Mario Kart Wii

Mario Kart Wii
Mario Kart Wii.png
North American box art depicting Mario and Luigi
with the Wii Wheel accessory
Developer(s) Nintendo EAD
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Director(s) Yasuyuki Oyagi
Producer(s) Shigeru Miyamoto
Hideki Konno
Composer(s) Asuka Ota
Ryo Nagamatsu
Series Mario Kart
Platform(s) Wii
Release date(s)
  • EU April 11, 2008
  • AUS April 24, 2008
  • NA April 27, 2008
  • SK April 30, 2009
Genre(s) Racing
Mode(s) Single-player, Multiplayer

Mario Kart Wii (マリオカートWii Mario Kāto Uī?) is a racing video game developed by Nintendo Entertainment Analysis and Development and published by Nintendo for the Wii video game console. It is the sixth installment in the Mario Kart series and the second Mario Kart title to use the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. The game was released worldwide throughout April 2008, but one year later in South Korea. Every copy of the game is packaged with the Wii Wheel accessory, which is designed to house the Wii Remote to allow more intuitive and conventional steering.

Changes from its predecessor, Mario Kart DS, include bikes and support for up to twelve racers online. Like other games in the Mario Kart series, it involves various characters from several Mario games racing each other on tracks themed from locations in the Mario series. Support for the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection allows racing against other players from around the world, and online competitions and results are available by installing the Mario Kart Channel to the Wii Menu.

Mario Kart Wii was first shown at E3 2007. It has been positively received by critics; while not revolutionary, the online capability and the large number of tracks, characters and karts have been praised. The game had a commercially successful launch in every region, and sold over a million copies in both Japan and the United States in less than a month. Overall, it is the second best-selling game for Wii at 28 million copies sold, after Wii Sports. As of May 15, 2011 the game is bundled with newer Wii consoles.[2]



A Mii racing on the Mario Circuit track.

Mario Kart Wii is a racing video game where the player races in each of the 32 different tracks, including 16 new tracks, and 16 "retro" tracks from previous Mario Kart games; 4 each from Mario Kart 64, Mario Kart: Double Dash!! and Mario Kart DS, and two each from Super Mario Kart and Mario Kart: Super Circuit, and up to twelve characters can participate in a race.[3] Game modes include "Grand Prix", in which the player races against 11 computer-controlled players on 4 pre-determined tracks, "Time Trials", in which the player races alone or against a "ghost" (which can be either Nintendo's pre-recorded staff ghosts, ghosts from other players on the same Wii console, the player's own ghost data, or ghosts downloaded from other players on the Mario Kart Channel) in order to finish in the fastest possible time, "VS", which is similar to Grand Prix in that the player races against 11 CPU players, but they are allowed to choose any course they have unlocked and can customize extra options for the race, and "Battle", which consists of 2 different modes, Balloon Battle or Coin Runners. In Battles, the objective is to obtain items that are scattered across the stage and hit the opposing team with them. Battle mode contains 10 stages (5 new stages, and 5 stages from previous Mario Kart games) which are separate from the 32 standard racing tracks, and are more open-ended than the race tracks. In addition to the single-player modes, the game allows 2-4 players to play offline in VS or Battle mode, either with or without the CPU players. Players obtain items by driving through item boxes placed at certain intervals throughout the courses, which can be used for either defense, offense, or for benefiting themselves, such as getting a speed boost from using a Mushroom. The game utilizes new items from Mario platform games not found in past Mario Kart games, including the "Mega Mushroom" from New Super Mario Bros., which allows the character to grow enormous in size and flatten opposing characters, and the "POW Block" from Mario Bros., which allows the character to send a shockwave to all the characters in front of them, spinning them out of control and causing them to drop any items they may be carrying (there is no effect, however, on those who are airborne).[4] One additional item new to the series is the "Lightning Cloud", which raises the user's top speed briefly, but shrinks the user if it is not passed on to an opponent by colliding with their vehicle.

Mario Kart Wii features 24 selectable Nintendo characters, more than any of its predecessors. In addition, there are 12 variants (3 weight classes, 2 genders, 2 outfits) of a Mii, a digital avatar created by the player.

Control schemes

Every bundled copy of the game is packaged with the Wii Wheel accessory.

