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Mario Party (Japanese: マリオパーティ, Mario Pāti) is a series of party games featuring the characters of the Mario franchise, in which four human- or computer-controlled characters compete in a board game interspersed with minigames. The series is known for its party game elements, including the often-unpredictable multiplayer modes that allow play with up to four (and, in one case, eight) human players. The series was created under Nintendo's supervision by Hudson Soft and CAProduction, and was inaugurated on the Nintendo 64, where its first game launched in Japan on December 18, 1998, and in the West in early 1999.

Hudson developed all main installments until several of its key designers left the company, leading to its eventual disestablishment. After eight entries on home consoles and two on handhelds, the ex-Hudson staffers then joined Nd Cube, where they developed Wii Party,[1] then restarted production of the Mario Party series, with the new development studio's first installment appearing on the Wii in 2012.

Mario Party currently holds the record for the longest-running minigame series in video game history.[2] According to Nintendo's official reports, by December 2014, the various games in the series had sold a cumulative total of 39.6 million copies worldwide.[3]

Gameplay

Mario Party takes the form of a traditional board game which players can play by directing characters on various themed game boards. Playable character rosters generally consist of major Mario franchise characters, including the main protagonist Mario; his younger brother Luigi; his love interest Princess Peach; his sidekick Yoshi; his antagonists and rivals Wario, Donkey Kong, Waluigi, and Boo; and his friends Toad, Princess Daisy, Toadette, Birdo, and Rosalina, among others. Each game features its own variations on the cast and storyline, with Bowser, the archnemesis of Mario and most of his friends, serving as the main antagonist in most Mario Party titles. There are several modes available for play in each game, each of which provides its own rules and challenges.

