Mario Party (Japanese: マリオパーティ, Mario Pāti) is a video game based on a board game for the Nintendo 64, and the first game of the Mario Party series. Players choose one of six characters and move around the board. As they go around, they collect coins and various other items that can help them or hinder others in their quest to collect Stars.
What sets this game apart from others is the mini-games that follow each round. The players will be grouped together in groups of two, three against one, or everyone for themselves. They then compete in a game that tests their reflexes, puzzle solving skills, or plain luck. The winners will be awarded coins, and in certain mini-games, the losers can lose 5 coins each. Mini-games also exist that allow players to steal as many coins as they can from each other. Both of these features were removed in future installments for being too harsh.
From the game's instruction booklet:
Mario looked around and smiled. Throwing a party had been an excellent idea. It had been a long time since they had all gotten together. All his friends were there: Luigi, Peach, Toad, Yoshi - even Wario and Donkey Kong. They laughed and talked about all the adventures they had shared together in the past. But what was there to do now?
One day, Mario and his friends are sitting around arguing over who is the Super Star. Wario states that a Super Star must be strong, to which Donkey Kong agrees. Both get into an argument over who is stronger. Toad says that maybe Mario would make a good superstar, or Princess Peach, or even the energetic Yoshi. The gang starts to close in on Toad, who shouts out that he has an idea of what they should do. He suggests that the crew take the Warp Pipe in Mushroom Village, and find out who is the Super Star of their adventures. He warns that the road will be dangerous and that being the super star requires not only strength, but courage, wisdom and kindness. Luigi bravely agrees first to this plan and steps off to find the warp pipe. Wario follows and the group agrees to the plan and also set off to find the warp pipe and become the next Super Star.
Game modes are selected from a "Map" screen, Mushroom Village, that the player is led to once starting the game. Each building or feature represents a mode, and the player can select one to play a certain mode.
Listed below are the available areas for the player to access in Mario Party:
Party mode is the heart of Mario Party. Four players will play on a board game, each getting a turn to roll the 1-10 Dice Blocks, which will determine how many spaces they will move across. After everyone rolls, a roulette will appear which will randomly select a minigame to play. This process will repeat itself until the set amount of turns is up.
There is also a Star Space. When a player passes here, they can obtain a Star only if they have at least 20 Coins. The Star Space won't count towards the player's movements, unlike other spaces.
The Mini-Game House is located to the right side of the river, and resembles a mushroom with a large, red cap.
The resident Toad of the Mini-Game house is an elderly-looking one named Puff who has a large red cap on its head, similarly shaped to the Mini-Game House itself. By speaking to her, the player is given a list of mini-games that have been played in the game so far. There are various price ranges of mini-games. Once one is bought, it can always be played for free via the orb on the table.
Pot o' Skills
The Pot o' Skills leads to the Mini-Game Stadium. The Mini-Game Stadium has its own board shaped in the form of a Star, and only has 24 total spaces. Each turn, players roll the dice and advance the number of spaces, like in Party Mode. However, blue spaces do not add coins and red spaces do not subtract coins. All coins are gained or lost from mini-games which are played at the end of each turn. There is a One-Player mini-game space as well. Passing Koopa will result in 10 coins for the player. At the end of the game, the player with the most coins wins.
The Mushroom Shop is run by the Mushroom Shop Clerk and is located on the left side of the river on the map, it resembles a brown mushroom on its side. In the shop, various items can be bought with Coins earned from mini-games and Party games. Here is a listing of every item, along with its price and in-game description.
The Mushroom Bank is where players can store their coins as well as Stars and items. The bank is run by two portly Toads who are similar in every way except that one has yellow stars on his head in place of the usual dots, while the other has orange stars within yellow circles.
The Left Toad
The Toad behind the left counter, whose name is Porto, is in charge of storing the items the player buys at the Mushroom Shop until they are used during a game. Here is also where the player can choose how they want to save their coins, whether with the Coin Box, Lucky Box, or Casino Box.