The game is packaged with a Wii Wheel, a peripheral that acts as the primary control scheme. Because the Wii Wheel only provides a simulation of a steering wheel and offers no additional functionality, players can forgo the accessory while using only the Remote in a similar manner. There are also methods that can be used without the Wii Wheel, such as the Wii Remote with Nunchuk, the Classic Controller, or the Nintendo GameCube controller. The ability to "snake" in previous Mario Kart games, which creates speed boosts by repeatedly drifting, has been greatly reduced in favor of a new speed boost system based on how long the player actually drifts and the angle at which they drift.[5] While bikes can perform wheelies for a speed boost, they have a limited turning ability for the duration of a wheelie. Karts cannot do wheelies, but can get longer boosts on drifting.[6] Also featured is the ability to "slipstream."[7] Additionally, a new feature called "Tricks" or "Stunts" are now a part of gameplay. Flicking the Wii Wheel or Wii Remote or pressing up on the D-pad (when using the Classic Controller or GameCube Controller) while on take-off will cause the character to perform stunts in mid-air, allowing the player to obtain a small speed boost upon landing.

Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection

Mario Kart Wii allows players to race against each other through the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, which features online racing and battle modes, supporting up to twelve simultaneous competitors. One or two players per Wii console can connect to Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. There are 3 options that allow players to choose who they would like to play with: "Worldwide", "Regional" (called "Continental" in European versions), and "Friends". It features a rating system in which players will gain or lose VR (VS rating) or BR (Battle rating) based on how well they perform in matches. The game also includes the "Mario Kart Channel" (its features can be installed to the Wii Menu and requires, depending on region and content, between 74 and 86 blocks), which presents the current regional and worldwide rankings for Time Trials, and the option of sending or downloading Time Trial ghost data using WiiConnect24.[8] Mario Kart Channel also offers worldwide tournaments from Nintendo, which are modified courses that will sometimes have special objectives, such as destroying all the Goombas on a course as fast as possible. There are 2 tournaments hosted every month.[9] The channel enables users to check if any members of their Friend roster are currently online, and to participate in a race or battle with them.[10]

The Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection has been criticized by players for a number of reasons. In order for someone to add players to their friend roster, they must exchange a 12-digit "friend code" with the person they would like to add. This feature is present in all Nintendo Wi-Fi games for Wii. It is not possible to add players seen in a Worldwide or Regional match, as there is no text or voice chat in these modes.[11] There are also players who have hacked the Wii console using the Homebrew Channel, and play the game online using cheat codes. These players are typically able to get an infinite amount of any item they wish, and they usually aim to unfairly win every race and/or constantly bombard all the other players with many powerful items.[12] These kinds of hackers are typically frowned upon by most players, although there are other hackers who may give players various boosts and allow everyone to gain large amounts of VR. Nintendo has taken measures to ban hackers from Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, by blacklisting them and causing them to receive error code 20102 upon trying to connect.[13] However, hackers quickly found ways to circumvent the error code and continue playing online. A number of glitches have also arisen on a couple of the courses, most notably the Grumble Volcano glitch, in which a player can jump onto a secret area on the course Grumble Volcano to finish the race very quickly.[14] Most players choose to only use the glitch in Time Trials, although some players will attempt it in online play.


Mario Kart Wii was officially announced at the 2007 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3); the online features and the first footage of the game was shown.[15] During Nintendo of America CEO Reggie Fils-Aime's presentation, he unveiled the game via a trailer that showed some of the new characters and tracks. The trailer also displayed that the game would include up to twelve simultaneous racers, and that the dual-character component featured in Mario Kart: Double Dash!! was removed. Additional details of the game were later released in conjunction with the Nintendo Fall 2007 Conference held in October 2007, where it was revealed that it would include bikes and the Wii Wheel. New gameplay footage from the game was also shown, and the release date was revealed to be set for spring 2008.[16]

Producer Hideki Konno wanted to include online features for Mario Kart DS, but they were left out due to time constraints. These features would, however, be implemented in Mario Kart Wii. The developers wanted to avoid races becoming more deserted as they progressed, thus altering the online matchmaking to allow players to join a race once it is finished for participation in the next one.[17] Konno had been proposing ideas involving BMX since Double Dash!!, but they were rejected. In Mario Kart Wii, the developers were able to incorporate bikes.[17] The game was called "Mario Kart X" internally for a while, before deciding on "Mario Kart Wii."[17] General producer and Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto's inputs were limited to new aspects of play such as the Wii Wheel and battles over Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.[17] The designers tested roughly 30 different prototypes with different shapes, colors and weights (based on real-life go-karts), before deciding on the final Wii Wheel design.[17]


