Mario Party

Last week, Nintendo released more details for the upcoming Mario Party Superstars, including the fact that it will feature classic N64 boards and minigames. As a fan of Mario Party, more Mario-themed, party-game content will always be welcome. But do you know what could have used some more Mario Party love? Super Mario Party.

Super Mario Party launched back in 2018, and it famously lacked any post-launch DLC support (well, there was the addition of online multiplayer two and a half years after launch). Many, myself included, figured this was just another example of Nintendo milking customers for every dime they have. After all, this is par for the course for the Big N. We haven’t seen a new Mario Kart in nearly a decade, while Mario Kart 8 Deluxe still retails at full price. Super Mario 3D All-Stars was missing an essential part of its lineup (Super Mario Galaxy 2) and didn’t include much in the way of new features. And Nintendo is charging extra fees to play through the library of N64 and Sega Genesis games in their Nintendo Switch Online package.

It was this past weekend, though, when I came to a startling realization: Super Mario Party and the Switch Lite do not get along. Most minigames require use of the Switch’s Joy-Con motion controls, and the Switch Lite lacks the detachable Joy-Cons of the original Switch model. Sure, you can buy Joy-Con controllers for your Switch Lite, but they’re not cheap. Plus, you also have to figure out how to display your game on a TV unless you want to share the Switch Lite’s 5.5-inch screen with another player. Remember, the Switch Lite can’t be docked like the Switch proper.

Per sales figures back in early 2020, the Switch Lite accounted for 30% of overall hardware sales for Nintendo, and that was pre-COVID. For those out of the loop, the Switch was nearly impossible to find during the pandemic, with many people (my sister-in-law included) having to settle for the Switch Lite. Based on this data, why would Nintendo continue to support a game that a sizeable chunk of your player base cannot play without jumping through additional hoops?

Super Mario Party

So instead of worrying about any support at all, Nintendo releases Super Mario Party and says, “Thank you for your $60, suckers!” We then wait three years for any new Mario Party content.

So is this how Nintendo will also handle Mario Party Superstars? Will we get the game we pay full price for at launch without any additional support down the road? I’d like to think that the post-release support for Mario Golf: Speed Rush is an indication that this won’t be the case, but Nintendo isn’t exactly known for being consistent.

Then again, we all know that the N64 Mario Party games are the best of the bunch, and that Super Mario Party was lacking in terms of board depth and minigame staying power. So maybe Super Mario Party was just a fluke, a piece of filler content to tide us over until the real game comes out. Maybe Nintendo’s really putting their heart into Superstars.

A guy can hope, right?

And speaking of hope, here’s hoping we see Partner Party added as a game mode.

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