Momentum is spelled M-A-R-I-O K-A-R-T, and the Mario Kart 8  game for the Wii U  console just launched around the world to global acclaim, earning some of the strongest review scores in franchise history, including becoming the 14th Wii U game to launch in North America with a Metacritic score of 85 or higher. Nintendo reported today that the game sold more than 1.2 million* total units across Japan, Europe and the Americas during its first weekend on the market.**
“The early response to Mario Kart 8 demonstrates that the best days for Wii U are still ahead,” said Nintendo of America president and COO Reggie Fils-Aime. “This year’s E3 is just days away, and it will be all about the future games for Nintendo platforms. This milestone is a great place to start!”
Prior to Mario Kart 8, the seven games that have launched previously in the series have combined to sell more than 100 million total units worldwide. This includes two of the best-selling video games of all time: Mario Kart Wii for Wii and Mario Kart DS for the Nintendo DS family of systems. The full list includes: 
|Title||System||Global Sales (as of 3/31/14)|
|Super Mario Kart||Super Nintendo||8.76 million|
|Mario Kart 64||Nintendo 64||9.87 million|
|Mario Kart Advance||Game Boy Advance||5.91 million|
|Mario Kart: Double Dash!!||Nintendo GameCube||6.88 million|
|Mario Kart DS||Nintendo DS||23.56 million|
|Mario Kart Wii||Wii||35.53 million|
|Mario Kart 7||Nintendo 3DS||9.62 million|
|Total: 100.13 million|
*Based on Nintendo’s internal sales figures.
**Mario Kart 8 launched on Thursday, May 29, in Japan and Friday, May 30, across Europe and the Americas.
“Ever since the launch of the original Super Mario Kart game on the Super NES more than 20 years ago, the words ‘Mario Kart’ have come to represent the gold standard for unpredictable and competitive racing fun,” said Ron Bertram, Nintendo of Canada’s vice-president and general manager. “Mario Kart 8 is an experience only available on Wii U, and the anti-gravity racing makes it unlike anything the series has seen before.”
Mario Kart 8 introduces anti-gravity racing, allowing for some of the most creative and mind-blowing track design the series has ever seen. When players drive over a blue anti-gravity strip, the tires on their vehicles will turn sideways and emit a blue glow. When this happens, drivers can defy the laws of gravity by racing upside down, along walls and even up waterfalls. While in this mode, players can bump into each other to get a Spin Boost. This anti-gravity Spin Boost fundamentally redefines the way players compete and makes anti-gravity racing even more exhilarating.
Up to 12 players can race or battle online, as long as everyone has the game and a broadband Internet connection. Players also can create public or private tournaments for which they specify the day of the week, the time and the rules. Per tradition, players will be able to race against ghost data from friends or even the top 10 worldwide racers. With the new Mario Kart TV feature, players can even watch their highlight reels, rewind them, play them in slow motion or post them to Miiverse (a Nintendo Network ID is required). Players with Google accounts can also upload their reels directly to their YouTube channels to show off their slick racing moves. 
Mention the Red Shell, Banana Peel or blue Spiny Shell items, and any fan will be able to instantly tell you what each one does in the Mario Kart series – they are that recognizable. All of these classic items return in Mario Kart 8, but are also joined by four new creations: The long-range Boomerang can be thrown up to three times, returning to its owner after each toss. The Piranha Plant attaches to the front of the player’s vehicle and not only provides a speed boost with every lunge, but also bites other drivers or items that come too close. The Crazy Eight gifts eight orbiting items to a lucky driver to be used one by one. And last but certainly not least is the Super Horn. This item sends nearby drivers flying with a powerful sound wave, but also can blow away any incoming items like the dreaded and powerful blue Spiny Shell. That’s right: The blue Spiny Shell has finally met its match.
Mario Kart 8 became available in stores and in the Nintendo eShop on Wii U on May 30 at a suggested retail price of $64.99. Also on May 30, a Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Set Wii U bundle hit retail stores, giving people who don’t yet own a Wii U system a very appealing and affordable way to hop into the driver’s seat. The bundle includes a 32 GB Wii U Deluxe Set system and GamePad controller, a Mario Kart 8 game disc, a Mario Wii Wheel accessory and Mario Wii Remote Plus controller, all at a suggested retail price of just $349.99. People who register the physical or digital version of Mario Kart 8 with Club Nintendo before July 31 will receive a free Nintendo eShop download code  for an additional Wii U game at no cost. They can choose from one of these well-received Wii U games as part of the promotion: New Super Mario Bros. U , Pikmin 3 , The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD or Wii Party U .