If a franchise gets big enough and popular enough, it'll get its own spinoffs. Take Hobbs & Shaw which is in theaters right now, for example. For some reason, moviegoers can't get enough of the Fast & Furious franchise to the point that its core eight movies weren't enough and it needed a spinoff. Clearly, the minds that decided that would be a good idea were right, as it is the highest-grossing movie in the franchise to date.
Now on to what we're here for: Mario Kart. We often forget that Mario Kart is itself a spinoff. The racing games didn't start arriving until Mario was very much established as Nintendo's leading man. Mario Kart has had so many of its own titles and enjoyed so much success that it has sort of become its own franchise. According to Fandom, four Mario Kart titles sit among the top 25 best selling Nintendo games of all time.
What's interesting is the Mario Kart game which is considered the very best by hardcore fans doesn't feature at all. In fact, it doesn't even break the top 50. That's Mario Kart 64. The critically acclaimed sequel to the original Super Mario Kart. Both the game and the platform it was released on rarely have a bad word said about them by anyone who has grown up with Nintendo consoles.
The Mario Kart game that we thought may have dethroned 64 as the very best is featured in the top 25. Mario Kart 8, the one we continue to play obsessively on Switch. Mario Kart 8 has the benefit of being released on two consoles, as it originally featured on the Wii U. Much like Ultimate is currently doing for the Super Smash Bros. franchise, Mario Kart 8 has appealed to fans by including pretty much everything that has come before it. A huge roster of racers and what feels like every track from every previous Mario Kart.
Now that we are over the initial wow factor of Mario Kart 8, many gamers are reverting back to believing Mario Kart 64 is still the best the franchise has ever had to offer. So what was so great about it? Well, since it was simply a sequel, it didn't need to rely on gimmicks. All it needed to be was a better version of Super Mario Kart, which it easily achieved. Nowadays, as demonstrated by Mario Kart 8, Nintendo relies on reinventing and regifting us the past in order to make some of its games great.
Mario Kart 8 isn't the first in the franchise to threaten Mario Kart 64's crown. In fact, the game that came immediately after it on GameCube almost did that very early on. However, that game relied on a gimmick. Mario Kart: Double Dash. As the name suggests, and as most of you likely already know, players could race as two characters at a time. A small sect of Mario Kart players still dub Double Dash the best game in the franchise's history, but its reliance on a gimmick means that sect will forever remain small.
Since we currently live in a time where remasters and rereleases are the order of the day, perhaps we will one day see Mario Kart 64 return on Switch or a future Nintendo console. Maybe, but it seems unlikely. Since most of the game's tracks live on through Mario Kart 8, and we're assuming further titles in the future, what would be the point? There's a chance it will be re-released in its original form as Nintendo adds games from more consoles to its online service. For right now though, you'll have to dust off your N64 if you want to experience what continues to be the best Mario Kart game of all time.