Play or Pass: Mario Party 2

Welcome to the next post in my year-long series “Play or Pass” that takes on the proverbial “must before death” theme with video games. Every other week I will be covering one or two games from “32 Video Games You Have To Play Before You Die,” a list compiled by BuzzFeed based on a reader poll. I will not be critiquing the list itself, but rather I’ll be discussing each game or games in whatever manner feels fitting and will attempt to answer a couple simple questions: Have I played [insert game name here]? If yes, do I consider it a “must” and why? If no, do I want to play the game before I die? I’ll be going through the games in the order in which they appear on the BuzzFeed list. Good? Good. Let’s get on with the games!

Week twenty-two: (28) Mario Party 2

Mario Party 2 cover art © Nintendo

If you’ve followed me for awhile, you may have noticed that I tend to be a little down on multiplayer. That’s just me. And only me. At this stage in life, I’m simply in a place where I prefer single-player games. But, as I’ve likely alluded to before, my gaming life wasn’t always like that. In fact, I grew up playing games with others — siblings, friends, second cousins first removed — and I enjoyed gaming that way. When a game called for two or more people, I found two or more people to play with. When the game didn’t, but we still had a group of players, we did the ol’ “pass the controller” routine. That’s how it was. It really wasn’t until I was introduced to Super Metroid, and around the same time, PC gaming, that I became interested in a more solitary style of play.

If anything got me back into the world of co-op and multiplayer, it was the Nintendo 64, and particularly the first Mario Party, which is, for better or worse, the only Mario Party game that I can fully acknowledge. I’ve not played Mario Party 2 or any of its other sequels. I can only guess that Mario Party 2 was singled out for this list because it did something better than the original, and that it rose a bit higher in form than its sequels. If you’ve played multiple games from the series, I’d be quite curious to hear about the differences between the games, the standouts and the low points.

So speaking only to the original Mario Party, I can definitively say that it was the most enjoyable party game I had ever played up to that point (the late 1990s). I couldn’t recall for you my favorite mini-games within it (it was the late 90s, when no party was complete without booze and black lights), but I know that we specifically bought a couple N64 extra controllers just to have on hand for the game. And I know that we spent hours upon hours chiding our friends along in games that best belonged in the saturated and bright Mario-verse.

But Mario Party went well beyond winning. At it’s heart, it was all about camaraderie. It really did help bring together different worlds. Among our clan, we had gamers and non-gamers, pop culture elites and moody layabouts, A-types and B-types, politicos and politic-nots…and somehow, everyone was able to come together over Mario Party. Somehow, in the land of mini-games and Mario, nothing about our differences and viewpoints mattered. Of course, the competitive ones might have gotten a little angry at being beaten and the nonchalant ones might have complained about all the seriousness, but nothing during those rounds of play was taken personally or meant to hurt. We were all just there, enjoying the hell out of jumping on each other in order to meet a goal, win a game, or just have a damn good time.

Have I played Mario Party 2?
No, only Mario Party.

If yes, then do I consider it a “must?”

If no, then do I want to play the game before I die?
So my questions don’t really work here, do they? I’d still enjoy hearing from you, any MP fans, what makes the games tick for you. Do you think they are a “must?” I think playing a Mario Party game is a must, because the series really does right by competitive yet fun co-op. The games are welcoming yet challenging and really do make for a great game night with whoever might be around.


  1. I’ll say right off the bat that I am (or rather used to be) a big fan of the Mario Party series. Basically, I’m in agreement with the others here in that Mario Party is mostly dependent on whether or not you have people to play it with. If you don’t, then yeah I’d say the 2 N64 sequels are worth playing 1 short game each. They removed most of the annoyances that the first game had, had mostly better games, and introduced little wrinkles into their maps that were fun rather than frustrating.

