Codex Gamicus

Kart racing video games
Basic Information


Kart racing video games are arcade-like, light, racing games staying far away from the realism of other games like Gran Turismo. They typically involve mascots of a company racing on Karts through creative & wacky levels, hitting each other with weapons along the course. The most famous of Kart racers and inventor of the genre is Super Mario Kart. This genre is a sub-genre of racing video games. Kart racing games are known to have simplified driving mechanics while adding obstacles, unusual track designs and various action elements.[1] Kart racers are also known to cast characters known from various platform games or cartoon television series as the drivers of "wacky" vehicles.[2]

Kart racing games are a more arcade-like experience than other racing games and usually offer modes in which player characters can shoot projectiles at one another or collect power-ups.[2][3] Typically, in such games, vehicles move more alike go-karts, lacking anything along the lines of a gear stick and clutch pedal.[1][4]


Taito's 1976 arcade game Crashing Race (1976) was the first game to include car combat.[5] Sega AM2's arcade game Power Drift, directed by Yu Suzuki, featured go-kart racing in 1988.[6]

Super Mario Kart (1992) is cited to have popularized the kart racing genre, implementing combat elements within races.[5] The game was also slower than other racing games of the time due to hardware limitations, prompting the developers to use a go-karts theme for the game. Since then, over 50 kart racing games have been released, featuring characters from Nicktoons to South Park.[7]

The Mario Kart series is often considered the primary kart racing series, topping other popular games such as Diddy Kong Racing.[8][9]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Schwab, Brian (2009). AI Game Engine Programming. Cengage Learning. p. 192. ISBN 1584506288. Retrieved 2014-11-27. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Gregory, Jason (2009-06-09). Game Engine Architecture. CRC Press. p. 19. ISBN 1439879184. Retrieved 2014-11-27. 
  3. Adedeji, Shola (2012-06-14). The Kart Racing Genre. Gamelitist. Retrieved on 2014-12-02
  4. Rogers, Scott (2014-04-11). Level Up! The Guide to Great Video Game Design. John Wiley & Sons. p. 502. ISBN 1118877217. Retrieved 2014-11-27. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Masser, Jeff (2012). A Brief History Of Kart Racing Games. Modojo. Retrieved on 2014-11-27
  7. Ryan, Jeff (2011-08-04). Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America. Penguin. ISBN 1101517638. Retrieved 2014-11-27. 
  8. Birch, Nathan (2014-05-29). The 10 Best Kart Racing Games Of All Time. Uproxx. Retrieved on 2014-11-27 “"I could just take the easy route and make this an all Mario Kart list, but I like a challenge, so this top 10 also includes pretenders to Mario’s go-karting throne."”
  9. Carmichael, Stephanie (2014-05-29). Review: Mario Kart 8 Turns the Kart-Racing World Upside Down. The Mary Sue. Retrieved on 2014-11-27 “"Mario Kart is the king of the kart racer ... it’s held that throne for a long, long time, ..."”