Balloon Battle is the most common battle mode of the Mario Kart series, as it is in every Mario Kart game to date. All racers usually start with three balloons (except for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, which starts with 5 balloons), and whenever a racer is hurt, they lose a balloon. When a racer loses all of his/her balloons, they are out. It was introduced in Super Mario Kart and was featured in every Mario Kart game since. In Super Mario Kart and Mario Kart 64, it was the only battle option. In Super Mario Kart, the balloons would float and rotate around the kart, but from Mario Kart 64 to Mario Kart Wii, the balloons hung on the back of the kart. The player can press SELECT to inflate another balloon.
In Mario Kart DS, Shine Runners was introduced. Players can also blow on the DS microphone or hold down SELECT to inflate new balloons if there are any in reserve. They start with one balloon inflated and four reserve.
In Mario Kart Wii, there are two types of battles to choose from: Coin Runners and, as always, Balloon Battle. Balloon Battle is now team-oriented, points-based, and lacks the "last man standing" approach it was known for. Each racer get three balloons. Every time a racer's item makes a racer on the other team lose a balloon, their team earns a point. Every time a racer loses all three balloons, the racer is regenerated but loses a point. The team and individual points are tracked and the battle lasts for three minutes.
For Mario Kart 7, the mode returns, but with a time limit of two minutes and it can be played by themselves.