Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Video game number one hundred and eighty six: Mario Party 8

Video game review number one hundred and eighty six in my 365 Games in 365 Days project is "Mario Party 8".

Mario Party 8 is another fantastic example of why I hate the Nintendo Wii. I said it a couple of weeks ago when I was reviewing Wario Land Shake It, and I'll say it again: Not every fucking game needs motion control, Nintendo.

I have played several of the Mario Party titles before. I bought one of the first ones for my nephews and nieces to play on their N64, and ended up enjoying playing along with them. Later, I think I got them a sequel for the GameCube, and I know I've played a version of Mario Party on the DS. The series always features a dynamic board that you hop around on (like Monopoly, only cooler)...and a ton of fun mini-games that you can play when you land on certain spaces. Collect coins and stars, use power ups....button mash, yell at the person next to you on the couch. In short, it's a board game...but it's great.

Mario Party 8 takes that formula and fucks it in the ass with the stupid motion control bullshit. Imagine what might happen if someone decided to buy the rights to all of John Hughes classic movies and re-release them in 3D, because that's what kids are buying tickets to these days. Ferris Bueller, The Breakfast Club and Weird Science...all in 3D!!!!! Ok, that last one might be kind of cool, but for the most'd probably feel like your childhood got raped just a little bit, right?

I enjoyed my first game of Mario Party 8. I was able to achieve a fairly substantial victory over Mario (using my favorite go-to character Toad), and I found the use of the WiiMote only mildly annoying compared to the fun I used to have playing this series with a regular video game controller. Unfortunately, the fun was short lived, as my next game involved many more mini-games that started to force me to use the Wiimote more and more. I should point out that some of these games are exactly the same as the ones I played on the N64, only now...they've been needlessly updated to support Nintendo's motion controls, which (I must add) don't work worth a damn.

As you read this, I don't want you to assume that I hate this because I'm "old-school", or because I hate motion controls. That's just not the case. Motion control in gaming has it's place...but there's a fine line as to which games need to be "updated" to include it. If you're going to take something that isn't broken and "fix it", you'd better do it extremely well. Why make someone waggle their hands around when a button press not only works better, but it feels better? Why update something just to update it? Here's a great review I found that sums up exactly why I hate this one.

I know that Nintendo is printing money with the Wii, and I might be in the minority here...but I really don't think every game they have needs to be a "waggle your controller" game. Sony has motion sensing in their Dual Shock controllers, and they almost NEVER have you use it....unless it really makes sense. Want to walk across a balance beam? That's a good time for it. Want to shoot someone, jump...or do something else you're going to do 100 times in a level? They don't employ the motion sensing, and that's a good thing. Of course, Sony is in last place in console I guess that's saying something about what people like these days.

When Microsoft comes out with Kinect later this year, it looks like they're going to be focusing strictly on family, dancing and exercise games for all that motion stuff. Personally, I think this is smart. If they'd tried to take Halo Reach and turn it into a game where you're pointing your finger at the screen pretending it's a gun, I'm pretty sure that experience would have sucked balls. I'm also pretty sure that would be the first Halo game I'd leave on the shelves.

I know Nintendo isn't for hardcore gamers anymore. I've come to terms with that. I know now that if I want to play a Nintendo game, I'm probably going to have to gyrate around on my living room floor like the Star Wars Kid. It's hard to accept, but I'm slowly coming to terms with it...and becoming less and less interested in Nintendo every day. They have games where they do it right, but there are so very few that it's a precious gem when you finally find it.

Overall Score? 3.5/10. There's a very decent possibility that this could be the last Mario Party game I'll ever play. If I ever get nostalgic for the series, there are 7 other titles that did it better than this piece of dog shit. It's only getting a 3.5 because of the fun I had outside of the terrible controls. That experience was as fun as trying to cut the mold off a piece of fruit so you can eat only the "good parts."

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