Back in the early days of Nintendo platforms, Mario was not only their mascot, but he was also their go-to when it came to making spinoffs. They had already made a kart racing game for him, featuring him painting, being “missing,” and so on. But when the N64 came along, they branched him out even further. Not only did they put him in minigame-focused titles, but they also put him in the 3D world and an even thinner 2D one. Of course, we’re talking about the original Paper Mario title, a spiritual successor to the beloved Super Mario RPG title on the SNES.
As fans on Twitter noted yesterday, the original game celebrated its 22nd anniversary. Many of them were happy to say that they not only had fond memories of the title but that it still holds up well. The game was unique for its paper aesthetic, and it embraced it fully with the character cutouts and the world and how you went about it. Moreover, the RPG combat was incredibly deep, and Mario had partners to help him accomplish goals in fights and beyond.
The game would be followed by the equally beloved Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, which would heavily expand the franchise’s style and combat and is hailed as one of the best RPGs ever made. That’s not something you say lightly, but it’s how people felt about the game.
Sadly for fans of the first two, it was after this that the franchise started to turn. Nintendo felt they needed to go in a “different direction” with the franchise, leading to titles like Sticker Star, Color Splash, and the most recent entry in Origami King.
While the last one did fine in sales, especially compared to the handheld and Wii U titles, the game lacked the style, story, and charm that the original N64 and Gamecube follow-up had. Fans have been begging Nintendo for years to give the original two games their due, and either remake them for the Switch or continue the franchise following their path. Unfortunately, Nintendo has been very stubborn in not doing that, and it makes anniversaries like this all the more important.
Because since Nintendo likely won’t listen to fans on this matter, they need to appreciate the games they did love, and they clearly loved this N64 title. If you have fond memories of playing it, let us know in the comments!