Mario Kart Arcade GP is the first entry in the Mario Kart series to be released exclusively in arcades, and the first to be developed outside of Nintendo, in this case by Namco. It is a 3D kart racer similar to Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, the last game in the series before its release. It features 8 returning playable characters: Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, Wario, Princess Peach, Toad, Donkey Kong, and Bowser. However, due to Namco entering the picture, 3 new playable characters are added, previously having nothing to do with Mario: Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, and Blinky. Gameplay is controlled via the steering wheel, acceleration and brake pedals, the item button, and VS cancel button. Each unit has two cabinets which are connected, and another can be connected to that unit, allowing up to four players, each having their own screen. In order to link up, a player must activate a VS search, and the other cabinets must join (the VS cancel button is used to cancel this search). Unlike many arcade games, Mario Kart Arcade GP features a card reader, to be used with magnetic cards that can be purchased and used to save progress and scores.