Mario Party 8 is great for those who love board games, but don’t have a properly calibrated floor to play one on. I was so bored playing the required 80 hours of remedial shoots and ladders needed to unlock all of the party games that I started to appreciate Warhol’s “Sleep”. The party games combine the all the fun of watching real estate infomercials with the innovation of watching a marathon of real estate infomercials.
|No disrespect to Tom Vu, however. In his infomercial, this late 80’s real estate mogul turned seminar hawker/ pimp had a waterfall that he built using the leftover chicks from the playboy mansion. And best of all, he would act like he never saw them. He would give the original crib tour and walk by as if he just had a non-woman waterfall built of regular rocks and Waterfall-Mart bought supplies. He didn’t have a Wiimote, but Mario Party 8 is still many bikini waterfalls short of even having the radness of Tom Vu.|
Let’s be clear, party games are made to be enjoyed while drinking. (There is simply no other explanation for the high water mark of party games, Wario Ware: Smooth Moves.) In the case of Mario Party 8, I don’t have time to sit around trying to unlock a virtual jump rope game while everybody else in the room is drinking up all my tequila.
The charm of the Wii coming to live with me is that at long last girls will play video games. Specifically, my girlfriend’s friends come over, get drunk and jump up and down along with the meth induced diversions of Wario Ware. Even more specifically, my elaborately laid plan to rock the awesome with all of my girlfriend’s friends seems closer than ever to its inevitable conclusion. I see it going something like this: At some point a potential Vu-boy bunny stands up and exclaims, “Damn, we sure have done some crazy shit tonight while playing Smooth Moves and enjoying these delicious frozen margaritas. (Pause for music to start) Why don’t we do something even crazier…” If the final boss stage in Smooth Moves was to hold the Wiimote reach-around style and Ménage away a steamed dumpling, I’d already have been in there.
Mario Party 8 doesn’t even come close. I see that party going more like this: Same female stands to announce, “Damn, fellow bitches, the tequila’s all gone. Video games are for pussies, let’s get out of here and go make out under Tom Vu’s waterfall.”
Maybe the 300,000 plus copies have been sold purely on the titillating thrill of rolling dice, which is what 90% of this game is. The other 10% is actually a plot of some sort. Mario’s hat friend gives his rod to Donkey Kong who mistakes Toad and Yoshi for candy, eats and shits them on Luigi’s new carnival that he bought after dressing up like Bomb-omb to scare up a better deal, and ohh let’s say Bowser shows up and kidnaps all the women. With his tentacles. Here, Nintendo has beautifully set the stage for me to line up the shots, and then quickly turns the game into Virtua Dice Roller.
So how did the originator of the party game become its worst example? In the same way the original flip artist Tom Vu fell from grace: poor execution of a retarded idea. In Tom’s case he spent 90 minutes selling a seminar in which he explained his master plan: Try to make shady real estate deals at 50% of the market price and resell the property before you even close the original deal. He helped you avoid the inevitable intervention with the line, “Don’t listen to your friends, they’re losers!” He was sued for fraud.
Nintendo wants you to spend 90 minutes earning the right to play 90 second mini games that were just as un-fun when they were called Super Monkey Ball Bananawhatever. Their best line, “Magikoopa magic! Turn the train spastic! Make this ticket tragic,” caused the game to be recalled in the UK for a lack of sensitivity to the mentally disabled. Rounding out this excessively long running analogy, both Tom and Nintendo unintentionally angered their fan base.
Officially, I give Mario Party 8 a rating of “Not Superman 64” out of a possible “Is Superman 64.”