The Right Toad
The Toad behind the right counter, whose name is Bello, will tell the player how many total coins and stars the player has saved up. He will also say how many more stars need to be collected, out of 100, in order to unlock the Eternal Star map.
The Option House is a mushroom-resembling blue-topped toward the top of the map across the river. As the name suggests, it is used to adjust the multiple options for the game. There are other features such as the Talking Parrot and Juke Box as well.
The resident Toad of the Option House, whose name is Fun Gus, can delete all saved data. Once spoken to and asked to delete all data, he takes out a remote and opens an electrical box on the other side of the house. The cover will open revealing a large red switch, and the player is asked if they are sure about deleting their data. Once the player accepts deleting the data, he/she should either press to press the switch and erase all data, or press to cancel the process.
The Talking Parrot is an item that can be bought from the Mushroom Shop, and once bought, will appear on a perch in the Option House. By pressing the button, the parrot speaks various voices from various characters in the game. Two lines of dialogue were edited from the Japanese version to remove religious references, which were Luigi and Wario exclaiming "Oh my God!" after losing mini-games. These voices include:
The Sound Lever is a lever that changes the sound from Mono to Stereo or vice versa. There are two speakers at the bottom with pipes leading up the lever. By pulling the lever down, one of the speakers are deactivated and the sound is changed to Mono. There is no surround sound.
The Juke Box allows the player to listen to any song from the game. The only prerequisite is that the player must have heard the song in the game itself before it becomes available on the Juke Box. The Juke Box becomes available for use after the player buys the Record from the Mushroom Shop for 50 Coins. For PAL and Japanese players, an extra song is available entitled "Move to the Mambo!", which is unavailable in the American version. No official explanation has ever been released as to why it was removed.
Mini-Game Island is a special challenge in which the goal is to travel all around the island and beat every mini-game one by one. After beating every mini-game and reaching the end, Toad will challenge the player once more to a race against him and two other CPUs in Slot Car Derby. This mode is for one player only.
Pre-release and unused content
Mario Party received mostly positive reviews from critics. The most frequent criticism Mario Party received was the lack of enjoyment without multiplayer. GameSpot explains "The games that are enjoyable to play in multiplayer are nowhere near as good in single player mode. Really it's that multiplayer competitive spark of screaming at and/or cheering for your friends that injects life into those often-simple little games and without it, they're just simple little games." IGN took a similar line, saying that it was the interaction between players rather the interaction between the game that made Mario Party fun. Another common criticism was the game's dependence on luck rather then skill, though it this was seen by many to add to the game's board game atmosphere, as players who were comfortably in the lead one turn could be losing the next.
Mario Party is the 20th best selling game for the Nintendo 64, selling approximately 1.944 million copies, 1.23 million copies in the US, and 714,358 copies in Japan, as of December 31, 2009.
Nintendo gave away a free Mario Party glove for a time after the game's release, the reason being that many players got blisters and other ailments on the palms of their hands due to the mini-games that involve spinning the around as fast as possible (this is also commonly thought to be the reason Mario Party wasn't released on the Virtual Console, but Mario Party 2 was). Nintendo suggested that the players should use the thumb to spin the Control Stick, but this method is a lot slower than rotating with the palm of the hand, and the thumb can slip off the joystick. Receiving the glove required proof of purchase of the first game of the series. The glove giveaway did not surface until after the release of Mario Party 2. This was because Nintendo lost a class action lawsuit that was filed by several families of the injured players and had to pay several thousands of dollars in damage reparations as a result. As a consequence of unbalanced difficulty and self-injury, there are no more mini-games after Mario Party that involve spinning the Stick as fast as possible. This form of mini-game returned with Mario Party: Island Tour because the new version of the analog stick makes it safe to spin very quickly.
Differences from Japan
In the Japanese versions, Wario and Luigi say "Oh my God!" when they lose. This was changed in the English versions to remove religious references; Luigi wails in pain instead, and Wario says "D'oh, I missed!"
References to other games