It’s almost impossible to overstate the significance and enduring popularity of SMK. The world’s first “kart” game (with cutesy characters, Tex Avery-ish visuals, and randomly distributed “power-ups”), it spawned several generations of competing titles that copied its look and feel. More importantly, it turned the primate-provoking protagonist of Donkey Kong into the magnificently-mustachioed mascot of Nintendo, which finally found the desperately needed blockbuster that helped it fend off the explosive success of Sega and its blue hedgehog Sonic. Even today, it’s easy to see that beneath all the cartoonish simplicity is an astonishingly well-calibrated game: The courses are challenging, the weapons and defensive powers are evenly matched, and even the drivers have their unique skill sets (Bowser, if we recall correctly, had a lead foot, but handled his kart like a drunk turtle). An all-time classic.
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