Nintendo has a habit of being slow to adopt popular trends in the video game community, with the company usually preferring to hold back and develop its own wacky technology until those popular trends have become impossible to ignore. HD graphics and disc-based media are two notable examples (though Nintendo has gone back to cartridges for the Switch), but the most obvious example these days is online gaming—which Nintendo treats with something between absolute disinterest and utter contempt. That’s a problem for Super Smash Bros. fans who want to beat up Donkey Kong over the internet, but it’s a blessing for Mario Party players… or at least it was until now.
When it launched in 2018, the Switch’s Super Mario Party had a very barebones online multiplayer component, limited to only 10 specific minigames and without the series’ usual board game component. Now, for reasons that we can’t even begin to guess about, Nintendo has updated Super Mario Party with a proper online multiplayer mode that allows Nintendo Switch Online subscribers to play 70 minigames (out of a total of 80 in the main game) online in the traditional board game mode and other party-style modes.
This comes from Polygon, which has a list of the minigames you can’t play online (they mostly seem to be ones based on rhythm and other details that are harder to perfect when online lag is taken into account). There is, unfortunately, a catch: You can now play Mario Party online. The series is known for being a little prickly, in the sense that it is designed to ruin friendships through “random” dice rolls that always seem to favor everyone but you, but at least in the regular game you have to be in the same room as your opponents. In the regular game, you can screw somebody over by using a special item and sneaking in to get a star at the last second, but you have to do it with the knowledge that they’re in the same room as you and could easily punch you or start to cry—creating an external restriction on exactly how much of an asshole you can be. That’s not the case when playing online, meaning this could create an entire generation of toxic criminals who think it’s okay to behave like a Mario Party player in real life.
Maybe, like with the periodic “hey, you should take a break” messages that Nintendo started doing with the Wii, the company could introduce “don’t be a dick” when people play Super Mario Party for an extended period of time. It wouldn’t work, because you can’t play Mario Party without being a dick sometimes, but it would be nice.