List of games

Home console

Title Synopsis
Mario Party
Marioparty1
JP
December 18, 1998
Nintendo 64
The original Mario Party, upon its release for Nintendo 64 in 1998/1999, introduced a new aspect to multiplayer capabilities in the Mario franchise, of which most games before that point mainly featured a two-player versus mode, with the exceptions of a few sports spin-offs. Six characters are playable in the game: Mario, Luigi, Peach, DK, Yoshi, and Wario, with Toad being the host of the game. Each character has one board named and modeled after them (e.g. "Mario's Rainbow Castle"), in addition to two other boards in the game — one dedicated to Bowser, and another, the Eternal Star board, unlockable after collecting 100 stars.
Mario Party 2
Mario Party 2 (NA)
JP
December 17, 1999
Nintendo 64
In 1999/2000, a sequel was released on Nintendo 64, Mario Party 2. The plot centers around the characters deciding to create their own world, which is named Mario Land, but soon arguing over a good name for the world, only to have the area invaded by Bowser who partially seizes it for himself. As the characters go through the boards to take back their world, they dress in costumes unique to the board that is being played on (ex. pirate, astronaut, etc.), and after they have finished playing through the board, the winner gets to confront Bowser (in a board-appropriate alter ego) one-on-one and then thwart him. This was the game that introduced items to the series.
Mario Party 3
Mario Party 3 (NA)
JP
December 7, 2000
Nintendo 64
Mario Party 3, released in 2000/2001 as the final Mario franchise entry for Nintendo 64, centers around a scenario where the Millennium Star, a star reborn once every thousand years, crashes into the grounds of Peach's castle; Mario and his friends argue over who gets to keep it; and a nearby Lakitu transports everybody into a toy box which they have to navigate to save the star. This game added Daisy and Waluigi as playable characters and was the only entry in the Mario Party series to contain duels where two characters can battle each other using some of the staple enemies of the Mario franchise, such as Goombas and Koopa Troopas.
Mario Party 4
Mario Party 4 (NA)
NA
October 21, 2002
Nintendo GameCube
Mario Party 4, released in 2002, transitioned the series to the new Nintendo GameCube console. The game centers around a mysterious object called the Party Cube, which grants the wishes of its users; Mario and his friends enter this cube when Toad, Koopa, and several other characters invite them inside to celebrate birthday parties for them. As the player-characters progress through boards, they are awarded with presents; the story's climax comes in the form of Bowser, who wishes to disrupt the party with a board of his own. This was the last Mario Party game to have Donkey Kong as a playable character until Mario Party 10, and was also the first entry in the series to grant players the ability to team up. Although this game does not introduce any new fully playable characters, Daisy and Waluigi are both playable in Story Mode (unlike in Mario Party 3). Also, there are characters exclusively playable in the "Beach Volley Folley" minigame: Toad, Koopa, Shy Guy, Boo, Koopa Kid, and Bowser.
Mario Party 5
Mario Party 5 (NA)
NA
November 10, 2003
Nintendo GameCube
Mario Party 5, released in 2003 for the GameCube, is set in the world of the Dream Depot, where everybody's dreams come together. The Star Spirits from Paper Mario, who serve as guardians to the dreams there, invite Mario and his friends to the depot where they try to prevent Bowser and his Koopa Kids from conquering and ruining the place. Toad, Boo, and one of the Koopa Kids take on roles as playable characters for the first time here (in all modes except Story Mode), and Donkey Kong is now restricted to being featured in the special "DK Space," which initiates an event granting the possibility of a star or coins whenever landed on. Also introduced are capsule machines, which dispense containers called "capsules" that hold items for the player-characters to use to their advantage.
Mario Party 6
MarioParty6
JP
November 18, 2004
Nintendo GameCube
Mario Party 6, released in 2004, was the first game to make use of the GameCube's microphone peripheral, packaged with the game. Every three turns, the sun will periodically set or rise, producing different effects including: spaces moving, different characters appearing, and changes to mini-games. The game features as its hosts the sun-and-moon duo of Brighton and Twila, who are arguing over who is more popular, which Mario and his friends hope to stop by collecting stars and completing the "Miracle Book." This game marks the first time that Toadette is playable in the series; here, she is an unlockable character, the first player-character in the series to be unlockable. Also, Toad, Boo, and Koopa Kid are fully playable for the first time in the series.
Mario Party 7
Mario Party 7 (NA)
JP
November 7, 2005
Nintendo GameCube
Mario Party 7, released in 2005, was the series' fourth and last entry on the GameCube. The game again incorporates the microphone mechanic and mic-exclusive mini-game format from the previous installment, and also introduces an eight-player joystick-only game in which up to eight people can party, with two players sharing one controller. In the game's story, Toadsworth, Peach's longtime steward, has invited his missus, Mario, and all of their friends to go on a luxury cruise around the world as a reward for their hard work. Bowser is not invited, however, and furiously vows to take revenge by turning their vacation paradise into a stress-filled madhouse, so it is up to the passengers to end this. Birdo and Dry Bones are introduced as unlockable playable characters in this game.
Mario Party 8
Mario Party 8 (NA)
NA
May 29, 2007
Wii
Mario Party 8, released in 2007, launched the Mario Party series to the Wii. A Blooper and one of the Hammer Bros. are added as unlockable playable characters. Hosted by MC Ballyhoo, the self-proclaimed "master of catastrophes" with a talking top hat called "Big Top," the game has an assortment of mini-games utilizing the capabilities of the new console's remote. It centers around the Star Carnival, which comprises five areas: the Party Tent, where players can have a classic game of Mario Party; the Minigame Tent, an arcade where mini-games are played; the Extras Zone, where players can play extra mini-games with either the main characters or their Mii avatars; the Fun Bazaar, where players can buy mini-games, items, and various other things; and the Star Battle Arena, which acts as the game's story mode. Mario and friends have been invited to the Star Carnival to party, and the winner of their game gets a year's supply of candy. However, just as one of the gang is crowned the Superstar, Bowser steals the Star Rod they were to receive, and now Mario and friends must defeat Bowser and get it back.
Mario Party 9
Mario Party 9 - NA Boxart
EU
March 2, 2012
Wii
Mario Party 9 for Wii, released in 2012, was the first iteration in the series to be developed by Nd Cube. Gameplay uses a mechanic new to the main branch of the series, in which players move around in a vehicle. Players take turns as the captain, rolling to dice to move the vehicle. Instead of attempting to collect coins to buy stars, the players attempt to earn the most amount of Mini Stars on each board by collecting them from the board, winning minigames, and beating bosses. They must also avoid Mini Ztars, which decrease the player's current total of Mini Stars. The game also has two boss battles integrated into each board; the players try to take down a boss together, while also trying their best to increase their individual scores. The game's plot has Mario and friends looking at the night sky when suddenly, Bowser and son are sucking Mini Stars into a vortex, so Mario and friends head off to save the Mini Stars. A Koopa Troopa is added as a default playable character (being fully playable for the first time in the series), and Shy Guy and the Magikoopa Kamek are introduced as unlockable playable characters (although neither are playable in Story Mode).
Mario Party 10
Mario Party 10 (NA)
JP
March 12, 2015
Wii U
Mario Party 10 is the only Mario Party game for the Wii U, released in 2015. The game reuses the vehicle mechanic, and players once again have the goal of collecting Mini Stars. However, in addition to the traditional Party Mode, two new modes have been added: Bowser Party, where a player using the GamePad plays as Bowser and tries to make the heroes lose all their hearts; and amiibo Party, where players collect stars with coins using amiibo figures from the Super Mario line. Bowser's playability in his special mode and amiibo Party aside, the game also adds Rosalina as a default playable character and Spike as an unlockable playable character. In addition, Donkey Kong returns as a fully playable character for the first time since Mario Party 4.
Super Mario Party
Super Mario Party (NA)
NA
October 5, 2018
Nintendo Switch
Super Mario Party is a Mario Party game for the Nintendo Switch, released in 2018. The game goes back to the series's roots, with the return of the turn-based, linear, individually moving style gameplay from the first eight home console installments. This game brings back the ally system from Mario Party: Star Rush, as well as some boards using the non-linear style of said game in the Partner Party mode, albeit with individual turns. In addition to this, there are two other featured modes, these being River Survival and Sound Stage. Both of these modes feature unique minigames that are exclusive to these modes, and both modes feature different gameplay from the basic Mario Party mode. The game also introduces Goomba, Monty Mole, and Pom Pom as new playable characters. Later in 2018, a browser game on the Play Nintendo website appeared called Super Mario Party Fun Trivia Quiz.

