This long-running series of multiplayer games for Nintendo 64, GameCube, Game Boy Advance, Wii, and DS, developed by Hudson Soft but published by Nintendo (though since Hudson's acquisition by Konami, the 9th game is developed by Nd Cube, developers of Wii Party) combines a board-game motif with various competitive mini-games. Besides Mario, Luigi and their friends, some of the enemies from Super Mario Bros. are playable characters in the Mario Party series. About a dozen Mario Party games have been released so far: nine on home consoles, one on the Game Boy Advance, one for the e-Reader (actually a non-collectible card game with included minigames), one on the Nintendo DS, and two in arcades. A new Mario Party game is scheduled to come out for the Nintendo 3DS soon, though no information about this game is released yet.The basic format of the game has mostly remained the same. Four players (computers filling in if there aren't enough human players) take turns rolling dice to move across one of several themed boards, with the ultimate goal of obtaining Stars, which are classically obtained by a player who reaches a Star Space and buys a star for 20 Coins, after which the Star Space is moved to a random location on the board.After all players have had their turn, a mini-game begins. The players are placed on Blue or Red teams based on what spaces they had landed on (Green players are randomly marked Blue or Red) and a roulette begins to pick a game. The winner(s) of these games are typically awarded with 10 coins (in the first Mario Party the loser(s) may lose coins), although there are special games where the goal is to collect coins, in which case everyone gets to take however many coins they collected in the game with them.Mario Party 9 changed the board game concept to have one ship that all the players take turns captaining. Mini-games only start when a mini-game space is landed on (and sometimes at random on blue spaces). Coins are gone, and stars are replaced with mini-stars, which are collected several at a time both on the board and in mini-games.Most of the games (the exceptions are 1, 2, and 6) include some form of Single-Player campaign, which typically involves playing against computers on the game boards, but the mechanics may be slightly different.
Art Evolution: The first three games had simple, flat boards with simple 3D-ish models. The fourth game had a 3D background, but all the paths took place on the same four-direction metal walkway. The latest games now have the paths incorporated into the boards themselves.
4 was also the first game in the franchise to show Peach and Daisy with their current designs.
Art Shift: The 3rd game uses more flat, 2D imagery, since it takes place inside a toy box.
As one example, there's a YouTube video where Luigi wins six minigames in Mario Party 2 by doing absolutely nothing. A Youtube search for "wins by doing absolutely nothing" will result in plenty of videos from almost every entry in the series.
In the minigame "Ground Pound" in the first game, the computer always ground pounds an incorrect pole after each one they get correct, no matter what difficulty they are set on.
In Mario Party 1, when getting a completely pointless black star that costs 40 coins from Bowser in Mario's Rainbow Castle, getting a free coin from Bowser's machine in Luigi's Engine Room (at the cost of 20 coins), having a Goomba plant a Piranha Plant trap for you on Peach's Birthday Cake, or getting some free coins from Bowser if you run into him without any coins or stars, the character turns around and, despite the graphics in those days, you can clearly see his/her expression of What.
Also happens in 3's Story Mode, if you're not playing as Luigi. After each Battle Royale board, the Millenium Star is about to give you a Star Stamp when a character will interrupt and say they deserve the stamp more than you because they suit that stamp's quality better (for eample, Mario wants the Courage stamp). If you're playing as that character, Luigi will appear instead, claiming he deserves the stamp. Then your character turns and gives the camera a look.
Batman-Gambit: The Player. To get anywhere you'll have to plan ahead. Not accounting for the Random Number God can be a massive Spanner in the Works. Sometimes throwing a mini game later on can be the best course of action to stop first place getting another star or what have you.
Betting Mini-Game: The Battle mini-games. All the players have to forcibly bet a set number of money (if they have less, they lose it all) and have to play a minigame. The first place winner gets 70% of the jackpot, the second place gets 30%, and a random player gets any coins that were lost in rounding.
Big OMG: Luigi and Wario in the first game say "Oh my God!" when something really bad happens to them in the Japanese version. This was Bowdlerised to "Owowowow!" for Luigi, while Wario gets "Doh I missed!" (sounds a bit like "So ein Mist!", German for "What a mess!") in the English version.
Bonus Space: Some of the Happening Spaces might be this, but the Donkey Kong spaces are more likely to have a nice payoff. Then there's the Lucky Spaces in Mario Party 8.
Boss Battle: Aside from Mario Party 1, 2, 6, and Advance, there is at least one boss in each game, usually as the final minigame of the game:
Mario Party 3: "Stardust Battle".
