The best way to party in a Super Mario Party isn’t to win

Mario Party Nintendo Switch Sean

A few weeks ago, Mario Party finally went back to its roots with Super Mario Party. While this is the 11th main entry in the series, it’s the first time we’ve gone with the characters moving individually on a board since Mario Party 8 on the Wii in 2008, unless you count the handheld spinoffs.

For 9 and 10, all four players moved in the same vehicle, heading towards a common goal while collecting stars along the way. This was disappointing, as it cut out the ruthlessness that Mario Party was known for. Super Mario Party, however, takes inspiration from the older games and streamlines it, with each player not only moving separately, but with each board being smaller and more dense with potential for even more chaos.

To celebrate the launch of a new Mario Party, I had a party of my own. As a refresher, in order to win a classic game of Mario Party, you have to have the most stars by the end of the game. To earn Stars, you have to find Toadette around the map and purchase a star from her for 10 coins, which you earn by landing on blue spaces, special events, or winning minigames. By some miracle, I had 6 stars by the start of the 9th turn of the 20 turn game. Everyone hated me, but one person hated me more.

Not only were we earning stars like candy, but we were also earning a surplus of coins, and if you run into a lakitu with 30 coins, you can steal a star from someone else. As we were playing on Watermelon Walkabout, someone can stay on the top left island and look around, giving a chance to steal coins (free) or a star (30 coins) if they guess the correct present box. This became the stomping ground for the friend that had a vendetta against me.

First, he stole one of my stars, which is expected, as I had the most at the time. But the following turn, another friend made it to the island as the first friend looped around again to steal another star. This pattern kept going, and while I used to rule the world, I quickly fell to third place while the first friend that stole a star ascended to second after staging his coup against me. Then, when hate-filled friend reached Lakitu to steal another star, something magical happened. He could easily steal a star from the first place player to take the lead, but that’s not what the true spirit of Mario Party is about.

The true spirit of Mario Party, as I quickly learned in this moment, isn’t to try to win. It’s to cause as much chaos as you can. After all, Mario Party is chaos incarnate. Even though I only had two stars, even though he could have taken the game there, he decided to steal a star from me. My friend had a vendetta against me, and the baffling move created a hilarious tension that wouldn’t be possible if everyone was taking the game seriously.

Just like a real party, the goal is to have fun. Sure, winning will give you bragging rights for the night. But making the top player fall to last place? Those are bragging rights that you will remind your friend about every time you play. I’ll know not to trust this friend in any 2v2 minigames again, but that’s okay. He already knows to watch his back when we move on to Mario Kart.

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