many players felt that Koopa Cape's Shark Tunnel felt like Big Blue. Several years later, the real deal Big Blue was included as a DLC track.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks:
    • Super Circuit got some of this reaction from people. It's a handheld Super Mario Kart with the graphics and sound effects from 64.
    • As with Wii, seeing as bikes and the online are the only new main additions. Reactions switched when the online access support was dropped.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • It's very common to find people declaring the Spiny Shell a destroyer of dreams.
    • A common response to people saying First Post is to send a Spiny Shell at them.
    • HI I'M DAISY!
    • Opponents of Mario Kart Wii like to refer to it as "Funky Bike Wii" due to rampant usage of Funky Kong on bikes being a Game Breaker.
  • More Popular Spin-off: Since the release of Mario Kart: Double Dash!! on the Nintendo GameCube, the Mario Kart games have actually consistently outsold their platformer counterparts.
  • Most Annoying Sound:
    • In Mario Kart Wii, characters scream things like "YEAH!" or "WOOHOOOOOO!" at the top of their lungs for almost everything they do, even for little things like mini-turbos and wheelies. Although certain characters get more attention for it than others, when it comes down to it, every character could be considered equally annoying due to the cartoony ear-piercing voices.
    • When playing with a Mii in 7, get ready for "YEP YO! YEP YO! YO! YEP YEP! YEP YO!"
    • HI I'M DAISY HI I'M DAISY HI I'M DAISY from Double Dash.
    • Funky Kong in Wii is very loud, very hammy, and is without question one of the most popular characters to use in competitive play. Every third race online had a bad tendency to be punctuated by a chorus of "GOGOGOGOGOGOGOGO! AHRAHRAEHERAHEHEYYYYYY! WOOOO! WOOHOO! HUH-NAARHT!"
    • Toad from Mario Kart 64. "HERE WE GO! I'M THE BEST! AHHHHHHHH!"
    • Honey Queen. BZZZZZZ BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!
    • Crashing into penguins, plants, moles, etc in that game played this horrible squealing noise.
    • The "incoming shell" beeping alert. Especially when it's a blue shell and you can't do anything about it.
    • The beeping sound when you've got shells spinning around your kart in 7, especially if you've played the Metroid series, you can mistake it for the Critical Annoyance alerts when Samus is low on energy.
  • Most Wonderful Sound:
    • The Double Item Box. Polyphony at its finest.
    • The Bullet Bill's acceleration sounds, if you're in a low ranking.
    • The sound when passing the goal, especially in first place. It sounds a little like a sigh of relief, and that's what players probably are breathing, too.
    • The rising jingle used for when you cross the finish line at the end of the first lap.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Metal Mario and Pink Gold Peach have blank sclera for eyes, unnervingly enough.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Honey Queen got this for being chosen over fan-favorite veterans like Waluigi in Mario Kart 7.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Daisy, who is mentioned as a possible scrappy across the franchise, is in some of the later games (her classic "Hi, I'm Daisy!" line comes from Double Dash).
    • Honey Queen in 7, as she is an extremely minor character who had just appeared in a small handful of missions in the Super Mario Galaxy games before and is widely considered as being undeserving of a spot in the roster. Her horrendous voice acting doesn't help matters, either.
    • Metal Mario is even considered a Scrappy to some people, because he is only a Metal version of Mario with slightly heavier stats. Some people even hate his voice. That being said, Japanese players love him. Pink Gold Peach gets it much worse, for not having the same Ensemble Darkhorse history as Metal Mario and having no basis in any previous games, leading to some accusations of artificially inflating the roster by making characters up. This was only further fueled by the addition of Tanooki Mario and Cat Peach as DLC in 8, leading to four sets of Mario and Peach variations.
