5. Super Mario Kart (1992)
Cast your memory back to 1992. The Super Nintendo was riding high, with such classics as A Link to the Past, Super Mario World and Street Fighter II. I doubt many gamers thought what they needed next was a light-hearted racing game with a cast of Nintendo mascots.
Super Mario Kart was the game that nobody was asking for, but we all could not get enough once sampled. Arriving in time for Christmas 1992, Mario Kart was the perfect blend of casual racing action, combined with vehicular warfare in the most gentle and unthreatening of ways. It was perfect for youngsters and mature gamers alike, and people were already so invested in the character lineup and knew who their favourite would be before even trying the game!
It is a simple premise: Nintendo characters racing in Go-Karts on courses that are loosely associated to existing Nintendo games, particularly the Super Mario Bros series. Fuse this with a 2-player split screen mode, and a dedicated battle mode which removes the racing entirely and squares players off in a comedic deathmatch, and you’re onto a golden formula for a classic game!
Throughout both modes you collect powerups by driving over ‘?’ tiles on the track and you are randomly assigned a weapon. These themselves have become iconic over the years, from the mischievous banana peel, the somewhat overpowered lightning bolt that shrinks all other racers on the course, and the dreaded red-homing turtle shell.
The legitimacy of the racing element suffers slightly due to the now renowned rubber banding affect, in which the game allows the CPU controlled racers to maintain the pace with the leading pack no matter how well you race, but it hardly detracts from the immense fun-factor that Super Mario Kart produces. One of the best racing games ever, the starting point of one of the most loved game series in history and an exceptional 2-player experience in your SNES Mini lineup.