Ah, Mario Party – a series full of bright colours, charming characters and absolute, rage-inducing gameplay that can make even the strongest of friendships end in tatters.
Lots has been said about the series' dice rolls in the past, with some players believing that you must have some control over the rolls you make, others thinking it's probably random, and some going as far as to suggest it's likely rigged. When you consider the importance of each roll – higher numbers tend to offer better opportunities for board progression – it's quite surprising that we still know so little about how it all actually works.
That is, until now. The folks over at DidYouKnowGaming? have explored each and every Mario Party title to determine once and for all how the dice roll is calculated. In the video below, the team presents their results after testing the original game on N64 right through to Super Mario Party on Switch, looking ultra-closely at gameplay footage frame-by-frame and consulting speedrunning experts for their advice and thoughts on the matter.
As you can see, it appears that each and every game in the series, no matter how the dice rolls are presented on screen, does not allow the player to influence the dice roll in any way whatsoever. In some cases, the roll is already pre-determined before you even hit the thing, while in others you're simply receiving a random number, no matter how well you try and time your hit.
It was perhaps to be expected, but next time you have a Mario Party dice rolling around above your character's head, finding yourself trying to time a perfect strike to get a lovely '10', don't waste your time.
Say Whaaaaaaat? Intresting. This should make Family game nights more fun.
In all the Mario Party games that I've played over the years, I've never even considered the possibility that it wasn't random. It always felt like that was the case.
Did they observe behavior, or did they actually look at the game's programming? The latter will tell for certain.
Really the big question is why no DLC?
You can't convince me it's not skilled based, 8 year old me was a master of dice rolling!
@KingMike They used an emulator to roll the die several times over on the exact same frame. The outcome was "random", meaning even if you were a machine timing the throw precisely, you wouldn't be able to predict the number.
In Mario Party 1 it's even worse, since the die roll for each player is determined before each round starts.
@HerroThar Why is that worse? Why does it matter when the random numbers are generated, so long as they are new for each game/round?
@StevenG Because then the dice roll is completely cosmetic. At least choosing when your random number is generated gives you a modicum of control. As much as you can’t choose which number is being generated, you’ll get a different number depending on when you jump. If it’s before the round, you get that number regardless.
Weren't there items that slowed down the dice roll?
We like Mario Party on Switch. As with all board games, it's the randomness that makes you boot it up for another go every now and again. I don't particularly feel it needs dlc as if you're playing with others it's got plenty of life in it as no 2 games play out the same way. Agreed that if you play single-player only it's weak, but frankly I never bothered with previous Mario Party games prior to Mario Party 10 when I was on my own for that very reason.
@nessisonett Dice rolls are supposed to be random. Dice are a very old form of random number generation. Control over a dice roll would be a bug not a feature in real life. It means something is wrong with the dice or the surface being used.
Again, since it is random it doesn't matter if they generate it a little early.
Now I really feel dumb for wasting time waiting to get the perfect roll.
I mean, yeah. I never thought this wasn't the case honestly.
Well dang, I was wasting my time then! I guess it is back to stealing all available allies in Super Mario Party then!
@StevenG Random Number Generators aren’t random. Usually they generate a number due to an algorithm by using a seed like the internal clock or number of keystrokes. There’s no such thing as random. Dice also aren’t random. Dice generate a number based on angle, speed etc of the throw. You can absolutely influence a dice roll in real life.
@nessisonett There are absolutely hardware random number generators, that are truly random. These hardware random number generators often use radioactive decay. Seeding by a clock isn't that common anymore for pseudo-random, maybe 20 years ago. Now it is done by input timing, noise on a radio, random environmental noise is fed into an entropy pool then those are used as seeds.
That you can influence dice is a bug not a feature.
We asked this expert analyst whose been playing for video games since pong. He claimed "It's rigged if I don't win." There you go folks science.
@StevenG Therefore if you reverse engineer the unknown data, you can find the ‘random’ number. There is no such thing as random. There is only hidden variables. If we knew every single piece of data about a dice roll, be that air resistance, angle, the gravitational effects on the roll, we could work out what number it will land on. It’s not random.
It would be interesting to see how the RNG works in Fortune Street. I save-stated the crap out of that game in Single Player mode and the dice were almost always rigged against me. Also, the results of the Round The Block minigame are predetermined (it doesn't matter when you stop the spinning blocks).