    • Any baby character except Baby Mario and maybe Baby Luigi, due to them appearing in Yoshi's Island, has gotten shades of this, due to all of them being similar to one another. Baby Daisy and Baby Rosalina get it most for, much like Pink Gold Peach above, having no basis in any previous Mario games and apparently just being made up to make the roster bigger.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • The Spiny Shell, if the examples floating around didn't make it clear enough. Sure it's annoying when you're in first and then you get hit by the Spiny Shell allowing every other racer a chance to pass or catch up to you, but it also doubles as a Power Up Let Down for the Spiny Shell user. Even if the user can stop the 1st place guy, they still have several other racers ahead to contend with. Thankfully the Spiny Shell received a nerf in the DS and 3DS installments, since you can see items racers collect in both installments and act accordingly, but also the shell was stripped of its wings from Mario Kart 7 onward.
    • The Thunder Cloud from Wii is even more reviled. The idea is that you get a big increase to your speed as long as you have the cloud above you, but it zaps you after a few seconds. The result is that the player has to choose whether to pass it on to an opponent and lose the speed buff, or keep it and risk getting shrunken. All in all, not too bad, yet for some reason the game designers made it so that it triggers as soon as you get the powerup, regardless of where you are on the track. The final nail that makes it such a hated item is that it can be picked up in any position, even in last place. Needless to say, many fans are glad that it hasn't reappeared in any other game.
    • The Lightning Bolt as well, which it really shouldn't be considering it affects everyone else with it, with characters closer to the lead being affected for longer periods. The problem comes from it being rigged to happen too often and making you often lose your defensive item just as a red shell is coming. And of course the AI will coordinate its racers so that they'll use a Spiny Shell just before they use the Lightningnote , setting first place up for a distressingly common one-two punch. To make matters worse, if the lightning bolt strikes you while your hang glider is deployed, it disappears as you fall into the abyss below.
    • Coins in Super Mario Kart and Mario Kart: Super Circuit. You need to hold coins to increase your speed (the boost caps at 10 coins) and getting hit by items, crashing into course hazards, or falling off the track made you lose coins. Even bumping into another racer made you lose a coin! The games also made the coins an item to give you 2 coins instantly, but it could also screw you over if someone behind you has a red shell or the like. Mario Kart 7 changes the coins mechanic slightly where not having a lot of coins won't totally screw you over and bumping into people won't make you lose coins, but you can't hold more than 10 coins and you will lose 3 coins (or two if your coin count is low) every time you get attacked or fall off the track, which makes holding onto your coins a pain in the ass. Luckily, coins regenerate. Unluckily, you need to collect coins to unlock parts for your kart and you will be playing for a long time since you will need to collect several thousand coins and even beyond 10,000 coins just to get everything. This is made worse due to only being able to hold up to 10 coins per race.
    • The Super Leaf in Mario Kart 7. Very useful for blocking red and green shells, but did not provide any use whatsoever to players who had nothing to hit or were stuck in a position where they needed a ranged item or obstacle item.
    • The very system of dropping held items since Double Dash!! when hit by certain items from opposing racers. It's particularly painful when you are hit by a Spiny Shell and lose everything you were using or saving.
  • So Okay, It's Average: The general consensus of Super Circuit. Compared to 64 and later installments, it doesn't do anything innovative, but it's still a decently fun game with a catchy soundtrack.
  • Surprise Difficulty: Any long time fan of the series will tell you to not be fooled by the colorful visuals and mellow settings since the games tend to be quite difficult at times, especially on the 150cc difficulty.
  • That One Achievement:
    • Beating staff ghost times in Mario Kart Wii. Now, beating a staff ghost in this game is not as simple as "overcome this record to win". For your record to be actually counted as "staff ghost beaten", you don't just beat the staff ghost, you have to be about 7 seconds ahead of the staff, and considering the records most of them have set, and a lot of tracks already being That One Level, you really need to be damn near perfect.
    • Getting the highest ranking in each cup can seem arbitrary at times. Oftentimes one can race perfectly and get first in each track, yet still not have received a triple-star ranking. Luckily, 8 changes the system to be more predictable; getting first in every race guarantees a triple-star ranking.
