If Monopoly is the board game that ruins friendships, Mario Party is the video game that’ll do the same.
Released in 1998 for the N64, Mario Party is still considered a strong franchise almost 20 years later. Mario Party started out with releases almost every year until 2007, only missing 2001 and 2006. Both the Gamecube and the Wii were released in those years, so it’d make sense for Nintendo to skip them and instead focus on the respective console launches. One would prove to be a major success, the other still has its loyal fans.
It wasn’t until 2007 that the Mario Party franchise took a break for five years, not releasing a new title until 2012. Both of the releases would be for the Wii, and we wouldn’t see a Wii U Mario Party until 2015, when the Amiibo’s were officially launched; Mario Party 10 would also be the first time that Donkey Kong was a fully playable character since Mario Party 4, released in 2002.
For Nintendo, Mario Party has sold an estimated 39.6 million copies of the franchise. Although certainly not their best-selling franchise, with Super Mario, Pokemon, and Mario Kart all beating it, Mario Party still holds a special place in gamers hearts. Still supporting the almost extinct local co-operative mode, here is a list of the Top 10 Mario Party mini-games released. (From Mario Party 1 – 10)
#10 Crazy Cutters
Mario Party 1 and 2
Crazy Cutter’s makes it onto the list for its attention to detail – one of the Mario Party mini-games that requires a more steady hand, Crazy Cutter’s made it into two Mario Party games before being dropped from the franchise. The goal of the game is to cut out fossilized characters as accurately as possible. The first Mario Party mini-game featured Goombas, Bob-ombs, and Boos. Mario Party 2 switched it up with Chain Chomps, Cheep-Cheeps, and Bloopers.
The second version of the mini-game also changed up how players were rewarded, picking the player with the most cleanly cut fossil by the end of 30 seconds, increasing the accuracy needed to win the mini-game.
#9 Mario Bandstand
With one player conducting and the other three playing instruments, Mario Bandstand starts with audience members throwing shells and hammers before the curtains rise.
For players, Mario Bandstand was all about timing, although the conductor certainly had a harder job, with the control stick on the N64 being shaky at best. Members of the band had to keep time by pressing the ‘A’ button when their instrument lined up – one wrong move and you had a hammer thrown at you from the audience.
Mario Bandstand makes it onto the list for its perfection in the small things. A fantastic mini-game, yet easily created, Mario Bandstand is perhaps the best testament on this list as to what Nintendo games are all about.
#8 Treacherous Tightrope
Mario Party 8
With motion controls now a thing, Treacherous Tightrope re-introduced the steady hand needed in Crazy Cutters. Except, over a thumb, you had to keep your Wii Remote balanced as you walked across the tightrope. One wrong move and your character will end up at the bottom of the canyon, rather than on the other side of the gorge.
Although Treacherous Tightrope might feel a little out-of-place in a list filled with mostly retro mini-games, it’s the hidden gem from the Wii Mario Party games, which are often looked upon with a distaste from fans.
#7 Bumper Balls
Mario Party 1 & 2
Bumping its way into the 7th spot is Bumper Balls, the classic Mario Party game that helped define the genre as a relationship destroyer. Who could forget that one friend who always runs off the cliff by mistake?
Bumper Balls takes place on a circular platform, where the idea is to bump all other players from the platform. Whoever’s the last standing, on their balls, wins. Although not necessarily a skillful game, Bumper Balls was still easy to enjoy.
#6 Eatsa Pizza
Mario Party 3
Eatsa Pizza is one of the most straightforward Mario Party games ever created. With the only controls being the A button and moving your character around, the goal is to eat as much pizza as possible with your team-mate. Eating through the pepperonis proved to be a bit more of a challenge, though.
If you manage to eat your entire pizza before the 30 second timer runs out, you win – otherwise, the team with the least amount of pizza when the timer runs out wins. The music, “Mustn’t Panic” seems oddly fitting for the mini-game. Eatsa Pizza often involved smack talking and looking over at your opponents to check if you had eaten more pizza (only to end up running into a previously eaten area on your side). Occasionally a controller would be unplugged.
#5 Face Lift
Mario Party 1 & 2
Although Donald Trump isn’t actually part of the mini-game, Face Lift is still one of the best Mario Party mini-games ever released.
Based on the title screen of Super Mario 64, where you can alter Mario’s face, Face Lift is very similar in nature, except this time you’re trying to make it look like a specific distortion. Shown off at the start of the game and kept as a mini symbol in the center, you must distort the character’s face to look like the middle one as accurately as possible. The player that gets the closest, wins!
Due to the quality – and size – of TVs back in the 90’s, it was important to have a sharp short-term memory for this game. Those that can remember distorted facial features the best, had the greatest chance of winning.
#4 Thwomp Pull
Mario Party 3
It’s hard to make a 1-vs-3 mini-game work. Often times, the player on their own feels a little outnumbered by the other 3. Buttons are pushed (figuratively and literally), and if the wrong reaction is had, it can end the game for the night.
Thwomp Pull breaks all of that and manages to be one of the greatest 1-vs-3 games ever created. For the single player, you simply must push the buttons ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘Z’ as they appear on the screen. You have complete control over the Thwomps and have no one to blame but yourself should something go wrong.
For the three players on their own however, each one gets a specific button they must press. The buttons are the same, ‘A’, ‘B’, and ‘Z’, but often times players will mistake someone else’s queue for theirs and press the button. This leads to flared tensions, and at times the player on their own has an advantage. Although it’d be great to have a fully balanced 1-vs-3 mini-game, it’s a hard possibility to aim for, but Thwomp Pull gets pretty close.
#3 Bobsled Run
Mario Party 1 & 2
It was a tough call, whether to include Bobsled Run or Handcar Havoc on this list. With the original list including close to 30 Mario Party mini-games, some cuts had to be made, and it felt like only one of the two should be included. So many great games, so little space.
Bobsled Run however, won the spot on the list (and managed to climb to #3) for its skill cap. The game required players to work together when steering the sled, and some guard rails were missing, meaning you could fall off (Remind you of a certain Mario Kart course, anyone?). The icy mini-game managed to win over the hearts of fans, but if you had friends who had practiced the mini-game you were in for a bad time.
#2 Hide and Sneak
Mario Party 3
Another 1-vs-3 mini-game, Hide and Sneak was challenging because you had to physically hide your controller. From the screen watcher evolved the controller peeker, checking to see which object you decided to hide behind.
The stage features four hiding places. A Rock, a Tree Stump, a Bush and a Mushroom House. The one player has the chance to reveal three of the hiding spots, with the last one staying a secret. The trick to the game is to continue swapping hiding places, and hopefully you and your team mates don’t all hide in the same spot.
If you do hide all in the same spot however, and the seeker finds you, the game is over. The game only requires one of the three players to survive for the three to win the mini-game.
#1 Cake Factory
Mario Party 2
Cake Factory is the mini-game with the highest level of fun. With two players on each team, you must work together to grab ingredients from the conveyor belt and place them on the cake. With the conveyor belt constantly speeding up, players will be stunned if they don’t manage to get the ingredient before it passes.
To win Cake Factory, you must have the most cakes made by the time the 30 seconds is up. Cake Factory managed to take a simple concept, to become one of the greatest Mario Party mini-games of all time.
Cake Factory wouldn’t be where it is without the other mini-games, though. From the lesser ones making it look better, to the games created in Mario Party 1, Nintendo found a recipe for success in only their second Mario Party Game.
Did we miss your favourite mini-game? Let us know in the comment sections below!