Mario Retardy: The Mario Party Drinking Game


For full rules, scroll down to bottom of page.

It’s no secret that drinking can lead to some bad decisions. Case in point: After several beer-soaked rounds of Jackbox over at Nick’s apartment on Saturday night (note: two Saturdays ago now – I’m late to posting), my friends once again convinced me to a round of the crassly-named “Mario Retardy” drinking game. Full disclosure: The last time I played this game I was so hungover that I had to call out of work.

Most of you are probably familiar with the Mario Party series by now, but if not, here’s a basic rundown: Four Mario characters compete against each other in a dice-based board game where the spaces you land have various effects. Your goal is to collect stars by making it to star spaces before your opponents. In between turns you play minigames for a chance to win coins that you can use to buy stars and other useful useless items.

As a game that’s determined almost entirely by luck, Mario Party is fairly frustrating for anyone over the age of 12. The random and unbalanced game play makes it maddeningly unpredictable. Winners are often determined by the last few turns of the game. And as a game itself, it is almost universally despised by hardcore gamers.

However, someone apparently discovered that there’s a huge amount of entertainment to be found in letting 4 easy-level CPU’s play and simply watching the game unfold. Because the bottom-level CPU’s are designed with absolutely no grasp on how to effectively play, they make poor or random decisions that lead to their own disastrous self-sabotage. As expected, this injects the game with a bewildering amount of chaos that is actually fun to watch.

The result: Mario Retardy

Players participate by choosing “their character” and root for them as spectators, knowing full well that they have zero control over the actions of the mindless AI. The CPUs play with reckless disregard for strategy or advantage, making the madness that unfolds tense and dramatic. Random events frequently alter the course of the game in the blink of an eye.

So what’s at risk for the players? Simple. Basically, every time your character loses coins, gets hit by Bowser, or loses a mini-game, you drink. Any time your character suffers any generic setback, you drink. When your character reaches a star and doesn’t have 20 coins,  you drink. Don’t underestimate this game either. Seldom does a round pass without taking a drink, if not more.

Watching Mario Retardy is quite an experience, and combining it with a drinking game makes it all the more satisfying. I chose Donkey Kong (aka ‘Harambe’) as my character for entertainment purposes only, distinctly recalling him as the CPU with the fewest digital brain cells to rub together. This later proved prophetic, as DK came in dead last with zero stars and nearly as many coins.

I will freely admit that watching the board is not nearly as fun as watching the mini-games, but maybe that’s because we chose the Mystery map on Mario Party 2. There are a lot of closed loops in this level, and the CPUs wound up bumbling around in circles for what felt like eternity. They also kept landing on each others’s spaces, prompting duel after duel after duel.

On the other hand, the mini-games, especially the team ones, kept our butt cheecks firmly clenched until the bitter end. The Bobsled Run mini-game in particular ended in thunderous applause, as each team passed one another in a neck and neck race. The Dungeon Dash mini-game was also a dead heat. And perhaps because its such a stark example of the game’s shitty reliance on RNG, Bowser’s Big Blast (pictured above) seemed like a party favorite (I use that term with heavy sarcasm).

All around, Mario Retardy is a solid crowd-pleaser because it’s a passive drinking game – you can still chat with others and go about your business while the game plays out. I recommend the basic 20 turns for any play through, mostly because anything more than an hour of that nonsense is sure to rot your brain (and not just because of the alcohol). Need my recommendation on who to go with? Pick Wario.

Mario Retardy Rules:
Best for 4 people, or multiples of 4.

  1. Get a copy of Mario Party, preferably an early N64 one (not tested on later entries in the series).
  2. Put it on 4 computers on Easy. Characters and map can be whatever you want.
  3. Get drinks.
  4. Every person roots for a specific computer NPC. You cannot change who you root for mid-game.

A short drink when your character:

  • Lands on a red space.
  • Is first out of an elimination minigame or lowest on a score-based minigame
  • Gets a poison mushroom
  • Suffers generic setbacks (under 10 coins lost without any gain, sent to wrong part of map by a ? space)
  • Decides to go the wrong way on the board
  • Is 2nd place at the 5 turn remaining mark.

A long drink when your character:

  • Loses 10 or more coins (Bowser, Boo, etc.)
  • Is first out in a Battle Minigame (Mario Party 2 and on)
  • Reaches a star but doesn’t have 20 coins.
  • Is 3rd place at 5 turn mark.

Finish your drink when your character:

  • Has a star stolen from them.
  • Is last place at the 5 turn mark (these can be reversed if you want to make everyone more uniformly drunk, so 1st place finishes drink, 2nd long drink, 3rd short drink)
  • Did not finish first at the end of the game.

Bowser Revolution Rule: Everyone drinks until they have the amount of drink left equal to the emptiest (presently used) drink on the table.

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