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Mario RPGs: A Call for Submissions

by Nate Andrews - November 5, 2012, 7:03 pm EST
Total comments: 19

We want your words!

Neal's blog today about Super Mario RPG's lasting influence on his life led to some extensive, interesting recollections from some of you in the comments. 

The rest of the staff will weigh in with some of their personal opinions on the Mario RPG series later this week, but in keeping with the theme of Neal's blog, we're giving you the floor to express your thoughts on any aspect of the Mario RPG universe.

Leave a comment of any length below—it can be about a certain Mario RPG character, game, series, quality, or something else entirely that you feel strongly about. Near the end of the week, we'll curate and post some of the best submissions, so get yours in soon!


CaterkillerMatthew Osborne, Contributing WriterNovember 06, 2012

I absolutely loved Mario RPG, it made me give top down games a chance. I will never forget the extremely long summer my cousin and I had beating the game together. We realized we missed those special seeds and couldn't get hat heavy shell and started all over again. God I loved it! The thing I will never forget is how my cousin would pro ounce syrup. Like SEAR UP, it's called SUR UP!

I was certainly disappointed that paper Mario was very un-rpgish but played and enjoyed them none the less. It wasn't until Mario and Luigi Super Star Saga that I would truly love Mario RPG games again. That game... Holy crap the humor. They played the not knowing who Luigi was angle to full affect! It was amazing, I laughed hard, I mean like a classic Simpsons or family guy hard!

Remember the jibberish Mario and Luigi spoke? Mario: Athupuputhepi! Luigi: Adoblaboblabado! My brother and I would have conversations like that just to get peoples reactions. My mom would ask me a question and I would answer "Athupuputhepi" and she would go "huh" and I would keep saying it until she realized I was playing around. I would answer my high school teachers like that as well. Every time they really thought I had something to say, and I was doing it in Mario's voice.

Most I importantly the team attacks in the game were so cool! I always wished for a 3d Mario game with co-op, using interlocking flipping and tumbling moves to fight and access hidden areas. Some day...

I played Paper Mario for the N64 when I was sick and in the hospital. As a result, that game has a special place in my heart.

AnGerNovember 06, 2012

The first RPG from the Mario universe I've ever played was Paper Mario 2: The 1000-Year Door which I liked a lot but never got around to play it all the way through. Meaning I didn't do the optional hard area and level up all my characters to the maximum, but I beat the final boss.

After that came obviously Mario & Luigi, but I didn't finish that at all, since I failed a lot during the final battles and found it too tiresome to go back and grind. I touched Partners in Time, but I stopped after a few hours and never played Bowser's Inside Story.

Obviously, I never played Super Mario RPG for the SNES and unfortunately, I am yet to play Paper Mario since I wasn't allowed to buy it back when it came out.

MrPhishfoodNovember 06, 2012

The one thing I liked about the Mario RPG's I've played is their minimalist take on stats. Like in 1000 door your initial damage you could do is 1 and the most basic enemies had 2hp. Nearing the end of the game you could boost your attack power to something like 8. With numbers like that I can easily quantify the number of attacks I need to make, which lets me focus on strategy.

I've always disliked the ridiculous damage and hp stats in Square games that number in the thousands and tens of thousands, its mental arithmetic I can do without.

I also skipped out on the optional 100 floor dungeon in 1000 year door when I played it on Gamecube. So last year I went back to it and played the entire game again just so I could finally beat that dungeon. I felt very satisfied.

xcwarriorNovember 06, 2012

Loved Super Mario RPG. Using Nintendo characters in a Square Enix type of RPG was amazing. Plus you had the timely hits for bonus damage. Unique characters we haven't seen since unfortunately.

Paper Mario was a big disappointment in comparrison. They aren't bad games, but as the person above me stated, they are really simplified. Good for some people, not good for those of us who love the complexity of the RPG genre.

