Welcome to Round 5 of Box Art Brawl, where we take a gander at the box art of a certain retro game and crown one regional variant as champion. Last week the classic NES brawler River City Ransom duked it out with its counterparts until the Japanese version emerged bloody-nosed but victorious, beating down the North American version while the lowly PAL cover never really had a look-in and slipped out the back, unloved and unmissed.

This week we're heading to the races with the progenitor of an entire genre, Super Mario Kart for the SNES. As you'll see, there's no shortage of colour and energy here, and with today's competitors very evenly matched it'll be interesting to see which has the horsepower to take the chequered flag.

With just three contenders everyone's guaranteed a podium place, but although we may tell ourselves it's the ‘taking part’ that counts, anybody who's trying to get all the stars on a 150CC Cup knows that coming second is worth precisely nothing. The heat is on.

Let's take a look at the starting lineup...



First on the grid is the PAL version with its trademark colour border around the main art featuring the Mushroom Kingdom’s wacky racers. There's vim, there's vigour, there's a slightly larger-than-necessary empty block of teal-y blue next to the Nintendo Seal of Quality, but the tag line "When racing becomes an adventure!" is disarmingly cute.



Featuring a very similar concept and obviously providing the basis for the others, the art for the Japanese version is slightly different for nearly every character. Some of them appear to have been copied directly for the western version, but Mario and Bowser get a complete overhaul. The sky turns from blue to gold and the items from the PAL version are missing here.

North America


The North American variant has everything featured in the European version, just slightly rejigged. The black border contrasts with the blue sky nicely and the tag line moves from left to right, but the key art is the same. The title breaks out onto the border above like Mario’s kart does at the bottom, but we’re really hunting for differences here. The same, but different, then.

So much colour! Those are your three competitors this week - a very evenly matched pack indeed, but who will win the day? The race is now on to pick your favourite so take another look below, click your pick and hit the 'Vote' button:

Which region got the best Super Mario Kart box art? (777 votes)

  1. Europe
  2. Japan
  3. North America
    North America34%

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That's all from the Brawl this week! Feel free to voice your thoughts and predictions below and we'll catch you again next time for another crack.