Nintendo has a reputation for crafting games that appeal to all ages and Mario Kart may just be one of their greatest cross-generational achievements. No matter what age you are, the racing antics of the Mushroom Kingdom have something to offer. Hardcore gamers can obsess over learning the most efficient ways through the franchise’s many race courses, while more casual fans can pick up a controller and just try to troll other players with blue shells from the back of the pack. In other words, if you don’t enjoy Mario Kart, there’s something wrong with you.
With Mario Kart 64 celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and an updated version of Mario Kart 8 coming to the Nintendo Switch, it feels like the perfect time to look back at the series as a whole and rank each in order from worst to best. Of course, this is all just subjective and you’ll probably disagree with me on some (or all) of these rankings, so sound off in the comments with your own personal rankings. Let’s keep things civil though, people. There’s no need to attack someone for which game about plumbers, monkeys, and dinosaurs racing around in go-karts they prefer!
*Please note that only the 8 “canonical” games are being considered here, as the Arcade editions are very much their own thing and aren’t available on any of Nintendo’s traditional consoles.
8. Mario Kart Super Circuit
The closest thing there is to a “bad” Mario Kart game, Super Circuit for the Game Boy Advance was actually pretty impressive for its time considering what hardware it was running on. In hindsight, Super Circuit’s only real defining contribution to the series was that it was the first portable entry, which meant that it easily became one of the GBA’s most popular titles.
Unfortunately, the GBA wasn’t really the greatest multiplayer platform, as the need for link cables limited the appeal of Super Circuit’s main selling point, but more importantly, Super Circuit just isn’t that great of a Mario Kart game to begin with. Its track selection is arguably the weakest in the series and its 2D graphics lack the visual pop of other entries. With both Mario Kart DS and Mario Kart 7 offering vastly superior portable racing experiences, there’s really no reason to revisit Super Circuit other than for a dose of nostalgia.Photo: Nintendo