Mario Party 4: "The Final Battle!"
Mario Party 5: "Frightmare".
Mario Party 7: "Bowser's Lovely Lift!"
Mario Party 8: "Superstar Showdown".
Mario Party DS: "Feed and Seed", "Hammer Chime", "Hexoskeleton", "Book Bash", and "Bowser's Block Party".
Mario Party 9: "Sock It To Lakitu", "Wiggler Bounce", "Whomp Stomp", "Bombard Big Bob-omb", "Deck Dry Bones", "King Boo's Puzzle Attack", "Cheep Cheep Shot", "Blooper Barrage", "Spike Strike", "Chain Chomp Romp", "Bowser Jr. Beatdown", "Bowser's Block Battle", "Diddy's Banana Blast", and "DK's Banana Bonus".
Bragging Rights Reward: In-universe, this is the plot of the first game, with all the characters competing to simply prove who is the best among them.
Bullying a Dragon: An AI-controlled Donkey Kong in 2 will repeatedly go for the Bowser Bomb in item games, because he apparently believes he can take on Bowser himself. But unless he has the most stars at the end of the game, he cannot. Expect to lose coins.
Button Mashing: Most games require pressing the button as much as possible. Some other games in the original Mario Party required spinning the control stick. It also damaged the controller, and from reports in Nintendo Power, some gamers' hands (usually the palms, as some took to spinning the stick with the palm of their hand).
By Wall That Is Holey: A minigame in Mario Party 4 requires you to do this with a giant book by running to the holes in the pages when they turn.
Camera Screw: 9's Perspective Mode deliberately invokes it for added difficulty.
Combat Pragmatist: Or Mini Game Pragmatist. Itís highly advised to play dirty if you intend to win.
Comeback Mechanic: Bowser will normally take Coins or Stars from players. If a player reaches Bowser with no Coins or Stars, however, Bowser will give the player 40 Coins.
In the ninth game, when a player in last place lands on a Bowser Space and gets "Lose half your mini-stars!" on the roulette, he'll DOUBLE your mini-stars (yes, DOUBLE the mini-stars) because he feels bad that you are in last.
When a player not in last place lands in a Bowser Space, they may have to give their own mini-stars to last place.
There are many events that benefits the person in last in the ninth game.
Most Mario Party titles also present an event when there are 5 turns remaining where the player in last is invited to spin a roulette wheel (actually a spinning item box), of which most of the results are in that player's favor.
Commuting on a Bus: Donkey Kong, who was a fully playable character in the first four games. Koopa Kid hasn't fared much better as a playable character himself, having only been playable for in 5 and 6 before falling on the wayside.
The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: It depends. In certain minigames, they have extreme skill that no human could possibly surpass. A good example is in Mario's Puzzle Party in the third game. Despite popular belief though, they do not cheat in luck based areas.
In the earlier games, whether or not you'll win a race to the finish such as Skateboard Scamper or Abandon Ship depends entirely on whether the computer wants you to. It always comes down to the very last button press, and 9 times out of 10, the computer player will dance in victory and you'll be screaming that you had it. Thankfully, in later installments, tie victories are possible and you'll get the money as long as you survive at all.
While the AI is usually incompetent for the overarcing game, in a game with multiple AI opponents, they suddenly seem to actively team up against the human players, up to and including throwing minigames to let another AI win and get ahead.
Conservation of Ninjutsu: If there's only one computer player, even on Easy, it will suddenly become much more competent at mini-games.
Game Nod: The start screen featuring Mario's Rainbow Castle in the first game (the screen will change to match the player and the board named after them depending on who wins—beat any board with Mario in this case) features Mario in the forefront wearing his wing cap, flying himself and the others over the rainbow and the castle. Seem familiar? (To note that both games were released on the same system.)
Demoted to Extra: Starting in Mario Party 5, Donkey Kong went from being a playable character to a cameo that appears if you land on his spot.
Koopa Kid went from being playable in the fifth and sixth games to being an extra in the seventh, and then disappearing entirely.
Dry Bones dropped off the playable roster after 8, but appeared in Mario Party DS and Mario Party 9 as a miniboss.
Blooper was a Unexpected Character in 8, but then only got a mention in DS before eventually, like Dry Bones, being a boss in 9.
Hammer Bro. became playable in 8, but then became the Battle Game referee in 9.
Boo got it worst of all. After becoming an Ascended Extra to playable character, he was knocked down to Board Hazard in 9, not even getting to be a boss or host. King Boo got to be a boss, though.
