Mario Kart will be one of the many Mario titles featured in the Super Mario Bros. movie which will be released in 2023. Fans are looking forward to seeing these Nintendo titles adapted to the big screen and are thus playing through the video game franchise’s history, to prepare for any Easter eggs and connections in the cinematic production.

However, when accessing the Mario Kart archives, a few harsh realities begin to kick in. While the series is still absolutely phenomenal and one of Nintendo’s bestsellers, there are a few areas that demonstrate how far the line has really come in its evolution and what could still be changed.


The First Game Doesn’t Hold Up

Mario driving in the original Mario Kart

The first entry into the Mario Kart saga was Super Mario Kart on the SNES. It’s a classic for the genre and kickstarted a franchise that lives on today. It thus holds an important place in Nintendo’s timeline, but it doesn’t exactly hold up to today’s standards.

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While other SNES games are still pretty replayable, the harsh reality is that Super Mario Kart doesn’t control all that well, boasts hard-to-read graphics, and isn’t quite as fast-paced as fans might have hoped for. It lays the groundwork well, but this nostalgia act lives on better in fans’ memories.

The Roster Is Too Consistent

Peach Garden Mario Kart 8 race with Peach in front and Luigi, Toad, Toadette, and a Chain Chomp behind her.

Mario Kart 8 managed to bring in some other Nintendo characters from across their line of titles including Animal Crossing villagers and Link from the Zelda series. However, despite there being some fantastic characters to choose from in the game, the roster is very consistent.

There are a few deviations in who is included within the Mario Kart team. While that is natural considering the heavy hitters have to be included, it’s rare to see a niche pick added to the game, which is a shame for hardcore fans that want to see their own favorites entered into the competition.

Modern Controls Are Easier

Lakitu driving a car in Mario Kart

Mario Kart really took a turn on the Wii, when the sensor system was truly mastered. Although traditional controls can still be used to move the karts themselves, steering with the motion technology was a lot more fun and in many ways simpler for more precise movements for the easiest and most complex tracks.

The Nintendo Switch has completely mastered this system, and it seems that very few choose to continue to play with the standard thumbsticks considering how much more entertaining it is to rely on the motion sensors. Those earlier games don’t feel the same without this option.

Bullet Bill Is Rare

Mario Kart 8 Bullet Bill

Bullet Bill is one power-up that players can access from the mystery, random boxes. It’s a fantastic addition, with those lagging behind the rest of the drivers getting an opportunity to catch up, with the rocket-like racer blasting through the competition and any obstacles.

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To allow for a more balanced system, Bullet Bill is a pretty rare occurrence. However, compared to previous titles, the use of the power-up on the track is becoming less and less frequent. What was once a life-saver in the field is now unfortunately difficult to actually pick up.

Rainbow Road Is Overplayed

Mario Kart 64 Rainbow Road, Mario races down Rainbow Road

Everyone has a differing opinion on what’s the best Mario Kart track. However, the official line always seems to be that it’s Rainbow Road. There’s a variation of the track in most releases of the game and even the Super Mario Bros. movie is putting an emphasis on the location.

However, compared to some of the other tracks, Rainbow Road has been consistently difficult to play in older releases and isn’t quite as entertaining as some other options. There are some universally beloved options out there, but Rainbow Road is overhyped compared to how often racers fall off the edge.

Mario Kart Tour Is Not Comparable

Mario Kart Tour Cover Photo

There are plenty of titles that have mobile equivalents, considering that’s where the market currently is. Mario Kart Tour is the variation that Nintendo have put forward, and they have tried to push the popularity of the game further, by including tracks from the release in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s DLC.

But compared to even some of the older Mario Kart games, despite the technological advancements, it just isn’t the same. Mario Kart Tour might be pretty fun for a mobile title, but the harsh reality is that it suffers when contrasted to some of the best racing games ever for Nintendo.

It’s More Fun Without Controlled Steering

Toad drives through Toad's Factory in Mario Kart Wii

There are multiple settings that a player can choose between, but it has to be said that the controlled steering has somewhat changed the experience for many. It used to be the case that players would have a more chaotic race, with the vehicle screeching around corners and hazards at every edge.

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Mario Kart 8 Deluxe especially has played into the idea of putting on stabilizers, so that it’s far more difficult to go over the edge of a track, but it’s also harder to use the designated shortcuts. The harsh reality is that some changes take away some of the enjoyment.

Green Shells And Bombs Are Self-Inflicted

Morton is driving with a green shell on his back in Mario Kart 8.

These days it’s a little easier to control both the bombs and the green shells that are used in the game. But, even in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe some self-inflicted problems can occur. With the older titles that was more of an issue, with players often getting hit with their own attacks.

It’s pretty funny, but it’s also a harsh reality that it’s not as easy as players might remember to get around a track completely unscathed. Occasionally the very objects that are supposed to be an advantage for the racer end up being their own downfall thanks to weird mechanics.

Making Karts Is A Modern Feature

Toad is making a turn in Wario Stadium from Mario Kart 64.

Customizing the karts in Mario Kart is a brilliant feature that can really give a player an edge when racing around some of the trickiest of tracks. However, while there are some terrible setups that players could choose, at least Mario Kart 8 gives them the option in the first place.

Modern players might realize that the customization of the karts is an extremely recent feature. The classic games from the line come with standard karts to choose from, with multiple options opening up in each release, but never allowing for a mix-and-match strategy as is now the case.

No Mario Kart 9

Mario Kart scene from Super Mario Bros-1

It’s a tradition that a new Mario Kart game is released with each Nintendo console. But, the harsh reality is that this didn’t happen with the Nintendo Switch. Instead, fans got a Deluxe iteration of Mario Kart 8, which is certainly an improvement on the original.

While DLC is continuing to keep the game alive, it’s a shame that there isn’t a Mario Kart 9 to play and see how the technology has continued to develop in next-gen gaming. There do not seem to be any concrete plans for a 9th installment at this stage.

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