I almost find it hard to believe. I played Mario Party 1,2,3,&4 extensively and at least in those I was able to choose which number I wanted 90% of the time. Maybe I have good reaction time? I don't know... but thats my experience.
Nooooooo, don't destroy the magic and the myth. Were you not children once? When you'd pretend blind stupid luck was actually skill. Haha those were the days. I'll still time my press, get that 10 and quote Jack Burton "it's all in the reflexes".
@nessisonett If you can’t influence the outcome it is random.
@nessisonett No, that's not how it works. Please go read about modern random number generation.
As I said Dice are an old method, that has those issues.
@sixrings the big question is why the full game is not playable with friends online
All of my timing.... it was for nothing....
$1000 that speedrunners have known this stuff ages ago and DidYouKnowGaming only just now decided to make a video on the subject.
I feel you...
i noticed what influences the roll of the die; at least in the GameCube versions of the game. only in Mario Party 4, i am always able to get the number on the die that i want to get; at least when it comes to moving across the board. maybe its just me or dumb luck or whatever you want to call it.
I would like a video on what impacts the stupidity of the CPU players in Mario Party. at times they get good rolls, but always make very poor choices; like using a magic lamp to go after the star when they do not even have enough coins to collect the star. why would a CPU player set to a difficulty of hard do such a thing?
I never really paid attention to the fact that a RNG formula was used in Super Mario 64 for the movement of the bad guys and coins. but it doesn't matter to me that much since i have been playing Super Mario games for so long that i can play a few of them without even looking at the screen. unfortunately, i am only able to do that with a few of the game-boy games as well as Super Mario 64 (N64 version only). in order to so so, i have to memorize not only the starting position of Mario, but also the starting positions of the different bad guys (off screen and on screen, their speeds, and their possible directions in reference to where Mario is, where he moves, and how fast he moves. i have done so out of boredom. unfortunately, i can only do this with 40% of the game. i know that there are others out there that can probably do the same. its a good thing that Animal Crossing stopped by to save us all...LMAO
@ChaosBadger777 without voice chat I don't see the point of online. Both voice chat and online are needed in all of switch multiplayer games. I'd like to talk to my friends while playing them during lockdown. And I don't want a work around to do it. This isn't the dreamcast Era.
OK, but I'm sure I know the exact moment to push the button in Pokemon to make the ball catch the Pokemon.
So pretty much, it doesnt matter and I can continue to play, as my boy Luigi? Gotcha, not that I would have changed characters, most likely anyways.
@sixrings to be fair I mostly play online with my wife and we are sat next to each other so voice chat isn't as big an issue on most games for us.
I do agree with you that lack of voive chat is still a glaring omission from the NSO service, along with parties and a messaging system between friends.
@StevenG That is fascinating stuff on the truly random hardware generated numbers.
Every Mario game cheats. We all have played Mario Kart.
Now that I know the dice rolls are rigged in Mario Party, I can feel better about Animal Crossing Amiibo Festival. You definitely have some control of the dice rolls in that game.
What Nintendo could do for future games is maybe incorporate Labo. I'm thinking a cardboard die that you build and then insert a Joycon inside. Once physically rolled, the NS would be able to read the resulting number depending on the position of the Joycon inside the die. If this was to work, predetermined dice rolls would be eliminated.
@CoastersPaul This needs to be answered!
@StevenG Hehe, yes, you're right. I meant that it only feels worse in MP1, since the timing of your jump doesn't change the outcome in the slightest, since the rng decides on the value before the round starts. You can run MP1 in an emulator and restart the round a hundred times without rolling anything but a 1. Ofc, you still have no actual control of the outcome in any of the other MP games either - and who'd bother try and cheat MP in an emulator anyway - but it feels a little different to me nonetheless.
When do u think we might get new boards in super mario party...?
Well any random number generator is going to be seeded off the clock.
As such, it would be possible to alter the numbers based on timing
@Clammy Maybe in MP1, later than that I would hope they were using noise from periphials.
@Batty5 Very affordable to.$50 for one that uses an avalanche effect on diodes. Which is going to be as random as radioactive decay. You can also find APIs that give you access to someone else's hardware RNG. Either way proper randomness is doable in a very small and cheap package, something like the switch can do it internally, or at least with it's periphials.
@StevenG : for a Mario party game? Doubtful
@Clammy Why? If you have two or more bluetooth remotes with IR on half, you have perfectly good sources of random.
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