Mario Kart has been one of the best, long-running arcade racing games in video gaming history. No matter your age, you’ve no doubt got some fond memories of competing with friends for top billing while yelling at the injustice of getting Blue Shelled. With Mario Kart 8 Deluxe getting some remastered courses, we thought it would be great to spend some time thinking and chatting about our favorite courses from the series.
Question: What is your favorite Mario Kart course?
Waluigi Pinball (Mario Kart DS/Mario Kart 7) - Ozzie Mejia, Senior WAH Editor
Mario Kart is at its best when it goes fully in on gimmicks. Few gimmicks were better than Waluigi Pinball, which took players on a tour across a massive pinball table. That includes a stretch where drivers need to navigate around active flippers, working bumpers, and also make sure they don't get run over by moving balls.
The gimmick and the colorful aesthetic make Waluigi Pinball one of the most unique courses in Mario Kart history. It's a blast to experience and I hope we see it again at some point over the course of the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Pass.
Mario Kart Stadium - Donovan Erskine, Blue Shell Bandit
Mario Kart Stadium gives me everything I want in an MK course. It’s visually pleasing, with bright lights and colorful structures. It doesn’t have any annoying gimmick, but there’s still a decent variety throughout the track’s design. I also love that there’s a massive crowd in attendance, it makes me feel like I’m competing in a Nascar tournament or something. Does this pick make me basic? That’s fine.
Cheep Cheep Beach - Blake Morse, Co-EIC
Surf, sand, friends, fun, and so many deadly turtle shells. What more could you want from a day at the beach? I love the vibe of this track and, while I’m not the most hardcore Mario Kart player, I do tend to kick some butt at Cheep Cheep Beach. It’s one of the few courses I have memorized front to back. Just don’t run into any crabs while you’re there. They will mess your day up!
Koopa Troopa Beach N64 - Sam Chandler, Beach Bum
If there’s one Mario Kart course that encapsulates the feeling I love finding in Mario games, it’s Koopa Troopa Beach. I love the golden sand, the rolling blue waves and its frothy wash along the beach. The green hills, stony cliffs and palms help tie it all together. Not only is it a great track to race on, I think it’s one of the only ones I could kick back and enjoy a beer on.
Baby Park (Double Dash) - Chris Jarrard, Thinks MK games are cheap
Yeah, yeah. All of you love your bananas and shells, but real racing is about getting your vehicle from point A to point B faster than the competition and Baby Park is the least nonsense circuit in a franchise built on nonsense circuits. It is a simple oval and scoring hot times on it requires lots of finesse and actual driving skill. I cannot begin to imagine how many hours in college I spent trying to get my lap times under 1:07. Obviously, you can now load up YouTube and see some clownfart kid set a much better time, but back in the day, the shit was real in Apartment 219.
Moo Moo Meadows - Bill Lavoy, Co-EIC
The truth is I don’t have an automatic when it comes to my favorite Mario Kart course. I’m horrendous at remembering names of maps, enemies, weapons, courses, and anything else. I’m just awful at it. Because nothing popped into my mind, I decided to do some digging and one jumped out at me. Wii Moo Moo Meadows.
Now, I don’t know if I’ve ever played the course, but I can tell you that watching gameplay of it made me want to play Mario Kart, and I’m ready to give up my city life for that of the farm life (without all the hard work that comes with farming). For real, Wii Moo Moo Meadows looks delightful, and it will forever be my favorite Mario Kart course. Too bad I won’t remember its name in about five minutes. It’s not you, Mario Kart, it’s me.
Rainbow Road (Mario Kart 7) - TJ Denzer, Senior News Editor
Mario Kart 7 on the 3DS was a huge milestone in a lot of ways for the series. It brought the series to a functional portable format, gave us the hang-gliding mechanics, and brought us some really incredible long stretch tracks where instead of running the same course three times, it’s a massively long track divided into three sections. The absolute best implementation of everything Mario Kart 7 had to offer was its version of Rainbow Road. This was a long stretch track filled to the brim with gimmicks making use of everything the racer had learned in a grandiose race between asteroids, stars, and even with part of the track resting on the moon. It also happens to have some of my favorite music out of the entire Mario Kart series.
There have been so many Mario Kart tracks that I love, including Bowser’s Castles, Music Park, the Mario Kart adaptations of F-Zero’s Mute City and Big Blue, just to name a few… However, not one track has been the whole package of beautiful presentation, music, and racing excellence for me the way that Mario Kart 7’s Rainbow Road was and continues to be.
Rainbow Road (N64) - Greg Burke, Loves to taste the rainbow
One of my favorite courses. Rainbow Road on Mario Kart 64. I love the music, but I also love that you can’t fall off because of the guard rails.
Royal Raceway - Steve Tyminski, Stevetendo show host, Could go pro in Mario Kart one day!
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe DLC is coming this week, finally, and it gets me thinking about all the courses the game has to offer and which one of them is my favorite. There are so many courses to pick from but I do have some that I like more than others. One of my favs is Royal Raceway as it is designed perfectly. The look and feel of racing in front of Princess Toadstool’s castle as well as the grandstand where the subjects of the kingdom would come to watch a race. The best part is getting smacked with a blue shell won’t ruin you as the course is long enough to get you out of that hole. When Royal Raceway pops up in an online race, I feel that I always have a chance, as that’s one of my best courses. Honorable mention courses go to Banshee Boardwalk, Shy Guy Bazaar, Waluigi Pinball, Wario Stadium, and Delfino Square.
Sherbert Land - Dennis White, Community Manager
I was tempted to choose Toad’s Turnpike or Banshee Boardwalk but Sherbert Land is a classic with several iterations over the years. And I’m a sucker for penguins! There are a few different strategies that hold up well on the OG version but dodging those penguins and making it out of the cave safely will definitely get your blood pumping in those frigid temps!
Luigi’s Mansion (Mario Kart DS, Mario Kart 7, Mario Kart Tour) - Morgan Shaver, fan of all things spooky
There’s something special about Luigi’s Mansion that I love, no matter what it’s incorporated in. Mario Kart is no exception. The music in the Luigi’s Mansion course is obviously a standout, but there’s also something super appealing about racing around at night through a creepy forest and haunted mansion that I love. I also love all the fun, weird little details found in the Luigi’s Mansion course like the swinging chandeliers, moving portraits, and twisted, walking trees.
What a fantastic collection of Mario Kart courses. With so many to choose from, it can be tough to think of your absolute favorite, but if you had to, which one would you pick? Let us know in the Chatty thread below.
Shack Staff posted a new article, Shack Chat: What is your favorite Mario Kart course?
Not fucking Rainbow Road, that's for sure. Trauma that hasn't healed since 1992.
Justice for Yoshi Circuit. It is shaped like Yoshi and as a result has a lot of fun chicanes followed by longer turns and the mirror version doesn't drastically change things like most layouts.
I was never a an of where they put the shortcuts, but otherwise it was always the go to warm up track for a long time trial session.
It was also from the best Mario Kart game, Mario Kart Double Dash for the Nintendo Gamecube.