Super Mario Kart (スーパーマリオカート, Sūpā Mario Kāto?) is a 1992 go-kart racing video game developed by Nintendo EAD for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). The first game of the Mario Kart series, it was launched in Japan on August 27, 1992, in North America on September 1, 1992, and in Europe on January 21, 1993. Selling eight million copies worldwide, the game went on to become the third best selling SNES game of all time. Super Mario Kart was re-released on the Wii's Virtual Console in Japan on June 9, 2009, North America on November 23, 2009, and in Europe on April 2, 2010.
In Super Mario Kart the player takes control of one of eight Mario series characters, each with differing capabilities. In single player mode players can race against computer controlled characters in multi-race cups over three difficulty levels. During the races, offensive and speed boosting power-ups can be used to gain an advantage. Alternatively players can race against the clock in a Time Trial mode. In multi-player mode two players can simultaneously take part in the cups or can race against each other one-on-one in Match Race mode. In a third multiplayer mode – Battle Mode – the aim is to defeat the other players by attacking them with power-ups, destroying balloons which surround each kart.
Super Mario Kart received positive reviews and has been praised for its presentation, innovation and use of Mode 7 graphics. It has been ranked among the best games of all time by several organizations including Edge, IGN, The Age and GameSpot, while Guinness World Records has named it as the top console game ever. It is often credited with creating the kart-racing sub genre of video games, leading other developers to try to duplicate its success. The game is also seen as having been key to expanding the Mario series into non-platforming games, where the main goal in platform games is when the hero has to rescue the damsel in distress; this diversity has led to it become the best-selling game franchise of all time. Several sequels to Super Mario Kart have been released, for consoles, handhelds and in arcades, each enjoying critical and commercial success. While some elements have developed throughout the series, the core experience from Super Mario Kart has remained intact.