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Since its inception as a followup for F-Zero back in the early 90’s, Mario Kart has become one of the most popular and well-received racing franchises in video game history. Like most things, there’s been a few bumps in the road, as well as some bizarre design choices and pretty interesting Easter eggs.  While I could have dig up hundreds of instances of cut content or reactions characters make when you hit them with a blue shell, this list and video involve some of the more obscure and interesting facts from our favorite game where a ghost can drift a motorcycle past a monkey man in a tie.

1. Mario Kart is one of the most popular racing franchises ever.

An estimated and absolutely staggering 116.5 million copies of Mario Kart have been sold since the franchise’s inception back in 1992.  To put that number into perspective, that’s double the population of California, ten times the number of Wii U consoles sold, twice the amount of voters in the 2016 presidential election, and well over five billion dollars in revenue. 

2. Donkey Kong as we know him now was not featured in the first Mario Kart game.

Since Donkey Kong Country (and the DK Rap) didn’t exist yet back in 1992, the hard hitting gorilla in the white jumper was actually Donkey Kong Jr. While this is a pretty obvious fact to overlook, it’s still interesting to see where Nintendo was back in the early 90s before this propaganda video showed up at my door and Donkey Kong was changed forever.

3. Bowser and Peach celebrate super hard in Japan.

In the Japanese version of Mario Kart on the Super Nintendo, Bowser and Peach decide to not waste any of that victory champagne at all and stay hydrated. This was quickly changed for the U.S. release to the two characters just tossing the bottle up in the air, because that could totally corrupt young minds.

Screen-Shot-2017-05-08-at-1.45.24-PM-902x306 Mario Kart - Quick Facts You May Not Know

4. Pac-Man and Tomagachi characters appear in Mario Kart Arcade GP

While it may be news to some that the game even exists, Mario Kart Arcade GP is the first Mario Kart game to feature a non-Nintendo character. Pac-Man and his ghost friends show up in the Namco developed arcade port of Mario Kart.  In its follow up games, Tamagotchi character Mametchi and Taiko no Tatsujin drum character “Don-Chan” race alongside Nintendo’s finest. 

5. An image of the Beslan school hostage crisis exists in Mario Kart Arcade GP

Speaking of Mario Kart Arcade GP, for some bizarre reason an image of the Beslan school hostage crisis exists in the games data.  This file, along with a simple color chart and image of a green plant looking man, were all used at some point to test the cabinet’s NamCam portrait feature.  Why Namco and Nintendo decided to use an image depicting an event where 385 people were killed and over 700 were injured is unknown.

6. Mario Kart 8 is the first game in the series to feature animated mustaches.

It’s about time.

giphy-downsized Mario Kart - Quick Facts You May Not Know

7. The original idea for Mario Kart didn’t involve Mario.

Interestingly enough, Mario Kart started out as a multiplayer follow up (not sequel) to the blisteringly fast SNES future racer F-Zero.  It wasn’t until about four months into the game’s development that Mario was added.  In an interview series conducted by the late Satoru Iwata, it is revealed by series developers Hediki Konno, Kenichiro Ashida, and Shigeru Miyamoto that the game’s first prototype involved a guy in overalls that was distinctly not Mario.

Did we miss anything?  If so let us know in the comments here or on the video!


Nick Maillet

Video Lead

I used to be that band guy with super cool hair who lived and breathed breakdowns, now I work on TV shows as an colorist/editor. You can find me on twitter talking about my ever expanding collection of NES games and my love hate relationship with Tinder.


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