Welcome khổng lồ part 2 of our 8-part Mario Kart feature. Each week we’re dissecting Mario’s famous racing outings in the lead-up khổng lồ the release of Mario Kart 8 on May 30. In case you missed it, kiểm tra out last week’s post on the history of the Mario Kart series.

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Play with me!

What’s a race without competitors? There are many reasons why Mario Kart is super-fun và mega-popular, one of which is the inclusion of bright characters with colorful personalities – who are also instantly recognizable from the Mario universe.

Believe it or not, when the original Super Mario Kart began development, it was intended as a generic two-player racer, until someone decided to add blue overalls to the main driver. Et voilà – Mario’s adventures steered away from bouncing on Goomtía heads to lớn crashing right into them.

Today we delve sầu further inlớn Mario Kart by taking a closer look at Mario Kart’s varied character roster over the years, from the mandatory entries khổng lồ the obscure characters, as well as who we’d like lớn see in Mario Kart 8.

Popularity contest

Many characters have sầu slip-streamed their way into Mario Kart – 34 lớn be precise, not including Mario Kart 8 – and everyone has a favorite. A quick poll amongst the Pure Nintenvày crew shows our top three characters being Mario, Koopa Troopa & Toad. Congratulations!


But is Mario really the most popular? Sure, it’s his game … but let us know your racer of choice is in the comments section below.

There were eight racers in the Super Nintenvị original, Super Mario Kart, six of whom have continued lớn race in every title since – namely Mario, Luigi, Toad, Yoshi, Bowser, and Princess Peach. Donkey Kong almost qualifies for this award, appearing in every game since then, but originally it was actually Donkey Kong Junior who made the debut (more on that in a moment).

Other notable regular racers (not including any upcoming appearances in Mario Kart 8) are:

Donkey Kong and Wario – 6 gamesDaisy & Koopa Troopa – 4 gamesWaluigi – 3 games

Rethành viên me?

If you haven’t played all previous Mario Kart titles, or weren’t able khổng lồ unlock all the hidden characters, there are some obscure ones that you may not have noticed over the years. Here are our top 8:

1. Donkey Kong Junior

The very first Mario Kart actually featured our favorite Kong’s father. Confused? A short history lesson: the original 1980s Donkey Kong is now Cranky Kong, who fathered Donkey Kong Junior, who in turn fathered the tie-wearing DK we know & love sầu from Donkey Kong Country và subsequent Mario Kart titles.

2. Dry Bowser

One of the last unlockable characters on Mario Kart Wii, Dry Bowser is an alternate, skeletal version of Mario’s greathử nghiệm nemesis (that’s what happens when your castle boasts lava pits instead of water features). Players must obtainat least a one-star rank for all the 150cc cups lớn unloông chồng this scary-looking guy.

3. Wiggler

Wiggler has been one of Mario’s varied enemies since Super Mario World on the SNES, and has appeared in many of Mario’s spin-off games over the years. He makes his playable debut as an unlockable character in Mario Kart 7 on the 3DS, by winning the 150cc Leaf Cup. He also featured (in giant form) as an obstacle in Mario Kart Wii, và was a racing opponent in Mario Kart DS’s mission mode.

4. Shy Guy

This little mask-wearing enemy of Mario has appeared in various Mario Kart titles in either the background or as an obstacle. For fans of the console versions, you may not know that the Shy Guy’s first playable appearance was as the mặc định driver for download play on Mario Kart DS. He is also an unlockable playable character in Mario Kart 7 by winning gold in the 150cc Shell Cup.


5. Honey Queen

Also known as Queen Bee in Mario Galaxy, Honey Bee is a surprise choice for a drivable character. Her debut as a playable character was in Mario Kart 7, và she is unlocked by winning the 150cc Banana Cup. She even has her own bee-themed kart & battle course.

6. Lakitu

Lakitu has been in every Mario Kart title, not as a competitor, but by waving the checkered flag khổng lồ start và end races, fishing drivers from obstacles, and informing drivers of lap numbers và when they’re heading in the wrong direction. He became a playable character in Mario Kart 7, begging the question – who waves the flag when he drives? Take a closer look: the playable version has a red shell, whereas his flag-waving brother sports a green shell. Another interesting fact: if you race backwards in Mario Kart Wii, it is possible for “wrong direction” Lakitu to lớn be crushed by a Thwomp.

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7. R.O.B.

R.O.B. is special because he is the first (và only) non-Mario character khổng lồ appear in the Mario Kart series. R.O.B. – short for Robotic Operating Buddy – is a character based on the Nintenvì Entertainment System accessory from the mid-1980s. His playable debut was in Mario Kart DS as an unlockable character. Unlocking hyên requires winning gold in all 150cc Mirror Cups, no mean feat. He has also appeared in WarioWare & Smash Brothers titles, lucky robot.

8. Magikoopa/Kamek

Did you know that this magically-inclined Koopa was an original driver during development of Nintenvì chưng 64’s Mario Kart 64? He was later replaced with Donkey Kong. Maybe he’ll make his triumphant return khổng lồ the traông xã in Mario Kart 8?

Here’s a full danh mục of all characters, including known Mario Kart 8 racers (source: Wikipedia). Gray blocks are unlockable characters. Cliông chồng on the image lớn view a larger version.


Mario Kart 8

It’s been revealed that Bowser’s kids – the Koopalings – will be playable characters in Mario Kart 8. But we wouldn’t put it past Nintenvày to lớn keep a few hidden characters up their sleeve sầu for unlocking after release. In fact, we reported on the lathử nghiệm screenshot just yesterday, showing at least 30 characters available in Mario Kart 8 – with three question marks still visible.

So let the speculations begin! Here’s our wish-danh sách for who we’d lượt thích khổng lồ see driving with Mario và co. in the next installment.


One of Mario’s oldest nemeses, Goombas already appear as hindrances on certain tracks by looking sullen & moving from side khổng lồ side. Get off the road, frowny face! It’s about time these little brown mushrooms get behind the wheel to go bumper-to-bumper with Mario.

Boom Boom (and/or Pom Pom)

If the Koopalings are racing, surely Boom Boom – who guards the mid-cấp độ castles in Mario’s lademo Wii U outing – will demvà a piece of the action. He’s been harassing Mario in fortresses since Super Mario Bros. 3, so it wouldn’t be a surprise lớn see hlặng booming onto the kart-racing scene.

Professor E. Gadd

Luigi’s ghost-busting pal is a likely competitor, having visited the 3DS last year to lớn lkết thúc a hvà lớn our green brother in his second ghost-hunting solo outing. A Poltergeist 3000 wouldn’t go astray as a weapon either.

Link, Kirby, Samus, Pit …

Although these guys are further removed from the Mario-verse, it would be amazing to lớn see some of Nintendo’s other iconic characters join the biggest race this side of the Mushroom kingdom. R.O.B. already broke the tradition, so anything is possible.

With only three question marks available (that we know of), who would you lượt thích to see join the race in Mario Kart 8? Let us know if we’ve missed your favorite character in our danh mục.

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Coming up next …

That sums up our character profiling for this week, but stay tuned for part 3 of our series next week, when we’ll look at the diverse tracks that make us awe in wonder at their sheer beauty, and/or throw our controls in frustration (Rainbow Road, anyone?).

Chuyên mục: Super Mario World