So, let’s talk about Mario Party instead.
Yes, Mario Party. I hear you moan from here. I’m not a big fan, but when someone says “hey let’s spend the next hour playing this incredibly whimsical and pointless board game”, I do not protest. I just choose my character – usually a princess, which is probably one of the few times I choose an overtly girly avatar – and just let it happen. After all, points do not matter Mario Party. Last died? Here, have a star!
I probably have not played one Mario Party the title in almost a decade, and skips the Wii U part completely ̵
The games we played were a mix of familiar and new – there was one where I had to draw figures in collaboration with another player using a string on a stick board, and another where I piloted a pod on which the other players shot darts. But the last thing we played was the best, and I seriously wish it was a game of its own: Slaparazzi.
In this mini-game, all the players are inside a ring surrounded by small stools that Koopas will randomly climb up to take a picture. Your goal is to be the subject of these pictures, by getting as up and in front as you can, and knocking the other players out of the way in the process. The game shows you each picture when it is taken and scores you on your position in the frame.
The pictures are funny. They never are good by conventional standards, with characters blocked or blurred or trapped at difficult angles. But it is the difficult angles, the players caught in the middle or being beaten, that make it all a joy to watch. It’s just amazing rubbish the way reality shows and tabloids can be, and it turns out that I’m very, very good at knocking people out of the way to vampire for the camera. It was the only mini-game I won all the time my friends and I played.
I have always loved shooting mode in games like Spider man and Final Fantasy XV, so of course I loved Slaparazzi. And as you can imagine, reboot off Pokémon Snap for the switch can not come soon enough for me.
Except of course this is the year I learned to wait. I can wait for a new one Snap, and for Unsung Story to get out of alpha and betas to something more finished, for the right mini-game in Super Mario Party, for Cyberpunk 2077 to work out the problems and for the spring to come again in Animal transition to catch the fish I miss. Earlier this week I wrote about how 2020 was the year for the casual player, and these two titles – Unsung Story and Super Mario Party – has shown me that it is not only the games that are informal, but me as well.