Paper Mario Articles RSS Feed | Paper Mario RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Nintendo Treehouse Live Shows Paper Mario: The Origami King Fri, 10 Jul 2020 13:45:07 -0400 Josh Broadwell

With E3 cancelled this year, we obviously didn't get any Nintendo presentations this summer. But we did get a surprise Nintendo Treehouse Live focused in part on Paper Mario: The Origami King.

The Paper Mario Treehouse segment gave us a deep dive into the game's early stages, showing off gameplay, and thankfully skimming over potential plot spoilers for those who want to go into the game with a clean slate.

In a throwback to Color Splash, portions of the world are missing. King Olly's minions have ripped chunks out, and it's up to you to fill the holes in with paper scraps gained from battles and the environment. It's worth your time as well, since you'll often find lost Toads who go back to Toad Town and later offer you some important benefits.

The Treehouse segment focused on the opening area, Picnic Road. Alongside portions we've seen before with the road gradually winding up towards a hill, there's a Koopa Troopa shrine further down and a Toad shack near the river. Here you'll find a number of side scenarios unfolding apart from Mario's primary journey, some of which you can't access until other events take place in the main story.

Almost every area is stuffed full of detail and Toads, with plenty of clever references to past Mario games and foibles. And you can explore almost entirely as you please, thanks to Paper Mario Origami King's interconnected areas.

Picnic Road leads straight to Overlook Mountain without any need for a map or hub world. You're supposed to follow the streamer to find a member oft he Legion of Stationery, but there are plenty of rewards for those who take the time to drift off the beaten path and find them.

We also got to see the Paper Mario Origami King battle system in a bit more depth. Like we already knew, you'll have a limited period of time to manipulate the battle arena to line up your foes. Successfully doing this means you can basically finish most regular battles in one turn; failing means your enemies take a big chunk out of your health.

Coins are plentiful in Origami King, and one thing you can use them for is adding more time to the battle arena timer. And you can pay off Toads to help out with the ring and do some minor damage to enemies.

Your standard Boot and Hammer attacks never go away, unlike Sticker Star. But you can get a number of extra attack items like the Iron Boots that augment your abilities, e.g. letting you stomp on Spinies. These, however, are consumable.

Boss battles are a completely different affair. In these, your goal is getting to the center of the arena, while also planning your route to activate key tiles and either damage the boss or keep it from acting. Each round changes the icons and dangers Mario needs to navigate around, but you can still call on Toads to offer some guidance if you need it.

Bosses shift their patterns towards the end of each battle, but naturally, the Treehouse segment ended before showing us what to expect there.

Paper Mario: The Origami King launches July 17 for Nintendo Switch, so stay tuned to GameSkinny for our Paper Mario Origami King review shortly after that. If you can't wait for more Paper Mario, though, check out our dig into the best Paper Mario moments of all time.

Paper Mario's 5 Most Memorable Moments Thu, 09 Jul 2020 12:24:06 -0400 Josh Broadwell


Paper Mario Color Splash's True Ending


Paper Mario: Color Splash was bound to be a divisive Paper Mario game, but it still has its fair share of good moments.


Spoilers ahead, of course.


Conceived in that odd period where Nintendo insisted it knew what fans wanted and needed because the Wii and DS sold well, Color Splash continued Sticker Star’s unfortunate — and unnecessary — trend of trying to distinguish itself separate from RPGs. The result was still ultimately an RPG (go figure), but one with a few vital points taken out.


The trade-off was getting to enjoy the gorgeous environments and colorful characters Mario encountered this time around. Huey might not get the most attention, being cursed as the obligatory tutorial character. But he’s one of the best side characters since The Thousand Year Door. That’s largely down to having more personality than the likes of Kersti, who was basically just a Starlow rehash, or the Pixls who just… existed. 


Huey’s a scrappy lil’ guy with a wide range of emotions, some quick-witted retorts, and a penchant for breaking the fourth wall in as dry a way as possible. Maybe it’s because you’re in his world, restoring color that he represents, but Huey also seems more closely tied to Mario and the Color Splash journey.


So you really feel it at the end when that one thing happens, much more so than the end of Sticker Star. It’s the first time since TTYD where Paper Mario managed to pluck the heartstrings again, even more so because you don’t necessarily see what happens next unless you get the secret ending.


There are no Disney-style Mario tears to bring Huey back to life this time. It’s a subtle moment where Huey (in the yellow circle) rejoins the fabric of his world, and this story comes to an end.




Our picks for the best Paper Mario moments are just the beginning. The series is brimming with memorable moments, so sound off in the comments and let us know yours! Paper Mario: The Origami King is set to release on July 17, here's to hoping for many more memorable moments to this new entry to Mario's most unique spin-offs.


Luigi as Mr. L


Poor Luigi. He’s been in the limelight just as long as his sainted brother, but despite having his very own (and very fun) spinoff series, Luigi never gets the same kind of love and attention. Paper Mario adds insult to injury most of the time.


In the original, Luigi quietly stews in his own jealousy while Mario’s off on a grand adventure. His only reward for tending the home fires, making sure meals are cooked, and generally whiling the time away by pining for a better life is leading the parade on Mario’s return. Mario’s parade — not his.


In The Thousand Year Door, Luigi tries setting off on his own adventure paralleling Mario’s. He’s off to rescue Princess Eclair in the Waffle Kingdom. Do we get to hear about it? Only in long bouts of exposition. 


Super Paper Mario finally sees Luigi come into his own. He’s briefly playable, but more importantly, he’s a recurring enemy. He even has a big destiny and important role to play, as foretold by the ancients.


Granted, Count Bleck brainwashes Luigi and turns him into Mr. L. to “help” him fulfill that destiny. But you gotta know Mr. L constantly harassing Mario, attacking him, and trying to be the hero was really just the true Luigi crying out for validation and love. Poor Weegee.


Bowser Doing Anything in The Thousand Year Door


Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga started Bowser on his road to comedic relief. But Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door proved the Koopa King’s talents were decidedly not strongest in the evil villain department.


TTYD shifted Bowser from the primary antagonist role he occupied in the original Paper Mario to that of wannabe bad guy always left behind.


Bowser never catches up to Mario, let alone Peach, until the very end. Which is just fine, since it leaves plenty of room for a variety of antics between him and Kammy Koopa.


These are definitely some of the game’s — maybe even the series’ — funniest moments, whether Kammy’s mourning the loss of her brown bag blimp lunch after Bowser refuses to take a ride or Bowser’s terrorizing the inhabitants of Rogueport.


His role in TTYD also made Bowser playable for the first time ever in Mario games, which is kind of a big deal. It probably isn’t a stretch to say the Bowser segments were the precursor for the Mega Mushroom. You have two goals: destroy as much as possible and get swole while doing it.


These aren’t touching like Peach’s segments. They’re just fun because breaking things is fun and breaking things as Bowser is even more fun.


Peach + TEC


The first Paper Mario introduced a side story for Peach. It was an interesting way to give Peach a new level of relevance while showing off life under Bowser’s occupation, but it also felt somewhat non-essential.


Peach outwits Bowser’s cruel and dense guards to find information that helps Mario on his quest. Maybe it would have been different if Peach’s segments were more common.


Either way, non-essential is definitely not how you could describe Thousand Year Door’s side story for Peach. It’s miles ahead of the original, and aside from being probably more relevant to the overall story than Mario’s own actions, it actually managed to be touching as well.


Slight spoilers follow.


Peach is once again held captive in an enemy stronghold. This time, she strikes up an unusual friendship — unusual because it’s with a computer, the X-Naut main system TEC XX. It’s friendship for Peach but something more for TEC, who falls in love with the Mushroom Kingdom’s most eligible princess. That’s a strange scenario that could easily just seem farcical.


But repeated conversations and interactions where TEC proves his devotion, plus that bittersweet dancing mini-game and TEC’s final sacrifice, make it touching and add a great deal more weight to Peach’s role in Thousand Year Door, particularly when considering what TEC knows about the X-Naughts’ plans.


Yes, it’s technically a series of best moments, but Peach and TEC’s story is still one of the best Paper Mario moments.


Meeting Your First Partner


Meeting Goombario in the original Paper Mario might seem like a strange choice for one of the best Paper Mario moments, but it was a sign of something big and new for the famous plumber and a big step up from his previous RPG adventure.


Don’t get me wrong. Super Mario RPG is a great game with plenty of memorable characters (looking at you, Geno). It’s also very much a Mario-meets-Squaresoft game.


All of Mario’s new partners and friends in Super Mario RPG, and even the villain, are slightly random. A talking cloud-mellow, what's basically Pinocchio in blue, and an evil sword thing determined to supplant Bowser as Chief Bad.


