I have been playing Mario Kart since 1998. I can get all golds in Mario Kart 64 without hassle; I can place first in every race of Double Dash's All-Cup Tour somewhat easily, I get first for 32 consecutive races effortlessly in Mario Kart DS (without snaking), I have a VS rating in the 8000's in Mario Kart Wii.

I cannot get more than a few one-star ratings in Mario Kart Super Circuit (most of them being in the B-D range), and after getting Super Mario Kart on the Virtual Console last week, I still can't finish the 100cc Flower Cup.

So, what do both 2D games have in common that appears to put them in a separate class of difficulty than all the 3D ones? There are a few things like the coin mechanic and the controls that seem likely, but it doesn't seem like they're the only culprit.

  • 2
    This question is at risk of getting closed in its current state. It's going to be hard for anyone else to tell you why you might be good at newer versions of SMK but not older ones. In fact, having played them myself, it's my opinion that the more recent ones are more difficult due to things like tons more weapons, more 'unforgiving' courses, and needing to get the dash boost down solid to remain competitive.
    – Shaun
    Dec 9, 2011 at 5:13
  • I'll try to make it more clear that I'm looking for what the fundemental difference between the 2D games and 3D games is (other than D-ness).
    – Toomai
    Dec 9, 2011 at 11:36

1 Answer 1


In the 2D ones, you steered the Kart with the digital pad instead of the analogue stick, so to make a weak turn you cannot not simply push the stick only partly in that direction but you have to release the direction earlier. It's like trying to play a modern racing game on a PC and steering with the arrow keys...

But the games were also harder in principle, stemming from a time where Nintendo's aim audience where those who grew up with previous consoles or arcade machines, where one of the main points of playing was beating a rather hard game - play Super Meat Boy or The Binding of Isaac if you don't know what I mean.

  • Mario Kart DS uses the d-pad to steer too though, so I'm not completely buying that. The "harder in principle" argument seems legit, but Super Circuit came out during the "transitional period" so to speak, and MK64 (while having concepts that wouldn't hold up today) doesn't seem to have the same difficulty.
    – Toomai
    Dec 9, 2011 at 11:34
  • hm, I never played DS so I can't speak for that. However if you say so, it might really be the "good old days of truly challenging games" argument. But maybe this is really just subjective...
    – Zommuter
    Dec 10, 2011 at 13:35

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