Special Feature

The Community Has Spoken: MKCentral’s DLC Desires

In 1992, video game fans across the world were greeted to Nintendo’s newest spinoff for our favorite plumber: Super Mario Kart on the Super NES. Being a huge success worldwide, this game spawned the widely influential Mario Kart series. Thirty years later, across ten different consoles, players have raced across many locales of the Mushroom Kingdom, including real-world bustling cities, cloud-covered acropolises, desolate deserts, and even the insides of a pinball machine to the fiery depths of Bowser’s Castle and the star-filled skies of Rainbow Road.

Now, in 2022, players have the chance of revisiting some of these memorable locations through the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass. Excluding the tracks already in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, one hundred tracks (unannounced Mario Kart Tour tracks push this number above one hundred) are on the table to be brought back. Which tracks do you want to return through this DLC?

To figure out this question, I offered a survey which asked participants to select five tracks from every mainline game that they would like to see in the Booster Course Pass. 440 people have participated in my survey. Today, I would like to share these results.

To start, we have Super Mario Kart, the game that kick-started this spinoff franchise off. Super Mario Kart features seven track themes that repeat two to four times plus the original Rainbow Road to make up twenty tracks. There were eighteen possible returning tracks from Super Mario Kart, and here’s how the community ranked them.

Super Mario Kart’s archaic and repetitive gameplay subsequently contributes to its mixed outlook on track design. This is reflected in the results, where Ghost Valley 3 has the lowest amount of votes for a track voted #1 with only 204 votes. The tracks voted in the top 5 have yet to appear as a retro track (especially with the SNES Bowser Castle tracks as they are the only Super Mario Kart theme to not return as a retro track yet) which may contribute to them being held in high regard. The early numbered tracks are commonly outclassed by later numbered tracks with the only exception being Koopa Beach 1 outscoring Koopa Beach 2, possibly due to the latter having already reappeared in Mario Kart DS as a retro track.

The tracks that are ranked in the middle and bottom of the list are better represented by other tracks, which may explain their ranking aside from basic and unmemorable track design. For example, N64 Choco Mountain and SNES Donut Plains 3 already being in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe may contribute to Choco Island 1, Choco Island 2, Donut Plains 1 and Donut Plains 2 being ranked at the bottom of the list. The desire for other similar tracks in other games may also contribute to the rankings, for example, N64 Koopa Troopa Beach and GBA Bowser Castle 4 being more desirable than Koopa Beach 2 and Bowser Castle 1.

Above all, with repeated track themes and simple track layouts, Super Mario Kart’s tracks are pretty bare-bones when compared to the other games on this list. With the shoddy quality of the tracks among the Booster Course Pass, it is unknown if the SNES tracks will be given a makeover they truly deserve in order for them to stand out against the other DLC tracks. It is extremely likely we will get one of the Mario Circuits, for nostalgia’s sake, but any of the other track themes are just as likely.

Next up, we have Mario Kart 64. Acting almost like a sequel to Super Mario Kart, Mario Kart 64 takes all of Super Mario Kart’s track ideas and rebuilds them in the third dimension. Mario Kart 64 features sixteen tracks across four cups, with eleven eligible courses for voting. Here are the results:

As Mario Kart 64 was the first “3D” Mario Kart game, the developers were allowed to create grander tracks than what was possible on the Super NES. This, in turn, contributed to high levels of nostalgia; this is seen as fifteen out of the sixteen tracks in Mario Kart 64 have been remade as a retro track, with the exception of Wario Stadium. Following suit from SNES Ghost Valley 3, Banshee Boardwalk is the #1 vote for Mario Kart 64 with 292 votes; it was also voted as the #1 Ghost track. N64 Bowser’s Castle has been voted as the #1 Bowser’s Castle track, likely for laying the foundations on what makes a good Bowser track.

In terms of theming, some tracks may be unpopular due to clashing with themes already in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Will Moo Moo Farm clash with Wii Moo Moo Meadows? Will Sherbet Land and Wario Stadium oversaturate track themes when GCN Sherbet Land and DS Wario Stadium are already in the game? While Mario Kart Wii got away with something similar (having four Mario-themed tracks) and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe already having three Rainbow Roads (with more likely on the way), it is unknown whether or not Nintendo will oversaturate the game with these specific tracks.

