On this day in 1998, the original Mario Party was released on Nintendo 64 and revolutionized the way we partied with friends.
Well, not really, but for those immersed in the saga, Mario Party served as the perfect icebreaker. The series’ competitive multiplayer board game set-up made for some fun and tense moments; but let’s be real, the reigning champ of any Mario Party experience has always been its mini games. Here are the 11 best Mario Party games out of the whole lot, as we wish the series a happy 22nd birthday.
Burnstile – Mario Party 6
As frustrating as it may be, the “Burnstile” mini game from Mario Party 6 is the easiest way to humble an overly-confident Party player. As a spiked arm begins to twist and turn at a rapid rate, you and your partner must time your jumps perfectly and make sure not to fall off the platform into molten lava.
The tricky 2-v-2 methodology of this mini-game means you and your partner need to give each other space so you don’t cause the other to get hit. It’s a fast and frenzied mini-game that quickly determines its victor.
Sizzling Stakes – Super Mario Party
Sizzling Stakes Mario Party
While Super Mario Party itself was one of the least successful entries in the franchise, partially due to the wonky Switch schematics, Sizzling Stakes was a fun moment in an otherwise tepid Mario Party game. Fighting against four other players, you must successfully cook a slab of steak before your foes can. The Switch’s Joy-Cons were actually perfect for this mini-game and offered quick and snappy control responses that made it easy and fun to flip the beef and sizzle that steak.
Whomp Stomp – Mario Party 9
A few stylistic changes made Mario Party 9 a contentious entry among longtime fans, but the series’ 9th offering still had a great handful of mini-games, one of the best being Whomp Stomp. Each player stands on opposite ends of a rotating platform as a gargantuan Whomp lingers closely behind.
For each round, a player selects either a 1 or a 0, and for every 1 selected, the Whomp rotates about 90 degrees and falls on whoever finds themselves in front of it. It’s a gamble of a game that will keep tensions very high.
Chump Rope – Mario Party 8
Chump Rope Mario Party 8
While the Wiimote for Mario Party 8 bred some strange control mechanics, the motion-controlled remote actually came in handy when trying to trip your foes in “Chump Rope.” Similar in concept to Mario Party 2‘s “Hot Rope Jump,” the party game’s eighth outing actually lets the player control how fast the rope moves, which adds a deceptive element to the mini-game and keeps the jumpers on their toes. Allowing for far more unpredictable results, “Chump Rope” is a thrill.
Bob-Omb Bogey – Mario Party 10
One of the series’ best reaction-focused mini-games, Bob-Omb Bogey from Mario Party 10 places players in front of a hole with a golf club. Each player is then randomly fed either a Bob-Omb or a golf ball. Using your trusty Wiimote, you need to swing if it’s the latter and hold off if it’s the former, or face total annihilation. With 10 balls in total, it’s a race to the finish to see who can hit more balls first.
Log Jam – Mario Party 3
Log Jam Mario Party 3
Another great reflex-based mini-game, “Log Jam” is pretty self-explanatory. Your partner places a block of wood in front of you as you hover an axe over it. The wood has a corresponding button painted on it, and you must quickly mash the requested button in order to chop the wood.
The player who cuts more wood is deemed the victor, but make sure you’re paying attention, as it’s easy to get ahead of yourself and hit the wrong button, which causes your axe to get stuck, and places you at a significant disadvantage.
Defuse or Lose – Mario Party 5
Defuse or Lose Mario Party 5
For those who enjoyed Mario Party‘s sillier and less stressful offerings, “Defuse or Lose” from Mario Party 5 was likely a childhood favorite. Split into teams of two, “Defuse or Lose” was about keeping calm and working as a team as you fought to diminish three lit fuses before they set off the Bob-Omb.
How do you diffuse them? Obviously, with your butt. The silly mini-game does get slightly more stressful if you and your teammate aren’t communicative enough, but overall it’s an enjoyable romp in an otherwise mediocre Mario Party entry.
Apes of Wrath – Mario Party 7
Apes of Wrath
A fantastic duel mini-game, three furious monkeys pursue you around a small arena, trying to beat you up. The game is already tense, as you and your enemy run and jump around the map, but the mini-game continues to add more monkeys, making survival more difficult but adding to the mini game’s frenzied enjoyment.
Booksquirm – Mario Party 4
Booksquirm Mario Party 4
Mario Party 4 had one of the strongest collections of mini-games since the series’ initial release back in 1998. While “Trace Race” and “Dungeon Duos” each deserve a spot on this list, the most enjoyable mini-game by far was “Booksquirm.”
Players are shrunk down and placed on an open book whose pages are constantly turning. Each page has a different shaped hole cut out of place, and your job is to run around and make sure you find your way to the cut-out gaps and not let the pages crush you. The game is slightly sinister because you can nudge your enemies as you run around, setting them up for failure.
Mushroom Mix Up – Mario Party
Mushroom Mix Up Mario Party
One of the most iconic mini-games in the series, the original “Mushroom Mix Up” still reigns supreme as one of the most enjoyable outings in the Mario Party universe. A simple but compelling premise, the game merely requires you to stay above water and get to the “Safe Mushroom” indicated by Toad. But there usually isn’t enough room for all four of you, which makes for some joyful little conflicts along the way.
Bumper Balls – Mario Party 2
Bumper Balls Mario Party 2
The reigning champ of Mario Party mini-games, “Bumper Balls” is a blast to play to this day. The premise is simple: You and your three other rivals ride bright balls around a small map like bumper cars, trying to knock each other off the stage.
While it appeared in the original Mario Party, the mini-games sequel offers a variety of new stages that make for more unexpected moments and, in turn, some of the best moments of our childhood.