Let's Rank The Mario Kart Games, Worst To Best

Let's Rank The Mario Kart Games, Worst To Best

A Mario Kart game came out recently, and some people at Kotaku said it's the best ever. Others disagreed. This quickly leads to jokes about Mario Kart DS, the merits of balloons and arguments over just how close to perfection Double Dash got.

To appease the great Pecking Order, then, and to settle the debate it has thrust upon us once and for all, this is a list of Mario Kart games, ranked worst to best. So the ones at the top are the least amazing, while the one at the bottom is the most amazing.

Note that this is my list. Not Stephen's, not Tina's, not Kirk's, not Jason's, not anyone's. You got a problem with it, you take it up with me. Also note that, in the interests of inclusion, I've left out the arcade games, both for their similarities to existing titles and since so few of us (or you) will have played them.

Mario Kart Wii

Eh. I thought the bikes were a bit naff, and the motion controls sucked. Get past those, and the nostalgia factor of so many retro courses, and there's not much there that lives on in the memory. Not a bad game by any means, but up against this kind of world-beating competition, something had to come last.

Let's Rank The Mario Kart Games, Worst To Best

Mario Kart Super Circuit

The Game Boy Advance was, in my mind at least, supposed to be a way I could play SNES games on the go. This was nowhere near as good as the SNES Mario Kart. I am, however, one of the only people on Earth to actually like its visuals. They make it look like a really fantastic Mario Kart bootleg game for the Amiga.

Mario Kart 64

I know, it was the first one most people got to play with three other folks. But whatever. I never liked it that much, maybe because I never liked the N64 controller that much. Some absolutely classic courses, some making better use of 3D terrain than more modern entries, but boy, the game just looks gross now.

Let's Rank The Mario Kart Games, Worst To Best

Mario Kart DS

Nobody saw this coming. It should have been another weird handheld port. Instead, it was an almost perfect combination of nostalgia and pioneering features. It would take years for Nintendo to release another game this enjoyable when played online, an amazing feat considering this was released in 2005.

Super Mario Kart

Fuck you, Ghost Valley.

Mario Kart 7

It's almost as though Mario Kart Wii was a test, so that Nintendo could see what worked and what didn't when it came to the levels of innovation necessary in each Mario Kart game. Those lessons have since been applied, and they were first applied here, with the addition of long-overdue features like custom karts. Also, gliding: looked stupid in trailers, was awesome in the game.

Mario Kart 8

Further proof that Nintendo has this down to a science. It's almost a shame it will be remembered mostly for a meme, since everything else it did was the kind of perfection in execution and design that only a Nintendo at the top of their game can pull off.

Mario Kart Double Dash

Remember, this is my list. Double Dash has its problems, sure. But it was so brave, and I love it for that. The co-op abilities gave the game's most basic act of driving around and throwing stuff a level of depth and tactics it hasn't seen since. It also has the single best collection of original tracks the series has ever seen, from the insanity of Baby Park to DK Mountain's strategic perfection to Mushroom Bridge's rush hour madness.


    Um, we did this already.


      wow, its an exact copy and paste.
      but for once, its an american Kotaku article copied off an Australian article, but then being posted on Australian Kotaku - good job fellahs and sheilas.

      Thought so.

      Edit: Oh wow, it's actually exactly the same thing. GG Tina.

      Last edited 28/08/14 11:19 am

      @LukePlunkett Tina stole your article!

        I just imagined Tina from Bob's Burgers for some reason.

      "Note that this is my list. Not Stephen’s, not Tina’s, not Kirk’s, not Jason’s, not anyone’s."
      It even says it's not Tina's list hahahahaha

      We did! This is another of those lovely hiccups where the US Kotaku tech and the AU Kotaku tech don't play nice. On the US site, Tina did what we call a "reframe", which is where an older post is refreshed in case of new developments or renewed interest (like the MK8 DLC, which did huge traffic overnight). Below is what it looks like on the US site, but over here, it obviously just pulled a byline and some other stuff.

      So yes, without that context, it's just the exact same post with a now-joke about it not being Tina's list :)


    Oh cool, another chance to voice unpopular opinions :P Wait, I feel like we did this ranking thing already not too long ago.

    Anyway, for me the games kind of come in pairs.

    4 - MKWii, MK64.
    Worst of the bunch. I enjoyed 64 at the time, but coming back to it after having played through all the others it felt completely dumbed-down in comparison. Wii... shiny plastic DK.

