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Release year: 2000 | Players: 1 player | Developed by Intelligent Systems
Paper Mario (Nintendo 64)
Paper Mario (AKA Super Mario RPG 2 or マリオストーリー Mario Sutōrī in Japan) is a 2D / 3D role-playing game (RPG) developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64 console in year 2000.
Back in the old days of gaming Nintendo and Squaresoft, modern day Square Enix, collaborated to work on Super Mario RPG. The game was loved by both critics and the fans, and is today considered to be one of the best titles to have ever come out on the SNES console.
A falling out between the two companies occurred sometime in the 1990’s, and the hopes of a sequel to the darling that was Mario RPG became an impossibility. Squaresoft held the rights to the title of Mario RPG which really put Nintendo in a tight spot. Nintendo was in the unfortunate and awkward position where it they couldn’t capitalize on one of their latest and most critically and commercially successful titles ever. Then came Paper Mario for the N64.
Paper Mario was conceptually similar to Mario RPG. It uses a similar battle system with a few minor polishes and tweaks to avoid any accusation from Squaresoft’s lawyers of being a rip-off. The title was chosen because of the way the game is presented.
Paper Mario on the Nintendo 64 is so titled because all the characters are two dimensional models placed in a three dimensional world. This gave the game a sort of pop-up book look and feel that received well deserved praise from critics and fans of the series.
The game was unique and fresh at the time of its release. 3D was all the rage during that age. Game developers were pushing the boundaries of what could be done in 3D environments. Nintendo’s Paper Mario was a refreshing take on how to exploit a 3D environment that no one had seen before.
The aesthetic philosophy lent itself well, considering that Nintendo was more or less the king of the 2D gaming era. The idea of placing 2D models in a 3D world is a stroke of brilliance that allowed Nintendo to do what they do best while adding something new to the table.
There’s just something about the final product that exemplifies its pedigree of being made by Nintendo. Paper Mario unabashedly revels in its cartoonish, colorful and crazy concept without feeling like it’s trying too hard. The audio effects and soundtracks have that silly and goofy vibe that goes so well with the game’s look.
Aside from aesthetics and sound, Paper Mario for the Nintendo 64 was unique for giving Princess Peach a role in the game. Princess Peach still sits squarely in the role of the damsel in distress. Unlike previous titles however, segments of the game allowed players to take control of Princess Peach to play a supportive role in gathering information for Mario. Her active role in the story and game progression is something to welcome and praise as it makes her more than just the object or plot device that she was in previous titles.
Overall, Paper Mario is a great game for both fans and newcomers. It provides both the young and old with that wholesome kind of fun that appeals to the kid in every person. Nintendo’s games have always found a way to make their players feel like a kid again, and Paper Mario is no exception. In essence, Paper Mario is a fantastic game that plucks the heartstrings of a person’s inner child.
Paper Mario has been ported to Nintendo 64 (this version), iQue Player, and Virtual Console.