Why is Mario Party: The Top 100 coming to 3DS and not Switch?

Mario Party: The Top 100 is a collection of the 100 best minigames from past Mario Party games on home consoles. It’s releasing on November 10th for Nintendo 3DS, not the Switch, and I have no idea why.

Mario Party games are (duh) party games built to be played with a group of people. The first one released in 1998 on the Nintendo 64 console. There have been 10 entries in the main series so far, spanning home consoles from Nintendo up to 2015’s Mario Party 10 for the Wii U. Nintendo has also made four spinoff titles on portable consoles, most recently Mario Party: Star Rush on 3DS systems in 2016. None of the portable Mario Party games were received very well, and the sales numbers for all four titles show as much.

The main reason the portable versions weren’t well-received is simple — Mario Party is categorically better on a home console. Party Mode, the main multiplayer mode in Mario Party, sets players in one vehicle on a themed board, and players take turns rolling special dice and moving through the board. But what really puts the “Party” in “Party Mode” are the minigames. Some spaces players land on will trigger a minigame, which can be a free-for-all, 2v2, 1v3, etc. The minigames have an almost endless variety of themes and goals, but they all generally last no more than a couple minutes. Players receive a certain amount of stars, depending on how well they preformed, and at the end of the game, the person with the most stars wins.

Even if you’ve never played a Mario Party game, that sounds like a game you want to sit on a couch and play with friends on your TV, right? In my experience, it’s one of those games you suggest when your family or friends are around and you want to play something that’s fun and easy for anyone to pick up. Only one person has to own the game, and up to three other people can join in. Even just as an observer, it’s fun to see what space the group lands on and how everyone handles the silly, fast-paced minigames.

So Mario Party: The Top 100 would be perfect for Nintendo’s new hybrid console, right? You and I might think so, but Nintendo doesn’t. Bringing it to the 3DS could have been a nice idea if online mutliplayer was incorporated, but unfortunately only local multiplayer is available. And since the 3DS doesn’t have those nifty Joy-Cons that can be split and shared with a second player, everyone has to have a 3DS to be able to join the game. That just seems counterintuitive to Mario Party‘s “pick up and play” style that both gamers and non-gamers alike can enjoy.

I’d love a Mario Party game on my Switch. I don’t want one on my 3DS. I got one of those last year with Mario Party: Star Rush. We love having friends over to have dinner and play games, and I would appreciate another pickup and play Nintendo Switch title to offer besides Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. I’d gladly accept Super Smash Bros. to fill this need as well, but that’s a whole other soap box.

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