MK 64
Image: Nintendo

If you look at the Mario Kart franchise and the F-Zero franchise, it's pretty easy to determine which of the two has been more successful. On the one hand, Mario Kart has seen major releases all the way up to 2020 with Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit, and will see a whole bunch of DLC launched for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe all the way through to the end of 2023. Then on the flip side, F-Zero - oh, our poor dear F-Zero - hasn't seen a major release in nearly 20 ruddy years when F-Zero Climax launched in Japan in 2004 - so we didn't even get it in the west! Grumble...

It seems strange, then, to imagine that Nintendo would think to implement a mode within Mario Kart to potentially help the game reach F-Zero fans. Well, that's what very nearly happened with Mario Kart 64 during development of the game in the mid '90s. According to director Hideki Konno, Mario Kart 64 actually once featured a 'no-item' mode that would allow players to focus on the act of driving and compete in "serious races". Eventually, however, the mode was dropped from the final game due to the fact that players demoing the title refrained from choosing the mode.

It sounds like the Mario Kart equivalent of 'no-item' modes in the Super Smash Bros. franchise, doesn't it? We're going to be honest, though, the very notion of Mario Kart without the likes of the Red Shell, Banana, and Lightning Bolt sounds kinda dire to us, so we're thankful Nintendo made the decision to remove it from the game.

Mario Kart 64 can now be played on the Switch via the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack service. It's still a cracking game, too, garnering an 8/10 in our review, though at the time of writing, it is currently behind several other titles in our 'Best Mario Kart Games Of All Time' list.

What do you think? Would you have enjoyed a 'no-item' mode in Mario Kart? Share your thoughts in the usual place!

[source, via]