The (Short) Timeline of Party Boards

It’s the main attraction in every of Mario’s Parties, the boards themselves. Just how have they changed throughout the decade? A lot? Kind of a lot? Very little of a lot? Not much of a lot? The idea has remained the same. 4 players (human or computer controlled) play around a particular board, collect stuff like coins, stars, items, etc. That idea has been around, but not much of it has changed, just a lot of stuff added to it. From the simplest of the boards of the beginning, to the more complex environments of the current Mario Party titles. But is it that the more complex, the better?

For the first 3 Mario Party games, there have been a repeat of board-styles. Flat, mainly non-animated stuff, and a very simplistic art style which would resemble an actual board game in real life. Those where fun, until you got tired of plain flatness. Everything was just flat. You got on flat clouds in Mario’s Rainbow Castle, and you got on a train with flat rail-road tracks in Western Land. That’s not a bad thing at all, just funny when you think about it. Everything is flat. I wonder how odd those characters must feel standing around wondering what in the world they have gotten themselves into. I would. Is there even a sky out there? You can’t tell, there probably isn’t. Is the entire map floating in the middle of the air? It most certainly is. At least the mini-games aren’t flat or anything. They have some dimension even though the polygons have a hard time showing that. Which boards are good? Eternal Star is nice even though I didn’t know that outer space was flat. It had enough complexity to be a fun and entertain-able board map to play on. Space Land was fun too. Even though space was flat, and so where all of the designs, at least the thrill wasn’t flat and boring. There’s a lot to watch for there, and that makes it a good board, better than even some of the full 3D complements of the later Mario Party games.

The next installment, Mario Party 4, creates a sense of flatness again, but In 3D. The boards have full animations, are colorful, and exciting to look at. (Not really). A sense of joy and happiness arises. Sure the boards may have some rises and falls, but they aren’t very drastic and don’t really slow or speed anyone up when they reach those roads on the board. I think that this is the perfect board-style any Mario Party has had. It’s not too complex, and it’s not too simple. Some don’t like those boards that are born in Mario Party 5 which have larger distances between the spaces of all the boards. Though the board-style of Mario Party 4 is lesser of resembling an actual board game in real life, it has nice elements which are pretty neat. This marks the last time where flat boards are used. Mario Party 5,  uses full 3D environments with large differences in elevations. This also marks the future of the series on the GameCube. These boards are fun, and they are very neat, but going around them is pretty slow compared to the other flatter boards. It’s not a bad thing, I guess it depends on whether someone likes slow or fast-paced boards. I guess it also depends on the board as well. But with the increased processor of the GameCube compared to the N64, a lot more stuff can be going on at once, which makes the MP5-7 boards be a lot more exciting and entertaining to play on. However, between MP 5, 6 and 7, not much has been changed at all. The board-style remained the same, which just some slight additions with each new installment. Then, it begins to change, and it might be good, or bad.

In Mario Party 8, the concept of a new perspective was given. Now, the camera control of the boards are changed, which creates a further sense of depth for the boards. It’s a fancy idea going through Koopa’s Tycoon Town in this new perspective, it’s really nice. But is it really going to go anywhere with that idea? So far with what is known, Mario Party 9 will have boards more similar to the style of MP5-7, rather, it’s in between the perspective of that, and of the perspective of MP8. But how will the overall style change for the next installment? Who knows, but while the general idea of the board maps hasn’t changed, the visual has, and who knows where the boards will go to next.

Article by madstarr