A Rocket Start is a technique introduced in Super Mario Kart and featured in every Mario Kart game since. It allows racers to rocket out of the starting line at high speed, gaining a head-start over any racer that simply drives out of the starting line. The technique was given a name in the instruction manual for Mario Kart 64.
Similar to Mini-Turbos, Rocket Starts all vary slightly from game to game. In Super Mario Kart, the Rocket Start is performed by accelerating (holding the A button) right after the first starting light goes off. This "revving" type of Rocket Start would reappear in later games.
In Mario Kart 64, the Rocket Start is performed by accelerating at the moment before the starting lights turn blue.
In Mario Kart: Super Circuit, the Rocket Start is performed by accelerating right before the final light appears.
In Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, the Rocket Start is performed by pressing the A button the exact moment after the lights turn green. Repeatedly tapping the A button will almost always yield a Rocket Start. When in Co-op Mode, if both players press A at the same time at the right time after the light turns green, a "Double Dash!!" is performed, yielding an even bigger boost of speed than normal. The kart's exhaust pipes will spit out blue flames when the Double Dash!! is performed.
Since Mario Kart DS, the Rocket Start is performed by accelerating when the number "2" begins to fade out. However, in Mario Kart Wii, the numbers don't "bounce back" like in Mario Kart DS, Mario Kart 7, and Mario Kart 8, giving players less time to press the acceleration button.