CVG’s History Lesson: Mario Kart

The other day, the CVG staff over at wrote a post entitled “History Lesson: Mario Kart 64’s four-player multiplayer majesty”. And as per usual, here I am to comment on it. Let’s go!

Mario Kart history Lesson

The first half of the article talks about the change in gameplay from Super Mario Kart (on the SNES) to Mario Kart 64. Pretty much all of it is praise so there isn’t really much for me to comment about it. The writer does spend a lot of time talking about Rainbow Road though. I didn’t really think it was that to be honest. When I was a kid, I liked it because it was the one road (well, there were a few others) where you couldn’t fall off, so it was all about using your items and avoiding the unexpected chain chomp ball.

The second half of the article talks about a bit of history. Aaah that’s better. It did take a while to get to what the title was talking about, huh?

So the history it talks about is that the developers came across some issues during development, in that they had trouble getting 8 racers working at the same time and having the game run smoothly. The developers then had a look at Super Mario 64 and noticed that it used a technique to cut corners called billboarding that replaced the polygonal model with a sprite that rotates to always show its face towards the player. What the article doesn’t mention though is that the billboarding was done in such a way that each angle shows a different sprite, rather than the same ‘face’ always facing the camera.

Aaaaand that’s about it for the history lesson. No really, the rest of the article is more praise on how the game is great for multiplayer greatness. Don’t get me wrong, I wholeheartedly agree. It’s just that it’s very misleading when they title the article as a ‘history lesson’ when that’s all they mention.

Articles across the web

This interesting article gives us a brief 'history lesson' about the creation of Mario Kart 64 as well as an intro about what a milestone it was.
Article published on N64 Squid


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