Above all, these tracks from the year 1996 have aged well, and while many were a bit lengthy in Mario Kart 64, many of those courses have already translated well to Mario Kart 8. Their unique track designs have stood the test of time. Outside of the tracks that scored within the Top 5, Frappe Snowland and Koopa Troopa Beach are highly requested tracks that also deserve to make it into the Booster Course Pass.

Making our way to the Game Boy Advance, we have Mario Kart: Super Circuit. Taking a step backwards from Mario Kart 64, Mario Kart: Super Circuit returns to Super Mario Kart’s “2D” track design. Mario Kart: Super Circuit features twenty tracks across five cups. Unlike Super Mario Kart, however, Mario Kart: Super Circuit features zero repeating track themes, excluding the four Bowser Castle tracks. In total, there are sixteen eligible courses that could return in the Booster Course Pass originating from this game.

Despite returning to Super Mario Kart’s “2D” track design, Mario Kart: Super Circuit features distinctive track designs and obstacles that were not possible on the Super NES. GBA Rainbow Road being #1 with 277 votes should be no surprise, as it has supposedly been labeled as the next Rainbow Road track to be remade following N64 Rainbow Road. Riverside Park and Lakeside Park are among the only tracks, who arguably sport one of the best track themes, remaining to not be remade as a retro track in any form.

Sunset Wilds stands out as a sandy track with its sunset gimmick. Bowser Castle 4 is the only GBA Bowser Castle not yet to return as a retro track. The tracks on the higher end of this list are all memorable in their own way. With the exception of Snow Land, the bottom seven tracks have all reappeared as retro tracks already. On a case-by-case basis, whether these tracks scored low for this reason or because they were unremarkable is unknown. 

These tracks were a bit more memorable than their SNES brethren; it is a shame that GBA tracks ultimately fly under the radar for most people. Outside of the tracks that scored within the Top 5, people should also keep their high spirits for Boo Lake/Broken Pier, any GBA Bowser Castle track and Luigi Circuit.

Returning to a home console after a quick detour, we have Mario Kart: Double Dash. The first fully “3D” Mario Kart game, everything from racers to tracks are fully modeled and ready for action.  Mario Kart: Double Dash features sixteen tracks across four cups, with twelve possible courses remaining to be added to the Booster Pass. Here are the results:

The power of the Nintendo GameCube and its ability to render in 3D models allowed the developers to design track layouts that were not possible on past Nintendo hardware. This idea is shown in full display with Wario Colosseum taking the #1 spot with 338 votes, completely transforming the precedents N64 Wario Stadium established for a stadium track six years earlier. Similar to Mario Kart: Super Circuit, most of the tracks that have already returned as a retro track appear at the bottom of this list.

GCN Bowser’s Castle has been voted as the second-most requested Bowser’s Castle, being nearly 85 votes behind N64 Bowser’s Castle. In that same distance, Mushroom City is the fourth-most requested city track (excluding Mario Kart Tour courses) behind both 3DS Wuhu tracks and DS Delfino Square. GCN Rainbow Road has been voted as the fourth-most requested Rainbow Road and, interestingly, is neck and neck with DS Rainbow Road and Wii Rainbow Road, being five votes behind the former and three votes ahead of the latter.

There are a lot of splendid tracks here and quite a few of these tracks have equal chances of making it into the Booster Course Pass. Outside of the tracks that scored within the Top 5, people should remain optimistic for Waluigi Stadium, Dino Dino Jungle and Bowser’s Castle to make it in as well.

We’ve reached Mario Kart DS at last, a game that likely defined many people’s childhoods. Despite returning to a handheld console so soon, Mario Kart DS is still displayed in “3D” with the assistance of lower-poly models and sprites. Mario Kart DS features sixteen nitro tracks across four cups, and like Double Dash, has twelve eligible courses

Waluigi Pinball takes not only the #1 spot for the Mario Kart DS tracks, but the #1 spot out of every track that was featured in this poll with 374 votes. Huge surprise, I know. Airship Fortress and Delfino Square, the second-most requested and third-most requested tracks for Mario Kart DS, are nearly 100 votes behind Waluigi Pinball. In comparison, Airship Fortress has been voted as #4 overall and Delfino Square has been voted as #12 overall.

DS Bowser’s Castle has been voted as the third-most requested Bowser’s Castle track, with 189 votes. Luigi’s Mansion takes the spot as the most requested Luigi-themed track, while DS Mario Circuit takes the spot as the second-most requested Mario Circuit track (excluding tracks that have already returned). Ironically, Figure-8 Circuit has the least amount of votes out of Mario Kart DS tracks, despite the track layout being in the shape of an eight. It seems that even with a renewed opportunity, people think we have enough figure 8 courses in Mario Kart 8.

