Nostalgia is an interesting thing, and it usually brings back the best in our memories. That along with great times shared, creates what our Throwback Thursday posts are all about. The game that sparks this feeling in me, and one of the titles that gives me the best memories is Mario Party 5. Though super Smash Bros. Melee was very close to taking the cake for some of my best memories, (thanks in part to the amazing Nintendo soundtracks available for play) but Mario Party 5 provided something not even Smash Bros. could. Mario Party 5 had the unique ability to create both competitive and cooperative play within minutes of each other, while providing an amazing array of almost endless possibilities and gameplay stances for its time. Mario Party 5 was the game to play back in 2003. Creativity is what made Mario Party 5 such a fun experience. Everyone loved their gamecube, and the release of a title that would allow for that niche Nintendo market to duke it out on their purple box, while still sitting next to each other and enjoying the gameplay together was the call to arms for all Nintendo owners. Something Mario Party 5 did right, was give players the ability to team up in board matches. Playing what I still consider to be some of the best stages in the franchise, Mario Party 5 gave players that teamed up the cutest team names. The “cutest couple” if Mario and Peach were paired together, while a Boo and Toad pair are deemed “Scardey Toad” it’s little touches like these that had my friends and I remember exactly what couple we played as to this day. I’m sure a big part of my nostalgia factor is being able to play couch co-op with such a bright and brilliant centerpiece that Mario Party 5 created, with its array of different styled mini-games.
4 Player, 1 vs 3, 2 vs 2, Battle, Duel, and Story mini-games all made their appearance, and the inability to know what you’d land on always had us hoping and guessing which type of game we’d play next. Unlike Mario Kart where a simple item could ruin everything at any moment, Mario Party 5 had a nice balance where if something did go wrong, it was most likely your fault during gameplay and not the fate of the random game mechanics. I can still remember going along the Future, Pirate, Toy, Undersea, and Rainbow dream board game tops while playing in partners or alone, and fumbling through fun mini-games and completing the story, just to go back and play another round.
And that’s why I chose Mario Party 5, because out of all the nostalgia filled best moments I’ve had while playing a game, this title was the only one that allowed for me and my friends to continuously play and discover something new almost each time. Whether we’d done the mini-game or the stage before, there always seemed something fun and new to discover, and discovering these secrets with friends was the best part of all.
Though I feel the more recent Mario Party titles (with the exception of 8, cause I loved 8 as well) have lost that special something that Mario Party 5 initiated, i’d still like to thank Nintendo, Mario and friends for creating a sense of nostalgia that’ll be hard to ever forget.