Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Here, at last, is a mathematical ranking of the best Mario Kart characters

Illustration for article titled Here, at last, is a mathematical ranking of the best iMario Kart /icharacters
Photo: Chesnot (Getty Images)

Everyone has a Mario Kart character they consider “the best.” With all the fervor of a kid on a playground, explaining why their Spider-Man toy can totally whip a friend’s Batman toy’s ass, even grown adults will call on every argument in the book to defend their choice of squealing go-kart cartoon.

Now, all of this has been rendered pointless. Science has stepped in, using the cold, hard facts of data analytics to determine once and for all who, in fact, is the best racer. The report comes from Henry Hinnefeld, writing for Civis Analytics’ The Civis Journal, who has rounded up the numbers, applied his expertise, and published a definitive treatise meant to settle all future Kart-based debates.

Hinnefeld’s method involves the use of the Pareto efficiency and Pareto frontier, concepts developed in the 19th century by an economist named Vilfredo Pareto. Rather than mangle an interpretation of it, here’s part of the article’s explanation of how this works:

The concept of Pareto efficiency applies to situations where there is a finite pool of resources and multiple competing outcomes that depend on how those resources are allocated. The “Pareto efficient” allocations are those in which it’s impossible to improve one outcome without worsening another outcome.


Though the explanation continues on after this section, suffice it to say that by inputting Mario Kart character, kart, and tire statistics (like traction, weight, handling), Hinnefeld is able to group each choice into distinct classes, augment with vehicle customization, and work from there. While there are 149,760 possible combinations of these different statistic fields, only 15 create “optimal combinations,” which basically means that their speed and acceleration values—the stuff you want in a racing game—are what’s considered most important.

Here are the findings, which you can print out and hang above your TV as constant reference:

Illustration for article titled Here, at last, is a mathematical ranking of the best iMario Kart /icharacters
Screenshot: The Civis Journal

So, there it is. The heaviest racer class, represented here by the fart goblin Wario, but also including characters like Bowser, are the best choice. In his concluding summary, Hinnefeld states that the weightiest racers are more versatile, noting that “Wario’s possible configurations can achieve about 77% of the max acceleration [while] Baby Mario can only get up to 50% of the max speed.” This, it seems, is yet another very good reason not to allow babies behind the wheel of high-powered motor vehicles.

Enjoy this knowledge and use it as you see fit by reading the entirety of the article. Still, please remember that none of this means anything at all when that great equalizer, the blue shell, comes speeding up behind any Mario Kart character to end their race with a totally random atomic blast. There’s no science to help you out of that one.


[via The Civis Journal]

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.

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