If you’ve been following my blog or my work on the Retro Replay/Couch Soup website you know that I enjoy playing video games with the Mario Party franchise being one of my go-to couch co-op games with my mates.
I’ve previously run through the franchise game by game in a post on Retro Replay and this time I’m looking more at the moment-to-moment gameplay and especially those moments that make you cry, scream and throw controllers.
5. Screwing your friends over with items
Your friends are the lifeblood of this game. Without them, it stops being a celebration of friendship through competitive party game fun time and just a really sad single-player game where it feels like going through Disney World on the day of the rapture.
Now with your friends being so fundamentally important to the enjoyment of this franchise, what smarter move is there than absolutely screwing them over using the wonderful cornucopia of items the franchise provides you with.
Tweestars, swippy-swappy, summon items, coin stealing items the list is endless and pretty much every single one will scatter any of your friends’ well-laid plans to the wind and incite a level of violence that would cause the UN to order sanctions on all parties involved.
4. Stealing a friend’s hard-earned star
For those of you that have never played Mario Party, the basic premise is you go around a board playing games at the end of every turn to earn coins. Once you earn 20 coins and reach the star space you can buy a star. The most stars at the end of the game wins. Pretty simple right?
Well, much like a knotted garden hose here comes the three-quarter kink. There’s also a certain character that’s a ghost called Boo. Now Boo has a proclivity for taking coins and stars from players, for a price of course. Once a player has sent Boo after you, there’s little you can do -- besides turning off the console -- to avoid having him rip those coins and stars away from you.
So, you can work your ass off, crush it in mini-games, get all the right dice rolls the star that finally pulls you out of fourth place only for some knucklehead to come around and slip the star away from you. Sorry but that’s just a bit too close to real life to just laugh off.
3. Winning a duel in the last turn to win the game
Ah, the old duel. Pistols at ten paces, western gunslingers on the quick draw, swordsman facing one another on the battlefield. All of these are iconic duels that have been a part of our history and culture in media.
Yet none of them have captured or portrayed the pulse-pounding, sphincter tightening fear that grips your heart when that fateful duelling glove descends from the heavens in a halo of light to pit you in a fight to the death… with death in this scenario meaning losing a video game.
I have experienced some amazing feelings in my life and the feeling I had after I destroyed my best mate in a final turn Mario Party duel for the ages that subsequently lead to me winning the game from being dead last the entire game was simply priceless.
2. Winning the game off the back of bonus stars
Now let’s imagine a quick scenario if you’ll indulge me (it’s a courtesy request, I’ve already written it and anyway it’s my list). You’ve just had the ultimate Mario Party game. Every mini-game has had you coming out on top. You’ve deployed the perfect items at the perfect times. You have decimated your competition, you’re two stars ahead and now all that’s left is to receive the recognition you deserve-.
And then you notice that there are bonus stars. These bonus stars are awarded for players that have met certain criteria (most coins, most green spaces, slowest mover, etc.) at random right at the end of the game.
But you don’t have to worry about that you’ve got a two-star lead… how hollow that confidence will seem as before your very eyes second place gets three out of three bonus stars and now all you’re left with is the bitter taste of silver.
Yes, the bonus stars in the game are a cruel mistress but they’re not the cruellest. That honour has to go to…
1. Chance Time Shenanigans!
Everyone’s favourite (when it’s not happening to them) event in the entire Mario Party ecosystem – Chance Time! The basic premise behind Chance Time is that it’s a mechanic the game developers threw in as a last-ditch hail mary play to level the scales between the players by involving the twisted hand of chance into the mix.
The method of chance time has changed from game to game with each one mixing it up just enough to be a new kind of disruption to each entry in the franchise. My favourite has to be the Reversal of Fortunes iteration from Mario Party 4.
The entire process is decked out in the façade of pinball which is a fun aesthetic and there’s nothing more tense than watching that ball bounce around before finding a home in one of the many horrible spaces for the participants.
No matter where it lands, the end result is exactly the same. One party’s distraught, another’s elated and overall, the cogs and wheels behind Mario Party keep turning, oblivious to the damage it has caused friendships time and time again.
If there’s anything you’ve taken from this list, it’s that Mario Party is a wild beast and no matter how well or horrible you play, there’s always going to be something unexpected arise and it’s never over till it’s over. I for one wouldn’t have it any other way.
Do you have a favourite Mario Party moment from the franchise? Have you ever experienced anything similar to the events on this list? Let me know down below!
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