I have a Mario and Lugi game laying around to be played, but haven't started it yet, so I won't cast judgement. It's Bowser's Inside Story, which I heard on Connectivity overstays it's welcome, but we'll see.

AdrockNovember 06, 2012

With the exception of Super Paper Mario (if you count it), I've only played the original of each Mario RPG series. Super Mario RPG was technically the last hurrah for my SNES though I tracked down a lot of the games I missed out on used in 1999-2000. It's also the most expensive non-special edition game I've ever bought/received. I believe it was $72. This was the 1st RPG I've ever played and one of the few I've completed. I like it's simplicity though I liked how the later series were even simpler. Square didn't really seem to understand the lightheartedness of the Mario series at times, such as the Victorian-esque buildings in the Mushroom Kingdom. For the most part though, they kept things light and the game is filled with charm and humor. I hope Square Enix and Nintendo revisit Super Mario RPG one day with a sequel. I think there's room for a more traditional RPG in the Mario universe that's very different from Paper Mario and Mario and Luigi.

Paper Mario was a game I bought mostly because it was a Mario game. I remember seeing it labelled as Super Mario RPG 2 in an old EGM and subsequntly recoiling in disgust because the art style was so different. In hindsight, it has my favorite art style out of all the series. I don't remember too much about the game since it's been so long. My lasting impression of the game was the final boss. I didn't know that the last item box was the last before fighting Bowser. I defeated Bowser because of a predictable pattern that allowed me to attack, regain flower points (or whatever magic was called in the game), then heal enough to withstand being attacked to repeat the cycle. That boss fight took forever. I never went back to the item box to replay the final boss with my best stuff, nor did I ever replay the game. I ended up trading in the game when I stupidly traded all of my N64 things, regretting it and now Paper Mario is the last game on N64 I previously had that I haven't tracked down again. Boo-urns. I never played A Thousand Year Door. I was in college then so I missed a few games that generation. I don't plan on making the same mistake twice so I'm getting Sticker Star immediately.

Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga is my favorite of the Mario RPG titles I've played. AlphaDream got everything right about the game. I have nothing bad to say about it. I liked the subtle touches like explaining the question blocks to the Game Boy Horror to the Koopa Kids randomly showing up after such a long absence. I never got around to playing Partners in Time or Bowser's Inside story. They didn't interest me and by the time I decided that maybe I should give Partners in Time a chance, it became difficult to find.

This is going to sound blasphemous, but I've never played Super Mario RPG.  As someone who has played several Final Fantasy's but hasn't invested into a heavy RPG for quite a long time, is there any particular reason this game is a must-play?

mustbeburtNovember 06, 2012

This game truly blew my mind.  I actually picked up a copy sometime around 1999-2000.  It was in an SNES bargain bin at Toys-R-Us for $8 (this is also where I picked up Mario World and Mario All-Stars for $8, as well as MarioKart and all 3 Star Wars games for $5).  Pretty much my best haul ever.  To finish the story I went right from Toys-R-Us to a friend's house and got stuck there because of a huge snow storm.  All I wanted to do was brave the weather and drive to my house so I could try out SMRPG with my brother, but my friend's parents wouldn't let me leave due to the weather.  I can still remember reading the instruction booklet cover-to-cover on their couch where I crashed for the night.I bought SMRPG because it was a Mario game that I never actually heard of.  At the time I also didn't know what an "RPG" was!  This was my first RPG. I totally fell in love with it.  My brother and I were totally blown away by it because we never played anything in the genre before.  We still just call it "RPG" to this day.

Rubber Band AINovember 06, 2012

Well, my first in the series was Super Paper Mario - started playing it about two months. I wanted to have a bit of experience with the series before deciding whether or not I wanted Sticker Star. I haven't been able to finish it due to a love-hate relationship I have with that game. I love most of the gameplay and the charm, but I just don't like the perspective switching mechanic AT ALL, which was fun the first 2 or 3 times but then just felt like work. I know I should give the series another chance though. Maybe I will trudge through the rest of Super Paper Mario before getting Sticker Star. Any advice is welcome, ha.

