Mario undeniably has a long and incredibly varied career since his “Jumpman” debut in the original Donkey Kong. From carpenter to plumber, physician to Olympian, and gorilla wrangler to kart racer, I have a harder time finding a skill the Mushroom Kingdom hero doesn’t excel at. This week marked the official release of Dr. Mario World for mobile devices, thus adding another spin-off on an exceedingly long list of Mario games. With many a spin-off series under his toolkit, there’s truly a Mario game for everyone; for me though, none ring more than Mario Kart.
Top of the spin-off pole position
As a nineties’ kid, Mario Kart was one series I was frequently exposed to. Weekend trips to grandma’s cottage left me with countless hours playing Super Mario Kart on the grandkids’ SNES. Living next door to older kids with a Nintendo 64 meant free passes to Mario Kart 64. At this point, I still did not have a system of my own, increasingly envious of other kids in the school playground flaunting their Game Boy Colors. That was the case until the Game Boy Advance came along and my parents finally yielded. With SNES memories still fresh, I was ecstatic when I finally got Mario games of my own, chief among them Mario Kart: Super Circuit.
True, it might not stand the test of time compared to Double Dash or the fairly recent 8 Deluxe. However, I’d be remiss not to properly acknowledge the Mario Kart game that really began stoking my love for this series. Looking back on Mario Kart: Super Circuit, I still remember my joy in maining Princess Peach, flawlessly nailing unreal jumps in a notoriously bouncy Rainbow Road, and working tirelessly towards triple star ranks for each Cup. Unlocking the entire Super Mario Kart tracklist as a bonus was also a massive highlight, considering my own memories with the SNES game that started it all. It’s a shame that the multiplayer was so limiting with a single cartridge though…
A plumber of many talents
In any case, Mario is certainly a plumber of many talents, and with a ton more spin-off series besides Mario Kart. A pair of RPG series with Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi, unparalleled minigame-a-thons in Mario Party, and—of course—Dr. Mario are just a small few among many. With that said, which Mario spin-off series is your favorite? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.