Listmas 2016: Mario Party’s 5 Best Minigames

December is here and that wonderful holiday season feel has come along for the ride! It may be a little early, but I’m already feeling the need to party! Hmm…putting together a real party takes time though, so how about some Mario Party instead? Any takers? Anyone? …Ah well. I’ve long been a fan of the Mario Party games, the N64 versions especially. I don’t know if it’s simple nostalgia or not, but there’s just something about the way these games played that still elevates them above the later entries in my book. Maybe it’s the way the boards always managed to throw wrenches into a games’ outcome. Maybe it’s the simpler game play they offer. Or perhaps it’s that their mini-games are still a blast to play, and the following five are the very best!

#5 – Chip Shot Challenge (Mario Party 3)

(Video By YouTube user: KvacYo)

It’s just hitting a golf ball into a hole, but somehow the tension always gets real. You carefully line up your shot, give it just enough power, and then hold your breath. Closer…Closer! No! Wait! Stopstopstopstop…NO! It rolled down the hill… 😦 Most intense game of golf ever!

#4 – Bowser’s Big Blast (Mario Party 2)

(Video By YouTube user: NintendoMovies)

Okay, so this one isn’t so much about outplaying your friends as it is watching with baited breath hoping that you’re not the one who triggers the bomb. Not so fun when you’re the one that gets blown up, but extremely funny every other time!

#3 – Face Lift (Mario Party 1 & 2)

(Video By YouTube user: Nintendo64Movies)

I just love the fact that they took that little Mario face stretching activity from Super Mario 64 and turned it into an actual minigame. Bonus points go to the Mario Party 2 version for making it so that only the person with the best score wins the game. There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get when you manage to inch out your buddies by just a single percentage point of accuracy!

#2 – Shy Guy Says (Mario Party 1 & 2)

(Video By YouTube user: Mystic Falcon)

I honestly don’t know if I love this game or hate it. On one hand, it always makes for an intense game. One the other hand, shy guy is just plain evil. He doesn’t want you to win. Not even a little. Nope, all he wants is the chance to either set you adrift or make you fall to your doom. He never hesitates to dole out the consequences of failure, and he always does it swiftly. That’s why he wears the mask, because he doesn’t want you see the sheer delight on his face when he gets to off another player! The stakes are real in this game, for better or worse (probably for the worse).

#1 – Stacked Deck (Mario Party 3)

(Video By YouTube user: NintendoMovies)

I had to think for awhile before deciding which game got the top spot. I was originally going to award it to the game I felt took the most skill to win, but then I realized that Mario Party isn’t really about skill. It’s about the luck of the draw and playing without fear of the consequences. With that in mind, it had to be “Stacked Deck”. This game embodies everything that Mario Party is. Winning and losing is based entirely on the luck of the draw and the decisions you make as a player. Sometimes your choice results in a victory, sometimes it results in a defeat, and sometimes it just causes utter chaos! This is the game that you want to show up on the last turn of any Mario Party session. Anything can happen, the tension is always real, and it really is like playing a miniature version of the larger game.

Oh, and I’ve also got a couple of honorable mentions too!

Shell Shocked from Mario Party 2 – because when are you ever going to get to have a tanks battle with Nintendo characters?

Bumper Balls from Mario Party 1 & 2 – It may always end in a draw, but it’s the face of these games. (Who knows? Maybe someday someone will actually win it!)

All Shy Guy Games from Mario Party 3 – The event: a surpise. The stakes: everything. Fail and you take a hammer to the head. Succeed and you get to partake in the greatest thrill Mario Party has to offer!

What are your favorite Mario Party mini-games? What makes them stand out to you?

Lede image captured by Hatm0nster


  1. Matt says:

    Great list. Although I must say I am surprised by the choice for number one.

    Bumper Balls, Slot Car Derby, Face Lift, Chip Shot Challenge, Shy Guys Says, Mushroom Mix-Up and Messy Memory are some of my favorites I can remember right now. I am sure there are dozens of others, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hatm0nster says:

      Yeah, I had to think about it for a bit. There may have been some better choices (was actually considering Mushroom Mix-Up for a bit), but the most intense and fun games of MArio Party I’ve played always seemed to have Stacked Deck show up in the last couple of turns. Stakes are always high for battle games in the last 5 turns or so.

      Love Slot Car Derby and Messy Memory too! They’re both a bit more difficult than they seem, so it’s kind of a surprise every time.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Matt says:

        Those Battle Games are always nerve-wracking, especially towards the final turns of the board.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. duckofindeed says:

    I forgot how fun the Mario Party mini games could be until I read this post, though the only Mario Party game I’ve ever played was the third one. I remember Aces High being one of my favorites because you got to fly around in a little plane and shoot people down. Good times.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mr. Panda says:

    Nice list, although I will admit to actively hating Bowser’s Big Blast. It makes me nervous, and I hate the random element of it. Face lift is a great choice though. I love the co-op games in Mario Party. At this point, I don’t remember which ones they’re in, but it’s this one game where you have to toss a light-bulb around to keep it away from the Boos in this dark hallway. It’s a rare example of a minigame where you work together. Sometimes, I’ll pick it from the menu and challenge friends to get through it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hatm0nster says:

      I know that one, it’s called “Running of the Bulb” from Mario Party 1. Indeed it is very different from the Mario Party norm of direct competition. I don’t know if I particularly like it, but it does make for a nice change of pace.

      The first Mario Party is actually the only one to feature games like that. Every one of the sequels (unless something changed in 9 or 10) focuses entirely on competitive games rather than including co-op games.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Mr. Panda says:

        The bosses in Mario Party 9 and 10 (and probably also the new 3DS game) are co-op affairs too. They’re probably the best parts of those games.


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