Toadette became playable in 6, but she was then relegated to be the host of one of the boards in DS. In Mario Party 9 she didn't appear at all.
Did Not Do the Bloody Research: In Mario Party 8, the line "Magikoopa magic! Turn the train spastic!" in the Shy Guy's Perplex Express board game initially caused the game to be recalled in the UK, where "spastic" is seen as an insulting term for the disabled. It was changed to "erratic" in later releases.
In the intro for Grand Canal in 7, Toadsworth will say "The Star will move to another location when someone gets one. What a crafty bugger!". Uh-oh...
Does This Remind You of Anything?: A mini-game in Mario Party 8 has you shake the Wii remote up and down to build up pressure in a soda can to make a geyser taller than everyone else's. Anyone who played this mini-game for the first time probably made the obvious dirty jokes after seeing how the game was played.
That's not everything. It's probably unintentional, but in Mario Party 3, if you land on a Bowser Space, the screen will cut to Bowser doing his trademark merry dance. Most of the time. Some other times, you'll catch him lying on his side, his head on one hand, his other hand on his hip, with one leg stretched and the other raised. Think about that. It's a familiar position, and it's somehow both extremely uncomfortable and hilarious beyond description. Especially if you're playing as Peach.
Doomy Dooms of Doom: Bowser's minigames in Mario Party 4 are called Darts of Doom, Fruits of Doom, and Balloon of Doom. There's also Panels of Doom (a special minigame available on Bowser's Gnarly Party) and Doors of Doom (a single-player game)
Early-Installment Weirdness: This series definitely took a while to find its feet. Go back to the N64 games (especially the first one) and marvel at how much has changed.
Some of the weirdness in the first game: Rotate-the-control-stick minigames (which were entirely eliminated after due to complaints that people hurt themselves, plus all the broken analog sticks). The first game was also the only one where you could lose coins in the end-of-turn minigames. Your coin total never went below 0, however.
The first two games didn't have dedicated story modes; instead, each board had its own story, with an ending cutscene showing the winner of the board saving the day in some way. Their single-player focused modes, Mini-Game Island and Mini-Game Coaster, instead consisted of mini-game gauntlets that you had to clear.
Egopolis: In 2, the Mario characters create a new world that is initially named Mario Land, but each one wants to name the world after themselves, so they have a contest to determine who gets to name it.
End Game Results Screen: Some games give a line graph at the end detailing everyone's progress over the course of the game.
Enemy Mine: The 1v3 and 2v2 games, in which you team up with other players and everyone on the winning team gets coins. There are rare situations late in the game where throwing such a minigame is the best option.
Toad and Bowser in the first game. Mario's and Yoshi's stages revolve around making sure you hit the right one.
Starting in Mario Party 5, Donkey Kong became the Good Counterpart to Bowser. This is especially evident in 6, where DK's out at day and Bowser's out at night (literally in the case of the final board), and 8, where the two alternate spaces depending on which one everyone most recently met.
Shy Guy and Kamek will be a "board piece" example of this in Mario Party 9's Story Mode. They serve as the 3rd or 4th or both CPUs, and if they win the board, you lose.
Excuse Plot: In all of the games, the "plot" will always be "We have a problem in X place with Y thing, help us collect stars to solve it!". The plot is hardly developed, but then again, no one plays these games for the plot.
Feelies: Rather than having a board game played in the game itself, Advance includes a physical board and pieces that you cut out and play a board game with, using the GBA only to play minigames, find Stars, and serve as a die.
Foregone Victory: In the first two games and 9, even though there is a definite chance of your character not being the Superstar, there is no chance of Bowser succeeding. You cannot even lose to the bosses.
Forgot I Could Fly: Some characters, such as Paratroopa, Boo, and Blooper are continually hounded by platforming sections and conveyor belts despite being able to leave the ground at will, and some of them don't normally touch the ground at all.
Wario is playable; Bowser himself shows up only as a board effect to mess with the players.
Also, other enemy characters that have been playable include Waluigi, Koopa Kid, Boo, Dry Bones, Hammer Bro, and Blooper.
Mario Party 9 adds Shy Guy and Kamek/Magikoopa, causing trouble for you in 9's Story Mode.
Mario Party: Island Tour lets you unlock and play as Bowser Jr.
Bowser was playable in Mario Party 4's Beach Volley Folly mode.
The boards usually contain enemies that Mario kills on a regular basis living relatively normal lives (in 7, Koopas and Goombas populate a peaceful town, Shy Guys run a train, etc.)
