Mario Party is a party game released for the Nintendo 64 as the first installment in the titular Mario Party series. Players select one of six Mario characters and move around the board, collecting coins and various other items to help themselves or hinder others in their quest to collect Stars. Players participate in mini-games after each turn, in which they compete for extra coins. These mini-games vary widely, from free-for-alls to pairs to three-on-ones. They test players' reflexes, puzzle-solving skills, and even luck. Certain mini-games allow players to steal coins from each other, while others grant the winner five coins from their rivals. Dueling mini-games in later installments would serve a similar purpose. This game is known for pioneering an iconic and renowned sub-series of the Mario franchise, which continues to this day, becoming one of the most well-known series in gaming.
The story begins with Mario and his friends sitting around and arguing over who is the Super Star, the superior one among them. Wario claims that a Super Star must be strong. Donkey Kong agrees, while bragging about his strength. An argument and fight ensue between the two, with Luigi finding himself quite literally stuck in the middle. It is also suggested that Mario would make a good superstar, or Princess Peach, or even the energetic Yoshi.
The gang begins to close in on Toad, who jumps and shouts out that he has an idea of what they should do. Arguing that being a Super Star takes not only strength, but also courage, wisdom, and kindness, he suggests that the crew take the Warp Pipe in Mushroom Village, and find out who is the Super Star of their adventures. Though he warns them that the path will be dangerous, all six of the competitors race toward the pipe and enter it one by one, thus beginning the game itself.
The game features a total of six playable characters - Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Yoshi, Wario, and Donkey Kong. Due to the format of this game, each character controls and plays the same regardless of personality. Notably, Wario is referred to as one of Mario's friends, making his first appearance as an ally of Mario's rather than an enemy.
Game modes are selected from a "Map" screen, Mushroom Village, that the player is led to upon 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.
The Mini-Game House is located to the right side of the river, and resembles a mushroom with a large, red cap.
The Free Play wall allows the player to access all mini-games they have unlocked so far and can play them as many times as they like for free.
The resident Toad of the Mini-Game house is an elderly-looking one named Puff who has a large red cap on her 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 for 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, 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, they 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 randomly. Two lines of dialogue were edited from the Japanese version to remove religious references, which were Luigi and Wario exclaiming "Oh my God!" after suffering misfortune. 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 is 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. Completing the mode will reward the player with the Bumper Ball Maze minigame, which can be accessed in the Minigame House.
Pre-release and unused content
Reception and legacy
Mario Party received mostly positive reviews from critics. The most frequent criticism Mario Party received was the slow pacing and 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 than the interaction between the game that made Mario Party fun. Another common criticism was the game's dependence on luck rather than skill, though 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.
In contrast, gaming magazine Game Informer viewed the game with much contempt. All three reviewers note that the minigames are boring and those playing will not derive much enjoyment. Out of the three reviewers, Paul Anderson was the most charitable and gave the game an overall score of 5.5/10. However, he says the game is worthless and only serves to fill the first quarter of the year. Nintendo of America sent the magazine a sarcastic certificate over the publication's negative review of Mario Party and its sequel. From then on, Game Informer became infamous for their constantly bad reviews of the Mario Party games, which usually get a positive reception from critics such as IGN and GameSpot, and their picky reputation has stuck since.
Mario Party is the 17th best-selling game for the Nintendo 64, selling approximately 2.7 million copies: 1.23 million copies in North America, 870,000 copies in Japan, and 580,000 copies elsewhere.
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, which are Tug o' War, Paddle Battle, and Pedal Power (this was likely why Mario Party was not 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, 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, as well as the Control Stick's high potential for decalibration through this method, there were no more mini-games after Mario Party that involved spinning the Stick as fast as possible until Mario Party: Island Tour was released since the analog stick on the 3DS made it safe to spin quickly without injuries.
In Mario Party Superstars, there is also a warning in place for the Tug o' War and Cast Aways minigames for players not to use their palms while playing the minigame, referencing the issue.
Differences exclusive to the Japanese version
In the Japanese version, Wario and Luigi say "Oh my God!" when they lose or otherwise suffer misfortune. This was changed in the Western versions to remove religious references; Luigi wails in pain instead, and Wario says "So ein Mist!" (the voice clip for which was taken from Mario Kart 64), which is a German expression of showing disgust like "Oh, shoot!" or "No way!" and the like.
The song "Move to the Mambo" is not used in the American release, but is used in the Japanese and European/Australian releases. The song is used in two of the mini-games, Balloon Burst and Musical Mushroom.
Differences exclusive to the European version
Exclusive to the European release is a language select, which allows the game to be played in English, German, or European French. The screen first appears when turning on the game for the first time and will only be forced to appear again if is held down before turning on the console.
References to other games
References in later games
Names in other languages