Handheld

Title Synopsis
Mario Party-e
MarioPartyEBox
NA
February 18, 2003
GBA (e-Reader)
Mario Party-e is a card game released in 2003 that makes optional use of the Nintendo e-Reader. Many of these cards contain "dot-codes" that, when scanned into the e-Reader, allow players to play minigames similar to those found in the regular Mario Party series. The Mario Party-e package contains a play mat, an instruction book, and a pre-constructed deck consisting of sixty-four cards. An extra card was included as a promotion in an issue of the magazine GamePro.
Mario Party Advance
Mario Party Advance (NA)
JP
January 13, 2005
Game Boy Advance
Mario Party Advance, released on the Game Boy Advance in 2005, was the first full Mario Party release on a handheld gaming system. Instead of the multiplayer Party Mode that is traditional to the series, Advance features a new mode called "Shroom City," where players must collect all the minigames and Gaddgets that were scattered around the city by Bowser, completing quests assigned by the various inhabitants of Shroom City. Unlike other installments of the Mario Party series, this game is almost exclusively single-player. This game introduces the mechanic of having players move around in a vehicle, which was later used in Mario Party 9 and Mario Party 10.
Mario Party DS
Mario Party DS (NA)
JP
November 8, 2007
Nintendo DS
Mario Party DS, released for the Nintendo DS in 2007, was the last iteration in the series to be developed by Hudson. It features many minigames that utilize the capabilities of the DS' touch screen and microphone, in addition to traditional minigames using the directional pad and control buttons. The story revolves around five meteorites called "Sky Crystals" which fall onto the earth one day. While Mario and the gang are discussing this, Kamek drops them party invitations from Bowser, who has invited them to his castle for a banquet; however, once they arrive, they are all captured, shrunk to a microscopic size, and thrown outside. The player-characters must return to Bowser's castle to be restored to their normal height.
Mario Party: Island Tour
Mario Party Island Tour (NA)
NA
November 22, 2013
Nintendo 3DS
Mario Party: Island Tour, released for the Nintendo 3DS in 2013, was the second Mario Party installment to be developed by Nd Cube. The game returns to the traditional individual player movement of the Mario Party series, but each board has its own unique style of gameplay. Many minigames are designed to utilize the touch screen and other unique features of the system. Bowser Jr. is playable for the first time in the series in this game.
Mario Party: Star Rush
Mario Party Star Rush (NA) final
EU
October 7, 2016
Nintendo 3DS
Mario Party: Star Rush, released for the Nintendo 3DS in 2016, deviates from the normal format in its removal of turn-based gameplay in favor of the ability to move at will, simultaneous with other players, and without set paths on the game board. The main mode in this installment is "Toad Scramble," where all players play as Toad in one of his various color schemes, and can recruit other characters to play with them on their teams. Mario Party: Star Rush is the first handheld release in the series to be amiibo-compatible. It is also the first game in the series to have Diddy Kong as a playable character, after he had non-playable roles in Mario Party DS and Mario Party 9.
Mario Party: The Top 100
Mario Party The Top 100 (NA)
NA
November 10, 2017
Nintendo 3DS
Mario Party: The Top 100, released for the Nintendo 3DS in 2017, compiles 100 minigames from past home console Mario Party games with altered graphics and controls. These minigames can be played in a variety of ways through the game's modes, such as through the single-player Minigame Island mode.