There’s nothing wrong with that. Heck, it’s the kind of adventurous experimentation a lot of games need anyway — but Mario embarking on a brand-new adventure with Mario characters by his side like we see in Paper Mario is something special.


Here was the start of a journey delving into the Mushroom Kingdom and putting its stars at the forefront instead of leaving them as supporting cast. And more than that, it gave everyone much more personality, even former enemies.


The irony of a Goomba idolizing Mario (how many of your forebears has his squashed, Goombario?) is uniquely Paper Mario, but even aside from setting the game’s comedic tone, it showed there was a lot more to the Mushroom Kingdom than just jumping high.


Paper Mario is one of Nintendo’s most beloved spinoff series, and it’s not hard to see why. Every game, even the iffy ones, are oozing with charm and character. And every game has at least one big standout moment that grabs your heart, breaks new ground for the series, or is just incredibly fun and ridiculous.


With Paper Mario: The Origami King lurking just over the horizon, we’ve combed through the Paper Mario series and picked out five of the best Paper Mario moments ever.

Paper Mario Origami King Has an Open World, Rotating Cast Wed, 01 Jul 2020 15:03:10 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Game Informer recently previewed Paper Mario: The Origami King, which yielded a great deal of information about the newest Paper Mario game. For one thing, Paper Mario Origami King has a kind of open-world setup, and you won't want to get too comfy with your partner characters either.

Origami King boasts a number of massive areas, and since the game isn't built around chapters, you're free to explore as you see fit. The goal is reaching the five members of the Legion of Stationery. Each one guards one of the five streamers winding their way throughout the world, but Intelligent Systems told Game Informer they aren't just in one place waiting for Mario. They're also scattered around the world.

Aside from finding bosses, Mario encounters a number of side quests and "one-off" events, so it's worth exploring the world.

As for how you'll get around Origami King's open world, you've got a number of different transport modes. There's on foot, of course, but there's also a boat and a boot-shaped car. Periodically, Mario gets caught up in airship segments too, where you'll have to fend off enemy (paper)aircraft.

Origami King partner characters like Bobby the Bob-omb don't stick around forever. Intelligent Systems designed a rotating cast so you don't have to decide which friends you should bring along. Olivia, however, remains by your side the whole time.

We already saw a few new details about Origami King's combat, but one new tidbit is you can spend coins to get extra time if you need to mull over how you want to arrange your foes.

Toads you rescue along the way can offer hints too, if you pay them of course. And those same Toads — assuming you rescue them — flock back to Toad Town and open up important shops or areas of the town as well.

You can check out the full preview and interview over on Game Informer. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Paper Mario: The Origami King news as we near its July 17 launch date.

Paper Mario: The Origami King Trailer Unveils Partners, Locales, Lots of Toads Fri, 12 Jun 2020 11:20:33 -0400 Josh Broadwell

We finally know more about Paper Mario: The Origami King thanks to a brand-new meaty trailer Nintendo dropped earlier today. It's all about environments and combat, and yes, partner characters make a comeback.

Professor Toad, Kamek the Magikoopa, and Bobby the bob-omb make appearances. And of course, there's Mario's constant companion, Olivia, sister to Olly the Origami King. It seems not all partners can actually help Mario out in combat, but we do get to see Bobby land some hits in a short scene.

This trailer also expands on the ring-based combat system briefly shown in the Origami King reveal trailer. Each turn has its own timer, during which you can line up the concentric rings that make up the battlefield and slide pieces around to put more enemies in range. How you'll arrange them depends on what your attack is. Jumps go in a straight line, for example, but hammer blows fan out wider and don't stretch back as far.

The trailer also shows items and attacks, like Shiny Jump and Shiny Hammer, alongside special moves based on classic Mario items such as the Tanooki Suit, Pow Block, Fire Flower power-up, and so on.

Combat takes place in a myriad of zany, gorgeous environments ranging from Toad Town to an autumn-themed mountain, a lush jungle, a "ninja-filled mansion," and a whole lot more. Each area seems to be stuffed with things to uncover and explore, and that's even without the mini-games like finding Toads hidden in everyday objects.

At the end of each area, you'll run into a member of the Legion of Stationery, origami supplies come to life to do Olly's evil bidding. There's the devious colored pencil set, an evil tape dispenser, and a sentient pile of rubber bands, among other things. Combat changes during these encounters too, turning into puzzles where you must plot Mario's course to the boss and figure out the best ways to deal the most damage.

We're just over a month away from Paper Mario Origami King's release date on July 17. That probably means there's more new information to come, so stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Paper Mario Origami King news as it develops.

Nintendo Reportedly Releasing Super Mario Remasters for Switch Mon, 30 Mar 2020 11:43:11 -0400 Josh Broadwell

[Update: 3/31]. Video Games Chronicle, who first broke the story, provided further clarification today about Nintendo's plans. The outlet says its sources confirm VentureBeat's report of a special anniversary Super Mario collection, of a more traditional Paper Mario game, and also that Nintendo plans to add more Super Mario titles to the Nintendo Switch online catalogue. Super Mario 3D World Deluxe is reportedly planned for a 2020 release with new content and levels as well.

The original story follows below.

Rumors have said this is a good year to be a fan of Nintendo's mustachioed plumber, and a new report from Video Games Chronicle suggests that's very true indeed. The report says that according to reliable sources, Super Mario remasters are coming. Nintendo is remastering almost every Super Mario game for the Nintendo Switch in honor of the series' 35th anniversary.

What's more, there are several brand-new Super Mario titles in the works, including a new Paper Mario game.

Of course, VGC didn't name its sources, but the site has gained a reputation for not reporting on hearsay unless there's some element of truth in it.

The report also says the announcement was originally planned to coincide with Super Nintendo World's opening, news about the Super Mario movie, and a big E3 2020 event. With E3 2020 cancelled, Nintendo is reportedly working on a different approach.

Nintendo declined to comment on these rumors when VGC approached the company, though, saying it "does not comment on rumor and speculation."

It's unclear which Super Mario titles would get the remaster treatment and which might be left out if this turns out to be true. However, Eurogamer recently added to the rumors. The site said its sources confirmed the VGC report, saying Super Mario Galaxy on Switch is one of the remastered titles, and Super Mario 3D World is getting the deluxe edition as well.

Gematsu also confirmed those long-lived Super Mario Sunshine HD rumors were true, and it plus Super Mario 64 remaster is coming to the Switch. Eurogamer corroborated this report too.

The original story is over on Video Games Chronicle. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Super Mario on Switch news as it develops.

Getting Started in Achievement Hunting Fri, 17 Nov 2017 16:47:07 -0500 Allison M Reilly

Were you always one of those players who enjoyed hundred-percenting video games? Or, are you one of those players who can't help but collect every Unusual Gem in Skyrim or find every single Star Piece in Paper Mario? Then, you may be interested in achievement hunting; of course, that's assuming you're not already an avid achievement hunter. Here are some tips for achievement hunting that will definitely help if you're new and might provide some insight for pros.

Define Achievement Hunting for Yourself

Obviously, achievement hunting is collecting all the "cheevos" in various video games. But, what counts as a "cheevo?" In modern games, some achievements are counted during gameplay, such as completing a quest or completing a level without taking damage. Other achievements, such as hundred-percenting a game or beating the game a certain way can be harder to quantify or record. Some achievement hunters want to collect as many achievements as possible from as many games as possible. Some focus on speedrunning certain games and earning world record times. Others still want to accomplish specific feats, like The Mexican Runner beating all 714 NES games.

When deciding to become an achievement hunter, it's important to decide for yourself what achievements you want to hunt and what "achievement hunting" looks like for you. The definition of success is easily manipulated by outside pressures, and in this case, achievements and achievement hunting can be boxed into what the games, tracking sites, or even communities say they are or aren't. Therefore, when getting started in achievement hunting, you need to define success for yourself so you're not letting the rest of the world define it for you.

Get Used to Reading, Making, and Editing Lists

A big part of achievement hunting is the list of achievements you are hunting. It could be the games you want to hundred-percent, or what you need to do to hundred-percent a game, or the list of Steam achievements for a particular title. Whatever type of list you're working with, understand that reading, writing, and editing them is almost inescapable in achievement hunting.

For example, a quest I'm strongly considering embarking on is playing all of the games in the 2nd edition of "1001 Video Games to Play Before You Die." Fortunately for me, someone already took the time to put all the video games listed into an Excel sheet. I've downloaded the Excel sheet, but if I am going to take the time to play 1001 games, then I do need the list to have more information. So, I'm editing the list by adding columns to track which games I own, which games I've played, and how long I should anticipate taking to beat each game. Editing this lengthy list can be a quest in and of itself-- there are 1,001 titles after all-- but the task is necessary to ensure I complete the overall quest as well as each individual game. Google Sheets is a similar alternative to using Excel.

