Alright, I got this idea because the other night I broke out the old school Mario Party games, and it made me nostalgic. There was a time when we would buy every new one when it would come out, and Mario Party was always such a fun time to play as a family.
For this post, though, I’m not using any of the Gameboy or DS versions, and am sticking to only the console games. Also, I’m only using Mario Party games 1-8, because I have not played 9 or 10, and after reading reviews, refuse to play 9 and 10. Apparently, they’re just a sad excuse to the franchise and they’ve completely changed the entire idea behind Mario Party.
So let’s get this started. 8 games, starting from my personal worst to best:
#8 – Mario Party 8 (Wii) 
Mario Party 8 was the first installment of the series to be played on the Wii. Because of this, it was the first to incorporate use of the motion controls as well. The hype was there, but upon playing it, there are a few things that really bothered me about this game. This game was also the last to be developed by Hudson Soft, as the company Nd took over with 9 and 10.
For starters, this game starts off with the appearance that it’s a standard widescreen game (or stretched game). But upon entering gameplay, it’s suddenly switched to a square mode, where you are forced to either deal with the bulky black sides or forced to stretch your screen (meaning you have to play with it every time you want to play Mario Party 8). It’s annoying.
The overall theme is set up with selecting different circus tents to head to story mode, party mode, etc. Nothing too exciting. My biggest disappointment with this game, is how unexciting the levels were, and the mini games were sub par at best (and rely heavily, if not entirely, on motion controls). You have levels that are basically a long straight shot to reach the star, and it depends on how well you roll the die. Then you have levels like Boo’s, where you can reach the end and hit a dead end or Bowser. There is no classic gameplay in Mario Party 8, and the Story Mode wasn’t anything to be impressed with either. Everything I love about the series died for me with this game.
#7 – Mario Party 5 (GameCube) 
Mario Party 5, it had a dream theme to it. You start off selecting the different stars from the menu for which mode you would like to do (Party, Solo, and then the added Duel Mode). 5 was the first to introduce capsules into the game to receive items, but it was always very random and throwing the item on the ground didn’t make it belong to you anymore.
While I loved quite a few of the mini games in 5, the boards were very unoriginal, often boring and uneventful. Gameplay was slow because of this as well. To top it off, the solo mode was entirely about you battling koopa kids, and wasn’t anything exciting to talk about either.
What was kind of cool about 5, was the duel mode, where you could customize and build a vehicle to attack each other with. This could be fun, but felt very odd in a Mario Party game. The other thing that I did like about 5 was the bonus room, where they had a volleyball game you could play against each other on, and other random mini games such as ice hockey and a card game. 5 also was the start of Donkey Kong no longer being a character to play, but a special event on the board.
Overall, 5 wasn’t anything impressive, and therefore fell to the bottom of this list.
#6 – Mario Party 7 (GameCube) 
Mario Party 7 had you set out on a cruise. Living the luxurious style, 7 also opened up more opportunity for you to unlock items and characters (Dry Bones and Birdo becoming characters you can eventually purchase with tickets to unlock). 7 picked up from 6 and kept Mic games in the mix (nothing that exciting there), but they also had an 8 player option, where you could team up on a controller with someone else. It was an interesting concept, but not one I played much.
Story mode wasn’t anything that impressive, at least for me. While 7 had a lot more in mini games and it had quite a few unique boards, the story mode was made up of you playing a short map and competing against a computer in completing tasks faster than your opponent. For me, I prefer classic story mode always, and just didn’t like this take on it.
#5 – Mario Party 4 (Gamecube) 
Here’s the thing, I actually really enjoyed Mario Party 4. It was the first game on the Nintendo GameCube, and it’s the only game to incorporate the big and mini mushrooms. 4 had a theme of presents to it, and story mode revolved around playing each board, winning, and earning presents for your characters mini room. It was a cute idea, and made story play still classic and interesting.
Stepping up from the N64 graphics, 4 made everything appear more 3 dimensional. Movement was faster, and there were a ton of new and fun mini games to play as well.
However, because this is a personal favorites list, I have to admit that compared to the other Mario Party games, this one just doesn’t reach much higher for me.
There were a few drawbacks, such as pointless events that often did nothing in the game, but then again, there were other perks such as the lottery machine (this is the one game that promoted gambling), and original and interesting boards.
#4 – Mario Party 1 (N64) 
The start of the franchise, and a nostalgia classic! While there are certainly things about Mario Party 1 that can’t compete or compare with newer games, there is just something about this game that keeps me going back to it years later.
As far as things go, it’s rather basic in gameplay. But, the music is good, the mini games are a little generic, but again, nostalgia factor. And I love the story mode in Mario Party 1. The story mode has you on a raft playing every mini game, challenging you to win in a certain amount of time, or a certain amount of coins.
Like I said, a lot of the mini games are almost laughable easy, but this game will always hold a special place for me. After playing every level once, you unlock the chance to buy Bowser’s level. Here is one thing I miss about the original games: there was a bank that collected all of your coins (yours and those you played with (human players)) and stars. When you collect 100 stars consecutively, you unlock a bonus star level where Bowser has stolen all of the stars.
There’s a shop where you can buy bonus blocks (a speed die, a slow die, a coin die, and a minus die). The mini game hut is also fun, and it makes you want to play more games to earn more coins to buy them all (although some mini games are ridiculously expensive). In the mini game room, there is also a little urn you can go in, where you can compete against computers or players in a stadium where you play mini games. There is no star competition, just coins as the endgame, making gameplay go by faster.