AdrockNovember 06, 2012

I wasn't able to get through Super Paper Mario due to the excessive amount of dialog in the beginning often game which made it hard to get into. From what I did play, it not really like the original Paper Mario and probably isn't like A Thousand Year Door or Sticker Star. You may want to give one of SPM's predecessors a try to give you a better idea of what Sticker Star is all about.

Glad0sNovember 06, 2012

Quote from: lolmonade

This is going to sound blasphemous, but I've never played Super Mario RPG.  As someone who has played several Final Fantasy's but hasn't invested into a heavy RPG for quite a long time, is there any particular reason this game is a must-play?

Not in my opinion. I absolutely adore both the Paper Mario games as well as the Mario and Luigi ones, but I think that SMRPG is pretty woefully dated, unlike, say, Chrono Trigger or the 16-bit Final Fantasy's.

Pixelated PixiesNovember 06, 2012

I don't have that much to add really.

Being a European I was late to the party on the whole Mario RPG thing. I loved Paper Mario, enjoyed Thousand Year Door, and didn't much care for Super Paper Mario.

Of the handheld games, I've only played Partners in Time and Bowser's Inside Story (the latter of which I adore).

As for the original Legend of the Seven Stars? I thought it was a fun romp, but perhaps because I only played it for the first time when it was release on VC I don't hold in as high regard as those who played it when it was released in 1996.

I'm eagerly awaiting Sticker Star!

Ian SaneNovember 06, 2012

Quote from: MrPhishfood

The one thing I liked about the Mario RPG's I've played is their minimalist take on stats. Like in 1000 door your initial damage you could do is 1 and the most basic enemies had 2hp. Nearing the end of the game you could boost your attack power to something like 8. With numbers like that I can easily quantify the number of attacks I need to make, which lets me focus on strategy.

I've always disliked the ridiculous damage and hp stats in Square games that number in the thousands and tens of thousands, its mental arithmetic I can do without.

I get where you're coming from but for me it requires more thought from me because it goes against the conventions of the genre.  Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest and even other Nintendo games like Fire Emblem and the first game in the Mario RPG series all use similar stats and then Paper Mario is the oddball.  So I have to switch into a different way of thinking.  The attempt to make it easier only works for someone that is not used to the conventions of pretty much every other Japanese RPG in existence.

One thing that is really cool about Super Mario RPG is that it is totally a dream game of its time.  I remember the first time I read about it in Gamepro.  So it's RPG starring Mario so who is making it?  Well of course it's Square!  Who else would you want making it?  Oh yeah and the graphics are pre-rendered like DKC.  Well of course because that's the super cool trend of the time!  Nintendo is a rather notoriously unhip company.  Super Mario RPG is ridiculously hip for a Super Nintendo RPG released in 1996.  Describing it as a Square developed Mario themed RPG with pre-rendered graphics sounds like something a fanboy would suggest at the time and everyone would immediately dismiss as a bullshit rumour because it's just too much wishful thinking.  Nope, this was actually real.

AdrockNovember 06, 2012

I also hate having to think when playing videogames. Uzing mer brainz iz hARd.

And notoriously unhip? According to who? Gamers? Some would argue that gamers are notoriously unhip. I mean, I wouldn't. My mom says I'm cool. I listen to the rap music.

Ian SaneNovember 06, 2012

Quote from: Adrock

And notoriously unhip? According to who? Gamers? Some would argue that gamers are notoriously unhip. I mean, I wouldn't. My mom says I'm cool. I listen to the rap music.

Well both Sega and Sony were pretty successful with marketing campaigns that essentially said "We're cool and Nintendo so totally is not."

Quote from: MrPhishfood

The one thing I liked about the Mario RPG's I've played is their minimalist take on stats. Like in 1000 door your initial damage you could do is 1 and the most basic enemies had 2hp. Nearing the end of the game you could boost your attack power to something like 8. With numbers like that I can easily quantify the number of attacks I need to make, which lets me focus on strategy.