Besides Microsoft Excel, an excellent tool for creating lists is Airtable. Airtable is a free-to-use program that's similar to Excel but has much more functionality. For example, users can link to pictures and have them show up as a thumbnail within the cell. Airtable also allows users to create color-coded dropdown menus. So, if you wanted to create a list of your video game collection in Airtable, then you can create a color-coded menu of all the different consoles in your collection and give each console its own color.

Overall, lists are a core component of achievement hunting and going forward it's something you very likely will need or want to seriously consider becoming proficient in.

Think About Joining an Online Community

Achievement hunting is a marathon, not a sprint. It took more than three years for The Mexican Runner to beat all 714 NES games. It took Stallion83 about six years to reach 1,000,000 Gamerscore. Motivation can be hard to find at times. However, there are plenty of online communities and social networks where achievement hunters can find both motivation and camaraderie.

There is TrueAchievements for Xbox users, TrueTrophies for PlayStation users, and TrueSteamAchievements for Steam users. RetroAchievements is for older consoles like NES and Sega Genesis, but the only downside is players have to use the site's emulators in order to track achievements during gameplay. Two good sites for cross-platform achievement hunting are Exophase and MetaGamerScore.

The sites are nice if competition and rankings help you stay motivated; all of the sites show you in comparison to other players on the site. The sites track not only individual achievements, but also track total achievements and have separate rankings according to geography, a particular game, or based on specific features. TrueSteamAchievements even allows users on the site to have a blog on their profile, and there is a ranking for your number of blog followers.

It's Time to Start Achievement Hunting

Achievement hunting can seem overwhelming, especially after you've set up your goals, made your lists, and gotten a glimpse at how other players are fairing. But, you're probably farther along than you think! If you're thinking about taking achievement hunting seriously, then it's very likely you already have completed a few achievements on some of your favorite titles. So, you're not starting from scratch. Being an achievement hunter is a matter of getting started and playing some great (and some not so great) video games. Ultimately, though, you are fully in control, so remember to have fun. Now, get to it and start earning some cheevos!

If The N64 Mini Rumor is True, These Games MUST Be Included Thu, 27 Jul 2017 17:50:29 -0400 Zantallion

Nintendo's got mini fever right now. Hot on the heels of last year's NES Classic Edition, they've gone ahead and announced the SNES Classic, which, in the same vein, is a tiny version of the legacy console packed with some of its best games. While people scramble to preorder the SNES Classic before it's sold out forever, we're instead looking to the future. With the miniaturized NES and SNES confirmed, it's only a matter of time until the Nintendo 64 gets its due. And while there's some obvious inclusions (Mario 64, Starfox 64, and Ocarina of Time are locks), there are a few murkier additions that should make the cut if Nintendo really wants its next Mini console to really represent its classic offerings.

Donkey Kong 64

First off is Donkey Kong 64. Although Rare's Microsoft-owned status likely nixes classics like Banjo-Kazooie and Conker from appearing on the mini N64, Nintendo and Microsoft appear to have come to an agreement when it comes to Donkey Kong. All of the Kong characters and main villain, King K. Rool, are owned by Nintendo. The sticking point in the process before was the Rare-owned retro minigame Jetpac. DK64 managed to get a virtual console release though, so Nintendo re-releases clearly aren't off the table. It's a darn good game, and unless a Banjo-miracle happens, it's the best chance we have to get Rare content in on the N64 Mini.

Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards

Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards is another beloved title and the perfect way to get Kirby onto the N64 Mini. He's had titles on both the NES and SNES Classic, and Kirby 64 could continue that tradition.

Kirby 64's colorful visuals, fun, peppy music, and 2D nature would help it stand out among the rest of the N64 Mini's offerings. It also has the benefit of having the very creative power combo system, which still has yet to make a resurgence in the franchise. It not making the jump to the Mini would be a tragedy, so hopefully Nintendo agrees and ensures it has a spot.

Paper Mario

Another mainstay of Nintendo's mini-me's so far has been the inclusion of a classic, era-defining RPG title. NES had the original Final Fantasy, and the SNES has Final Fantasy 6 and Super Mario RPG. But with Square having jumped ship on the N64, what RPG title could fill the gap? None other than the classic Paper Mario will suffice.

The Paper Mario series has come to be a beloved franchise even separated from its series of origin, and while its last few games have had a less than stellar receptions, the first two games are still just as beloved as ever. Paper Mario not making the paper-cut would leave the system without its best RPG, and I have faith Nintendo wouldn't leave it off.

Pokemon Snap

This one should be a no-brainer, but given Nintendo's odd predilection to altogether ignore Pokemon Snap, it could very well not make the cut. Not only has Nintendo continually ignored the deafening cries for a sequel (which the Switch would be perfect for, by the by), but the game also has competition in the form of Pokemon Stadium 2. Ideally, the N64 Mini would be able to host both of its inspiration's premier Pokemon titles, but with its list of titles likely to be shorter than the SNES Mini's 21, the idea of two Pokemon games might get nixed early on.

Sin and Punishment

Now let's get into the more obscure titles. Sin and Punishment isn't the most well-known N64 title, and that's not by coincidence. The original title wasn't released outside of Japan, but the demand for it to come West was eventually enough for it to make it to the international Wii Virtual Console. The response to the title coming to the VC then resulted in a sequel being made for the Wii. As a rail shooter, Sin and Punishment would provide a different genre than most other possibilities, and having it be on the international N64 Mini would be a nice way to finally bring the title full circle.

Wave Race and 1080 Snowboarding

Wave Race and 1080 Snowboarding are two of the N64's best multiplayer games, but unfortunately, they don't get nearly the amount of love that other multiplayer games do. Multiplayer titles like Mario Party and Mario Kart are basically definites for the system, but these two are a little less likely. If Nintendo wants the N64 Mini to succeed outside of just its rarity, a diverse set of multiplayer games is needed, and Wave Race and 1080 Snowboarding are perfect to do that.

Bomberman 64

Speaking of multiplayer games, there's one title that is a 4-player necessity: Bomberman 64. The Bomberman series is a perfect example of the adage, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Despite the main concept being basically the same in every title, Bomberman has always been the bomb when it comes to it's multiplayer. Hudson and Konami, the owners of the franchise, have been on board with prior Minis, with Castlevania entries making the cut for both the NES and SNES Minis, and Bomberman himself getting a slot on the SNES. Hopefully, that streak won't be broken and Bomberman 64 gets a place on the N64 Mini.

Mother 64

The SNES Mini was announced with a big bombshell title attached to it -- Starfox 2, a never-finished, never-released sequel to the SNES's original title. After over a decade of leaked early ROMs, developer interviews, and abandoned ideas, a title thought to be lost forever was getting an official release. So how could the N64 Mini ever hope to top that? By coming with it's own lost title -- Mother 64.

Mother 64 was originally set to be Mother 3, the sequel to the game we Westerners know as Earthbound. It was eventually canceled, and a later project eventually became the ever-requested-for-localization Mother 3 we know today.

But Mother 64 was set to be a completely different game than the Mother 3 that came to be, and was, according to various interviews, over 50% done by the time it was canned. It even had a huge, playable demo at Nintendo's Spaceworld 1999. If Starfox 2 could be completed, and Nintendo can finally let it see the light of day, the N64's best equivalent -- and the smartest decision for Nintendo -- would be finishing up Mother 64 and including it on the micro-console. After all, there were already jokes about Starfox 2 being released in the West before Mother 3 was. Could you imagine the reaction if a different, unreleased Mother game beat Mother 3 to the punch?

And those are our picks for what Nintendo ought to include on the N64 Mini. So what do you think of our choices? Were there any obvious games we missed? Are there any other lost titles that you think should be resurrected? Let us know in the comments below, and we'll keep you posted on any developments regarding the N64 Mini rumors.

Is The Paper Mario Series Dying? Wed, 04 Jan 2017 11:00:02 -0500 Rob Kershaw

The once-celebrated Paper Mario series has had a rough few years. At one point it was considered to be one of the highlights of the plumber's deviation from the platformers which made him famous. However, recent releases in the RPG series have seen diminishing returns, and with good reason: they're simply not as good.

Where Did The Story Go?

