The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

Mario Party 8: Embrace Your Inner Child

Written by: Big Ross, CC2K Staff Writer

ImageAs long as there have been movies, there have been adults and hence, movies made for adults. And no, I’m not talking about porn; get your mind out of the gutter. I simply mean language, situations, and themes more appropriate for adults than children. However, the world of gaming has a different history. Back in the day (the late 80’s, early 90’s) games were made and marketed primarily for kids. The big names were Mario, Link, and Sonic. All were cartoonish, one-dimensional, and for the most part, non-violent. Fast forward to present day and developers are vying for the attention and devotion of adult gamers with “grown-up” titles for the Xbox 360 and PS3 like Bioshock, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, and Grand Theft Auto IV.

And then there’s Nintendo, who with the development and release of their next-gen console, the Wii, have staked their position proudly alongside kids. But that doesn’t mean they’re marketing their products strictly to the 13 and under crowd. Take a look at the following, a commercial for the Wii:

Now, how many kids did you see actually playing the Wii in that advertisement? I’ll give you the answer: zero. So, you might be asking yourself, what the hell is BR talking about? Stay with me on this, I’ll get to my point momentarily.

If you were to take a look at a list of games available for the Wii, from the titles alone I’m guessing you’d probably agree that the majority seem more appealing to a 10-year-old than a 26-year-old. And that is precisely what I thought about Mario Party 8, until I played it.



Whatever this character’s designer was on, I’d like some

I’m sure that many of the games for the Wii are really more fun for a 10-year-old than a 26-year-old, but if Mario Party 8 is any indication, there are plenty that can be enjoyed by us grown-ups too, provided we’re willing to check our inhibitions at the door and not be afraid to cut loose a little. I mean, how ridiculous would it look for a group of adults to be synchronously waving what amount to TV remotes wildly through the air? But that’s my point. Mario Party 8 is so damn fun that you forget how comical you might look to a casual observer.


The setup is brilliantly simple. You begin by choosing from a number of what essentially are digital board games. After a brief introduction of the rules by the “ringmaster” (I don’t know this character’s name, but given that there is a circus theme to the game, that’s how I think of him) each player gets a turn to hit a dice block, and advance through the game board. After everyone has their turn, there is a mini-game that is chosen at random. You can get a taste of what some of these games are like from this:

And that’s really where Mario Party 8 shines. The real fun to be had here is in these mini-games. The winners of them are awarded gold coins, and you can get additional coins in a variety of amusing ways around the game board. The way you win the game is to amass stars. You can win them, steal them, or (most commonly) buy them. But first you have to get to them, and that’s not always the easiest thing to do.

And that’s pretty much it. Simple, right? So easy, one might say it’s child’s play. But make no mistake; Mario Party 8 is not just for the kids. It’s every bit as much fun for the 26-year-olds (or for that matter, the 46-year-olds) as it is for the 10-year-olds, provided you haven’t locked your inner child away. Why not let him or her out for a while? Wii would like to play.