Golden Snitch: Although the first game's Mini-Game star was probably going to go to someone already in the lead, the randomization of the types of Bonus Stars in the later games makes it more likely that the person in last could win all three of them and take the lead. Especially in Mario Party 8, if the person had been falling behind because they were spending all their coins on Thrice Candy (Roll 3 Dice). Three of the possible Bonus Stars that can be awarded are for spending the most on candy (and Thrice is pretty expensive), using the most candy, and moving the most spaces...
Chance Time can change the fate of the game in a hurry. Try switching stars with the player in first place if you're behind.
Handcar Pursuit: A recurring team mini-game is a race between two handcars, where you have to coordinate with your partner to speed up, slow down, and bank around sharp corners.
Harder Than Hard: Very Hard, Super Hard, Brutal, or Master, depending on the game, and usually needs to be unlocked. The AI is clearly better at some minigames than others.
Historical In-Joke: The Bowser Revolution, which evens out everyone's coins (ie money), parallel to many Communist (etc) revolutions. Of course, which players are happy about it depends solely on how many coins they have relative to the others. Some people call it BOWSER COMMUNISM!!!
The same group also has a capsule-related House Rule for Mario Party 5, where every capsule has to be used or tossed as soon as it's acquired, in order to eventually wind up with a board where every single space has some manner of effect.
I Have Many Names: Prior to Mario Party 4, Koopa Kid went by the name of Baby Bowser, and he's called Mini-Bowser in PAL territories.
In Mario Party 6, it will change between day and night every three turns. When the time of day changes, prices at stores will change, routes will change, some board events will be different, and certain minigames will play differently.
Horror Land from 2 also changed the time of day once every two turns.
Long Song, Short Scene: The track "Not Gonna Lose" in Mario Party 2 was only used in the 2 vs 2 mini-game "Balloon Burst", the battle mini-game "Bumper Balloon Cars", and the bonus one-player mini-game "Driver's Ed". The problem with the former two was that those mini-games were almost always over in less than 15 seconds, while the problem with the latter is that not many people know that the mini-game even exists note In order to even get it, you need to complete all the Mini-Game Coaster difficulties (good luck on the Hard difficulty), then buy all the special one-player Item and four-player battle mini-games from Woody, and then return to Woody and say yes to whether you want to go inside Woody's mouth and play the bonus mini-game or not. Therefore, the latter half of the song was never heard by many players.
Luck-Based Mission: The entire game to much of an extent, but Game Guy's mini games in Mario Party 3, various luck based mini-games in every single entry in the series, and a good deal of the board events certainly fall under this.
Some 2-on-2 mini-games are won or lost instantly depending on if an AI opponent has a particular position or not. For example, Torpedo Targets in 2 has two two-man submarines, one player steers and the other fires torpedos at targets. The AI always knows where the targets are even though they can't be seen due to the narrow view screen, so if an AI is piloting your sub, you've already won.
MacGuffin: The Stars, which is basically the main point in the series.
The hosts of Mario Party 5 are the Star Spirits from Paper Mario.
7 has a DK mini-game called "Jump, Man". Jumpman was Mario's first name in the original DK game.
Nintendo Hard: In Mario Party 2, Minigame Coaster on Hard. It forces you to perform and win every minigame in a predetermined order on Hard mode. If you lose three times on any stage, you are sent to the beginning of the stage, forcing you to replay the ones you lost and losing any winnings from your previous games. The final few stages have mostly button mashing minigames, and the computer is usually very good at these types of games.
For a while, the bonus star awards were given to people who A) collected the most coins in mini games played, B) most coins held at any point in the game, and C) landed on the most ? spaces. A skilled player could always get the bonus star mentioned in example A, which would usually lead to them getting a star from example B. Additional bonus categories were added, such as "most spaces traveled" or "spent the most coins on items", in addition to "most coins held at any point in the game" being removed. This was made so that there would be more diversity in playing styles and give other people a chance in winning bonus stars.
Chance Time was also removed after some point so that players would have a more fair chance of winning or catching up instead of just winning at the very last possible moment because of a luck based event.
What the Reverse Mushroom did was to force you to go backwards, initially. Once you reached an intersection, you could choose to move in any direction but the one you came from.
The Sluggish 'Shroom Orb in 6 and the Slow 'Shroom Orb in 7 slowed the dice block down and made it count up by one as opposed to being random. Unfortunately, it turned out to be all too powerful, as it was very commonly used to get an easy 10 instead of landing on a precise space. 8 nerfed it so it could only go up to 5, although that also made it easy to get a lucky space.