I'm right there with you on that. I have nothing against crazy stats, but the focus on single digit numbers actually makes the gameplay mechanics that much more integral to battles. I experience more of the game's design that way, and less of the grinding.

... Though I have nothing against grinding/farming either!

Evan_BNovember 06, 2012

The first Mario RPG I ever played was Paper Mario: the Thousand Year Door, because I remember the demo at Best Buy for that game when I was ten years old and I wanted it SO badly. It had charm- the fully-realized idea of paper characters in shoebox dioramas that the original game couldn't quite get right because of the limited graphics. But when I actually got that game, I fell in love. Such a wonderfully colored world with humor and charm bursting from the seams- and a fair share of mature moments as well, such as Bobbery and Scarlette, and TECH and Peach, for example. The battle system is simple upon for look, but is so much deeper in reality and offers a nearly-endless amount of customization- both for Mario and his partners. I love its low-hit point approach and clever partner-based puzzles. It is one of, if not my favorite, RPGs.

I have played the original Paper Mario, and I enjoyed it too, but I haven't had the time to fully invest myself in it, and therefore, have never completed it. I've beaten Super Paper Mario, too, though I'm not sure if I really consider that an RPG. I've never touched the Mario & Luigi series, though I am quite interested in it.

And Super Mario RPG, well... I have played that, as well. I was emulating it on my computer and got up to the last dungeon before it crashed and I lost all my progress. I mean, Super Mario RPG is wonderful. It's got that same sort of charm in its partners, though there's a few less than TTYD and Peach and Bowser are not as new, but each one is unique and interesting. The new characters like Smithy, Booster, and the like were fresh faces that also had a great deal of vibrancy. The game is very fun, and never takes itself seriously- it's what the Paper Mario series was built on and only TTYD matched in humor, charm, and the seriousness of its plot while also existing in a cartoony world. I really enjoyed Super Mario RPG and would love to play it again, but it lacks the replayability and customization that TTYD has, which is why that game will always hold a special place in my heart.

red14November 07, 2012

Well... Looks like whatever I put now probably won't be given a second thought, considering how late I am to see this..

However, these are my favorite games ever. I'll never come across another game series that is as personal to me as the Paper Mario and Mario and Luigi games. I'm going to talk about what I myself have held dear all these years concerning these games, and maybe that'l mean something to whoever might read this.

I preordered a game yesterday. And the sole reason for this action was to finally get a poster of my favorite game series ever. A Paper Mario Sticker Star poster, free when you preorder the game. The time I've waited for this particular game is almost unbearable, considering that would be 5 to 8 years. I thought that Super Paper Mario was a great addition to the games, but I still felt that The Thousand Year Door was the last incredibly spectacular Paper Mario game.

When E3 2010 came by, Nintendo announced the 3ds and various games for it, but never did they mention the existence of a new Paper Mario game. The ONLY one thing that told me it was real.... was seeing random video game titles pan across the bottom of the television screen on G4 at E3. It really confused the heck out of me that Nintendo had no interest in even talking about this one title. I literally forgot every single other video game existed for a while when I found out about it. I myself was not interested in any Wii games or anything either. ..I guess I'm just a simple person sometimes..

So, yeah. Paper Mario's like the sh*t to me. I've had to beat the 64 version around 20 times, TTYD at least a dozen, and SPP like half a dozen times. There's more to the Paper Mario games to me than I think anybody else will know. And also, since playing Super Mario RPG for the SNES, I've learned how some people might be letdown when transitioning from SM RPG to Paper Mario. It really is a drastic change to be sure. Regardless though, Paper Mario came first for me, and I can just remember how much I wanted the GameCube sequel when I found out about it.

