Originating from a Dykes to Watch Out For comic strip in the 80s, the Bechdel test has become a shorthand way of gauging representation of women in media. Despite its modest requirements—having at least two named female characters who talk to each other about anything but a man—huge blockbusters like The Avengers (2013) and Ratatouille (2007) flat out fail the test. More popular media than you’d think fails to live up to these meager standards, but Mario Party 7 doesn’t.
Shuichiro Nishiya, Mario Party 7’s director, calls the game “a love letter to diversity and inclusion.” While the core gameplay remains largely unchanged from previous entries, Mario Party 7 adds a lot of poignant character moments for its female cast members. Not only are there four playable women in Mario Party 7, but they frequently have conversations about things other than men.
For example, Daisy and Peach talk about how much they love collecting power stars in several cutscenes, and Birdo even opens up her heart to Toadette talking about her struggles with gender identity and coming out as trans in the notoriously bigoted Mushroom Kingdom, which is unskippable each time. There’s even a special cutscene before the Pogo-a-Go-Go minigame where Daisy explains in gruesome detail her various miscarriages.
Some game critics claim that Mario Party 7’s increased focus on character is a tad distracting and “not at all called for.” Notable game critic Dean Takahashi stated in his review of the game that he “goes to Mario Party to play silly minigames with his friends, not to hear impassioned monologues about how Peach’s mother shoved fundamentalist Christianity down her throat. Also, this game is way too hard.”
Despite what toxic gamer bros think, more representation in video games is always a good thing. While it’s a shame that Mario Party 7 is the only game in the series to pass the Bechdel test, there’s always hope for the future. Hopefully one day, we’ll see an official Tetris game with an openly intersex character.