Out-of-Genre Experience: Mario Party-e was a tabletop card game rather than a video board game like the rest of the series- however, the e-Reader could be used to play minigames like those in other Mario Party games.
Also some of the bosses from 9, King Boo being the most obvious example.
Quip to Black: "Seer Terror", an unlockable Mario Party 6 minigame, consists almost entirely of Bowser making bad things happen to you and making witty remarks in the guise of fortunes. "You'll feel crushed by stress!" he'll say after you're crushed by a Thwomp.
Real Men Wear Pink: Bowser Pad in Advance. Hoo boy. It's decorated in pink and purple, and Bowser asks you to get him a ring, a necklace, or a bracelet.
Riddling Sphinx: In the Mystery Land board of Mario Party 2, Bowser is cast as the Bowser Sphinx (though he merely wears an Egyptian headdress and isn't winged or lionlike at all) who challenges all comers to identify a silhouette. The Superstar of the board identifies it easily. It's the Sphinx himself.
Rule of Fun: The mini games don't give much explanation to their existence other than to let you have fun.
Sequel Difficulty Spike: The Minigame Coaster in 2 is much more difficult than its predecessor, Minigame Island in 1. Firstly, you no longer win extra lives by simply winning a minigame; instead, the amount of coins you earned is multiplied by your consecutive wins. There are also no branching paths, meaning you have to win every minigame in order whether you want to or not. Also, if you want to get the rewards from it, you have to beat it on Normal first (which stops after the sixth world) and then beat it on Hard. Also, the final minigame is brutal compared to the first game — in the original, you raced Toad in Slot Car Derby, who was simply a really good NPC. On the minigame coaster, you have to face three Koopa Kids on Shell Shocked (normally a free-for-all) where they actively team up against you. Considering the second game axed control stick spinning, it's pretty telling that Minigame Island hardly compares.
Sequential Boss: The battle with Bowser at the end of Story mode often is this. Also, the fake Millenium Star in 3.
Shaggy Dog Story: With decent players, an average game of "The Beat Goes On" from 3 consists of over three minutes of pressing the same buttons as the previous players and no one receiving anything for it.
Sphere Factor: This Trope Namer comes from 7, where teams of two push a giant ball to a finish line. Better examples would be Bumper Balls from 1 and 2, and Flatiator from 5, where players actually travel atop the balls to attack other players.
It should also be noted that this series itself is somewhat of a Spiritual Successor to the little-known Japanese game Getter Love!!. Both are board games in video game format, have mini-games, have items with which you can get ahead or slow down your opponents, and were developed by Hudson Soft (though Nintendo still publishes Mario Party).
Stone Wall: Whomp from the Mario Party 3 duel maps. He has the highest amount of health but cannot attack. Also Koopa and Mr. Blizzard to a lesser extent.
The Starscream: Pulled off by Waluigi towards Bowser in Mario Party 3's Story mode. You were about to battle Bowser for the Mischief Star when Waluigi shows up having the star in his possession. He even beats up Bowser to prove a point. Bowser then demands that you avenge him and defeat Waluigi. Strangely enough, even though Bowser wants you to defeat Waluigi, he still messes with you if you land on a Bowser Space.
Unexpected Character: The biggest example has to be Blooper (of all characters) joining the party in 8. While Hammer Brother were NPCs in the second Paper Mario game, Blooper never had any friendly representation in the Mario series aside from a disgruntled partner of Luigi.
Unexplained Recovery: Whenever someone is defeated in a minigame by something lethal (heck, one minigame in Mario Party 6 has the loser sucked into a black hole), they emerge completely unharmed on the beginning of the next turn (although their finances and self esteem suffer).
Variable Player Goals: 1 vs. 3 minigames would always end in a massacre against the solo player if most of them didn't require a different objective between the 1 and the 3.
Videogame Cruelty Potential: Some of the minigames are incredibly cruel and violent to the losers, who will end up electrocuted, spirited away, chased and then trampled over by a bunch of Thwomps, frozen, mauled, burnt, drowned, trapped inside a computer, and even swallowed by a black hole. Likewise, the fourth-place player that didn't get enough stars or coins in the first game also meets a similar fate.
Violation of Common Sense: Invoked in Mario Party 9 during the "Reverse Mini-Game" in a Bowser Event. You play a standard mini-game, but the objective is to lose as quickly as possible instead of trying to play the normal way. The first person to lose the game will win. Don't let this hurt your head too much.