The first properly 3D game in the series, MK64 laid down the foundations for a lot of what made future installments so addictive and wonderfully vicious.
The ability to have four human players at any one time, brutal battle modes, the introduction of race track hazards, and those fucking blue shells have all remained with the series.
In recognition of this incredible game, here’s five things we all did in Mario Kart 64 – huddled in front of our N64s in a simpler time.
The Great Toad Rush
We can’t prove it with your precious science, but we’re 99% sure that Toad was just miles faster than any of those other pricks in Mario Kart 64.
As a result, there was always a horrible, violent rush and a clattering of buttons as soon as the character select screen came up, all in a desperate bid to make Toad your racing companion for the evening’s shenanigans.
Just look at those black, loveless eyes. That zippy little fucker would run his own nan over to get the finish line if he thought it’d help.
Nailing This Shortcut And Feeling Like Master Of The Universe
Nobody enjoys playing Rainbow Road, and anybody that says they do is a liar and a fraud. There’s the constant danger of falling to your death, bends without barriers, and twists that will end with your failure unless you know the course perfectly from memory.
But then we found this shortcut, and life became amazing. It’s high risk, high reward mind – but you don’t half feel like a bad motherfucker when you pull it off.
Those Fucking Penguins
We love penguins most of the time, but the suicidal geezers that zip around on the Sherbet Land track took the piss.
There’s no reason or logic to the way that they slide around the ice on their bellies. Hell, they almost seem to be aiming for your karts. I can’t imagine what horrific trauma these penguins experienced in their life to make them want to fling themselves under the nearest go-kart in a desperate bid for eternal slumber, but it must have been bad.
It doesn’t help that fat momma penguin simply sits on a block of ice in the middle of the track. Watching and silently judging us as her babies make their way to oblivion.
Giving Yourself The Slip
Never trust a banana. They may act as useful allies when you’re seeking asylum from an oncoming red shell, but they’ll turn on you as quick as anything.
See, you might have been enjoying a race, and then decided to place a ‘nana on a particular fiendish bend or narrow bit of track. Laughing at your own evil genius, you drive on, awaiting the inevitable disruption it’s bound will cause to your opponents journey.
What you don’t ever expect (but often happens) is that you come a cropper on your peeley chum again before anyone else does – and you promptly go skidding to your doom. It’s at this point that your previous stance on bananas changes forever. They’re all horrible, yellow turds.
Getting Blue Shelled Right Before The Finish Line
Yeah, this happens in every Mario Kart now, but as I mentioned before, 64 is the game that introduced the world to the spiky blue bastard of death.
We’ve all been there: You’ve had the race of your life, driving through the course unscathed, deftly dodging green shells, bananas, enemy racers and any other dangers the track might throw at you. You’re inches away from the finish line, victory is yours.
But then, a blue shell swoops from the heavens, hovering above your head. For half a second it floats there, just enough time for you to pinch off a quiet scream before it closes down on you. There’s an almighty explosion, and suddenly the rest of the racers come soaring past you and across the finish line like some kind of Nintendo themed parade.
Yeah, we’ve got Mario Kart 64 to thank for 19 years of blue shells. Fuck you Mario Kart.