Picture this: It’s Friday night. You’re hanging out with your friends and you are all super bored. You throw around suggestions for different activities you could do together, when it happens: Somebody suggests that you play Mario Party. You hear a collective “NOOOOO” from around the room, but for some reason, you decide to play anyway. You know what you’re getting yourself into, because you’ve been here many times before, but through all the collective screaming matches, and middle fingers, you can’t say no to a rousing game of Mario Party with your friends. What is it that draws people to a game that they know will inevitably ruin friendships and raise stress levels? Do they get a certain enjoyment out of such torment, or at the end of the day, is it just a way to get out any rage towards their friends? These are the questions that surround not just Mario Party, but other popular multiplayers as well, such as Mario Kart or Super Smash Bros.
This video features a group of friends playing Mario Party 4. You can see their frustration levels increase as the game goes on.
Mario Party has been around since 1998, and remains a popular multiplayer game today. It has been able to move through the different generations of Nintendo consoles successfully, and inspire a new generation of players with each release. Nintendo recently released its latest incarnation of the game, titled Mario Party 10, which features most of the original mechanics with some new additions to accommodate the newer generation. Since its release in 1998, groups of all sorts of people have come together to play it, whether it is family, friends, or even strangers in a tournament setting.( http://challonge.com/psumarioparty5) While the game can be very fun, it can also be immensely frustrating. One could even say that it can cause rifts in friendships, due to the ultra-competitive nature of the game. What is so frustrating about the game you ask? Well, simply put, the game has unfair, and sometimes cruel tendencies that are magnified when a group of competitive players come together. Players are never 100% sure that they will come out on top, even if it seems like there is no possible way they could lose. This adds a certain amount of suspense and stress, seeing as it is anyone’s game, and you never know what to expect. This is where the fortune space comes in. The fortune space has the power to completely shift the inventories of the players, meaning the player who has 10 stars, and the player who has none can swap everything they have, leading to a vocal outburst from the player giving their victory away. After the yelling and tears, all goes quiet, until the next angry outburst from a shafted player.
Now why is it that people continue to play Mario Party, and other games like it, even when they know a screaming match is likely to ensue? Well, it is likely that people get a certain enjoyment out of letting all of their anger out on their fellow players. What other time can you yell at your friends just for the sake of yelling? It’s a major stress reliever believe it or not, to be able to just let it all out. Plus, at the end of the day, the game is quite fun, and it gives people a chance to be social gamers, rather than solitary gamers. It may ruin friendships during play, but afterwards, everything will hopefully return to normal, and friends can laugh about the experience they just shared together.