Mario Kart 64 (Japanese: マリオカート64 Mariokāto 64) (マリオカー 64 Mario Kāto Rokujūyon) often abbreviated as MK64, is the second installment in the Mario Kart series, being the first in the series to use 3D graphics. It was released in 1996 for the Nintendo 64, and later in 2007 for the Virtual Console. Mario Kart 64 features many changes from the previous game, such as new characters and items.


To drive, the player must steer with the joy stick, holding the A Button to accelerate. The B Button is used for breaking, and can also be used to drive in reverse. Item use is controlled by the Z button. The R button is used to jump, which can allow the kart to turn tight corners. If the player turns too much or too quickly, of if they turn side to side, it will result in the player sliding and spinning out of control, which makes the kart stop for a few seconds.

Instead of the five laps which we seen in Super Mario Kart, the races are now three laps, due to longer courses. As well as shortened races, the terrain of the race track is no longer flat, but features different types of terrain. Carried over from Super Mario Kart are the Item Boxes. Spinning in a style similar to a game of roulette.

There are four cups to race in, the Mushroom Cup, Flower Cup, Star Cup, and Special Cup. The cups are then divided into three engine classes which the player picks from when choosing the mode. The Engine Classes are 50cc, 100cc, and 150cc. There is an unlockable mode called Mirror Mode, which allows the player to race on mirrored versions of the courses increasing the level's difficulty. In order to unlock Mirror Mode, the player must complete all of the cups in the engine class 150cc. The player will know when they have an extra mode when the titled screen changes. There is also a Time Trials mode and a Battle Mode, which allows the player to race in different scenarios that don't require racing.

In the Time Trial mode, the player races against their own past times, which are represented by a ghost of themselves.

In battle mode, the players start with three balloons, which represent life. When a player gets hit by an item, or a heavy weight character runs into them, they lose a balloon. When one player has lost all of their balloons, they turn into a bomb, when all players but one turn into a bomb, the remaining player wins.



Mushroom Cup (Mario Kart 64).png Flower Cup (Mario Kart 64).png Star Cup (Mario Kart 64).png Special Cup (Mario Kart 64).png
Mushroom Cup Flower Cup Star Cup Special Cup
Luigi Raceway
MKDS Toad's Turnpike.png
Toad's Turnpike
Wario Stadium MK64.png
Wario Stadium
MK64 D.K.'s Jungle Parkway 2.png
DK's Jungle Parkway
Moo Moo Farm
Frappe Snowland
Sherbet Land
MK64 Yoshi Valley.png
Yoshi Valley
Koopa Troopa Beach Icon - Mario Kart 64.png
Koopa Troopa Beach
MK64 Choco Mountain.png
Choco Mountain
MK64 Royal Raceway.jpg
Royal Raceway
MK64 Banshee Boardwalk.png
Banshee Boardwalk
MK64 Kalimari Desert.png
Kalimari Desert
Mario Raceway
Bowser's Castle
Rainbow Road

Battle Arenas

Battle Arenas
Big Donut
Block Fort
Double Deck


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  • This is the first Mario Kart game to feature Donkey Kong and Wario as playable characters.
  • This game was originally going to be called "Super Mario Kart R", but got changed to "Mario Kart 64", because of Sonic R on the Sega Saturn.
  • Some of the voices that Donkey Kong makes in his game (such as the sound he makes whenever he hits another racer with an item or slips on a banana peel) are reused on the Yoshi's Island course in Mario Golf.
  • Kamek was originally going to be in the game, but was replaced by Donkey Kong. There exists screenshots where Kamek is in the Character Selection screen in the beta development.
  • Toad and Donkey Kong are the only drivers to have their karts' engine sounds not shared with the other drivers. Mario's is shared with Luigi's, Peach's is shared with Yoshi's, and Wario's is shared with Bowser's.
  • This is the only game in the Mario Kart series where all the included characters have their signature courses (Royal Raceway is Princess Peach's race course because the word "royal" means relating to a sovereign, which describes Princess Peach, and its Japanese name is "Peach Circuit"). In other games, only selected characters have their signature courses.
  • Oddly, if more than two players are playing in VS. Mode, the background music will not play on any course. This is due to the limitations at the time.
  • Luigi, Peach, Toad, and Wario's voice clips in the Japanese version were later reused for the first two Mario Party games and in Mario Kart: Super Circuit.
  • The original split-screen for Mario Kart 64 is vertical, not horizontal.
  • Mario Kart 64 was the 2nd Best-Selling game for the Nintendo 64, right behind Super Mario 64.


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