There are lots of things that ChatGPT is seemingly perfect for. Cover letters, essay checks, and writing a public statement of apology for Twitter all come to mind. But does it have a sense of fun too? I put this to the test in the only way I know how, by asking for a slew of Mario Party minigame AI concepts to see how they match up to the real deal. To put it lightly, we don’t see many of these ideas making the list of our favorite Mario Party games, but there is something a little uncanny about them.
Of course, while this is a solid bit of fun putting ChatGPT to the test, there is a point to make here. After all, developers from kids in their rooms making Roblox games to those at the top of multi-million dollar studios are slowly starting to experiment with this sort of technology, so it’s something we’re going to have to get used to. Still, with the results of this experiment, I don’t think it’s something we’re going to see fully integrated yet, at least not in the Mario Party series.
My original prompt – ‘Write three concepts for new Mario Party minigames’ – spits out three formulaic ideas in the form of ‘Pipe Maze Mayhem’, ‘Goomba Gauntlet’, and ‘Super Star Sypmhony’. Disappointingly, I have to hand ChatGPT a few points because if there’s anything we know Mario Party loves, it’s alliterative minigames. Fortunately, the devil is in the detail, and the detail here is frankly dull.
‘Pipe Maze Mayhem’ is the dullest of the lot, with the AI detailing, ‘in this minigame, players are placed inside a labyrinthine maze composed of interconnected pipes. The objective is to navigate through the pipes and reach the goal before the other players. The catch is that the pipes constantly change their connections, creating new paths and blocking old ones.’ If this sounds like a million Mario Party minigames you’ve played before, well, same. It’s not awful, and you can tell it’s following the blueprint, but it’s hardly something I’m dying to play.
The second concept, ‘Goomba Gauntlet’, is similarly in the vein of forgettable minigames we’ve seen in other forms before. ‘The goal is to reach the end of the course as quickly as possible while avoiding or defeating the Goombas. Players can stomp on Goombas to temporarily disable them or use power-ups to clear a path or sabotage their opponents. The player who crosses the finish line in the shortest time wins the minigame.’ Yes, this idea is remarkably similar to ‘Goomba Stomp’ from Mario Party 4, but hey, with ten games in the series, we have to cut the robots some slack when it comes to originality. Still, I’m not on the edge of my seat for this one, either.
Things get a bit more interesting with the third concept. Annoyingly, ‘Superstar Symphony’ sounds like something I might enjoy, according to the AI description. ‘This cooperative minigame puts players in the role of a conductor leading a Mario-themed orchestra. Each player is assigned an instrument or a group of instruments, such as drums, piano, brass, or strings. As the conductor, players must follow the rhythm and cues shown on the screen, using motion controls or button inputs to perform the corresponding actions. The better the players synchronize their movements and play the correct notes, the higher their overall performance score.’
This last one feels the most like a Mario Party minigame, both in concept and thematically, even if the description reads more like something from an instruction manual than something, you know, fun? Still, I’d play it. I hate to say it, but I’d play it.
What I’ve learned is that despite some mildly impressive attempts, ChatGPT is still falling short of designing the sort of fun and frolics we expect from Mario Party minigames. Unsurprisingly, it feels like it’s lacking that imaginative edge. While the concepts line up with the formula for a Mario Party minigame, for the most part, at least, the AI seems to appreciate the value of sticking to this blueprint more than it does the value of fun. If we know anything about Nintendo, fun comes first every time. And so it should.
So, those are the results of our Mario Party minigame AI experiment. While you’re here, be sure to check out some fabulous Mario merch with our Mario figure and Mario Lego guides. Or, if you prefer a deep space RPG to Mushroom Kingdom party games, see our Honkai Star Rail tier list and Honkai Star Rail codes.