Evidently, we all love our Mario games. Mario’s various adventures through Nintendo’s Mushroom Kingdom and beyond have delighted us since childhood, and have been doing so since 1985. He’s come a long way on his adventures since then, joined by his brother Luigi and many other notable figures from the cast (obviously, they need no introduction).

Indeed, every Nintendo console since his creation has featured at least one Mario game – he’s loved to the point of being the best-selling video game franchise in the world, even beating out fellow Japanese competitors, Pokémon.

What Are Minigames?

Minigames, as the name might suggest, are shorter games which can either be their own entity, or a part of a main game which needs to be completed before progressing. Minigames normally reward coins or items or features of gameplay. They are a staple in the Super Mario franchise and have helped add a new dimension and given players an extra fix!

Mario Party has, of course, used these particularly well. Part of the reason we love this party game so much is that the minigames are actually integral and essential to the virtual board game in which your characters compete (so they’re not just side notes). Each of the modes varies with each edition of Mario Party that’s released; their importance increasing as the years have gone on – and there have been over 1000 minigames to date. The most recent release, in 2015, places them as of utmost importance, and new characters are added with each release. Minigames have a serious influence on the main game, for example, in Mario Party 5, the intention is to fill the board with your color – and you do this by winning the minigames themselves.

Minigames can ask a variety of tasks from players to shake things up a bit. There’s Revers-A-Bomb from Mario Party 4, where coordination is crucial, and Booksquirm, which truly tests your endurance. Some are entirely random – for example, Shuffleboard Showdown, in which you’re presented with an air-hockey themed casino game, reminding us that in the realm of Mario, nothing is impossible when it comes to fun!

It’s not just Mario Party which uses minigames. For example, in Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, bingo is an in-battle event which helps restore character points. The skills – such as coordination and endurance – that you need for playing the minigames are arguably great for real life, too. A familiarity with bingo, thanks to Paper Mario, for example, can come in handy online. Gamers are becoming increasingly interested in iGaming, as the graphics have improved over the years to match those played on consoles (thanks to being powered by software giants like Playtech). Likewise, playing bingo games online will improve your skills, and thanks to a Learner Room to bring you up to scratch, you can translate these back to Mario itself.

Minigames highlight the creativity of creators, whilst giving players a whole host of fun new avenues to explore.

What Can Minigames Tell Us?

The numbers are clear, as discussed earlier in the article, the Mario franchise is the most successful of all time. The fact that new games are constantly being released with the same characters shows that they are loved, and that people do not tire quickly – in fact, they might well be addicted!

The fact that Pokémon is the second highest selling franchise shows us a few things. Firstly, Mario’s success as a Japanese creation is no coincidence. The Japanese industry creates its own legacy, with countless games showing that the country is full of some of the brightest minds when it comes to games.

Drawing on similarities between the two franchises, as opposed to their differences, both the Mario games and the Pokémon games are hugely successful, and while they regularly release new games with the latest graphics and even smartphone games (Super Mario Run and Pokémon Go, respectively), the simplicity always allow us to come back to the same ideas. Plus, this makes them really easy to play. While each does have its own backstory, you don’t need to know it to jump right in and have a go.

Minigames allow us to focus on the same ‘story’ we’ve always known and loved, while exploring our fix further and giving us something else to focus on than the traditional gameplay. They incorporate new avenues and give us extra in between layers of existing games. They’re accessible for newbies, but equally enthralling for die-hard fans. In fact, they’re part of what keeps the Mario dream alive today!

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