    If you do have people you can play with, and whom can play regularly, then Mario Party (especially 2 and 3) becomes something really special. See I have fond childhood memories of the game, but it didn’t really become something awesome until I got to college. There were plenty of people there who enjoyed the game (and were good at it too). Even now I’m still playing the games on a more or less weekly basis with a friend of mine and it’s just kept getting better. Though, I think we’ve taken it beyond what Mario Party was meant to be. It’s become just a much a battle of wits as it is one of coins, stars, and the occasional piranha plant incident. 😀

    So yeah…Mario Party can be pretty fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s so cool that you have someone to play Mario Party with! I think that if I had a tighter social circle, I’d probably be playing it as well. In fact, I strongly considered getting Mario Party 10, just it have a good multiplayer title for the Wii U.

      The one thing I remember most about the first MP game was that it had a ton of minigames, but they were each pretty short. So our group of players could get through them all in an hour or two. And of all the games, we only found a handful that we really enjoyed replaying, so the incentive to revisit the game regularly just wasn’t there. It sounds like Nintendo might have fixed this issue in sequels. MP is ALL about the minigames, so having a strong, fun core of those is key.

      Hmm…now that the holidays are coming up, a Mario Party game sounds like a good thing to have for multiple get-togethers! I might have to look at MP10 again…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I actually never played any of the Mario Parties, as I tended to not have friends who were interested in playing video games with me (sigh). It’s only fairly recently that I’ve known people who are as enthusiastic about gaming as I am, and we do a lot of “pass the controller,” if we’re not playing something like Super Smash Brothers or Mario Kart or LEGO (insert whatever). Maybe this is one to check out, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • In terms of party games, I don’t know of many that top Mario Party. But as one commenter said, they can suck sometimes when playing with people who already know how to play. Still, the mini-games they offer are super fun, and the atmosphere of the games is light and not too competitive. So I think giving one a shot is worthwhile.

      My gaming social circle has varied tons over the years. It’s been big, small, and everything in between. I just go with the flow, and solo gaming is where it’s at for me today. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I only ever had the experience of playing Mario Party against people who owned the game and had mastered all the mini-games. It was essentially an anti-me bloodbath most of the time, so I took no enjoyment from it. I am much more of a solitary gamer too, so I’ve never been hooked on the allure of group gaming.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, that’s one of my issues with multuplayer as well. And it’s kind of catch-22 as well. Because playing with people who know a game is a good way to learn how to play, but it’s frustrating at the same time when other players don’t allow for that. But then, playing a multiplayer game solo doesn’t always work either.

      Ah, screw it…just give me dem single-player games!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’d say if you’re looking to play a Mario Party game, you can’t go wrong with any of the N64 installments. All three are excellent multiplayer games. Weirdly, I heard only this one is available on the Virtual Console.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nintendo is odd when it comes to releasing games on the Virtual Console, isn’t it? But maybe that says something about Mario Party 2 specifically? The series was certainly a hot N64 commodity. Anyone I knew who had that console had at least one MP game for it. It seemed to be a necessary addition to any N64 library.

      Liked by 1 person

    • After I wrote this post, I stared at the cover of MP2 for awhile, thinking that it seemed much too familiar. I’m starting to wonder if we might have rented to way back when and that I actually did play through some of its games. I don’t know; the memory banks are too fuzzy. As I said to Mr. Panda, I think I’ll have to go check out some videos of it. Good to know that it’s a deserving sequel. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ll have to agree with you there. I’ve played every Mario Party (except the most recent 3DS entry), and I’d say that one round of one game is worth playing. Any more is dependent on what company you have. I also prefer single-player games and have done so for most of my life. Mario Party is a great choice for multiplayer, but not necessarily a must-play. I do think that Mario Party 2 is one of the better entries, if you had to pick.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I wouldn’t mind doing a trial run through the Mario Party sequels. I think by the time the second game came out, our social gaming circle had dwindled some, so there wasn’t as much interest in investing in any of the new games. Hmm…maybe I’ll go watch some MP videos…

      Liked by 1 person

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