The music was composed by Asuka Ota and Ryo Nagamatsu, who used new interpretations of the familiar melodies from earlier games and also new material. The speaker on the Wii Remote is frequently used during gameplay, as sound effects like crashes and warning signals are emitting from it. It was during the extensive testings of the different Wii Wheel prototypes the developers decided that it would be good to have the voice actors playing the game during recording sessions.[17] The main voice cast of the game consists of Charles Martinet, performing as Mario, Luigi, Wario, and Waluigi, Sam Kelly, performing as Peach, Toad, and Toadette, Deanna Mustard, performing as Daisy, Kenny James, as Bowser, Caety Sagoian, as Bowser Jr., Mercedes Rose, as Rosalina, Takashi Nagasako, as Donkey Kong, Katsumi Suzuki, as Diddy Kong, Toshihide Tsuchiya, as Funky Kong and Kazumi Totaka, as Yoshi, with additional voices being provided by Ayumi Nagao, Fumihiro Okabayashi, Hitomi Hirose, Kōki Harasawa (as "Katsuhiro Harasawa"), Takuya Sato, Tomo Adachi, Tomoyuki Higuchi and Yūko Kaida.[18]


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 82%[19]
Metacritic 82 of 100[20]
Review scores
Publication Score
Edge 6 of 10[21]
Eurogamer 8 of 10[22]
Famitsu 37 of 40[23]
GameSpot 8.5 of 10[7]
GameSpy 4.5 of 5[24]
GameTrailers 8.4 of 10[25]
IGN 8.5 of 10[26]
Nintendo Power 9 of 10[27]

Mario Kart Wii had a successful launch and sold 300,000 copies on the launch day in Japan alone, compared to Mario Kart DS which sold 160,000 copies on its first day and Mario Kart: Double Dash!! which sold 180,000 on its first day.[28] In the week ending May 4, 2008, Mario Kart Wii had sold over a million copies in Japan alone, less than a month since its release in the region.[29] In the UK, Mario Kart Wii was the best-selling video game in the week ending April 12, 2008, having "the eighth biggest opening sales week in UK software history," according to Chart-Track/ELSPA.[30][31] The game dwarfed all other five Mario Wii games released up until then for the Wii combined when comparing first week sales.[30] In the United States, Mario Kart Wii was the second best-selling video game in April 2008, selling 1.12 million copies, according to the NPD Group; putting it behind the Xbox 360 version of Grand Theft Auto IV and ahead of the PlayStation 3 version, both released in the same week.[32] It ranked the fourth best-selling game of December 2008 in the United States, selling in excess of 979,000 copies.[33] According to the NPD Group, GfK Chart-Track, and Enterbrain, the game has sold 2.409 million copies in the United States, 687,000 in the United Kingdom, and 1.601 million in Japan, respectively, for a total of 4.697 million copies sold by August 1, 2008.[34] As of March 2009, Nintendo has sold 15.4 million copies of Mario Kart Wii worldwide.[35] As of January 4, 2009, it has sold 2,133,000 copies in Japan.[36] It is also the fourth best-selling game of Japan in 2008.[37] According to the NPD Group, GfK Chart-Track, and Enterbrain, the game has sold 856,000 copies in the United States, 394,000 in the United Kingdom, and 218,000 in Japan, respectively, for a total of 1.468 million copies sold in the third quarter of 2008 (July–September).[38] It is the second best-selling game of 2008 in the United States, selling in excess of 5 million copies.[33]

With 28 million copies sold as of April 2011,[39] it is the best-selling Mario game for the Wii console[citation needed] as well as ranking second on the best-selling Wii games list. It is also among the best-selling stand-alone games of all time.

Critical response

Mario Kart Wii has been received by critics positively, especially praising the online capability and the large number of tracks, characters and karts. Joe Sinicki of Blast Magazine comments: "While it still does suffer from some of the problems of the older games, Mario Kart Wii takes the simple and accessible formula set by its predecessors and tweaks it enough to make it feel fresh and fun, creating one of the most entertaining and rewarding gaming experiences in quite some time."[40] Official Nintendo Magazine UK commented that the Wii Wheel worked very effectively and loved the different multiplayer modes.[41] GameSpot producer Lark Anderson complimented that the game is easy to jump into for players of any skill level and that motorcycles provide a great alternative to go-karts,[7] and IGN commented that "Nintendo has delivered one of the best console Karts in years."[26] Plugged In stated that the racing is easy to do and that "the Grand Prix Cup events and several team battle modes keep things interesting" while Classic Game Room praised the game for its high production value and great replay value. They also liked that the online play was a major strength of the game.


