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Multiplayer madness: How  F-Zero  inadvertently inspired  Super Mario Kart

Multiplayer madness: How F-Zero inadvertently inspired Super Mario Kart

September 25, 2017 | By Chris Kerr

September 25, 2017 | By Chris Kerr
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More: Console/PC, Design, Production

Nintendo has posted an interview with Super Mario Kart directors Tadashi Sugiyama and Hideki Konno to shed some light on how the SNES title took shape 25 years ago. 

One of the most interesting tidbits to come out of the exchange is the revelation that Super Mario Kart actually began life as an F-Zero game.

Before Mario had ever stepped foot in a kart, Miyamoto assigned Konna and Sugiyama the task of turning F-Zero into a multiplayer affair. He wanted the duo to take advantage of the SNES's two controllers, but after some experimenting they realized that F-Zero might not be the right fit. 

"We didn't at all have the concept of a racing game with Mario. We began with experiments for a multiplayer F-Zero game," explains Konno.

"In F-Zero, you race at over 400 kilometers per hour along incredibly long straight lines, but we realized that splitting the screen into upper and lower portions for two players to do the same thing was out of the question."

Due to hardware constraints at the time, it was actually impossible for the SNES to display tracks with long straight lines in two separate windows on the same screen. That's why Super Mario Kart's tracks snaked and squiggled, and played host to karts as opposed to lightning fast hovercars. 

"If you look back at the Super Mario Kart tracks, you'll understand. Instead of tracks with long straight lines, the track designs are compact, with lots of twists and turns so they fit well within a square," added Konno. "And the the only vehicle that made sense within such tightly woven courses were karts."

You can find out more about the development of Super Mario Kart by checking out the full interview on the official Nintendo website

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