Releases

The two versions compared on this page are the following:

Region Title Release date Platform
Japan スーパーマリオカート
Super Mario Kart
8/27/1992 Super Famicom
USA Super Mario Kart 9/1992 Super NES

Title screen

On the title screen, the logo box was enlarged, allowing the block letters to be spread out a bit more. Some of the letters were also redesigned slightly.

Japanese version U.S. version
Title screen Title screen

Next, we'll isolate the scrolling background. The umbrella and Japanese "Mario Kart" lettering were removed, while the mushroom was moved up and to the left.

Japanese version
Title screen
U.S. version
Title screen

Here's a close-up of the removed umbrella drawing, which has "マリオ" (Mario) and "ピーチ" (Peach) written underneath it. Similar to how in America we draw a heart and write two names inside it, Japanese sweethearts draw what's called an ai-ai gasa ("love-love umbrella").

相合傘

Thanks: Ian F. and Patrick S.

Unlike the Japanese release, the U.S. version remembers your menu choices leading up to the racer select screen, and will have your previous choices already selected the next time you go through the menus. This change allows you to mash the B button to quickly choose the same game mode that you played last time.

Thanks: Carmen K.

Trophy ceremony

Congrats

There were several changes to the trophy ceremony. We'll start by pointing out that the Japanese version uses orange text for the type of race (e.g. "50cc Mushroom Cup Race"), but it was changed to plain white text for the U.S. release. Another easy-to-see change here is the new ribbon graphic behind the big "congratulations" message in the U.S. version. If you finish in 1st place, the ribbon is blue.

There's a red ribbon for 2nd place...

...and a silver ribbon for taking 3rd.

Don't drink and race

After earning a gold trophy, each driver has his or her own celebration animation involving one or more bottles of champagne. In the Japanese version, Bowser and Princess drink the champagne! However, alcohol usage went against Nintendo of America's content guidelines, so they gave Bowser and Princess new animations for the U.S. release.

Bowser chugs his champagne in the Japanese game, but he drinks nary a drop in the U.S. version. Instead, he holds the bottle at a different angle when he puts his arms up. Also, a new frame was added to have him clap with the bottle. Click on Bowser below to start/stop the two different animations. (Javascript required.)

Japan U.S.
Bowser celebrates (Japanese version) Bowser celebrates (U.S. version)

In the Japanese version, Princess is visibly tipsy from sipping her champagne. In the U.S. version, her drinking motion became a throwing motion -- she repeatedly throws the bottle straight up and catches it when it comes down. Click on Princess below to see an example. (Javascript required.)

Japan U.S.
Princess celebrates (Japanese version) Princess celebrates (U.S. version)

Two players, two fonts

For the 2P results screen, the Japanese version stays consistent with the "Ranked Out!" and "Game Over" screens by using a thick font, but the U.S. version uses its skinnier font here. The kanji next to the win/loss totals were removed in favor of "W" and "L" column headings.

Characters

Japanese English
Name Rōmaji Translation Name
マリオMarioMarioMario
ルイージRuījiLuigiLuigi
ピーチPīchiPeachPrincess
ヨッシーYosshīYoshiYoshi
クッパKuppaKoopaBowser
ドンキーコングJrDonkī Kongu JrDonkey Kong JrDonkey Kong Jr
ノコノコNokonokoNokonokoKoopa Troopa
キノピオKinopioKinopioToad

Notes:

  • When Super Mario Kart was released, Peach was still known as "Princess Toadstool" in North America.

Cups & Courses

Cups
Japanese English
Name Rōmaji Translation Name
キノコカップKinoko KappuMushroom CupMushroom Cup
フラワーカップFurawā KappuFlower CupFlower Cup
スターカップSutā KappuStar CupStar Cup
スペシャルカップSupesharu KappuSpecial CupSpecial Cup
Courses
Japanese English
Name Rōmaji Translation Name
Mushroom Cup
マリオサーキット 1Mario Sākitto 1Mario Circuit 1Mario Circuit 1
ドーナツへいやコース 1Dōnatsu Heiya Kōsu 1Donut Plains Course 1Donut Plains 1
おばけぬまコース 1Obake Numa Kōsu 1Ghost Swamp Course 1Ghost Valley 1
クッパじょうコース 1Kuppa Jō Kōsu 1Koopa Castle Course 1Bowser Castle 1
マリオサーキット 2Mario Sākitto 2Mario Circuit 2Mario Circuit 2
Flower Cup
チョコレーとうコース 1Chokorē Tō Kōsu 1Chocolate Island Course 1Choco Island 1
おばけぬまコース 2Obake Numa Kōsu 2Ghost Swamp Course 2Ghost Valley 2
ドーナツへいやコース 2Dōnatsu Heiya Kōsu 2Donut Plains Course 2Donut Plains 2
クッパじょうコース 2Kuppa Jō Kōsu 2Koopa Castle Course 2Bowser Castle 2
マリオサーキット 3Mario Sākitto 3Mario Circuit 3Mario Circuit 3
Star Cup
ノコノコビーチコース 1Nokonoko Bīchi Kōsu 1Nokonoko Beach Course 1Koopa Beach 1
チョコレーとうコース 2Chokorē Tō Kōsu 2Chocolate Island Course 2Choco Island 2
バニラレイクコース 1Banira Reiku Kōsu 1Vanilla Lake Course 1Vanilla Lake 1
クッパじょうコース 3Kuppa Jō Kōsu 3Koopa Castle Course 3Bowser Castle 3
マリオサーキット 4Mario Sākitto 4Mario Circuit 4Mario Circuit 4
Special Cup
ドーナツへいやコース 3Dōnatsu Heiya Kōsu 3Donut Plains Course 3Donut Plains 3
ノコノコビーチコース 2Nokonoko Bīchi Kōsu 2Nokonoko Beach Course 2Koopa Beach 2
おばけぬまコース 3Obake Numa Kōsu 3Ghost Swamp Course 3Ghost Valley 3
バニラレイクコース 2Banira Reiku Kōsu 2Vanilla Lake Course 2Vanilla Lake 2
レインボーロードReinbō RōdoRainbow RoadRainbow Road
Battle Mode
バトルコース 1Batoru Kōsu 1Battle Course 1Battle Course 1
バトルコース 2Batoru Kōsu 2Battle Course 2Battle Course 2
バトルコース 3Batoru Kōsu 3Battle Course 3Battle Course 3
バトルコース 4Batoru Kōsu 4Battle Course 4Battle Course 4