The first game in the series, Paper Mario, was a revelation. It followed on from Super Mario RPG genre-wise, but established an entirely unique aesthetic in the process. It looked great, it sounded great, and proved that the iconic character really could hold his own in a genre more traditionally populated by teenagers with blue spiky hair and huge weapons. The Thousand Year Door took things even further, with reams of text and a wonderfully weird story that was lauded by players and critics alike.

But with the release of Sticker Star on 3DS, something changed. The focus shifted away from the story-heavy elements that embodied the core of the previous titles, in favour of more accessible gameplay. This, in part, was due to Miyamoto himself questioning whether a story was required in the latest iteration. He may have had a point: the 3DS already had another RPG series in the form of Mario & Luigi, and there was a risk of saturating the handheld with two similar franchises.

However, it could be argued that Mario & Luigi is a comedy RPG series, in comparison to the (ever-so-slightly) more serious tone of Paper Mario. The mechanics of the brothers' franchise were also much different to the solo plumber's quest in Paper Mario. Either way, something was lost in Sticker Star and subsequently the Wii U's Color Splash, despite the relentless meta-jokes and self-referential winks to the red one's career. Humour alone does not make a story, as critics were quick to point out.

Where Did The Fun Go?

A lot of the blame for the decline in Paper Mario's quality can be laid at the feet of the gameplay. Sticker Star simplified many of the game's elements to the point of dreary repetition. Encounters were frequent, and the actual combat was dull. Color Splash basically substituted stickers for cards, but went one step further by attempting to incorporate the Wii U's GamePad into proceedings. The result was disastrous; each round involved you selecting the cards you wanted to use, then selecting the power of each card, then flicking the cards at the TV from your controller. The GamePad's process added literally nothing to the game that couldn't have been handled on-screen, other than extending the length of combat to tortuous levels.

Combat also turned out to be a closed loop of pointlessness. Rewards from battles were either coins which could be used to buy cards, or cards themselves. There was no levelling up, no experience to be gained. At times, your HP would be increased when you reached particular points in the game, but otherwise there was no incentive to fight. After a few hours of playing, you'd be forgiven for dodging battles as frequently as the game would allow.

Fun, it wasn't.

Where Did The Sales Go?

Even taking into account the gameplay changes, when it comes to commissioning a new iteration in a series, the bottom line is king. Unfortunately, sales is perhaps one of the biggest issues the Paper Mario series is suffering from. Color Splash bombed horribly. VGChartz reports that it sold 420,000 units as of November last year. Compared to Sticker Star, that's a drop of over 80% in sales.

Of course, the 3DS has performed admirably worldwide, unlike the Wii U's nosediving unit sales, but when you consider that the original sixteen-year-old title on N64 sold three times as many copies as Color Splash, Nintendo will surely be weighing up the series' future when the Switch is launched.


Is it the end for the once-lauded franchise? That depends on two factors: the appetite for another chapter, and the performance of the upcoming Switch. Fans were vocal about the perceived "dumbing down" of the last two Paper Mario games, and in particular the similarities in Color Splash's gameplay which many felt were simply Sticker Star's mechanics retooled for the Wii U.

Similarly, Nintendo will likely wait and see what the uptake of their new hybrid console is before pitching another Paper Mario title. If their failed console taught them anything, it's that more of the same simply isn't going to sell. It's also not beyond the realms of possibility that they'll be facing off against another Mario & Luigi title, given the portable nature of the Switch. The future isn't looking too rosy for the paper plumber's RPG outing but, as is so often the case, Nintendo may yet surprise us all.

What are your thoughts on the Paper Mario series? Can it bounce back? Let us know in the comments!

Top 5 Weirdest Things You Can Eat in RPGs Sat, 10 Dec 2016 08:51:39 -0500 Unclepulky

Sometimes, the food our characters eat in RPGs can be rather strange. And even weirder can be the status effects that they have. From increasing HP to curing all sorts of diseases, food in video games can at times make you scratch your head. 

From the odd but edible to things that have nothing to do with food (but your character can eat anyway), these are the Top 5 Weirdest Things You Can Eat in RPGs.

5. Cup of Lifenoodles (Earthbound)

As tasty as these noodles seem to be, the concept of this food item is just odd. It's a cup of gas station ramen noodles that have the power to instantly get rid of any of the dozens of status ailments present in Earthbound. This means that these noodles are an all in one miracle cure.

From asthma to blindness, homesickness to poisoning, and unconsciousness to uncontrollable crying (!), there's nothing this soup can't cure.

(Oddly, real-life Ramen noodles, while tasty, are nearly the complete opposite. Just look at those nutrition facts!)

4. Dog Salad (Undertale)

Tongue in cheek humor is one of the most endearing aspects of Undertale. It flows into every part of the game, including the food items available for purchase.

There are an assortment of edibles in the game, some of which sound rather tasty. Among these are butterscotch pie, the glamburger and the Legendary Hero, a sandwich shaped like a sword.

However, there are plenty of strange, and frankly inedible, items as well. And topping them all is Dog Salad.

Yes, it's exactly what you think it is. Dog. Salad. 

This (gross) item increases your health at random intervals, and accompanying each amount of health gain is a different, sometimes gross, recipe: 

  • Oh. There are bones...2 HP is Healed
  • Oh. Fried tennis ball...10 HP is Healed
  • Oh. Tastes yappy...30 HP is Healed
  • It's literally garbage???- All HP is Healed 

Yeah, it gets a little weird. 

3. Pillow (Dracula)

Do text based games without any graphics count as RPGs?

Probably not, but this is too funny to not include.

In Dracula for the Commodore 64, you play as the Prince of Darkness himself, and type in commands for him to follow and act out. One of these is the "Eat" command. You can make him eat just about anything, including, of all things, a pillow.

And, what does the greatest vampire to ever "live" have to say in response to swallowing a pillow?


Yeah, we'll have to agree with old vamp-head on this one. Yuck. And speaking of gross ...

2. Vomit and Roaches (Diary of a Spaceport Janitor)

This little known indie title is just strange all around. There's no epic adventure; you just pick up trash. Whoo!

However, fittingly for this game's offbeat nature, some of the things you can eat are vomit and roaches. Like the pillow in Dracula, these repugnant noms don't have any status effects, but unlike the pillow, there's an actual purpose to eating them.

It's're a janitor! That's it. Really. Because sweeping this junk up wasn't enough. 

1. Whaka Bump (Paper Mario)

"A lump of something," it's called in the flavor text. Those of you who haven't played the Paper Mario games may not know what that "Something" is. Well ...

It's flesh.

Specifically, it's the forehead bump that you knock off of this little guy:

And SOMEHOW, eating the uncooked forehead bump of this mole-like creature causes the restoration of 25 HP and 25 HP.

Video. Game. Logic. It never ceases to amaze. Who knew Mario was such a monster.

So there you have it. Video game food is weird and often doesn't really make a whole lot of sense. But if game world's were just filled with cheeseburgers and pizzas, they also wouldn't be unique, would they? 

If you had to eat one of these things, which would you choose? What's the weirdest thing YOU'VE ever eaten in an RPG? Let us know in the comments!


How the Paper Mario Series Went Rogue and Needs to Come Back Mon, 07 Nov 2016 02:00:02 -0500 Angelo De Bellis

The recent bout of portable and console Paper Mario games have strayed from the well-established RPG formula used in the original titles, causing the very identity of the series to decay. The series simply doesn’t feel like it once did.

The transition began with Sticker Star and continues in Paper Mario: Colour Splash, though to a much lesser extent than its handheld predecessor. What once began as a competent RPG series, albeit with far fewer intricacies than a traditional game within the genre, has become a mess of action, adventure, and RPG elements. Combined, these genre crossovers don’t make for very enjoyable Paper Mario games.

Certain advances are totally acceptable when it comes to modernizing a franchise, but I’m sure many fans have easily detected that the Paper Mario series has been superseded by the Mario and Luigi series. The comedy and nonsensical joy inherent in the Paper Mario series is still there in Sticker Star and Color Splash, but the battle systems and travel systems have all been replaced with features that aren’t all that compelling.

A Hunt for Weapons

A total shock to the beloved series, Paper Mario: Sticker Star does away with the leveling system by forcing you to collect stickers as a stand-in currency for attacks. In the former games, basic attacks would permanently exist, and only specialized attacks required collecting. And even once you've discovered these specialized attacks, called badges, you’d be able to use them during any battle, so long as you had enough BP to do so.

The worst feeling in both Sticker Star and Color Splash is running out of attacks. Because you have to find attacks -- yes it sounds weird to even mention it -- they can run out rather quickly if you’re not careful. But this type of management is not fun or complex in the way that conserving SP or items is. If you’ve run out of stickers in the 3DS game, you have to go hunting for more moves, and in Color Splash you have the option of spending coins once a turn to nab an additional attack, but it’s all so tedious.