Characters

The Mario Party series features a total of 32 playable characters among its various installments. Below is a list of these characters and which games they are playable in.

Reception

Mario Party currently holds the record for the longest-running minigame series in video game history.[4] According to Nintendo's official reports, by December 2014, the various games in the series had sold a cumulative total of 39.6 million copies worldwide.[5] On Metacritic, individual installments in the series have aggregate review scores ranging from 54 to 79 out of 100.

Critical reception to the Mario Party series has been mixed to positive, much of the praise for its games going towards the multiplayer modes. While the Nintendo 64 installments garnered generally positive reviews,[6][7] reception to the following games was more mixed, with reviewers lambasting the lack of changes done to the formula and dull single-player gameplay.[8] Mario Party 9s overhaul of the mechanics received praise from critics,[9] and Super Mario Party is the most critically acclaimed installment since the original[10], although reception to the Nd Cube installments released between those two has been far more negative.[11] [12] Gaming magazine Game Informer in particular was infamous for its consistently vitriolic review of the series, as the quote above shows, leading Nintendo of America to send a sarcastic certificate to the magazine's office over its reviews of Mario Party and Mario Party 2.

Controversy

In Mario Party, certain mini-games required players to rotate the controller's analog stick, including one at the Mini-Game House in which the player is challenged to wind up a mechanical Fly Guy toy. Some players used the palms of their hands, rather than their thumbs, to rotate the analog stick. As a result, they would often endure blisters. In an act of contrition, Nintendo gave away free gaming gloves to the victims of these blisters.[13] Some wore away the stick because it was not very durable. So negative was the response to these mini-games that Nintendo decided to retire analog stick rotation from all of the series' sequels over the next 10+ years. The only exceptions to this rule are "Vicious Vending" from Mario Party 5, where the control stick must be rotated only once to turn a lever; and "Bowser Toss" from Mario Party 3, in which players, when throwing Bowser in a manner similar to Super Mario 64, do not need to use the palm of their hand to move the control stick. Analog stick rotation in minigames returned in Mario Party: Island Tour, where the series was introduced to Nintendo 3DS, which has a control stick that players can spin safely.

In July 2007, Mario Party 8 for Wii was recalled from United Kingdom game stores shortly after its release date.[14] Though Nintendo cited it as the result of a mere assembly error, this allegedly came about because on the board "Shy Guy's Perplex Express," when Kamek utters a magic spell to alter the order of cars on the board, he uses the word "spastic," a term used to refer to an intellectually disabled person. Complaints were raised from consumers because the aforementioned term is considered highly offensive in the United Kingdom. As such, the game was temporarily banned from the UK while the offending word was replaced at code level and the software was reproduced. Mario Party 8 was re-released in August 2007 with "erratic" used instead.[15]

Trivia

  • Luigi mentions the Mario Party series in his diary during the events of Paper Mario.
  • The Mario Party games are mentioned in one of the Coin Block/Brick Block cards in Nintendo Monopoly. Here, the player gets $50 from every player for organizing a Mario Party in the 2006 version, and $10 in the 2010 version.

References

  1. "What Wii Party and Mario Party Have in Common". Kotaku. August 26, 2010.
  2. Guinness World Records 2011: Gamer's Edition. Guinness World Records Ltd. 2010. pg. 86. ISBN 978-1-4053-6546-8.
  3. "Bring along your amiibo as your party plus: one from March 20th in Mario Party 10. Nintendo of Europe. February 19, 2015.
  4. Guinness World Records 2011: Gamer's Edition. Guinness World Records Ltd. 2010. pg. 86. ISBN 978-1-4053-6546-8.
  5. "Bring along your amiibo as your party plus: one from March 20th in Mario Party 10. Nintendo of Europe. February 19, 2015.
  6. http://www.metacritic.com/game/nintendo-64/mario-party
  7. http://www.metacritic.com/game/nintendo-64/mario-party-3
  8. Mario Party series ratings
  9. http://www.metacritic.com/game/wii/mario-party-9
  10. Metacritic score for Super Mario Party. Metacritic. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  11. http://www.metacritic.com/game/3ds/mario-party-island-tour
  12. http://www.metacritic.com/game/wii-u/mario-party-10
  13. "Nintendo to hand out gaming gloves". BBC News. March 9, 2000.
  14. Richards, Jonathan. "Nintendo withdraws game that taunts spastics". The Times of London. July 17, 2007.
  15. "Non-spastic Mario Party 8 returns Aug. 8 to Europe". Weblogs, Inc. July 27, 2007.
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