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Today marks the 23rd birthday of beloved party-starter smash-hit, Mario Kart 64. That’s right; for over twenty years, gamers have been building up friendships only to destroy them with stupid banana peels later. That’s quite an impressive feat for the franchise, to be honest. But then again, this is Mario we’re talking about here; the gleaming face of Nintendo. It’s not like we’re talking about some underdog rip-off racer or anything like that. No, we think Mario Kart pretty much deserves the eternal shelf-life status in all honesty. And, so long as people continue to inject life into the endless catalog of karting chapters, it’s unlikely that we’ll see the demise of the enchanting world and all its nostalgic glory.
Mario Kart 64 hit the market on December 14th, 1996, following the 1992 release of Super Mario Kart on the SNES. With four years bridging the gap and 8.76 million sales, Mario Kart soon became a renowned title in the community and a staple on essential gaming. Plus, over the duration of a decade, Super Mario Kart managed to skyrocket and cement itself inside the Top 100 billboard for one of the greatest games of all-time. So, it sort of made sense for Nintendo to follow up with a thousand sequels. But we don’t see anybody complaining about that, to be fair.
As Mario Kart 64 was the first three-dimensional video game in the timeline, aspects that weren’t originally attached to the previous title were soon engraved into the second. That essentially meant Nintendo could finally alter the elevation of the tracks and insert various new tools that the previous Mode 7 graphics couldn’t swing. Plus, Nintendo also introduced the four-player mode so that gamers could host their very own parties for the ultimate karting competitions. Oh, and rage-fuelled sibling rivalry, of course.
Mario Kart 64 began development in 1995 and was initially intended to be a Nintendo 64 launch title. However, due to complications with the logistics of the multiplayer mode, Nintendo rejected the chance to showcase the full game during the November reveal. Instead, full resources were handed over to the counterpart, Super Mario 64, which, in all fairness, needs no further introduction. But, because of these technical difficulties, Nintendo pushed back the initial release to late 1996.
Ironing out the kinks and sealing the nooks and crannies of the game, Nintendo finally released Mario Kart 64 in Japan on December 14th, 1996. With an incredible 9.8 million sales worldwide and a bronze medal for one of the best-selling Nintendo 64 games of all-time (Super Mario 64 taking the gold with 11.9 million), Nintendo established the franchise as the go-to karting games of a generation.
Cycle through twenty-three years, and you’ll quickly clock on to the dozens of other successful sequels birthed by Nintendo. From Mario Kart: Super Circuit through to Mario Kart Tour, fans have enjoyed almost thirty years of wacky racing and friendly competition. Also, you’ll be pleased to know that news of Mario Kart 9 is indeed making its rounds on the web too. Although not yet confirmed by Nintendo, long-term fans suggest a 2020 release is highly likely. But, please, try not to take our word for that.
On behalf of The Nerd Stash, we’d like like to congratulate Nintendo for two and a half decades of joyful moments. Great work, guys.
Will you be booting up the N64 this weekend for a classic game of Mario Kart 64? Let us know down in the comments below. Oh, and if you feel like driving by our other handles, you can find us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, too.
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