At the Digital Press Forum, van_halen has posted some photos from a prototype version of Super Mario Kart, a “beta” with some interesting differences, like early version of some of the sprites, different layout and music in some levels, different title screen, select screen and “choose-your-driver” screen, missing “black X” from the Lakitu’s flag (when you drive in the opposite direction), a flying Super Koopa and missing reward cups in the ending scene. Check the original topic for more infos. Huge props to van_halen for sharing these images!
In an old magazine, MathUser has even found a couple of screens that show a different design for one of the tracks, maybe an early version of the Mushroom Cup Round 2, as Madou has wrote in the HPZ Forum
In an episode of Iwata Asks, we can read that:
Konno: Originally, the development of Super Mario Kart began with the idea of creating a two-player racing game in contrast to the single-person gameplay of F-Zero.
Miyamoto: Just so there’s no confusion, however, I should point out that we didn’t set out to create a two-player version of F-Zero. We set out to make a game where we could display the game screen for two players at the same time.
Konno: With more than one player, it would have been impossible to illustrate the high speeds of F-Zero.
Iwata: Why did you decide on using Mario?
Konno: Well, in the very first prototype, there was a guy in overalls sitting in the kart.
Iwata: Wait just a minute! I can’t let that slip by. Did you just say a guy in overalls?
Konno: Sounds like Mario, doesn’t it? It wasn’t like I forgot to put Mario’s beard on him or something, though… (laughs)
Miyamoto: For F-Zero the characters were seven heads tall, but for Super Mario Kart, we decided on three heads tall characters in order to suit the design of the karts.
Iwata: How long was it before Mario himself actually appeared in the karts?
Konno: It was about three to four months after we started development, when we had created a prototype involving two karts racing simultaneously.
Miyamoto: At first, no racing was involved. It was just two karts moving around freely. Then we noticed that it looked neat if you stopped one car and looked at the other car flying by. We decided to see what it would look like with Mario in one of the karts, and everyone thought that looked even better. Who knows, maybe the designer who drew the overalls on the earlier guy intended that it be changed to Mario all along! (laughs)
Konno: Back then, instead of a banana peel as an item, there were little oil cans. If you threw one out, the oil would spill, sending the karts spinning.
Iwata: How did you come to make the race and battle modes?
Konno: We had decided from the start that there would be races, but we thought that it would be good if the game served as a communication tool in which one-on-one battles were possible via some other kind of gameplay rather than simply competing for rank, and someone had the idea of popping each other’s balloons.
Thanks to Youloute for the contribution!