If Super Mario Kart were the only video game available in the world, I think we'd all be a little better off for it. Now, I'm not talking about Mario Kart 64, or your Double Dash, or your Super Circuit, I'm talking original SNES Mario Kart. I've had the same cartridge for probably 10 years and it's still as fun as the day we first got it, or rented it, or whatever. The controls, in my humble opinion, have not been improved upon in the last decade, nor has the gameplay. A few embellishments may have been made and a 4-player mode added, granted, but the fact is that the original is still the best, and by far.
The Mode 7 quasi-3D effect used is perfect for the game, and the sprites are well made and animated. The controls are simple and easy to learn, but I am still improving on my time trials 10 years later. I've learned to powerslide better, when to avoid grass and when to cut across it, what the best lines are (still working on that)... like many SNES games, Super Mario Kart's simple graphics and straightforward controls belie the complexity contained within. People who have had a long, tense match in battle mode, map 4 probably, can vouch for the fact that strategies, counter-strategies, trickery, and trash talking are all integral to the game yet are to be found in no instruction manual.
Who has not felt the sting of terror upon hearing the dread "Beeeoo" of a shell being fired unexpectedly? Was it red or green? Who has not made 4 perfect laps around bowser's castle 3, only to be passed by Princess and bumped into the lava, costing the race? Who has not felt or envied the glory of popping all three of your opponent's balloons in less than a second? I know I have. It may be that Super Mario Kart has more fond memories and insane occurrences associated with it than any other game in my life.
Now, you could buy a single xbox game or whatever for 50 or 60 dollars, OR you could buy a used SNES for 20, Mario Kart for 15, and an extra controller for 5. Now put that extra 10 dollars into a six pack of cream soda and a bag of tortilla chips because you and your friends aren't going anywhere for a while.