Mario Kart was a staple of my childhood — my friends and I would spend hours after school as Mario, Luigi, and other characters from the Nintendo universe racing around cartoonish tracks and lobbing pixelated bananas at each other. One thing that always vexed our little group of would-be speedsters was the question of which character was best. Some people swore by zippy Yoshi, others argued that big, heavy Bowser was the best option. Back then there were only eight options to choose from; fast forward to the current iteration of the Mario Kart franchise and the question is even more complicated because you can select different karts and tires to go with your character. My Mario Kart reflexes aren’t what they used to be, but I am better at data science than I was as a fourth grader, so in this post I’ll use data to finally answer the question “Who is the best character in Mario Kart?”
This post also acts as a primer on Pareto Efficiency, an important concept in economics.