Remember, this dynamic ranking is governed by every entry's User Rating on our database and is subject to real-time change, even now. Don't agree with the order? Feel free to get rating your game collection and potentially influence the ranking below. Enjoy!

Back when Nintendo announced the very first Mario Kart game in the early '90s, there were some in the industry who proclaimed it as a sign that the veteran firm had finally lost its marbles. Sure, Mario had appeared in other games, but his forte was 2D platformers – he had no place on the racing track, and Super Mario Kart was initially viewed as a questionable attempt to shoe-horn the famous mascot into a genre where he simply didn't belong. As you might expect, when these same nay-sayers actually got to play it, they changed their tune.

Since then, Mario Kart has become one of Nintendo's most successful properties and has sold in excess of 160 million copies worldwide across all titles. But, you may well ask, which one is best? That's not an easy question to answer in a series of solid gold console classics, so we turned to you, dear readers, to rate and rank every game in the series.

Before you ask, no we've not included the arcade entries, because we like being stubborn traditionalists at Nintendo Life. We have added the mixed reality racer Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit and the mobile-only Mario Kart Tour, though. We've also lumped both Mario Kart 8 and its Deluxe Switch upgrade together to keep things tidy.

Remember: the order below is updated in real-time according to each game's corresponding User Rating in the Nintendo Life game database. Even as you read this, it's entirely possible to influence the ranking below. If you haven't rated your favourites yet, simply click the 'star' of the game you wish to rate below and assign a score right now.

So stash those banana skins and start those karts — it's time to hit the track and see who ends up on the podium...

10. Mario Kart Tour (Mobile)

The first entry in the series to make the jump to mobile devices which aren't Nintendo handhelds, anyone coming to Mario Kart Tour expecting a facsimile of the console games will probably be disappointed. This free-to-play version was never going to rival the majesty of a full-fat, fully operational Mario Kart 8. The game was built around one-handed mobile play and landscape mode wasn’t available initially. Couple that with some confusing and questionable monetisation mechanics and it could be easy to see this as a blight on the series' good name.

However, you're not obliged to go in for all those unseemly microtransactions, there's no limit on playtime as found in many other mobile games (including some of Nintendo's), and — taken in context — it's a pleasantly diverting mobile take on your favourite kart racer. Crucially, it costs nothing to find out for yourselves, so there's no reason not to take this for a test drive, even if it doesn't fire on all cylinders.

9. Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit (Switch)

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit is a startlingly authentic "mixed reality" recreation of Nintendo's most popular racing series which encourages you to be inventive with your course designs and does an excellent job of combining your real-world surroundings with the fantasy environments of the Mushroom Kingdom; add in a second player (or three, or four) and it becomes even more compelling. The tech side of things is undeniably impressive and it's impossible to not raise a smile the first time you play; the question is how long that magic will last, especially if your home limits your track designs and you've only got the budget to cover the cost of a single car.

We can confirm that simply free-roaming around the house while being chased by small children and/or pets is a pretty great way to spend an afternoon, though.

8. Mario Kart Super Circuit (GBA)

Returning to the flat tracks and tight power-sliding gameplay of the original Super Mario Kart, the GBA was capable of replicating SNES-like performance — it certainly wasn't up to the tech standard of the N64 or GameCube — so Mario Kart Super Circuit ended up feeling like the Super Mario Kart sequel we never got on Nintendo's 16-bit console. Sure, the visual style has arguably aged worse than the SNES version, but this pint-sized speed-fest packs in plenty of content. The fun foundation was there at the very beginning of the series and it's definitely present in the GBA entry.

While the 3DS Ambassador and Wii U Virtual Console re-releases lacked the multiplayer features of the original, the Nintendo Switch Online version thankfully rectifies that situation if multiplayer is your thing (which, with Mario Kart, it really should be). No need for link cables these days! Super Circuit still holds up well and serves as a great 'successor' to the SNES original, if that's your favourite MK flavour.

7. Super Mario Kart (SNES)

The game that birthed an entire genre (albeit a genre it dominates to the point where you wonder why any other company decides to make their own kart racer), Super Mario Kart got so much just right from the starting line that it still remains surprisingly playable and accessible decades later. There's no worrying about picking karts or wheels here; you select your character and hit the track. The split-screen layout (which is present even when racing solo) encourages a second player to pick up the pad, and it's certainly a game that is best enjoyed with a friend (or foe). The Battle mode has also stood the test of time superbly, and that iconic power-slide move still feels natural and intuitive.

The mainline games that followed may have refined the formula to the Nth degree, but despite feeling barebones by comparison, controls, track design, and item balance are still nigh-on perfect in this first outing, and getting behind the wheel still feels good. Super Mario Kart is fun distilled, and its narrow focus can actually end up being a benefit – especially if you're looking for the ideal pick-up-and-play multiplayer challenge.