    3 - SMK, MKDD
    Formerly the middle tier, "good but not best". These ones have kind of weird handling that take a good while to get used to.

    2 - MK7, MK8
    If anything I'd probably be more inclined to put them parallel to the other middle tier. But I guess they're technically better than them in a way, but there was still something not quite right about them. Especially with MK8, once the initial excitement of new-and-shiny wore off I started to spot the flaws.

    1 - MKSC, MKDS
    Super Circuit was my absolute favourite MK for ages, I played the hell out of it and loved it. Still has the best Rainbow Road in the series. With the introduction of online play and the cool mission mode, DS really stepped up to the plate and threatened to take the crown. Unfortunately for all its steps forward, it also took a few backwards and those held it back from standing out as the absolute number one for me. And gave birth to the whole tier system I ended up with here :P

    out of what i have played.
    1) MK 64 for Battle Mode, Double Dash and MK8 for racing - this is a tough one, coz i loved, i mean LOVED battle mode on 64 and i think that due to how much i enjoyed it, its puts it up there with how much i enjoyed Double Dash and MK8 racing.
    2) Mario Kart on SNES
    3) Mario Kart Wii

    Copy and pasted from the last time we did this

    8) Super Mario Kart
    7) Mario Kart Super Circuit
    6) Mario Kart 64
    5) Mario Kart 7
    4) Mario Kart Wii
    3) Mario Kart Double Dash
    2) Mario Kart DS
    1) Mario Kart 8

    EDIT this is from worst to best

    I just wish battle mode didn't suck so much balls in MK8. Who's shit idea was it to just use the circuits?

    "Note that this is my list. Not Stephen’s, not Tina’s, not Kirk’s, not Jason’s, not anyone’s. You got a problem with it, you take it up with me."

    - Tina Amini

    More Ghost Valley plz! MWAAHAHAHAHAHAAAA

    Mario Kart 64 - did anyone else play 3 player multiplayer on the Skyscraper and notice it was massively turbo-mode? We spent days playing 3-player pissing ourselves laughing because it was almost too fast to control.

    NOTE- this ONLY happened in 3-player and ONLY on Skyscraper - didn't work for 2 or 4 player multiplayer. Anyone care to explain why?

    And SNES - Ghost Valley 1 and Bowser's Castle 1, my brother and I would come to blows over who was the better time trial champion. Awesome tracks.

      Wait you would come to blows over who was better? Didn't the times prove who was better?

        Haha sorry man I've only just seen this reply.

        Can I assume you never had a moody older brother?

        Also, it was a constant battle for supremacy. He'd beat me, I'd beat him, it was just a vicious cycle. He'd never actually say I was better if I beat his time, I just "fluked it."


    Tied 7th) Mario Kart Double Dash / Mario Kart 7
    Only because I never played it.

    6) Mario Kart 64
    Hated it with a passion when I was younger. It was so boring! The tracks were too long and spaced out, which meant you were driving by yourself with no one else in sight for the longest time. It was also a little too floaty. Some of the track design was ace, though.

    5) Super Mario Kart
    Even though it is 6th, I still had a blast with this. However I only played it recently so it's a little hard to maintain a nostalgia boner for it. Also, DK Jr.? Uh huh.

    4) Mario Kart Wii
    I loved the track design and the character roster. Our family had so much fun playing this. Even Mum got in on the action!

    3) Mario Kart: Super Circuit
    I played it so religiously as a kid. Courses were fun, the music was catchy, and as of now (until November at least) it has the most tracks in a Mario Kart game: forty! That includes the SNES ones. So much fun.

    2) Mario Kart DS
    Revolutionary. The tracks, the music, the multiplayer, offline and online. Mario Kart DS was a fantastic example of what the Nintendo online services cpwerw capable off; Mario Kart was pretty gosh darn addictive online.

    1) Mario Kart 8
    It feels a little corny to say that the most recent Mario Kart is the best, but, well, it is. The track design is epic, there's plenty of characters to use, and the music... OH THE MUSIC. That Rainbow Road N64 theme gives me goosebumps every time.
    Shame about Battle mode, yes, but I rarely played it, so no skin off my nose. And the promise of DLC has me extremely excited.

    Anybody who puts Super Mario Kart or MK Wii ahead of MK64 is an opinion taken with a grain of retarded salt.

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