NGamer, however, claimed that the tracks are too big for local multiplayer matches. Also, IGN criticized the rubber band AI in the 150cc races of the Grand Prix[26] and NGamer UK was disappointed that Battle mode can now only be played in teams; no free-for-all option is offered which removes the 'last man standing' element of previous Mario Kart Battle modes. Reviewers such as GameTrailers and IGN also commented that it is easy to fall from first place to last by being continuously attacked by several weapons, many of which are unavoidable, leading to a certain amount of luck in racing. This makes it more accessible for beginners, but can be extremely discouraging for skilled players.[25][26] GameSpot also noted that "nostalgia doesn't save most of the classic courses from being boring."[7]


The game won multiple Wii-specific awards from IGN in its 2008 video game awards, including Best Racing Game[42] and Best Online Multiplayer Game.[43] IGN also nominated it for Best Family Game for the Wii.[44]

The game was ranked ninth in Nintendo Power's "Best of the Decade."[45] It also won the award for "Favorite Video Game" at the 2010 Kids' Choice Awards.[46]


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  13. ^ "Error code 20102". Nintendo. 
  14. ^ "YouTube: Grumble Volcano glitch". 
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  20. ^ "Mario Kart Wii (wii: 2008): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2008-12-06. 
  21. ^ "Review: Mario Kart Wii - EDGE magazine". Future Publishing. Retrieved 2008-04-11. 
  22. ^ "Mario Kart Wii Review". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2008-03-20. 
  23. ^ "Famitsu Mario Kart Wii Review". Famitsu. Retrieved 2008-04-02. 
  24. ^ "Mario Kart Wii review at GameSpy". GameSpy. Retrieved 2008-04-29. 
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  28. ^ "Mario Kart Wii Sold 300,000 Copies?". Kotaku. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  29. ^ Michael McWhertor (2008-05-08). "Ain't No Stopping Mario Kart Wii In Japan". Kotaku. Retrieved 2008-05-08. 
  30. ^ a b UK CHARTS: Mario Kart Wii smashes records as it hits No.1
  31. ^ "British Sales Charts". Kotaku. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  32. ^ Brendan Sinclair (2008-05-15). "NPD: US game revs spike on 2.85M GTAIVs". GameSpot. Retrieved 2008-05-24. 
  33. ^ a b "NPD: Nintendo Drives '08 Industry Sales Past $21 Billion". Game Daily. 2009-01-15. Retrieved 2009-01-15. 
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  36. ^ "Dissidia Wins Final Week of the Year in Japan; Nintendo Takes Six of Top Ten". Chart Get. 2009-01-07. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  37. ^ "JAPANESE 2008 MARKET REPORT". MCVUK. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  38. ^ "Third Quarter 2008 Sales Results From Top Global Video Games Software Markets Released" (Press release). NPD Group, GfK Chart-Track, Enterbrain. 2008-11-10. Retrieved 2008-11-14. 
  39. ^ "Supplementary Information about Earnings Release" (PDF). Nintendo. 2011-04-26. p. 10. Retrieved 2011-04-26. 
  40. ^ "Mario Kart Wii - Blast, The Online Magazine". B Media Ventures. Archived from the original on May 3, 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-01. 
  41. ^ "Mario Kart Wii - Nintendo UK product information page". Nintendo. 
  42. ^ "IGN Wii: Best Racing Game 2008". 2008-12-18. Retrieved 2008-12-19. 
  43. ^ "IGN Wii: Best Online Multiplayer Game 2008". 2008-12-18. Retrieved 2008-12-19. 
  44. ^ "IGN Wii: Best Family Game 2008". 2008-12-18. Retrieved 2008-12-19. 
  45. ^ "The Best of the Decade". Nintendo Power (252). March 2010. 
  46. ^ "2010 Kids' Choice Awards Episode Recap".;episode_recap. Retrieved 2011-09-20. 

External links

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