Similar to Mario Kart: Double Dash, there are a lot of grand tracks here that have potential to make it into the Booster Course Pass. Outside of the tracks that scored within the Top 5, DK Pass, Peach Gardens and Mario Circuit also have high chances of making it in.

Next, we have Mario Kart Wii, the last console game before Mario Kart 8. Mario Kart Wii features sixteen nitro tracks across four cups. As with the last two games, there are also twelve eligible courses from Mario Kart Wii.

An evolution of the games that came before it, Mario Kart Wii features highly memorable tracks. It’s no wonder that nearly half of these courses were already brought back as a retro track so soon across the latest Mario Kart titles. Maple Treeway takes the #1 spot out of the Mario Kart Wii tracks and the #5 spot overall with 310 votes, with Toad’s Factory taking the #6 spot overall with 302 votes and DK Summit not too behind with the #10 spot overall with 289 votes.

Koopa Cape has been voted as the most requested water/beach track with 251 votes. DK Summit has also been voted as the second-most requested snow/ice track as well as the most requested DK track. Admittedly, with all these highs, there’s certainly got to be some lows. Wii Bowser’s Castle is the least requested Bowser’s Castle track, excluding the lower ranked SNES and GBA renditions. Mario Circuit and Luigi Circuit not only were the least voted tracks for Mario Kart Wii, but also the least voted tracks overall with 32 votes and 23 votes respectively, and despite it only being by only one vote, Wii Rainbow Road is the only eligible Rainbow Road to not be voted into the Top 5 of its game category.

Like its recent brethren, there is such a wide assortment of worthy tracks that can make it into the Booster Course Pass. Outside of the tracks that scored within the Top 5, Daisy Circuit, Moonview Highway and Rainbow Road are not too far behind of making it in too.

Reaching the final game that’s older than MK8 itself, we have Mario Kart 7 on the Nintendo 3DS. Mario Kart 7 shares a lot in common with its predecessor through similar graphics, sound design and outright picking four of the most requested tracks from it to use as retro tracks. Mario Kart 7 features sixteen nitro tracks across four cups, with just eleven courses to choose between for our poll.

Interestingly, Mario Kart 7 is tied with Mario Kart 64 for having the highest retro track representation in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe with five courses each. 3DS Rainbow Road takes the #1 spot with 300 votes, also having been voted as the most requested Rainbow Road and the #8 spot overall. With the exception of Shy Guy Bazaar being voted as the most requested desert-esque track, the votes for the other 3DS tracks are middle-of-the-road.

3DS Bowser’s Castle has been voted as the second-least requested 3D Bowser’s Castle track with 136 votes, only 10 ahead of Wii Bowser’s Castle. Daisy Hills takes the cake as the third-most requested Peach/Daisy track with 129 votes, being nearly 120 votes behind GCN Daisy Cruiser. Mario Circuit and Cheep Cheep Lagoon are at the bottom of the barrel, with them having the title of the least requested 3DS track and least requested water/beach track respectively.

Mario Kart 7 has a lot of highs but a lot of lows, too. The Top 5 clearly shine out from the rest of the tracks, leaving some tracks completely in the dust. Outside of the tracks that scored within the Top 5, Wario Shipyard and Rosalina’s Ice World also have some potential on making it in.

Soon after the announcement of the Booster Course Pass, fans everywhere were shocked with the inclusion of tracks from this hit mobile game. Featuring tracks from the real world and beyond, Mario Kart Tour’s track design harkens back to the SNES days with having track themes repeat numerous times. Fortunately, for this DLC, all of the track layouts have been combined into one long course that changes with each lap.

With Wave 1 already bringing three courses from Mario Kart Tour, this may imply that all of Tour’s courses might be finding their way over. With new courses still being released, it is possible that there are many we don’t even know about yet. Since this poll, Amsterdam Drift has been released, Berlin Byways 1 has finally arrived, and other tracks are claimed to be datamined and leaked. With that all said, our poll had the following eight tracks under consideration when we ran it.

Due to the smaller sample size of Tour tracks, they have all scored higher than expected. This is proven with the fact that Berlin Byways 2, the least requested Tour track with 231 votes, scored the #30 spot overall. Merry Mountain takes the #1 spot for Tour tracks, with 330 votes, as well as having earned the #3 spot overall. As mentioned, it is incredibly likely that we will see all of the Tour originals make it into the Booster Course Pass, whether they are in Mario Kart Tour currently or will arrive in the coming months. This may end up being a way to preserve these tracks in history if the Mario Kart Tour service ever closes. 

