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In the original Super Mario Kart, there is a kart icon with a number in the bottom right corner of the screen. This kart icon is directly above the current coin count.

What does this kart icon mean? Why does it sometimes increase between races?

Kart icon in corner

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The karts are extra lives.

In order to advance in the Grand Prix, you must place in the top 4. If you don't, you'll have to race again and you lose a kart (life). You will also lose a kart if you forfeit the race. If you lose all your karts, then it's game over and you must start all over.

According to a GameFAQs guide by wayalla, you can gain an extra life in Grand Prix by coming in first place 3 times in a row.

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  • What causes you to earn extra continues between races?
    – Stevoisiak
    Apr 13, 2018 at 4:58
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    I can't remember off the top of my head. But I believe you can't earn any more. You have only three retries to work with. Apr 13, 2018 at 5:00
  • The player in this video earned a fourth continue at around 6:35.
    – Stevoisiak
    Apr 13, 2018 at 5:05
  • Ah, well there ya go. Though, I think that's the only extra life you'll get. (since there's only -4- 5 courses). Apr 13, 2018 at 5:07
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    I believe you get an extra life if you place first in 3 races during a circuit.
    – Shaun
    Apr 13, 2018 at 6:46

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