A Jump Pad is a small panel that, when driven on, makes Karts shoot up into the air. They are placed usually in front of large gaps on the track to aid players in clearing the obstacle. Although they can be helpful for evading holes and lava, Jump Pads can also have a more sinister role in races... a few of them can makes players miss Item Boxes, an some even propel players straight off the road.
Only half of the Mario Kart games feature Jump Pads, and two of them only include them in retro remakes of tracks. Super Mario Kart introduced them, followed by Mario Kart: Super Circuit, Mario Kart DS, and Mario Kart Wii. In each game, their performance slightly varies, but the jumping part stays the same.Item Blocks in the middle of courses sometimes have Jump Pads directly in front of them, making it annoyingly hard to score an Item. A well timed Hop over the Jump Pad can gain players an Item, though. A couple of tracks that contain Jump Pads are Bowser Castle 4 and Ghost Valley 2, the latter one famous for the Zipper in front of it propelling players sky high above the lone Item Block. Also, using a Mushroom right before a Jump Pad will make players shoot up even higher than with a Feather.
The first version of Jump Pads look like long and thin golden bars that slightly curve up but not too much. They kind of resemble yellow speed bumps, and really, the only difference between the two is that speed bumps don't make you defy gravity.Mario Kart: Super Circuit, where they play a much more helpful role than in the previous one. Tracks such as Bowser Castle 2 have many ditches of molten lava that require a Jump Pad to pass, and Broken Pier, a course bolstering with cracks and treacherous turns, boasts many risky yet worth it Jump Pads to take small little shortcuts. The GBA Rainbow Road, however, employs Jump Pads in a horrendous way- they are the freakin' WALLS of the track! Almost the entire colorful roadway is lined on both sides with them, and a wrong maneuver or a misused Mushroom can send you flying into space. More daring racers put them to good use in Time Trials and even Grand Prix by using them as mega-shortcut takers; after all, walls don't stop you now...
Very similar to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System ones, these Jump Panels are golden (but a bit duller) and slope about 10 degrees up. A more visible white line down the center can be seen on them now, though.GBA Bowser Castle 2 returns Jump Pads. There's quite a few of them throughout the track, and once again, they are mainly used to hop over lava. A few of them will send you perilously into the molten rock, though.
The newer Jump Pads take on a very colorful appearance, as they are now rainbow colored and cycle through the colors, very similar to how Dash Panels look. Also, they are raised to about 45 degrees, so you go a bit higher. Sky Garden's remake also returns them.
The latest Jump Pads are seen in Mario Kart Wii, in SNES Ghost Valley 2 and GBA Bowser Castle 3. They do exactly as they did in the original track version, except the SNES Ghost Valley 2 Jump Pad makes players go a bit more higher.
Like the Super Mario Kart Zippers, all of the Jump Pads in Mario Kart Wii go back to their original appearance of a golden bar. The ones in GBA Bowser Castle 3 also look like SNES Jump pads.
Mario Kart Trivia
- Players sometimes wrongly think that Jump Pads grant Speed; alls they do is make you jump.
- The ones in Mario Kart DS are an exception- they grant a microscopic boost of speed, to small to compare to a racer who didn't drive over one.
- Mario Kart DS Jump Pads also make a whooshing sound when you drive over them.
- Ramps and raised Boost Pads are sometimes confused with Jump Pads. The difference between a ramp is that the elevation solely makes the player jump into the air, and a risen Boost Pad gives players a lot of Speed.