Warm-up lap: Mario Kart's inspirations and development secrets...

The story of the most popular console racing series ever

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How Mario developed his need for speed...

As far as we know, Mario first got the racing bug in the 1984 Famicom (NES) title F1 Race, where he would make sporadic appearances at the end of each race (alongside Nintendo stable-mates such as Samus Aran and Donkey Kong).

But it took another three years for Mario to make the transition from spectator to participant. The occasion was Famicom Grand Prix, a fun but obscure top-down racer that was released in 1987 for the Family Computer Disk System, an add-on for the NES that was only released in Japan.

A year later, Mario followed up his racing debut with a second title, Famicom Grand Prix II: 3D Hot Rally. As the name suggests, the sequel was a completely different beast; a point-to-point race with Luigi acting as navigator.


Although it was just as obscure as the first Famicom Grand Prix, Hot Rally holds a very special place in Nintendo history. It came with a pair of goggles that allowed its players to experience the tumultuous motocross bumps and troughs in mind-blowing 3D - kick-starting a line of innovation and evolution that would eventually end with the company releasing the world's first glasses-free 3D handheld console...


The evolution of the peripheral that steered Mario Kart Wii to pole position

Producer Hideki Konno created the original Wii Wheel prototype during early development of Mario Kart Wii. The original design saw the remote stick out slightly from the first wheel shell.

After researching the steering wheels used on real go-karts, Konno and his team produced a square wheel, with a hole in the back that offered easy access to the B button for drifting.


Nintendo reverted back to a round wheel as the wheel came closer to its finished form, and this time a hole was added so the remote could still be used as a pointer.

An extra B button was added so that younger players could reach it before Nintendo experimented with different looks. A two-tone style was considered but eventually dismissed.

Over 30 prototypes were created in all before the final design was revealed. The blue ring on the reverse of the shell was subsequently used in the game's logo.

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