The Rise and Fall of Mario Party

Mario’s first…err second no wait third (Paint and Kart) “not-Mario” game was Mario Party for the Nintendo 64. See, Nintendo had decided to make Mario past the superstar he was. In the N64’s for short life time he had already given us a new way to play (Super Mario 64) and gave the best multiplayer in Mario Kart 64; so he was looking to top that with Mario Party. (And don’t forget the rumors/screen shots of Mario in Mario Tennis and Mario Golf)

Mario Party released in 1999 here in the U.S. was truly a great game. It was like a board game meets some action-adventure gameplay. The game had two real modes single-player “mission” mode (I believe one of the first games to have it) and the regular everybody knows Party mode. See the game is meant to be play multiplayer; but single player would suffice and to add to boot it had 3 different modes. Completing party games, meant unlocking new mini-games ranging from 4 player, to 2 vs 2, to 1 vs 3, to just one person games. After beating each level in 20 turns (or more if you wanted) there would be a “collection” at the end; where your stars and coins were built up and you could check on them and buy additional things at a store and bank.

The concept was really cool, it felt more than just a mini-game. While there was no legitimate story, once you collected 100 stars you would get a new stage called something around Bowser and Magma and from there you get a new stage Eternal Star which played as Mario Party but getting the star was a completely different matter.

Normally Mario Party goes like this:

  • Decide who goes 1-4
  • Win the first couple of mini-games to establish a coin lead
  • Watch out for Bowser, other players using Boo, ? dots/spots, and various map distinctions (like DK’s level had thwomps, Mario’s has a castle switch button)
  • Buy Star for 20 coins  (or steal it 50 coins)
  • Constant mini-gaming

Now, at the Eternal Star had you “face-off” for the star which was a different play-style than the Mario Party you have been playing. The reason is because all the Bowser Jr’s would make you pay and you would basically do a “high-or-die” roll game; meaning if you lost the faceoff, well you got nothing so it was a challenge to get the star.

All in all I still believe the single-player mini-game mission mode was the best. You would travel from world “1-1” which the games weren’t ranged from easiest to hardest, but setting to setting.
If you really wanted to know my favorite mini-game have to beat platform peril, the Mushroom color mix-up, and the single player mini-game pirhanna peril. I absolutely HATE the slot car derby and I don’t even know how I beat Toad in the last mini-game boss one.

Now after a success Mario Party 1, Nintendo tried to build off that with another Mario Party, almost rushed onto the scene in Mario Party 2, which was short and not as fun. It was a new game in a sense of level design, character design, and mostly new mini-games but something was missing it was short or not as much as a challenge. Nintendo fixed that later with Mario Party 3,  although it received a negative response, still felt better than Mario Party 2.

Because of Nintendo having success with these party games, an all new type of gaming was made, once again due to Nintendo. Crash Bandicoot (Sony Playstation’s Mascot for a while), who wanted to be a Kart Racer (in Crash Team Racing) now had Crash Bash to party it up, Sonic came out with Sonic Shuffle (LOL), and many other gaming companies now had party games.
Nintendo still remained on top and come 2002 Mario Party 4 was released and man was it done right. The game built on Mario Party 3 and stuck with traditional party mode, but now it had all different types of just mini-game modes, the games were fun, Mario Party felt reborn and it was done right.

Unfortunately, someone from Nintendo must have gotten a concussion for future Party games so come and enter Mario Party 5. You would like to think it would be good using the Paper Mario 64 stars, but it was awful. The “story” mode was now not story built in with party mode, but an entirely different crappy game where you would just run around chasing Bowser Jr’s for a few levels before facing Bowser. It was not enjoyable at all. The party mode was very bad in Mario Party 5 as the mini-games were given no attention because of the new story mode that Party Mode felt just thrown in.

The best thing though in Mario Party 5 is the hidden mini-games of hockey and beach volleyball. The games were unique, quite fun to play with 2-4 people, and could keep you running for a few hours.

Now, as I mentioned Mario Party 5 was the beginning of the fall well 6 and 7 must have been the one that pushed Mario Party off the cliff. Mario Party was declining, and Nintendo decided to come up with something new; the dreaded Microphone. This was supposed to go into a memory card slot and all the Mario Party players were to use it for the mini-games, a la voice command. Boy, besides the fact that it never listened, the games were completely stupid. The game downgraded from a good multiplayer, to decent, to JUST SESAME STREET CRAP. Really it felt like I was watching a tv show with elmo or dora going RED….RED….

Mario Party 8 for the Wii gladly disbanned the Microphone but once again, the story mode was even easier and “nerfed” down again and the mini-games for party mode were aimed the younger audience.

I haven’t seen anything related to Mario Party 9 except that it was released in March 2012. I really don’t know how to perceive this game.  I mean I do own every Mario Party…it’s just I’m afraid to get this. I used to look forward to challenging mini-games and going all out versus  my brother but now ….it’s like ehh who wants to waste time on Mario Party?


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