What new gimmicks will these tracks bring? Halfpipes? Going backwards similar to Paris Promenade? Tracks being sectioned off per lap similar to Tokyo Blur? We will have to wait and see on that.

Battle Maps

Before the final results are shown, it is time to showcase the results for the Battle maps. Though there is no current indication that battle maps are on the way, Balloon Battle, Coin Runners, Shine Thief, Bob-Omb Blast and Renegade Roundup all have potential to be held in a new variety of arenas. As SNES Battle Course 1, GCN Luigi’s Mansion and 3DS Wuhu Town are already in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, this leaves twenty-five Battle maps to be voted on. We didn’t include the GameCube and DS Battle courses, as we think it is unlikely they’d be brought back on a Switch game.

Even though it is unlikely we will receive any Battle maps, it is still fun to determine which arenas are highly requested. Wii Funky Stadium has been voted as the most requested Battle map with 292 votes. GCN Pipe Plaza and N64 Block Fort are the second-most and third-most requested Battle maps with 215 votes and 184 votes respectively. The most requested DS Battle map was Twilight House with 132 votes (#6 spot overall), while the most requested 3DS Battle map was Honeybee Hive with 73 votes (#12 spot overall). The bottom seven spots on this list were fittingly all SNES and GBA Battle maps, with GBA Battle Course 3 having a measly seven votes.

If five Battle maps were to hypothetically make it into the Booster Course Pass as an added bonus, Wii Funky Stadium, GCN Pipe Plaza, N64 Block Fort (or N64 Double Deck since it is the only N64 Battle map yet to return as a retro Battle map), DS Twilight House and 3DS Honeybee Hive for being the most requested Battle maps from their game of origin.

Final Overall Results

Excluding every retro track that is already in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, there are roughly one hundred possible choices (unannounced Tour tracks pushes this number above one hundred) to fill the remaining Booster Course Pass slots. To start, here is what the community’s DLC pack would look like if we selected five courses from each game to fill out the remaining forty slots:

Next, let’s take a look at the overall rankings. Keep in mind, the Top 40 is not the exact same as in the chart above!

Finally, after a discussion with Rookie, it was suggested that we include some more advanced metrics based on expected votes. It is unlikely that every eligible game gets exactly five tracks added from this point onward, even though our poll asked everyone to do exactly that. Breaking it into individual game sections simply made the process easier.

However, on the overall results rankings, one thing became clear: courses in games with fewer options had a clear advantage, and this is seen clearly in the Mario Kart Tour results, where every track landed in the Top 30. Meanwhile, SNES and GBA tracks had a larger disadvantage. Based on our poll data, the most fair method to actually get our forty courses would be to consider how many votes each course got as well as how many other eligible courses were in its category. 

Initially, we tried a new score system. For SNES tracks, total votes would be multiplied by 18 / 5 (18 eligible tracks divided by 5 votes allotted per game). Tour votes would be multiplied by 8 / 5, and so on for the rest. What we found is that this slightly overcorrected the problem. Our second method however, we will share with you here.

The second method was based on the following premise: if all tracks in a category received the exact same vote total, what percentage of votes would they get? We then ranked every track based on how much they outperformed this number by game, and here are the rankings based on this tally.

Interestingly enough, almost every Mario Kart Tour course is closer to the middle of the ranking than the top or bottom, while in our original ranking, all were in the top third. This is a more accurate picture, as the original Mario Kart Tour poll results had no outliers whatsoever.

Neither method is perfect here – the most accurate method would be to just have people rank all their tracks in order, but as that was a little unreasonable for a simple survey, this will have to do.


Were you surprised by the results? Is your favorite track near the top where it rightfully belongs, or is it near the bottom end of the list? Feel free to discuss the results and your opinions on them in the replies below or in the MKCentral MK8DX Community Discord Server. For those who would like to read the data points instead of viewing graphs, you may click here to view a Google Doc with all of the results and schematics, or read our advanced metric data here.

I hope the results of this community poll were well worth the wait. As June comes to a close, it hopefully won’t be long until the next details about the Booster Course Pass are announced. Will these results raise our expectations of what’s to come? Or is this poll all wrong and is actually a poor representation of our hopes and dreams? Only time will tell.

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