mario party

Mario Party – the original standard for gambling in video games


Date: 18/06/2018

Gambling and morality go hand in hand, like Mortal Kombat and Nintendo. With the advent of the internet, online gaming casinos are the go-to for spending real money on your luck. If you’re a Nintendo fan, however, you may have already gambled on your luck in the mobile gacha title, Fire Emblem Heroes. If you’re looking to get that sweet new character and your first roll gives you a bad roll, you can always resort to spending money to purchase orbs.

While it’s not a practice you see every day, it has its upsides. In a not-so-financial transaction, Nintendo’s original gambling title has people testing their luck every day. Debuting in 1999, Mario Party set that standard for trying your luck in themed board game maps and mini-games. Nintendo created a title that catered to the luck-based gameplay of a board game with the addictive nature of a slot machine casino.  While Mario Party certainly involves some level of skill, it caters heavily to being in the right place at the right time. I will share an example that primarily puts this into perspective. I’ll bring it up later in the article.

That being said, your level of skill determines your button presses, memory of the game and how it’s played, and item management. The platforming elements of a classic Mario game are a primary part of the core of Mario Party titles. However, there will always be certain games where your RNG will save you or doom you.

The Gambling Part

Mario Party offers you playing with a set level of skill. Memorizing mini-games and hand-eye coordination is a large part of winning. However, so is being at the right place at the right time. Remember that I said a story would come of this? I was hanging with two friends playing Mario Party on GameCube. One friend had the Star lead, but I could get the star from him and still lose. The other was behind. But if I could help him win this part, he’d win. I stepped on the green “?” switch and it let me choose a path. After a minute of deciding, I helped the latter friend. The former was really good at the game and usually won. This, of course, led to my latter friend winning the game overall.

No matter how skilled you think you are, luck will always play a part in Mario Party. It becomes even more prevalent in later games when the game begins to hand out even more than three categories for bonus stars. You could win every mini-game in a board map and still lose because you didn’t hit enough spaces of the right color.

Even in mini-games, skill isn’t a factor. Hit the right color switch and let the RNG save or destroy you. In the case of board maps, with the aforementioned “?” spaces, your fate rolls on a dice – pun slightly intended. The steps you take determine your fate and the spot you land on can make or break you. A single turn can throw your momentum off completely if you end up giving up coins, stars, or meeting Bowser.


Gambling is nothing new in video games, let alone Nintendo. While skill-based play always feels rewarding, some players feel the need to test their luck and see where fate takes them. Mario Party becomes a thrill infamous for the notion of “ruining friendships” because some BS happens that the player has no control over. However, nothing feels more rewarding than those sweet, sweet sound effects of Coins and Stars after a big win, whether you earned it or not.

If you’re looking to test your luck, the Mario Party series is the gold standard – pun once again intended – to get your gamble on. While some games, like Super Mario 64 DS and New Super Mario Bros., offered poker and other mini-games in a casino setting, nothing really sets the bar quite like the series dedicated to them.

Gamble on, friends. You might be getting lucky tonight.

Categories Gaming

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