Fact Check

No, Nintendo Isn't Banning Female Characters from Driving in 'Mario Kart'

A satirical headline apparently fooled some readers.

Published May 23, 2022

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - AUGUST 19: Luigi and Mario of Super Mario Brothers attend the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Mexico 2017 at Auditorio Nacional on August 19, 2017 in Mexico City, Mexico.  (Photo by Victor Chavez/WireImage) (Getty Images)
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Nintendo is banning female characters from driving in the Mario Kart game due to Saudi investment.

Fact Check

In late May 2022, the satire gaming site Hard Drive posted a story that some people took literally. "Nintendo Announces Female Characters Will No Longer Be Able to Drive Mario Karts Following Saudi Arabia Investment," the headline of a May 19, 2022, story read.

"Following today’s news that Saudi Arabia now controls 5% of its shares after making a nearly three billion dollar investment, Nintendo has announced that female characters are now banned from driving in Mario Kart 8," the article's lead paragraph stated.

None of this is true, however, as Hard Drive articles are strictly intended for humor purposes. The site is linked to The Hard Times, a satirical news outlet founded in 2014, according to its "About" page.

Mario Kart is a popular iteration of the Super Mario Bros Nintendo game platform based on the fictional plumbers Mario and Luigi. Mario Kart is a multiplayer racing game in which gamers can select various Super Mario Bros characters to drive race cars.

Women in the Saudi Arabia have been legally able to drive in the patriarchal monarchy since 2018.


Coker, Margaret. “Saudi Women Can Now Drive. Overcoming Beliefs on Gender Will Be Harder.” The New York Times, 24 June 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/24/world/middleeast/saudi-women-drivers.html.

Roebuck Mark. “Nintendo Announces Female Characters Will No Longer Be Able to Drive Mario Karts Following Saudi Arabia Investment.” Hard Drive, 19 May 2022, https://hard-drive.net/nintendo-announces-female-characters-will-no-longer-be-able-to-drive-mario-karts-following-saudi-arabia-investment/.

Bethania Palma is a journalist from the Los Angeles area who started her career as a daily newspaper reporter and has covered everything from crime to government to national politics. She has written for ... read more

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