Wouldn't it be nice to hit the tracks in any Mario Kart game and have a pure racing experience? No items on the tracks, and the only way to win is to drive the best? Turns out that almost happened in Mario Kart 64! Hideki Konno, Director on Mario Kart 64, shares details on how this mode was considered, but scrapped.
In fact, originally we had a “no item” racing mode too. It was our attempt to appeal to F-Zero fans, who feel that items are a distraction to the racing. (laughs) It allowed for serious races, where you’re trying to edge someone out for fractions of a second, with all the racers clumped close together in the final lap. As it turned out, however, almost everyone who demoed Mario Kart 64 chose not to play that mode, and we ultimately dropped it. In a traditional racing game you would of course include a mode like that, but Mario Kart without items somehow felt kind of cheap. (laughs) So we cut it out. I guess that for people who just want to race, there’s always the time attack mode. You can now save your best times in the controller pak, so I’ll be happy if players can find new challenges for themselves in that mode.