The definitive “Mario Party Is A Shitshow” strip has already been written; indeed, it was written eight years ago. I know this because I wrote it, with my friend and associate Al-Gharib. But they keep making these things, which makes me think that someone must be playing them also. I mean, I can’t one hundred percent prove that. But I bet it does happen. There are those who wring their hands at the “messages” games communicate to our greasy, unblinking larvae, and in this case they might be onto something.
The thing about Mario Party is that it doesn’t really matter if we like it. Nintendo occupies a weird position, not entirely a creature of the industry taxonomy, like, maybe you flip the diagram over and then it just says the word “Nintendo” with a winky emoticon. They’ve had the same problem everyone else does trying to figure out what a console is supposed to mean now, with the added pain of determining what a handheld system is supposed to mean in the age of the smartphone, but if there’s somebody else making games for absolutely everybody - functionally speaking, crafting interactive television - I guess I don’t know about them.
As previously discussed, I don’t (read: can’t) dominate others in games. If you are not Of The People, you might not know that this Mario Party dynamic (rendered here as “winnerism”) exists in board games, also, with much the same division into cultural warcamps. I like crunchy games, I like gritty games; I like games so gritty one feels compelled to brush afterward. I don’t have to win or even have the capacity to win them to enjoy them. I love the sense that they are laying circuitry against the interior curvature of my skull, and when current begins to run their length I hold the edge of the table to keep from blacking out.
I also like “sloppy” games, swingy games, I even like games where one does not shuffle polychromatic wooden cubes. Sometimes a game is simply a medium, a fluid in which reactions of various kinds may occur.