Source: KoopaTV

Just include the attacks and make the battle systems more robust! In previous games, when a battle began, you’d get right into it. In Sticker Star you have to select a sticker from your collection on the 3DS touchscreen; even worse, the Wii U Paper Mario has you select and ready battle cards from the GamePad, paint them, confirm that painting is complete, and then swipe them up to the battle screen on your TV. It’s obnoxious and needlessly obtuse.

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door did not subscribe to this kind of tedium. You were able to attack at the start of battle with a quick selection screen, and the complexity was found in the various party members you took along with you on your journey. That’s how it should be done -- complexity in battle systems should not mean profuse frustration caused by cumbersome selection sequences. The complexity of the battle systems in the new games are more with the battle procedure than the battle itself.

Throw Me a Bone... Please

The most apparent loss when it comes to the systems adopted by modern Paper Mario games, is the leveling up system. As mentioned earlier, Paper Mario: Sticker Star made the audacious move of sacrificing statistics for stickers, and what is an RPG without stats? Perhaps it was a calculated maneuver to make the series more viable for youngsters playing on the go, but it’s not a decision that I see benefitting the series.

Source: IGN

In the original Paper Mario and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Mario leveled up by collecting 100 stars gained from battle. You could then up his stats like HP, FP, or BP, leading to a sense of progression. In Sticker Star and Color Splash, there aren’t really any progression systems that make battling feel like an endeavor to advance Mario’s abilities, save for the ability to upgrade Mario’s paint hammer in the latter title. Even then, it’s only a twinkle of an RPG element.

This omission really makes battles feel inconsequential. Every battle encountered only serves to progress the game. The lack of a feedback loop points to a once-RPG gone rogue, then having its identity pulled from a bunch of other genres, however, this isn’t a good look.

Mixed Identities

Say what you may about the recent Mario and Luigi games, but they have certainly come into their own. Though they may be riddled with awkward text and some uninspired locations lending themselves to bland stories, but the battle systems are very RPG-like and quite varied. The series, once an interesting derivative of the Paper Mario series, or the other way around depending on how you look at it, now employs systems that should have been injected into the new Paper Mario games.

In Paper Mario: Color Splash, after the ritual of selecting and painting battle cards, you are treated with an effortless A button command used to execute attacks. Whether you’re attacking with Mario’s crushing boots or heavy-headed hammer, the input method used to initiate the attack is all the same. Needless to say, it becomes rather tiresome after but a few turns.

The latest Mario and Luigi game, Mario and Luigi: Paper Jam, made use of bountiful RPG elements when it came to battle. The Bros. attacks offered varied gameplay in the middle of battle, tasking both brothers and Paper Mario to use unique input patterns to conquer their enemies. It’s a much better approach than timing presses of the A button to win.

One Disjointed Step at a Time

More than just the battle system melting out of the series, recent Paper Mario titles have taken systems that don’t make much sense; unless, in some sick twist, the creators want to make the Paper Mario franchise a Super Mario Bros. game. I’m talking about the use of overworld map screens.

My revulsion toward a map system may seem a little misplaced, but let me remind you that it’s the map system that lays out how the game will progress. The map systems guide and segues one sequence of events to another, making the newer Paper Mario games feel more like short levels than fully developed areas. And maybe that makes sense for a 3DS game, because you can pick up the game and play in short bursts, but for a console Paper Mario, I refuse to believe the staccato approach is better than the exploratory experiences offered by the senior games.

Source: Nintendo Wire

If Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine are akin to the Paper Mario of the past -- with enclosed spaces that include more than one objective hidden amongst other interactive elements -- then the Super Mario Bros. games are akin to the current generation’s Paper Mario titles -- with short, often linear objectives to reach the goal.

Whiteout on the Page

I know, I know. You’re probably freaking out about my omission of Super Paper Mario, the Wii game that played ever so closely to a Super Mario Bros. game. I’ve left that game out of the argument because it did maintain the deep RPG elements of previous titles. Even though it did away with the turn-based systems emblematic of the series, the level grinding, puzzle elements, and party systems remained secure.

Source: Amazon

It may not be popular opinion, but I think Super Paper Mario did an admirable job of upending the tea table while still oozing with Paper Mario traditions. When Paper Mario: Sticker Star landed in my hands, it wasn’t hard to tell that the removal of the battle system made the game suffer. In Super Paper Mario the dimension mechanic that enabled you to switch the game from 2D to 3D, along with the exclusive abilities of the Pixls, more than made up for the neglect of the battle system. With a well-balanced approach to game design, Super Paper Mario was deserving of the illustrious Paper Mario name.

Turning the Page

There is much to be done when it comes to reeling the series back in. Paper Mario: Color Splash does do a better job than Sticker Star did, at least with the frugality imposed by the paint system exhibits a glimmer of RPGish elements -- but the progression systems, and puzzle-like elements provided by the inclusion of party members are all lost. That and the structure of the game remains more portable-inspired. Hopefully, once the stickers fall off, and the fresh coat of paint dries, a new Paper Mario game -- something a little more rooted in its days of yore -- will show up on the Nintendo Switch.

Paper Mario: Color Splash - How to get Plum Park's second Mini Paint Star Thu, 13 Oct 2016 00:25:43 -0400 Ashley Shankle

Plum Park may be one of the areas I remember best in Paper Mario: Color Splash, and if you've made it all the way through and gotten the first Mini Paint Star in the area you very well may agree. It's the second area you come across that's a little challenging and three iconic characters from the series (one of which being hidden) make an appearance.

It's all fun and games until you can't find a Mini Paint Star, though. And Plum Park's second one is nowhere to be seen when you make your way through the park the first time around.

Once you purify the park's waters via a Petea pummeling the park's waters become safe to traverse and the flowers that were closed when the water was poisoned are now in full bloom, which is exactly how you got the first Mini Paint Star.

The second one is also inside a blooming flower but even if you wander the park a couple times over you're not going to get a single glance of its location nor are you going to hear the sparkling sound. Instead you've got to pay attention to what walkways are available.

When you first enter Plum Park make a right at the entrance garden just as you did when the water supply was poisoned.

Now here's the hard part:

On this screen, look just below the bridge for a lily pad and jump on it. What's that you see? The edge of a Mini Paint Star?

Jump on the next two lily pads and then onto the flower to grab it up.

I may have lied about this one being hard to get. It is one of the easiest to get in Color Splash and is only two screens into the area. There just aren't any indicators it's nearby.

Let this serve as a reminder to keep your eyes open for small hints and hidden walkways. I'll remember Plum Park for a few reasons, none of those reasons being this Mini Paint Star.

Paper Mario: Color Splash - How to get Chateau Chanterelle's Green Mini Paint Star Thu, 13 Oct 2016 00:19:37 -0400 Ashley Shankle

Chateau Chanterelle may be one of the smallest areas in Paper Mario: Color Splash, but it plays some key parts in your adventure during the early parts of the game. Hosting two Mini Paint Stars and a vital item to progressing at one point, you're probably going to be coming here one or two more times than you'd like.

Getting the first Mini Paint Star in Chateau Chanterelle is easy enough, but what about the green one you see on top of the barn? Also pretty easy, provided you have a keen eye.

First things first: Make your way through the professor's house and out to the Princess's house -- Princess's house being the doghouse out in the backyard.

Press A at the front of Princess's house to slip inside, once you do so walk right and head up.

You'll come to the area behind the barn that's closed off from the outside (you can paint the gate to make it usable). From here you can check the two barn doors to see what's inside, which you should definitely do.

To get to the Green Mini Paint Star you need to make sure both barn doors are closed, then get in the right position to use the Cutout ability.

Getting in the right position can take a bit to align just right. If you're having trouble take a look at the image below to see where Mario should be standing to make the Cutout work.

Cut out the dotted line, walk on up, and voila! You now have another Mini Paint Star to add to your collection and have opened up another area.

This won't be the last time you're here at Chateau Chanterelle, but next time you're here on more cryptic business. Don't worry about that for now, just keep pushing forward with Huey and finding those Paint Stars.

Paper Mario: Color Splash - How to find the Bone to beat Iggy in the Golden Coliseum Mon, 10 Oct 2016 11:49:11 -0400 Ashley Shankle

The fight against Iggy at the Golden Coliseum is interesting if nothing else. Like most of the bosses in Paper Mario: Color Splash you need a specific Thing in your deck of cards to best him, and if the admittance Shy Guy is any indication that Thing is a Bone. He does say it enough, after all.

