The second instalment in Nintendo’s popular kart-racing series was the first to feature four-player modes and 3D environments.
Despite being the first in the series to embrace 3D visuals, pre-rendered sprites were nevertheless used for the character models. This was because Nintendo deemed the N64 not powerful enough to render eight character models simultaneously; Rare’s later kart-racing effort, Diddy Kong Racing, would prove that it was indeed possible.
Mario Kart 64 features a number of different game modes. Grand Prix tasks either one or two players with winning four tournaments (across three engine-size categories). The points earned per each of the four races in an individual tournament are added up and used to determine the player(s)’ final position.
Otherwise, up to four players can face off against one another on any track in the game’s Vs. Mode. Battle Mode adopts an arena-style deathmatch setting, in which players must use items to deplete each other’s reserve of balloons.
Mario Kart 64 sold nearly 10 million copies worldwide, making it the second best-selling game on the system. Although the game has never been remade, it has been re-released on Nintendo’s Wii and Wii U systems in 2007 and 2016 respectively. Many of the game’s tracks have reappeared (typically in an updated form) in later Mario Kart titles.