Thanks to its staggered - some may say relentless - release dates, every year since 1998 has been a Mario Party year somewhere in the world. Some years have even been multi-Party years, and while few of the many hundreds of minigames that comprise Nintendo’s critically maligned - yet hugely successful - series have been particularly memorable, the age of the Mario Party has rarely been dull.
The very first N64 version included the Minigame Island mode, which was a compilation of minigames to give the multiplayer-oriented Mario Party a little value for lonely gamers. It involved traveling as far as possible across a world map, winning coins in solo games, and it was actually quite good. It has never been seen in any subsequent Mario Party.
The first Mario Party featured a handful of games that required brawny manipulation of the N64’s groove-topped analog stick. The easiest way to rotate the stick fast enough to complete the likes of Paddle Battle and Tug o’ War was to jam it into the palm of the hand, which resulted in “cuts, punctures, blisters and friction burns” for some of the most enthusiastic, soft-skinned players.
Because one child had to have a tetanus injection, around 80 parents complained and Nintendo offered to supply Mario Party players with a free set of fingerless, padded gloves to avoid future problems/lawsuits. If all of the 1 million Mario Party owners had applied, the cost to Nintendo would have been $80 million, but relatively few did, making the free gloves collectors’ items now. Nobody outside of America even registered a complaint, proving that European and Japanese gamers have tougher hands/are not so stupid.
One of the signature features of the entire Mario Party series, and probably its finest idea, is the three-on-one minigame. Three slightly handicapped characters attempt to knock down/flatten/beat/submerge and generally tussle with a lone player who must flee, terrified, in the hope of surviving until the end and reaping a huge coin bonus. The seldom-played Mario Party 3 has a particularly good selection of them.