Wandering around the Coliseum, you meet some Shy Guys trying to find a weapon they stole from Marmalade Valley. It's obvious this weapon is the Thing you need, but if you travel to Marmalade Valley to find another Bone to take to the fight a Toad will tell you it's been stolen. You can't buy a new one from the Wringer in Port Prisma either, and the know-it-all Toad tells you the item is in the Golden Coliseum.

From here you head back to the Coliseum and speak to the admittance Shy Guy inside the Golden Coliseum he asks if you're bad to the bone. Normally you'd say yes -- that seems like the natural thing to do -- but instead you need to respond with "I.. I don't know..." and the Shy Guy sends you on your way.

Now you can finally explore the area to find the Bone.

From here you need to go back outside the Coliseum and go left toward the spectator area, which was closed before you declined to fight but is now open.

You've got to make your way from the third level of the stands to the first, which is a downward trip filled with blank spots to paint, disgruntled fighters to combat, Fuzzies to dodge, and cards to pick up.

The entire trip is hard to describe but it's easy to figure out which way you're supposed to go from here -- though you will have to use an Unfurl Block at one point, and you need to go behind the stairs on the first level of the stands (check the signs on each floor).

On the ledge outside the first level of the stands you'll notice a spot where there are two blocks that fall when you step on them with two Fuzzies patrolling the area. Let the block to the left without spikes under it drop you, then walk left.

Finding the Bone from this point on is easy. When you reach the spying Goomba, walk right for a save point and the Bone.

Bottle Opener

You can also find a Bottle Opener in the Coliseum's spectator area, which also requires you to adventure around the first floor of the area but without purposefully falling as you did to get the Bone.

You don't need the Bottle Opener to beat Iggy, but it's good to go ahead and grab it now.

As for Iggy himself, be sure to use the bone once he and his two minions are out on their chariots. Iggy will call out his minions once he is at half health, and on the turn right after he won't be present. Do not use the bone until all three enemies are on the field.

Paper Mario: Color Splash - Where to find the spike to open Kiwano Temple Sun, 09 Oct 2016 12:33:01 -0400 Ashley Shankle

Once you open up Kiwano Temple in Paper Mario: Color Splash you've found a fair amount of Mini Paint Stars and have opened up a lot of areas, so figuring out where you're supposed to get the spike to open the door to the temple can be a bit of a brainteaser.

Kiwano Temple is a pretty spiky place so your first instinct is probably to try to scour the area, but the exact spike you need is elsewhere.

Luckily the spike isn't too far away, nor is it too hard to get. Remember that huge spike on the professor's desk at Chateau Chanterelle? That's the key you need to get into Kiwano Temple, and the professor will be happy enough to give it to you.. once he's not depressed anymore.

The professor is still face-down wallowing in his own emotions since Princess, his now-giant Chain Chomp companion, has run away. You've got to figure out how to get him out of his funk and it seems bringing back his beloved Princess is the only way to do so.

The professor's assistant Toad mentions that Princess might come back if she smells her favorite snack, and if her rampage in the excavation site at Marmalade Valley is any indicator her favorite snack is bones.

You should still have the Bone card in your inventory. If not head back to Port Prisma's Harbor District and squeeze a fresh bone for your card collection. Now head to Chateau Chanterelle.

Go into the backyard and press the Y button to use Cutout on these two boards next to Princess's house.

Place the Bone card in the Cutout slot and wait for Princess's return. After it's all said and done the professor will give you the Sharp Spike on his desk.

All you have to do now is head back to Kiwano Temple, brave the spikes, and unlock the door to continue your quest to collect the Paint Stars and return color to Prism Island.

Paper Mario: Color Splash - How to win at Toad Shuffle Sat, 08 Oct 2016 08:00:59 -0400 Ashley Shankle

The Five Fun Guys are putting on a show at Bloo Bay Beach and you're invited.. to be scammed!

After finding all five of the quintuplets they ask if you'd like to participate in Toad Shuffle, a game that would normally be easy if the Five Fun Guys weren't blatantly cheating. Unfortunately you need to win to get the Blissful Beach Key.

The yellow Toad host always hands the key to the Toad who got stuck in the clam and crumpled the top of his head. Logically you as the player should easily be able to pick the crumpled Toad, right?

Unfortunately the event is rigged against you. No matter how well you pay attention and try to look for the key to change hands during the dance you just can't pick the right Toad when it comes time to choose.

At this point in the game Paper Mario: Color Splash has already had you put your mind to the test and come up with some less than obvious solutions to the game's puzzles and Toad Shuffle is no different.

The yellow Toad specifically tells you not to touch the Five Fun Guys but you're going to need to in order to win at Toad Shuffle -- don't worry, the yellow Toad won't say anything. Don't stress about hitting other Toads by accident, either. Once you paint the crumpled Toad the other paint disappears.

After the yellow Toad hands the key to the crumpled headed green Toad, whack on him with your Paint Hammer to mark him as the Toad with the key. Then let the Toad Shuffle commence as usual.

The Five Fun Guys will try to trick you once again but your keen puzzle-solving and painting skills have trounced their trick: the host Toad quickly accepts you've bested them at their own game and hands over the Blissful Beach Key.

Now you can continue on your way over to Blissful Beach and keep searching for those Paint Stars.

What Made Paper Mario 64 and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door So Special? Fri, 23 Sep 2016 10:00:01 -0400 Greyson Ditzler

The Paper Mario series has come a long way since its debut on the Nintendo 64 back in 2001. What started as a creative take on the typical turn-based JRPG has gradually taken steps further and further away from its initial RPG formula, toward a radically different pseudo-RPG style of game that most people don't seem to be quite as fond of.

Ever since Super Paper Mario's release for the Wii in 2007, many people have been down on the Paper Mario series, saying that the last true installment was the last traditional turn-based RPG the series had -- the beloved Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. While this isn't true for every fan of the series, the general majority seems to believe that the classic RPG times of the Paper Mario series, which at this point is the shorter period for the series, was it's heyday.

But why is that? There are many JRPGs that gather devoted fanbases, whether it be large chunks of a whole series like Final Fantasy or one-hit wonders like Skies of Arcadia, so what makes the early Paper Mario games so special? What makes these two console RPGs starring Mario, the most well-known PLATFORMER hero of all time, stand out as such highly revered classics? 

Let's find out.

We're going to approach both games simultaneously and systematically, in order to get to the general positive qualities of both titles before getting into the specifics. With that said, let's start with the biggest selling point of nearly every RPG of any kind -- the story.

Something that, in Japan at least, the series was initially named for.

The Story -- A familiar and yet far cry from typical Mario.

The general setup for both Paper Mario on the N64 as well as Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door are admittedly pretty typical for the Mario series, and nothing we haven't seen before... at the start, at least. While both installments do start with the classic standby of "the princess has been captured and you must save her", they both go off the rails into uncharted territory very quickly.

While both games hit a lot of familiar notes by the standards of standard Mario plots, the stories told are notably deeper than their Platformer progenitors, and were clearly written with the intent to evoke both the emotional and the imaginative. This is evident in Intelligent Systems' signature excellent character banter and world building present throughout the games.  

From the NPCs, to your party members, to even the semi-mute Mario himself, every character is funny, helpful, or lends to world-building. Princess Peach in particular is the probably the most fleshed out she's ever been in these two games. The audience gets to see her with a wide assortment of emotions, whether she's indignantly angry for being forced to cooperate with the enemy, being understanding of an inexperienced child, or shy as she attempts to explain the concept of love to a computer using personal experience. 

A subplot in The Thousand-Year Door that is both unexpected and surprisingly touching.

Your party members were also all excellent characters. They all had their own motivations for joining Mario, vastly different personalities from one another, and perhaps the most intriguing part of all, they were all different types of enemies that Mario would usually fight. By having this jumbled crew of friendly monsters follow Mario throughout the game, the world felt even more immersive and real, as it showed that evil minions of Bowser were not all that the likes of Goombas and Koopas could be.

These games took colorful cartoon monsters, most of whom aren't even close to human, and made them into likable and believable characters.

The settings explored were also much more fleshed out and believable in these two RPGs than any traditional Mario Platformer could claim. Even if in both games you explored the familiar grasslands, ice worlds, and castles, they were all far from just pallet swapped backgrounds with different colored enemies. They were all far from the Mario norm, even if they felt familiar, and going to each new area felt like crossing over to a brand new continent. 

Every area in classic Paper Mario has a different story to tell. Whether it's the mysteries of the dirty dealings of the floating wrestling league the Glitz Pit, or the desert village of Boos who live in fear of being eaten, they all have a different tale to tell.

