Losing by Dumb Luck: Mario Party

The process of playing Mario party typically goes something like this. Everyone begins on even footing, a few players use their skill to win a bunch of minigames, tensions build as players struggle over the precious few remaining resources, and after the final turn, just when it seems like everything is set in stone, bonus stars come in and turn around all of the rankings.

To play Mario Party is to go in with the expectation that you control your own fate, only to be devastated by the RNG gods. In order to “misplay” Mario Party, I figured, why not skip all of the drama, and let the chaos of randomness do their magic.

To do this, I set up a bot which auto played Mario Party 7. In the true spirit of random numbers, the inputs that the bot uses are determined by the lottery results collected over the last 15 years. The lotteries used were Powerball (P1), MegaMillions (P2), EuroMillions(P3), and SuperEnalotto (P4). Because the bot only pressed functional buttons (A, B and the directions), accommodations were made so that mini-game instructions were never displayed.

The result of the bot controlling 4 players can be seen below.

The results of this are fairly entertaining on their own. We learned that remarkable skill is needed to play some of the minigames (in many instances the games timed out and ended in a tie), and that the developers though far enough ahead to ensure that players are never trapped in mini-game hell. In addition, without the instructions, many games were hardly recognizable, which perhaps speaks a bit about how forgettable some of these mini-games were.

That said, this on its own wasn’t quite satisfying. Since all the AI’s were equally bad at the game, there was no feeling that “luck” played a real role. I then ran another session of the game pitting the Powerball, MegaMillions, and EuroMillions AI against Mario Party’s Weak AI.

This provided a bit more excitement. For one, it was endearing watching the lottery AI’s struggle to compete with the weak Mario Party AI, and it was all the more satisfying each time they triumphed with the help of dumb luck. In addition during the partner games, it was equally endearing watching the Mario Party AI try to carry the lottery AI to a win. The excitement at the end was heightened even more, as even though the weak AI had a significant lead, the final bonus stars almost gave the Powerball AI the win.

Misplaying the game in this way revealed a bunch of things. For one, the investment in the game itself was the highest during the moments of actual pure chance, and that a skill gap between the players can in of itself provide a source of drama and entertainment.

Side Note: There was a take where the Lottery AI’s ended up winning (with some impressive clutch plays), but that footage was sadly lost :<

Related source code here: https://github.com/FourSwordKirby/LotteryMarioParty