Paper Mario was the second Mario based RPG to release when it debuted for the Nintendo 64 back in 2000. It followed a lot of your typical RPG tropes such as turn based combat and the party system. But it managed to stand out in other ways. A wacky light hearted RPG experience is rare, and it was also equipped with a unique art style.
Its success was enough for the developer Intelligent Systems to be granted permission by Nintendo to create a sequel for the Gamecube. Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door improved upon the original in every way and was again a huge success. But it also marked the end of an era for the franchise.
The Slow Fall of Paper Mario
After Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door came Super Paper Mario on the Wii. In its defense, the game is pretty good. It loses the turn based RPG aspect that had previously defined the series. The game also never lived up to its predecessors, but it did mark a good beginning for the new direction being taken with the series.
Unfortunately the titles that followed failed to continue said new direction in an appealing fashion. Paper Mario: Color Splash on the 3DS, and Paper Mario: Color Splash for the Wii U were received rather poorly. From the critics’ standpoint they weren’t necessarily bad games. Their scores were typically in the “7/10” range, and they even hit mid 70s on Metacritic.
But from the fans standpoint, they leaned too much into certain gimmicks. They became the black sheep of the series and have since caused an outcry for a return to how the series was before Super Paper Mario. The titles didn’t feel like the traditional games. As time went on more and more people became nostalgic over the first two games.
With the Nintendo Switch the demands grew louder. And honestly Nintendo should listen to their very vocal fans.
Every Reason You Need
- Turn based RPGs have seen a major resurgence on the Switch. With titles like Octopath Traveler paving the way for the classic RPG genre. Even Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle has managed to sell over two million units.
- Mario + Rabbids embodies the charm of Paper Mario better than the franchises last three games. It’s a wacky adventure with strategic combat done in turns. It’s become majorly successful despite being developed by a third party
- Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door sold two million copies on the Gamecube. Whereas Paper Mario: Color Splash didn’t even sell one million. And yes, Super Paper Mario sold the most. But it was the first Mario title released on Nintendo’s most successful console. And every one of its successors sold significantly less each time. Imagine what a turn return to the series roots could wind up selling on a console as hot as the Nintendo Switch?
- Intelligent Systems is about to release Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Last year they released Warioware: Gold. What better time for them to return to Paper Mario?
- They’ve had four games published since their last Paper Mario title. It’d be the perfect opportunity for them to come back and give the fans what they want. They’re an extremely competent RPG developer, and they should take advantage of that.
- We’re seeing every kind of Mario game possible return. The sports games, Mario Party, even Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games. Throw the Mario RPG fans a bone.
Variety is Power
One of the biggest, most important factors of the Switch is the variety that it offers. You want horror? Plenty to choose from. Sports games? We’ve got them. Want a dozen different types of Mario games? Your order will be right up!
Paper Mario is a series who’s charm is unmatched. It has an incredibly unique turn based combat system, stories that are rich and deep. With a complex world with compelling characters to back it up. The series has humor for all ages to enjoy, while simultaneously tackling darker tones for adults to digest.
There just isn’t another series like it. The last time we saw a hint of the series as it should be was back in 2015 when Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam released for the 3DS. And that wasn’t even an actual Paper Mario game!
If Intelligent Systems has it in them to make another title, Nintendo should absolutely allow them to make it. Even if it doesn’t wind up returning to the franchises roots. Because without the restrictions placed on the series by the 3DS, or the horrible reputation of the Wii U, a game closer to Super Paper Mario would still be a huge success and a great time. Although myself, and many others will still be left longing for a true RPG experience from the series.
What do you think? Should this series return to its roots? Or should Nintendo dump the IP? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.
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I’ve been involved with the world of video games since I was able to sit in my dad’s lap and watch him. Not long after that I started playing myself, and it’s been a naturally growing passion ever since.