Which Mario Kart Character is Best Based on Science?

Mario Kart is one of the best video game ever created.  Everyone can relate to perfectly shooting a green shell at your best friend, or being in first place and getting hit with the dreaded blue shell. 

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Everyone has their favorite character whether it be Baby Mario, Wario, or even Peach.  Maybe picking which character to use can actually be based on science. Henry Hinnefeld used nineteenth-century Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto's concept of Pareto efficiency to work out precisely which racer should be number one. 

The concept of Pareto efficiency can be used to analyse situations where a limited amount of resources can offer multiple competing outcomes, depending on how those resources are allocated. In this case, those resources are the drivers' weight handling, and traction, as well as the different vehicles, and tyres. The first step of the analysis involves generating figures for the characters' base speed and acceleration stats which you can see below - each character (such as Baby Mario) actually represents a collection of racers who fall under the exact same stats.


From there, he analyzed each character with a kart to determine not only which character is best, but which kart with that character is the best.




Here are a few of his observations:

  • Heavy characters are more versatile than light characters. While Wario’s possible configurations can achieve about 77% of the max acceleration, Baby Mario can only get up to 50% of the max speed.
  • Metal Mario / Pink Gold Peach are the only characters that have no configurations on the Pareto frontier.
  • The Badwagon really is bad. Nearly every configuration on the ‘anti-Pareto frontier’ (i.e. the worst possible combinations) involves karts from the Badwagon class.

If you’d like to see the code behind this analysis you can find it here. And finally, in case you have a particular attachment to one of the characters (or karts / tires) you can look up which class he / she / it belongs to below.

So the best character for Mario Kart is... well all of them.  It depends on your personal preference and if you want higher speed or accelerations.


The Author

I've been playing Nintendo since the 90s!