Mario Kart 64 is a 1996 go-kart racing game developed and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64 video game console. It was the successor to Super Mario Kart for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and it was released first in Japan on December 14,1996, and in North America and Europe in 1997. In January 2007, Mario Kart 64 was released as a downloadable Virtual Console title on the Wii and Wii U, changes from the original include the move to polygon-based true 3D computer graphics for track design, and the inclusion of four-player support. Players take control of characters from the Mario universe, who race around a variety of tracks with items that can harm opponents or aid the user. The move to three-dimensional graphics allowed for track features not possible with the original games Mode 7 graphics, such as changes in elevation, bridges, walls, however, the characters and items remained 2D pre-rendered sprites. Mario Kart 64 is a racing game in which the player controls one of eight selectable Mario characters who race in karts in different race tracks that vary in shape. During a race, the players can obtain items from special boxes placed in different areas of the track that are used to impede the opposition. For example, shells and bananas allow the player to attack opponents and slow them down, Mario Kart 64 has 16 race courses and 4 battle courses. There are four different game modes available in Mario Kart 64, Grand Prix, Time Trial, Versus, Grand Prix mode supports both single-player and competitive multiplayer gameplay, while other modes only support one or the other. Grand Prix – This mode has one or two players participate in four consecutive races, each on a different course, on one of the four selectable cups against seven computer players. When the player completes a race, points are awarded based on the rank he or she finished, if the player ranks 5th or under, the player will be required to repeat the race. After finishing all four races, trophies are awarded to the players who scored the highest accumulation of points, bronze for third place, silver for second, difficulty level is measured by engine size,50,100, or 150cc. There is an unlockable difficulty called Extra, which allows players to race at speed 100cc on tracks that are inverted left-to-right. This is the first game in the series to provide this feature, later installments call this feature Mirror Mode or 150cc Mirror Mode. Time Trial – This is a mode where the objective is to complete a three-lap race on the selected track in the shortest total time possible. There are no opponent racers or item boxes, though the player will begin each race with a Triple Mushroom in reserve. For any given course the top five shortest total times are saved, the player can select to race against a ghost character who will mimic the movement of the player from a previous race. Ghost data for up to two different courses can be saved permanently only on a Controller Pak device, however, the Virtual Console version of Mario Kart 64 released on the Wii is incompatible with the device and is thus unable to save ghost data
North American box art
Racing on D.K.'s Jungle Parkway, the first course of the Special Cup. Mario Kart 64 is the first game in the series to use 3D computer graphics.