Not The Mario Party I Remember

March 25, 2015 § Leave a comment

mario party

I have very, very fond memories of playing Mario Party on Nintendo 64. It combined three of my favorite things: board games, video games and the Mario franchise! I don’t think I’ve owned any since Mario Party 3, but I’ve always tried playing them when I could, even the more recent Wii versions.

Needless to say, I was psyched about the the newest version, Mario Party 10; J preordered it so I could play it on release day. I hadn’t read any reviews, partly because all game-related websites are blocked at work (boohoo) and because I wanted to go into it with an open, unspoiled mind since I was planning to buy it regardless.

Well…I didn’t fall in love with the game. But let’s put good news first. My unexpected favorite thing about MP10 is its badminton game (found under Bonus Games). Why is it there? I don’t know. It doesn’t seem to be a minigame that you could play under normal party mode circumstances…it’s like they just happened to make it and stick it in randomly.

And it’s strangely good! I’ve never had the honor of playing a badminton video game (it’s a fringe sport in this industry I suppose), and I couldn’t get the controls quite right (Peach kept lunging and falling down), but it was fun and evocative of the actual sport. Well done.

That said, here are my least favorite things about Mario Party 10:

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The Games We Play

September 11, 2009 § 2 Comments

In Sociology of Gender class yesterday, we had a heated discussion of whether Super Mario Bros. is a gendered game. It was fascinating for me because of my love for the Nintendo franchise as well as my penchant for reading about video game culture. A male student argued that the Super Mario Bros. games are gender neutral, but my teacher pointed out that Princess Peach simply sits around waiting for Mario to rescue her.

Other female students went on to talk about how nobody wanted to pick Peach in Mario Kart because she was the slowest and weakest one, to which a couple of male students objected, saying that Peach was actually one of the fastest.

Frankly, one of the reasons I love Nintendo is because I’ve always felt that it’s more girl-friendly. I’m not saying that as an objective or true statement; it’s simply the feeling I’ve gotten because I love Mario Kart, Mario Party and Super Smash Bros. and never felt alienated by them like I did while watching boys play Call of Duty or Warcraft.

It is indeed true that female characters have been shafted in Super Mario — Peach can hold her own in more recent games, but in the old school Mario Bros. [and even in titles like Super Mario Sunshine], she was pretty much a victim. I never really noticed as a child, but it’s just another example of socialization of traditional gender roles.

With the Mario Kart comments, however, it is quite clear that those girls [and their playmates] never even tried using Princess Peach before jumping to the conclusion that she wasn’t as effective because of her gender. In actuality, Peach is a very good character choice not only in Mario Kart but also in Mario Tennis, Mario Party and Super Smash Bros., to name a few — she’s my first choice for all of those games.

It’s apparent that those people had been socialized to see Peach as weak because of her gender, which is unfortunate as well as sexist. In some video games that I’ve played, such as wrestling, the female characters are rather terrible, but I will defend Princess Peach to the very end.

What The FKCU?!

May 6, 2009 § Leave a comment

I almost had an aneurysm when I flipped to the third page of June’s Nintendo Power and saw an advertisement for this:

[“Your stylist holds the key to popularity.” ?!!??!?!??!?? Unbelievable.]

It’s called Drama Queens, for Nintendo DS. The ad said:

Fashion, Guys, Career…like, how can one girl deal?

Chelsi stole my boyfriend but Hayden is totally crushing on me — must be because of the little black dress I bought after landing a promotion at Fashion Boutique. Step aside, ladies! The competition to be the most popular queen diva is fierce in this ultra-dramatic 3D board game!

Play in four environments from the shopping mall to the fashion runway

Show up to three friends that you’re most popular in two multiplayer modes

Juggle boyfriends, best friends and promotions around Drama Spaces

I can barely contain my outrage, but I will try to express it without resorting to expletives.

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Mario Goes To Chicago

April 8, 2009 § 1 Comment

A malfunctioning warp whistle blows Mario to a land unknown…otherwise known as Chi-Town:

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