Mario Party: A 15 Year Celebration

Take a trip through each of the Mario Party games in this anniversary jamboree!

By Kyle England. Posted 02/10/2014 09:00 3 Comments     ShareThis

Mario Party 9

Wii (2012)
Boards: 7
Minigames: 82 (4 are bonus games)

After an unprecedented wait of five years, Mario Party 9 suddenly came out on Wii in the last year of the console’s heyday. The hiatus brought many huge changes to the Mario Party formula– some think the shakeup was awesome, but others may think the changes were too drastic. Many Hudson employees joined up to form Nd Cube, the developer that designed MP9 and will most likely design Nintendo’s party games into the future.

Mario Party 9 was an enormous shift for the franchise in terms of how the board game is played. Now, all four players travel together on a car across a linear board. The goal is to have the most Mini-stars (a new item that subsidizes coins and stars together) by the time the car reaches the end. Players do still take turns by switching who is captain of the car, but the large branching boards of games past are long gone. And for the first time, you can play party mode with less than four players if you want. In some ways, this really streamlines party mode. Parties go by quicker and other players’ turns affect everybody. This makes party mode less customizable, as there aren’t set numbers of turns. Minigames also no longer occur after every round, and have to be activated with certain spaces or events.

Speaking of which, Mario Party 9 brings a ton of new minigames to the table. There is a very healthy variety of games, and those that utilize motion control do so a lot better than Mario Party 8. This game introduces boss minigames, where players work together to take down a boss while still competing with each other. But this time, there are only 4-player and 1-vs-3 games available. Fans of 2-vs-2 and Duel minigames need to look back to the older parties.

Mario Party 9 is a great game, but your enjoyment of it might stem from whether you can deal with the changes to the formula. A great compromise would be for future titles to feature both the traditional and new party modes.

The Good:

  • Tons of great new minigames
  • Streamlined party mode
  • More engaging boards

The Bad:

  • Less types of minigames
  • Minigames happen less often
  • The changes might be too drastic to the series

Stand-out Minigames: Skyjinks, Whomp Stomp, Speeding Bullets,

So, which party will you be jumping into next? There’s more action to be had past these games! Mario Party has entries on Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, 3DS, and even an e-Reader card game. What are your favorite games and minigames from the series? Do you have any hilarious party stories? Here’s to more years of partying for the Mario gang, but please remember to always party responsibly.

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3 Responses to “Mario Party: A 15 Year Celebration”

  • 111 points
    roykoopa64 says...

    Wow, excellent job stepping through the whole (console) history of the series! I remember hearing you mention you would be working on this feature when I listened to a recent episode (10, I think) of the podcast (oops, I’ve missed some of the newer episodes). My experience with the Mario Party series is rather limited, so I found it interesting to read about the changes made along the way.

    So DK is not a playable character starting with Mario Party 5? I was wondering why he showed up on the box covers in some of the later games. Looking it up online now, I see he becomes a non-playable character you interact with on certain boards. I wonder why they did that? Even Mario Kart 7 still has features the burly ape as a playable character.

    • 819 points
      Toadlord says...

      Removing DK as a playable character always bummed me out, too. Especially when they go to great lengths to make you hate the guy, like when he gives a free star to someone who doesn’t need it. I know when I was playing the GameCube Mario Party titles, I viewed him on-par with Bowser in terms of annoyance.

      Truth be told, there’s not much that could get me to buy a new Mario Party nowadays. I’m just not in the position to play with many people for local multiplayer, and online would have to be done really well for me to consider it.

      • 285 points
        Kyle England says...

        Glad you guys liked the feature! I was never a huge DK fan in Mario Party, but it was odd that he became an event guy from 5 onwards. His minigames were always tough to unlock if you wanted 100% as well.

        80% of the fun in Mario Party does come from being with your friends. I can’t see that level of energy being replicated through online play any time soon. The fact that I can still play Mario Party 15 years later and have fun with it now that I’m older really speaks to that.

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