The Mario Party series have always been an acquired taste. For some, it was a great mini-game compilation of sort which brought about some exciting multi-player get-togethers with friends. For others, it was a cheap and rotton luck-based party game that ruined friendships and sometimes caused blisters on people's sweaty palms (well, that last thing I mentioned only really happened with the first ever Mario Party game where the majority of Mini-Games required you to spin the flimsy Nintendo 64 Anolog Stick in a 360 degrees motion as fast as you could, leading to alot of broken N64 controllers and extremely sore hands).
Over the years, Nintendo in conjunction with developer 'Hudsonsoft' (which are sadly no longer around anymore since being bought out by Konami) have brought us plenty of Mario Party games for each and every Nintendo console ever released since, including some crappy handheld versions aswell. The question everyone would probably ask is, has all the cash-ins and constant sequel-releasing overload caused the games in the series to dwindle in terms of overall quality?.... The answer is Yes and No.
I have played through all the Mario Party games and have put every single one of those Mini-Games through it's paces and after doing so, I can honestly say that my favourites games in the series are Mario Party 2 for the Nintendo 64, and Mario Party 4 & 5 for the Gamecube. They just seem to have the most varied, user-friendly, and well thought-out Mini-Games in the entire series.
Mario Party 4 kicked off the series for the first time on the Gamecube with a nice 60fps high quality presentation & beautifully made 3D character models and game boards. It was a sight to behold after transforming from it's blocky and dated Nintendo 64 look.
This game is getting harder to obtain and the price is going up due to demand. It also doesn't help that the stupidly released PAL Version was a 50hz-only release meaning that region is totally not worth bothering with, not the mention that the Japanese version is virtually impossible to get around due to the language barrier. For these reasons, the NTSC USA region is the superior version and I'd highly recommend it to anyone interested in having a multi-player blast with three other friends.