6. Mario Kart 7 (3DS)

The DS entry in the series did a marvellous job of giving players the full-blooded 3D experience, but 3DS’ extra horsepower made this feel more like a home console release than ever before. Mario Kart 7 (the first game in the series to have a number at the end of its title, fact fans) is perhaps one of the finest racers ever made, and certainly one of the best on the 3DS.

Bringing back coins during races and introducing vehicle customisation and underwater driving to the series, its excellent autostereoscopic 3D once again proved that, in the right hands, the system's namesake feature could really add some special sauce, helping flesh out the world just that little bit more. Booting it up now makes us miss having the option — roll on Nintendo 3DSwitch! (Calm down, that’s a joke… or is it?)

5. Mario Kart 64 (N64)

While the racers themselves might not have been truly 3D (rather they were detailed Donkey Kong Country-style sprites created from 3D character renders), Mario Kart 64's huge, undulating circuits still showed off the benefits of 64-bit hardware. It added inclines, items, obstacles, and a four-player multiplayer mode to the winning formula Nintendo cooked up on Super NES. This is also the game which gave us Toad's Turnpike.

Each iteration of the Mario Kart series adds a little something new, but following on from the flat circuits of Super Mario Kart, there's arguably been nothing quite like this first jump to 3D-except-for-the-racers. Like any Mario Kart game, add three friends and you'll have an epic time in no time.

4. Mario Kart Wii (Wii)

Following the online exploits of Mario Kart DS, it was almost a given that Mario Kart Wii would follow suit and include the ability to play against the world — thankfully, despite the console's rather anaemic online capabilities, the experience was nothing short of stunning.

From the outside, the Wii entry might have sacrificed some of the kart racing series' personality, but the online multiplayer with support for up to twelve players, optional motion controls (who could forget that plastic wheel accessory?), and additional vehicles and characters helped make it one of the most accessible entries in the series. Successful, too. It sold a staggering 37.14 million copies.

3. Mario Kart DS (DS)

Whether you can forgive its snaking ways or not, this was still a cracking entry in a series which arguably doesn't have a dud. Snaking — a technique which involves using power slide boosts — did admittedly dampen the online experience back in the day if you hadn't mastered it, but online isn't an option now, so if you're unhappy with how your local competitors are snaking, you can simply lean over and communicate your dissatisfaction in a direct manner.

It should also be remembered that Mario Kart DS was the first in the series to offer online play – and that was a real game-changer back in 2005. Of course, it's been surpassed since by its sequels, but having a fully 3D Mario Kart in your hands was a special feeling back in the day, and MKDS holds a special place in many a kart-lover's hearts, including ours.

2. Mario Kart: Double Dash!! (GCN)

Your favourite Mario Kart game tends to depend very much on which one you played first, or which one you've played the most in multiplayer. This can lead to much contentious debate, but we have wonderful memories of Mario Kart: Double Dash!! despite it often getting short shrift from many.

While not overflowing with new ideas, the racers were presented as gorgeous fully 3D models for the first time, the two-driver gimmick was extremely satisfying and introduced a new layer of strategy as you switched characters and juggled items, and it has some great courses, including DK Mountain (ah, that little shortcut at the end!) and perennial favourite Baby Park, the hilariously hectic mini-course. It might lack a certain je ne sais quoi if you're devoted to other entries in the series, but make no mistake, this remains a chaotic karting classic. We love it.

1. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Switch)

Mario Kart 8 delivered a huge amount of racing goodness right out of the box on Wii U and was only a proper Battle Mode away from being top of class. The big twist this time around was the introduction of 'anti-gravity' sections which allow tracks to bend and twist on themselves in surprising ways. This doesn't impact the gameplay all that much but during anti-grav sections it's possible to collide with other racers and gain a small speed boost, adding a welcome layer of tactical play. It's a game that continually raises a smile and, occasionally, induces that trademark Mario Kart rage as shells strike and positions are lost. It's addictive, unifying, unfiltered fun that draws in anyone daring enough to take up the wheel.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe repackaged the original for the hybrid handheld for all of the millions of people who didn't play on Wii U and added in that excellent (and sorely missed) Battle Mode for good measure. This is the pinnacle of the entire series; a fast, attractive, sublimely playable romp which has to rank as one of the best racing games of all time. It's the definitive Mario Kart experience, content-rich and a delightful feast of comedic, cartoonish karting action. Essential.

And the addition of 48 more courses with the awkwardly named Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass DLC? Well, that's just more icing on an already-grand cake, isn't it?

I'm-a Luigi, number one! Hold up, Luigi wasn't even an option.

So there you have it; the running order of the Mario Kart series. Surprised by the result? Remember, the ranking above is subject to change according to each game's User Ratings on the site, so if you're not happy with one of your favourites being in the bottom half, have your say by giving it a personal score out of 10 and watch to see if/how that influences the table.

Feel free to let us know your thoughts and share a comment about your personal favourites below.