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Moments: Mario Party Wounds Entire Household

I was in college when Mario Party came out on the N64, because I am an old person. It was actually the best possible circumstance for the game, since I had roommates who were into the game as much as I was. But then things took a turn for the worse.

If you went back and played the original Mario Party today, you'd notice a few things. First, it doesn't look so hot anymore. Next, it's interesting to see how well Nintendo nailed the fundamentals of the series in the first entry. And then you notice the last bit: There's a lot of analog-stick spinning in this game. If you recall, the N64 had a strange little analog stick, which made it a perfect fit for the overall strangeness of the system's controller. That stick would also be the downfall of our entire household.

I shared an apartment with several roommates during my last few years of college. Like I said, they were all into Mario Party. Oh, how we would stay up, getting increasingly more intoxicated competitive. We quickly discovered that the best way to rotate the analog stick wasn't with a leisurely twirl of the thumb. Nope. The pros (us) would tightly grip one of the controllers' dumb little leg things with their left hands, put their right palms right on the stick, and spin it in a tight circle like they were trying to polish up a rusty trailer hitch. I can still hear the clickety-clacking sound of the stick banging up against its octagonal housing.

But then a horrible thing happened. We started getting sore spots on our palms. Then blisters. We played through the pain, even when bandages stopped helping. And don't get me started on that horrible Fly Guy windup thing. Finally, we stopped playing because it was warm enough to go outside again or something.

It's a pretty silly memory, but for a time there were five nearly grown men who winced their way through way too many games of Mario Party. I won most of the games, too, for what it's worth.

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