    • On that note, perfecting every engine class can also be a pain in the neck. 50cc is simple, and 100cc is manageable, but what about 150cc? Or Mirror, for that matter? 8 once again simplifies things so that your ranking carries over into lower engine classes, but Mirror is still counted separately. And then there's 200cc, which is nearly impossible without inhuman reflexes.
  • That One Attack:
    • Spiny Shells, the bane of any first place racer. It's practically a guaranteed hit, and in single player seems to come in droves.
    • Thunder. It comes without warning, there's very few ways to defend against it otherwise, and as if that wasn't bad enough you go slower for a while. It also messes up the music for its duration.
  • That One Level: There's bound to be at least one in each game.
    • Toad's Turnpike. Extra Cup. Now, Extra Cup normally just mirrors the tracks. For this track, the course is mirrored...and the traffic cars are oncoming. Welcome to Hell.
    • Rainbow Road ends up being this for a majority of every game except its really long and safe version in MK64 (which averted the difficulty after the first Mario Kart), thanks to the general lack of railings and the abundance of sharp turns and narrow pathways. That's disregarding everyone trying to throw explosive flying shells at you.
    • Mushroom Gorge in the Wii version. At least 1/4th of the track is over an abyss with only bouncy mushrooms to launch yourself across to another mushroom until you hit the other side. Hitting the mushrooms at a wrong angle will most likely throw you into the pit. Using a Bullet Bill while over the mushroom pit can also be disastrous if the power up runs out when you're over the pit instead of a mushroom or the ground. Even simply going too fast with a mushroom item or a star can throw you into the abyss. To make matters worse, you also have to hope people don't try to target you with a red shell, spiny shell, or a thunderbolt as you cross the gap. And to even think it's just the third track in the game...
    • Baby Park In Double Dash is also just the third track in the game, is named after the baby Mario Bros, is just an oval with two turns, has no hazards, and is so small that racers must do seven laps instead of three. So what makes it so hard? Basically, the track is so small and item boxes so plentiful that what would be a simple back-and-forth battle in other tracks becomes a chaotic maelstrom in Baby Park's tight spaces. It's also not very hard to drop behind most of the racers, grab a powerful Special Item, then launch it and blast to first in a matter of seconds, only for that to happen to you because of all the people you knocked behind you. And so on and so forth...
    • Maka Wuhu was one in 7's online mode, due to an infamous glitch which was easily abused. This has been fixed, as of May 2012.
    • Lakeside Park in Super Circuit, it has ramps that make you lose lots of time.
    • Sunshine Airport in 8, because of how common it is online. If you're playing without the DLC Packs, expect to see it picked very often.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy: More than a few across the series, whether it be vehicles or characters:
    • In DS, the Dry Bomber is far and away the best kart for snaking. The Egg 1 and Poltergust 4000 aren't far behind.
    • Funky Kong and Daisy were abused in Wii due to their crazy stat boosts.
    • Bikes in Wii due to their wheelie ability and generally higher stats leading to them being undeniably better than karts, so much so "Funky Bike Wii" became a nickname for the game.
    • Heavyweights have been at both ends of the spectrum. In earlier games, heavy characters took a long time to get going, thus limiting their usefulness. In later games however, the customization feature and stat boosts have rendered it possible for players to go at insane speeds with them, particularly with Bowser, Wario, Morton, and heavy Miis in 8.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion:
    • It's very easy to mistake Wiggler in 7 for a girl with the feminine voice and the flower, but according to the bios, it's a guy. This depends on the translation, though, like Petey Piranha.
    • Many people initially mistook Toad for a female in Mario Kart 64 because of his localized voice (it was more masculine in the Japanese version), which is the reason for the more raspy voice Toad continues to have to this day. Ironically, Toad has been voiced predominantly by female voice actors since then, while the 64 voice actor was male.