Who'd have thought that way back in 1992, platforming superstar Mario would leap from saving the princess to riotous go-karting action? The formula worked though, ludicrously so, and with the latest release, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe fresh out on Nintendo Switch, there's never been a better time to look at the rich history of this venerable series.
The franchise has always offered a meaty amount of content for your money: single-player championships against fearsome AI, time trial runs, and - of course - the multiplayer, both head-to-head on a variety of courses, and the legendary battle mode. But this isn't just about content, this is about delivery.
Just how do all of the games in this 25-year-old franchise stack up against one another?
From handheld entries that defy belief to home console titans that sell tens of millions of copies, there's a good deal of debate to be had about which is best. But, as with any veteran series and a real racing championship, there can only be one winner...
10. Mario Kart Arcade GP DX (Arcade, 2013-14)
Mario Kart Arcade GP DX is not a bad game. It's actually the third iteration of the arcade version that began in 2005. In a smart move, the game came about as a co-developed project with Namco-Bandai (then just Namco) who had their own rich history of quality racing titles with Ridge Racer. Released on the 'Triforce' arcade hardware, so-called because SEGA, Nintendo and Namco created it jointly, the game looked slick and featured crossover characters like Pac-Man.
The DX edition came about in 2013 and offered players features from 3DS title Mario Kart 7 like gliding and underwater racing plus more characters like Rosaline from Super Mario Galaxy. Elsewhere there was a quirky co-op feature that let players combine into a tank with one player as the driver and the other the gunner.
This one hits my tenth spot because availability can vary wildly despite it being a great entry in the series.