Mario Kart 64 (マリオカート64 Mario Kāto Rokujūyon) is a 1996 go-kart racing game developed and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64 video game console. It is the successor to Super Mario Kart for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and is the second Mario Kart game. It was released first in Japan on December 14, 1996 and in North America and Europe in 1997. In January 2007, Mario Kart 64 was released as a downloadable Virtual Console title on the Wii.
Changes from the original include the move to polygon-based true 3D computer graphics for track design, and the inclusion of four-player support. Players take control of characters from the Mario universe, who race around a variety of tracks with items that can either harm opponents or aid the user. The move to three-dimensional graphics allowed for track features not possible with the original game's Mode 7 graphics, such as changes in elevation, bridges, walls, and pits. However, the characters and items remained 2D pre-rendered sprites. The game was critically well received and was a best-seller although the game's use of billboard sprites was criticized by some.