For almost thirty years we’ve been driving like maniacs, questioning the meaning of fairness and ending friendships in Nintendo’s Mario Kart series. So why not end a few more by trying to rank these games from worst to best.
The series has evolved over the years, from a simple racer based on the Mushroom Kingdom to a kind of motorized Smash Bros., drawing in racers and tracks from across the Nintendo universe. And as it’s got older it’s got bigger, going from a mere karting game to something that has since let us drive quads, bikes, hovercars and even two-seat mobile weapons platforms.
As is often the case with Pecking Orders, the idea here isn’t really to rank these games from worst to best, because even the ones down the bottom of the list are still loads of fun. It’s to pit these classic against one another, to see not just which one comes out on top, but why.
And spoilers: as these games don’t change too much over the years, course design and new features count for a lot, especially when it comes to multiplayer, meaning that while the list will indeed reflect the idea that “newer games do it better”, it’s far from a procession based solely on a game’s age.
Unlike a previous version of this list from 2014, this time the whole staff has chipped in with opinions, which means it is 100% correct, definitive and we will be accepting no dissenting opinions on the matter.
Note: we’ve excluded the arcade games on two grounds, one that loads of us (and you) haven’t played them, and also because so much of their content, from tracks to sound effects, is recycled content from mainline games (in a more literal way than newer console games including older tracks).
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