Mario’s a video game Renaissance man -- there ain’t nothin’ he can’t do. Dude’s a great tennis player, masterful kart driver, expert princess-rescuer, and knows how to throw one heck of a party. Mario Party and Mario Kart both lean more towards accessibility than hardcore balance, but they still make for a good time when played with a group of friends. Though the execution is slightly different, these two mega-franchises center around one very basic idea: screwing over your pals and taunting them about it. Now let’s put them on the chopping block to see who wins out and who gets blue-shelled at the last moment.
Best Entry: Mario Kart: Double Dash. Skilled players excelled at Double Dash’s game mechanics, and less-skilled players could still find fun in the team/kart building and varied courses and game modes.
Worst Entry: Mario Kart Wii; still a solid game, but this one’s a definite B, while most of the rest of the Mario Kart series is an A or higher.
Likelihood to make players scream in anger: Very high.
Thing that stings the most: Getting smacked with a blue shell seconds before you would’ve crossed the finish line in first place.
Best Entry: Mario Party 3. This entry saw the best balance between the series’ trademark randomness and the creativity of its mini-games.
Worst Entry: Mario Party Advance. Mario Party is only fun when playing together with your friends, and adapting it to the Game Boy Advance doesn’t exactly make multiplayer easy.
Likelihood to make players scream in anger: It’s not a likelihood… it’s a certainty. If you’re going to play Mario Party, someone’s going to get screwed over, and they’re probably gonna wig out about it.
Thing that stings the most: Being in first place until one of the game’s billion random elements kicks you to the curb and takes away all of your hard-earned stars.
Mario Kart continues to try new things with its formula, each title is more competitively balanced, and it’s still fun to play by yourself. Mario Party may be a lot of fun, but there’s only so much randomness, screaming, and star-stealing that a person can take, and much of its fun is contingent on how reasonable/rowdy your group of friends are. There’s no contest, here: Mario Kart is the clear winner.