Mario Kart 64

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Mario Kart 64
Mario Kart 64's boxart
SeriesMario series
Release date(s)Nintendo 64:
Japan: December 14, 1996
United States: February 10, 1997
Europe: June 24, 1997
Australia: June 24, 1997
China: December 25, 2003 (iQue Player)
Virtual Console (Wii):
Europe/Australia: January 26, 2007
United States: January 29, 2007
Japan: January 30, 2007
South Korea: April 26, 2008
Rating(s)ESRB: K-A
Platform(s)Nintendo 64, Virtual Console (Wii)

Mario Kart 64 is a racing video game released for the Nintendo 64. It was released in 1996 by Nintendo in Japan and 1997 in America then Europe. It is the second installment of the Mario Kart series. Mario Kart 64 later became avaliable on the Virtual Console.


When the player presses start from the title screen, He moves to the main menu which features gameplay listed by the amount of players (1-4 players). They may choose from Grand Prix (50,100,150 and special cc's) Time trials (Single player mode only), and VS mode (multiplayer modes only). When the player chooses which mode he/she wants to do, they must select one of the eight characters on the character select. Then the host player must choose a Cup from where they wish to compete in (In time trials, the player must also choose a specific course to race on.). When the race is about to begin, the player may choose to perform a rocket start in order to have a burst of speed at the beginning of the race, by pressing A right when lakitu says go. The players steer the kart with the control stick, and press A to accelerate. When using items, the player must use the Z button to throw them at other players. When grinding across corners, the player can press R to do a drift in order to fully control themselves when going across curves. The race ends when all of the players (except the player in 8th) reach the finish line. At the end of the four races, (in grand prix, and Vs) The top three racers receive a throphy based on their performance in the four races. When the main player wins all of the gold cups on all of the Grand prixs (including each difficulty) they will unlock special mode. (Mirror mode in future games)

New Gameplay Elements[edit]

This Mario kart title is one of the first to have courses fully rendered in 3d, Which gave the gameplay more accuracy. New item were introduced and added to the series, also including the original ones from Super Mario Kart (excluding the CPU's personal items). This game was also the first to feature four player Vs mode, a bonus mode (which is now called Mirror mode in future titles), and the new ghost data feature added to time trials.


  • Grand Prix: This is the main mode of the game. The player gets to choose the difficulty that they want to have before they want to start the race. They would be able to choose from 50cc (Easy), 100cc (medium), 150cc (hard), and Bonus (unlocked after the player gets all of the throphies in each cup in all of the difficulties). After which the player selects their character, and moves onto the cup selection. When the race starts, the player will pit against seven other kart racers.
  • Time Trials: This mode allows players to race against their best time in any of the courses from any cup. Ghost data can also be recorded, which is the player's past self, replaying their exact movements. In order to create ghost data, the player must have an extension pack plugged into their controller; allowing them to save it, and take the ghost data to another copy of the game to play it there.
  • Balloon Battle:In this mode, players try to pop each others balloon in a special course made specificly for this matter. To play this mode, a second player is required, resulting in a split screen. When the players begin the game, they start out with 5 balloons, which can be stolen if the player bumps into another with a mushroom. When all players but one have lost all of their balloons, the one with balloons left is the winner.



Joystick: move

  • A: Accelerate
  • B: Brake
  • Z: Release item
  • R:hop/drift
  • A+B+joystick (left/right): spin
  • Z+joystick (Up/Down): release item in that direction (not all items can be released in different directions.)
  • Start:Pause/Unpause the game


  • Mushroom:This item gives players a speed boost for about 3 seconds. This item also allows players to glide across terrain other than the track itself such as grass.
    • Triple Mushroom:This item gives three mushrooms to give the player an extra boost on the track.
  • Golden Mushroom:This will grant the player unlimited uses for the mushroom item for a few seconds.
  • Banana:This item is used by tossing behind/ in front of the player. When another racer hits it, they will spin out.
    • Banana Bunch: This item will grant the racer 5 bananas. Unlike other games in the series, this item gives out 5 bananas instead of the normal 3 in the future.
  • Green Shell:This item will give the racer a koopa shell, which can be thrown across the course both forwards, and backwards in order to crash another racer.
    • Triple Green shell:This will give the player 3 koopa shells that revolve around the racers kart, which doubles as a shield. Racers may still throw them as normal.
  • Red shell/Triple Red shell:These items are much like the green shells, only their more powerful. When thrown forwards, they will aim for the next person in place vs the racer who threw it.
  • Boo:When used, this item will make the player invisible and will steal an item from another player. This will also grant the player the ability to go across terrain other than the road like normal.
  • Lightning:When used, this item will shock all of the players with lightning, drop all of their items, and make them all shrink. when in this form, the racer who used it will not be effected by it, giving that racer a huge advantage against all of the other racers. The player is also able to flatten the smaller players to make them even slower. Players return to normal in order depending on their position in the race.


Their are a grand total of 16 courses and 4 battle courses.



  • Luigi Raceway
  • Moo Moo Farm
  • Koopa Troopa Beach
  • Kalimari Desert


  • Toad's Turnpike
  • Frappe Snowland
  • Choco Mountain
  • Mario Raceway

Star Cup[edit]

  • Wario Stadium
  • Sherbet Land
  • Royal Raceway
  • Bowser's Castle

Special Cup[edit]

  • D.K.'s Jungle Parkway
  • Yoshi Valley
  • Banshee Boardwalk
  • Rainbow Road

Beta elements[edit]

The title screen for Super Mario Kart R.

There are a couple of beta elements related to Mario Kart 64. The most well known example is that Magikoopa was playable in the beta version, but was replaced with Donkey Kong in the final release of the game.


  • If the player decides to play on 3 or 4 player modes, music will not be played due to the consoles limitations.
  • The castle in the background of Royal Raceway looks exactly like the one in Super Mario 64.
    • It is also possible to visit said castle in the background, though there is no way to actually go inside it.
  • There is a secret loop in the track where the players receive their rewards. In order to hear it, players must wait for the song to loop 64 times (as a reference to the nintendo 64) to listen to it.
  • Intrestingly, all the courses and cups are available from the start; unlike other titles, where the players must unlock them.
  • Kamek was originally intended to be one of the playable characters, but ended up being replaced by Donkey Kong.