This is not the best Mario Kart, unless Mario Kart 64 is your first Mario Kart. It seems everyone’s personal ‘best Mario Kart’ seems to align perfectly with everyone’s personal ‘first Mario Kart’ and for me of course that would be the Super Nintendo classic Super Mario Kart. But that’s a game for another day…

Mario Kart 64 was really good! It promised so much – 3D graphics, analog control and up to four players racing at once – what more could you ask for? Unfortunately the things you lost in the process ended up being missed more than Nintendo expected. The 3D courses meant that you spent most of your time driving by yourself (since the other racers were too far away and covered by the infamous ‘N64 fog’ or around corners that were blocked by walls. Having analog control was OK but the karts were too slidey and didn’t have that ‘bite’ that made sliding around corners just an expertly refined skill that took weeks to master. In fact the reliance on the sliding in Mario Kart 64 was the thin end of the wedge that has since turned every future Mario Kart into boring drift fests. But having four players at once was pretty cool, for the few people who had that many controllers and people to play with them. I did, and it was tops.

Back when the game came out I shared a house with some girls who weren’t exactly gamers but were definitely down for some Mario Kart 64 at the drop of a hat. The N64 would be out in the lounge room for everyone to play while I worked away in my room writing reviews for pennies and drinking chocolate milk. After the first few weeks of trying to teach them how to hold the N64 controller properly I just gave up and let them be happy in their ignorance, and also because they got creeped out that I’d be staring at their hands all the time.