Mario Party 1 set up the franchise, and while there are certainly things about the game that are lacking (the graphics aren’t anything to cry home about), it will always be one of the best games in my opinion because of the huge nostalgia factor.
#3 – Mario Party 2 (N64) 
Mario Party 2 is yet another classic game of nostalgia. It’s a fan favorite because after Mario Party 1, 2 took the parts that 1 was lacking and revamped it. Mario Party 2 is also the only game that incorporated costumes for each character depending on the level you were playing. It was a fun idea, and one I wish they had kept up with. Pirate land had you wearing pirate costumes, horror land had everyone in witch/wizard costumes, and space land had everyone in jumpsuits.
2 also was the first game to add items (allowing you to hold onto one item at a time) and it introduced duels and battle games. Duels got repetitive after awhile, as each level had it’s own duel game, but you only had one duel game each level to play. There were also item mini games introduced.
Mario Party 2 took quite a few mini games from the first game, and simply revamped them and made them better. After you play each board once, you unlock Bowser’s level once more. Story mode, I believe, is simply playing each level on your own, which compared to Mario Party 1, was lacking. However, despite that, 2 had many more mini games, and fun new levels, making it a step up from the first one.
#2 – Mario Party 6 (GameCube) 
As far as the 4 games on the GameCube go, Mario Party 6 was the best one. Incorporating classic and new, 6 was a load of fun to play. It was the introduction of the Mic games (which really aren’t anything special, and are optional), but it was also where they brought back the store and the chance to save your stars to buy unlockables, including new characters such as Toadette. 6 also unlocked character taunts, which made gameplay more fun (Mario will say “Hey Stinky,” if you press hit taunt, and etc.).
Mario Party 6 also brought in a ton of new and fun to play mini games. New levels, with a couple being straight up classic gameplay, and a few taking Mario Party in a new direction. There’s a level where you buy windmills that count for 1, 2 or 3 stars upon purchase. And the challenge is to maintain those windmills, as other players can outbid you and steal them from you.
6 also introduced a Daytime and a Nighttime mode. Every 3 turns it switches, and there are things you can do in the day (certain events, or routes will open), and at night things will switch and open up other opportunities (such as pink boo stealing from players). The fun part is that some of the mini games also incorporate the daytime and nighttime mix, and during the day the mini game will play as one version and nighttime will have it be the opposite (such as What Goes Up, where during the day you climb up, and at night you fall down).
Mario Party 6 was the last of the good Mario Party games, and while it didn’t have an impressive Story mode either, it made up for it in the rest of the gameplay. 6 also took the capsule idea from 5, enhanced it, and personalized the capsules to the players on the board. On the first level, the Treetop level, my mother and I would play it and mark the first section of the level as “Death Row” and throw a ton of items back to back down there. If you play a long enough game, it can get super competitive, but fun!
#1 – Mario Party 3 (N64) 
Mario Party 3 is my all time favorite Mario Party game. Hands down, the last great game of the classic series. 3 had everything that 1 and 2 had missed out on, and it was the last series to have a real story mode that was immersive and fun to play on your own. To top it off, 3 had some of the best mini games to play.
My favorite part about 3 was the Story Mode, though. While cheesy, 3 still had an actual story line to follow. The “real” Mario world was all thrown into a toy chest, and the castle and everything becomes 2 dimensional. We’re told to listen to the Millennium Star, and this little toy block person, and in story mode you play each board and then challenge one of the other characters in the duel map to earn a stamp. The entire time, Bowser and Jr. are trying to catch up to you. Eventually, it introduces two new characters, Daisy, who you duel for the stamp of Beauty, and Waluigi, who steals the Mischief stamp and forces you to beat him on his own level. Not to mention the fact that he totally kicks Bowser down, to the point Bowser asks you, the main character, to avenge him.
Mario Party 3 revamped the item use, and allowed you to carry up to 3 items. It added more item mini games, and dueling mini games. The dueling levels were a chance to have different Mario characters act as your bodyguards, and protect and attack your opponent when you would pass them on the board. Sometimes it would be a quick and simple victory, other times, it would feel drawn out. The dueling mini games were really fun, though.
Mario Party has come such a long way in the last 20 years, and sadly, it’s just no longer the same. 9 and 10 killed the excitement for a new Mario Party game. However, if they found a way to bring back the fun from the original games, it would make for an awesome game on the Nintendo Switch! Actually, in my opinion, I wish they would take bits and pieces from each original Mario Party game, revamp it, and make a new game based off of what we love about the series.
There is a rumor that Nd is working on developing Mario Party 11 for the Nintendo Switch, but nothing has been set in stone yet (read briefly here). 8 wasn’t that great of a game, but 9 and 10 (when a new company, Nd, took it over) took away competition and everything that made Mario Party fun to play against friends. I think it would be great if they did come out with Mario Party 11, but they really need to change something, or go back, in order for people to want to buy it.
This video is basically my entire hopes and dreams for what I want Nintendo to bring back, and why I will never play 9 and 10:
And I agree with this guy, too:
Do you agree with my list? What are some of your favorite Mario Party moments? Actually, what’s your favorite game out of them all? I want to hear it!