Mario Kart combines a few basic elements that are typical to all racing games, but it is able to attract players of all ages, genders, etc. At its core, Mario Kart involves a couple of main mechanics. The most basic would be accelerating your kart forward. The next would be steering your kart right and left. On top of these core mechanics, there is also pressing a button to activate special powers, drifting your kart, etc. The overall dynamics involve you (or a team) racing against other players and trying to get through the courses the fastest. The rivalry from the other players provides the fun/aesthetic of competition, and gaining dominance over others. The levels themselves also provide obstacles, which contribute the “challenge” aspect of fun.
Aside from the actual gameplay, one other important aspect that adds to the game’s overall aesthetic and appeal is the customizability of your avatar. Players can choose from a variety of players, many of which are familiar characters from the regular Mario franchise. Players can also select the type of kart they use, which vary in acceleration, speed, design, etc. This could fall under the category of expression and fantasy. The actual levels themselves each have their own theme, and along with racing, players are able to explore the worlds of different levels. Although the overall obstacles in each level have similar mechanics (ex. terrain that slows your cart down), there is an appeal to seeing that in different forms. It provides motivation for players to unlock new levels as well, and provides the fun of exploration.