The best thing that these different locations did for the games is how they subtly connected to each other, and gave the Mario universe a grander sense of scale and cohesiveness than it had ever had before. These locations coupled with these characters made the world feel truly alive, as you encountered tribes of insects living in giant trees, or a sleazy port-city full of criminals both Toad and enemy-monster alike.  

Not to mention they all looked and felt distinct and atmospheric as well.

What other RPG let you travel around inside a magical toy box by train?

The Combat -- Simple and easy to learn, yet still deep and involving. 


The first two Paper Mario games had a combat system unlike any other. 

Paper Mario built off of the strong foundation that Super Mario RPG laid down before it, and its combat reflects that fact more than anything. The use of timed hits during combat for both offense and defense allowed for actual tactile input during battles, which put more control into the player's hands and made the combat more than just strategy like most other turn-based games.

While the story and combat are the biggest aspects of the two games and obviously matter, and are themselves unique, the little things are what really make the early Paper Mario games so great because their immersive detail and sheer quantity allowed the world of Mario to feel the realest and most alive it ever has.

Additionally, something that made Paper Mario's turn-based combat so unique -- as well as easily accessible to beginners or newcomers -- was its use of smaller numbers. In most RPGs, you'll likely be going up against early-game bosses with a health bar in the hundreds or possibly thousands, but in Paper Mario, you'll be up against a first boss with 20 maximum health. This made keeping track of how much damage you were dealing the easy part, and made figuring out the specific weaknesses and strengths of a given enemy the real challenge.

The combat also allowed for adaptive difficulty for players in the form the badge system. It allowed players to use their set number of Badge Points to equip badges that could aid them, or even handicap them, in both the overworld as well as combat.

This allowed for players to customize their play-style in a way that suited the situation, or themselves, depending on what they wanted to improve, and on whether or not they wanted to make the game harder for themselves. This allowed for hundreds of level up strategies paired with badge combinations in any given playthrough, which created an enormous sense of player freedom, as well as replay value.  


Just one page of the badge collection screen. Dozens of badges; Hundreds of possibilities.

In conclusion...

Honestly, explaining what made both of these games good is a genuine challenge, as there are hundreds of tiny little details that are all integral to the experience, and all of them are legitimate reasons for both the games' intricate, multi-faceted, diamond-like quality. Everything from optional emails you could get from side quest characters, to the audience cheering you on as you battled, to the countless characters with punny names, it's ALL important. All of it. They're games whose beauty isn't really done justice by just a handful of words.

While the story and combat are the biggest aspects of the two games and obviously matter, and are themselves unique, the little things are what really make the early Paper Mario games so great because their immersive detail and sheer quantity allowed the world of Mario to feel the realest and most alive it ever has.

With Nintendo clearly veering the Paper Mario series away from its native satirical and anarchic style, towards a more casual and less challenging type of psuedo-RPG with the two most recent installments, it seems very likely that we will never see a game in the Paper Mario series quite like the first two ever again. 

While that is a sad way of looking at things, it isn't necessarily a true, and we can all take comfort in the fact that no matter what changes the series goes through for better or worse, Paper Mario on the N64 and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door will always be there. They exist in a joyous spin-off universe that no ret-con or prequel could ever truly lessen, no matter what they might do.

Even if you don't necessarily like where the series has gone since Super Paper Mario, and you think Nintendo should just go back to the original formula, at least there is one additional positive to a world where Paper Mario isn't a true RPG anymore. That being if Nintendo never quite matches the first two entries in terms of quality, that just makes Paper Mario and The Thousand-Year Door even better and more unique than they already are.

The simplest way to explain why Paper Mario on the N64 and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door are great is that they feel rich and complete. They're paper thin, but far from two-dimensional.

 A picture is worth a thousand words. These games are both worth volumes.


Please don't let Paper Mario: Color Splash be like Sticker Star Tue, 28 Jun 2016 06:59:07 -0400 JessDambach

Paper Mario: Color Splash, the next installment in the Paper Mario series, is coming out October 7, 2016. And there's a lot of talk right now about whether Color Splash is going to suck or not. The series' previous games, Super Paper Mario and Sticker Star, were not received well by players -- with Sticker Star being the least favored game in the Paper Mario series.

So let's look at why Sticker Star was a bad game, and what mistakes Color Splash can avoid in the hopes of being a much better game.

Why Sticker Star was awful:

Horrible Battle System

The battle system for Sticker Star is a RPG sort of system that allows leveling up. The problem with this lies in the fact that it doesn't really serve any sort of purpose. You fight by collecting stars, so skill or level isn't really much of a factor. And the stars you need to kill bosses aren't actually found on any of the enemies that you can battle, either. So there is literally no point in leveling up or fighting those enemies.

No Storyline

Most of the game is based on adventuring and its horrible gameplay/combat system. There is not a good story -- or any sort of story, really. There's nothing fleshed out, nothing that makes the player want to know what is next.

Other Annoyances

One of the worst parts about this game was that when you fight the boss for a level, you need a specific star to defeat it. But that star is not easily found, and you must search for it everywhere. It could even be at the very beginning of the level. This gets annoying going all the way through a game.

To put it simply, Sticker Star got all its essential RPG elements wrong. But does that mean Color Splash is doomed to the same fate? Watching the trailer (which you can view above), the objective of the game is to save the colorful Prism Island from being drained of its colors. This at least has some promise.

But what does the upcoming Color Splash need to do so that it doesn't go down in history as the third bad Paper Mario game in a row?

Better Battle System

If Color Splash chopses to use an RPG battle system that allows you to level up, then it needs to have bosses that requires you to be a certain level to defeat them. If Color Splash uses a similar idea of using stars (or some other type of object) to defeat the boss, those stars need to be found on the smaller enemies, or dropped closer to the boss in the level. If the smaller enemies don't drop anything valuable for progress, they need to have some other reason for being there -- or they shouldn't be there at all.

Good Story

Just have a storyline, instead of all gameplay. Even if everything else sucks about the game, at least some people will play it just for the story -- which will make it at least better than Sticker Star.

Not be Annoying

If you need something to progress in the game, don't hide it at the beginning of a level or in an unnecessarily random place. It's understandable if the developer wants to make the game more difficult. But if someone has to go all the way back to the beginning of the level just to pick up one item that you can't face the boss without, have a reason for it that makes sense. 

The good news is, it at least looks like Color Splash has something going for it. The graphics in the trailer look like they're of good quality, which is better than nothing. Let's just hope that the game learns from the Sticker Star flop. If Nintendo solves at least a few of the issues, Color Splash could end up being one of the best games in the series instead of becoming Sticker Star 2.

Paper Mario: Color Splash Gets a Release Date Tue, 14 Jun 2016 18:18:00 -0400 Joe Passantino

According to IGN, Nintendo announced at E3 today that Paper Mario: Color Splash will be available for Wii U on October 7.

The premise of Color Splash is that Prism Island is losing its color, and Mario must restore it using his brand-new paint hammer. As Nintendo's Bill Trinen explained in a March Nintendo Direct, paint not only restores the island's color, but also revives colorless Toads and livens up Toad Houses. Painting cards in battle will also activate them for use.

Color Splash is the Paper Mario character's first appearance of 2016, having previously co-starred in December's Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam. However, it is the first actual Paper Mario game since 2012's Paper Mario: Sticker Star.

As Paper Mario fans await the series' next installment, they can check out GameSkinny's review of Sticker Star. True stalwarts of the franchise might also want to check out one gamer's thoughts on its four previous games.

Does this colorful Paper Mario concept excite you? Let us know in the comments below!

Image Source: IGN

Paper Mario: Color Splash (Wii U) Announced Thu, 03 Mar 2016 14:16:40 -0500 SilverMorph

Fans of the Paper Mario series hoping that the much-maligned Paper Mario: Sticker Star would be the last installment of its kind in the franchise have had their hopes dashed today. Nintendo has revealed the latest addition, Color Splash, coming for Wii U in 2016 -- and it looks to be following in its footsteps.

Set in a new locale called Prism Island -- which is a nice change from the omnipresent Mushroom Kingdom, I guess -- the title will follow the ever-plucky Paper Mario as he attempts to return color to the bleached landscape of this once-lurid paradise. Accompanying him, as always, is Princess Peach, so it's a fairly safe bet she'll be being kidnapped at some point.

Classic series elements, such as the hammer attack, will make a return. Only this time, it's got a new coat of paint -- literally. Smacking the weapon down onto a black-and-white bit of scenery will spruce it up in technicolor (anyone else getting some serious Epic Mickey vibes from this?) and trigger events, such as Paper Toads being freed or new paths being revealed.


