Ah, Mario Kart. You don't even need to describe the basics.
(Since I'm paid to though: eight go-karting characters from Mario's world dart around themed tracks for three laps, collecting power-ups and projectiles from question-mark blocks and doing unspeakably cruel things to one another with them; the controls are superb and the intuitive power-sliding system superbly judged; and there's a multiplayer power-up-focused arena mode which remains one of the few games my sister will agree to play with me as we sit there in the lounge on Christmas Day staring down the Queen's speech and wishing we'd eaten less chocolate.)
I still think back to the way the sliding worked in Super Mario Kart and marvel at it in my head. It was a show-off move, a boost and an evasion tactic rolled into one - it was one of my first experiences of leaning into the corners with a racing game, and as you realised you were on collision course with something unavoidable, a hop-and-turn threw you to one side, screeching across the racing line like a surfer dodging a shark. (Presumably. My surfing experience is pretty much limited to the sort that led me to wind up here. That and Home & Away.) Mario Kart DS is closer to Mario Kart 64 in its approach to sliding - it doesn't whip you out to one side quite as much when you start, but when you throw yourself into a turn with enough drifting room to push away from the curb and into it again twice before running off-track, and you gain a red-sparked boost. Most of the new tracks seem purpose-built to be taken advantage of in this manner.