The game borrows a lot of elements from Sticker Star, and as such many devotees are likely on the fence about it. Primarily returning is the battle system, which revolves around the use of consumable stickers; as with Sticker Star, each one represents a single-use attack. It'll be interesting to see how Intelligent Systems has fleshed this out -- especially since the dramatic Thing Sticker attacks, such as a planet-sized fan, also look like they're returning.

Also back is the world map layout, more akin to the New Super Mario Bros. series than Paper's Gamecube heyday, with a couple of stage names being immediately noticeable; Prism City and Ruddy Road are the opening two areas, as far as we can see.

According to Nintendo, Color Splash is due out later this year. Despite its similarities to the 3DS entry, hopefully the Wii U's greater processing heft and graphical might will provide a solid, and pretty experience.

Are you looking forward to the latest Mario RPG outing? Let me know in the comments!

8 Ways women are poorly portrayed in Super Mario Bros Mon, 01 Feb 2016 12:29:09 -0500 CharlottePoitras

The Super Mario Bros series is one of the most popular video games of all time. Unfortunately, the game makers tend to forget half of their audience: women. Here are eight ways women are portrayed in Super Mario Bros.

1. Pauline: The First Damsel in Distress

The plot of the first Mario game is simple: “Donkey Kong the ape kidnapped Mario’s girlfriend!” In this action-packed rescue adventure, you move Mario through incredible dangers to save her.” The idea of a beautiful woman who needs to be saved isn’t new. Since the beginning of Mario's story in 1982, it has always been about a man saving a woman (who wasn’t even named at first).

People act and objects are acted upon. The damsel in distress is something that needs to be saved, a treasure to find, a trophy to win is treated like an object. Manual even proves Mario probably didn’t stop dating Pauline when he was with Peach, as there was a new game made with Pauline during his adventures with Peach.

2. Peach: A Woman Can’t Save Herself

The main female character in Mario Bros is the (first unnamed) Princess Toadstool: Peach. And what does she do? Nothing but wait for a man to save her so she can bake him a cake. She appears in 16 Super Mario platform games and is kidnapped in 14 of them. Even if she is believed to have the power to break the curse of the evil Koopa King, she doesn’t do anything else than waiting and sending letters of encouragement to Mario.

Peach doesn’t seem to hate being with Bowser that much as he never hurts her and even lets her write letters of encouragement to Mario. She might even be Baby Bowser’s mom, even though we never heard of her being raped. This leads to the theory that she is often willingly leaving Mario for her lover, Bowser. That way, the princess pretends to be kidnapped to play the damsel in distress, creating drama and getting the attention of two men (or man and turtle). This isn’t the greatest way to portray a woman. Otherwise, we can see it as a fight between two men in which the princess is not part of any team but rather acts as the ball men are fighting for.

In Super Mario 64, the story ends with Peach saying, “Thank you, Mario! We have to do something special for you... (kisses Mario) Listen, everybody, let's bake a delicious cake...for Mario…" Many fans agree to say that baking a cake is a metaphor for having sex, which she couldn’t say in a game for children.

Following this idea, the only female character in the game is still portrayed as a beautiful lady to save in exchange for sex. This is the best thing she has to offer to Mario after he saved her life.

3. Princess Daisy: an Improvement?

Peach's friend Daisy makes her first appearance in Super Mario Land as the damsel in distress, kidnapped by aliens, that has to be saved by Mario. “Now, [the monster Tatanga” wants to marry Princess Daisy of Sarasaland and make her his queen. Mario came to know of these events, and has started on a journey to restore peace to Sarasaland.”

Fortunately, she was a smart, competitive tomboy and adventurous in parties, sports, fighting, and racing games. She even gets to slap Bowser in Mario Party 3… but ends up fleeing and bursting in tears when someone finally defeats her. Sadly, she never truly had an important role in the game. Her looks also changed through the years as she used to have brown hair and no makeup but then turned out to have red hair, a tan and makeup on. A better appearance doesn’t have to be negative, but it can be when every woman is portrayed the same way. 

After all, looks don’t seem to matter when talking about men. This is because games often focus only on heteronormative sex appeal, thinking most of their players are boys.

Daisy doesn’t only share looks with her best friend but also an interest for a similar man: Luigi. Once again, the princesses are third role characters known for their appearance and their relationship with a man.

4. Rosalina: the New Princess

Rosalina first appeared in Super Mario Galaxy as a powerful figure watching over and protecting the cosmos by commanding the Comet Observatory. She is known as a kind, wise, and mature character with a great knowledge of the universe. Rosalina even has special powers that allow her to surround the observatory with a force field, teleport, create holograms of herself, float, speak via telepathy, and use the iconic spin move. She also protects herself with a bubble and does the same with Mario if he falls off the observatory.

Together, this all makes her even stronger than any other male character in the Super Mario games. For once, she also simply thanks Mario with a 'thank you' and not with a kiss or any bakery.

Problem is, she stays passive and let only the men, like Mario, Luigi and the Toads, take part of the action in the Super Mario Galaxy Games. The female character fits the gender role by acting like a mother to all the Lumas in her Galaxy. During this time, men are manly, working outside to help them. Fortunately, she eventually becomes an unlocked playable character in Super Mario 3D World. That makes her the strongest female character in Super Mario games and makes us hope we will see her more often.

5. Female Enemies

Female enemies are rare, but still present in some Mario games. The first to appear in the game is Wendy O. Koopa, Bowser’s daughter. New female enemies will then be created as Kammy Koopa, Cackletta, the Shadow Queen (final boss in Paper Mario), Princess Shroob, and Pom Pom. If these characters share one negative aspect, it is that they all have a classic feminine look and nothing that would be considered as more masculine or even neutral.

The good thing is they are not presented as weaker than other male enemies. The bad thing is we would like way more. Most of  the bad characters are male, according to the manual. The only enemy that differs from it is Ostro, who is made fun of for his bucking of gender norms: “He thinks he is a girl and he spits eggs from his mouth” - as if being feminine would be a negative thing.

6. Mario Bros without any Women

Some entire games didn’t involve women at all. Donkey Kong Junior was (terrifically) about Mario kidnapping Papa Donkey Kong, the first two Mario Bros about carpenters unblocking water pipes so they can take a bath and Mario is Missing in which Luigi is saving his brother. The problem is still present in recent games like Mario vs Donkey Kong, Luigi’s Mansion and Dancing Stage Mario Mix.

Even if women represent about half of the population, they still didn’t manage to have their place in any of these games. Is it better not to represent women well or not to represent them at all?

7. Female Characters in Party, Sport, Fighting, and Racing Games

The games in which the princesses are the best portrayed are the party, sport, fighting, and racing games - never the main ones. They have different characteristics (like any characters) but are still equal or even better than male characters. They also have their own special powers, skills, and personal courses.

If the princesses were first classified as lightweight with small vehicles, Rosalina was first to have a large one due to her height. If there is one negative aspect it is that, after any race or fight, they are shoved right back into the role of damsels in distress in the platform games.

8. Rarely Part of the Main Games

Female characters are playable in the party, sport, fighting, and racing games but rarely the most important ones. Peach “the Princess” with no name was first playable in Mario Teaches Typing 2 as a character just as smart as any other. Unfortunately, the game wasn’t big enough to consider it an important role.

She was then an available character in one 2D platform game: Super Mario Bros 2, which led her to become a favorite of game players. Problem is, she wasn’t even supposed to be part of the game. She was because a fourth character was needed. Unfortunately, she has been replaced by another Toad in New Super Mario Brothers Wii and wasn’t part of the action again until Super Mario 3D World.

Fortunately, the new Princess Rosalina is now the strongest female character in Super Mario Bros Games. Her female friend Luma also helps Mario (in his cap) during all the game. It is possible to unlock Rosalina in Super Mario 3D World so the players can play with her as with any other character. Women are starting to have a better place in video games, as in Super Princess Peach and Super Mario 3D World.Game makers are slowly understanding that players want to be able to play as women too. Rosalina is sure an improvement, but they still haven’t restored gender equality yet.

Mostly male game makers first tried to attract male players by giving them the chance to play as a strong manly character.

Their goal: saving their object of desire. Their price: the love of the damsel in distress. Problem is, half of the people on this earth are women and game makers disappointed them by portraying women this way. They are wrong to think so many more of their players are male as we now know that around 48% of gamers are female. Even if we now believe women are equal to men, video games have been slow to change the cliche. Many developers would rather repeat the same gendered tropes over and over again instead of trying something new. 

We need to share our disappointment to let them know we want more strong female character so they can be the heroes of their own adventures.