But anyways, Paper Mario huh. I've played these games too many times over, and I'm not ashamed of it. I don't really think anything I say now though will amount to anything considering everyone's played all the Mario RPGs of course. I will say though that Paper Mario is an experience for me that speaks in a way of not really a typical game would, but how so that it's kind of a whole presentation of itself. I'd say that's what I like about Paper Mario more than the Mario and Luigi games. While M&L definitely can pull out some incredibly satisfying moves, in Paper Mario, instead of taking the gameplay so far, it puts on a kind of performance. A celebration of itself so to speak, and that is definitely not a bad thing in my eyes. Seeing the stage come out from behind a big red curtain, to hear the music kick off in a battle transition, putting on a show yourself as you pick off enemies one at a time... is what truly makes Paper Mario my favorite series of games. It's only the Mario and Luigi games that come so close to this formula after all, which is why I will now talk about Mario and Luigi.

A commercial was the first I heard about Mario and Luigi Superstar Saga. It was a game that lets you control Luigi as well as Mario, and that was enough to make me get it.

Since I didn't have much of an opinion when I was 9, I'll just say what I like about Superstar Saga overall.

I thoroughly enjoyed the catchy music. I'd love to see a new Mario and Luigi game with remixes to the original normal and boss battle themes from Superstar Saga. I can just imagine the fast paced gameplay keeping up with the tunes.

I think about my favorite scene from just the beginning of the game. The scene when Bowser scoops up Luigi with his Cruiser. I can't help but laugh every time it comes to mind. There were always extremely funny instances in the Mario and Luigi games, and I hope to see more one day.

The best minion to ever walk the Beanbean Kingdom. Fawful. His constant fascination with phrases of mustard and fink-rats satisfied me to no end. If I have any disappointments with this character, it's that he was killed off in the last Mario and Luigi game. I probably had the most appalled face when I saw him self-destruct that one day... But who knows? Maybe he really will have the last laugh one fateful day......

I eventually lost my copy of M&L SuperStar Saga one day. I wanted it back so much, that I actually gave a foot high stack of Pokemon Cards to one of my friends who had it just to get it back. I still have that copy, and it still sits on my dresser when I don't use it.

And there's pretty much what I have to say about Superstar Saga. Guess I'll move on to the DS.

Of all the places to even find out about it, I saw Partners in Time on a stupid middle school website when I was doing work in school. After that, I always went to the official Partners in Time website, just because of how exited I was for it, and how much I liked the title screen music for the game.

Mario and Luigi: Partners in Time is my favorite M&L game, even though I still find that SuperStar Saga was the best. I positively loved the perspective of controlling not two Mario bros., but FOUR. If that didn't make me vomit with anticipation for it, just the idea of a new M&L game did.

I don't want to keep this up too longer so I WILL say this about Partners in Time. It has the best story of the games hands down. I mean, oh my god, just think about it for a second. Space Mushrooms come to the Mushroom Kingdom to conquer it not only in the past, but in the future. Mario and Luigi not only team up AGAIN, but with their PAST SELVES! And the best part of the story, was the twist at the end with there being a SECOND Shroob Princess all along! I didn't see that coming, not for a long shot. That's probably why the third M&L game kinda let me down in a way, as far as the story goes. The ONLY letdown in Partners in Time for me however, was the alteration of Bros. Attacks. It was a good battle system, but I still could have seen something much better if they'd just compromised the original Bros. Attack system for four bros. instead of two.

Other than that, Mario and Luigi: Partners in Time. My favorite M&L game, without any doubt.

And the ending with everybody and their past selves waving goodbye to one another, will always get me.


Bowser's Inside Story. I didn't think highly of this idea when I found out about it. Mario and Luigi running around in Bowser's body while he did all the work did not appeal to me to say the least. In fact, I would have never gotten this game if a little cousin of mine hadn't forgotten that he'd loaned it to me like two years ago. Still have it, and yes, I've grown attached to it. I've come to greatly appreciate the battle gameplay in this one, and the music that plays (specifically Mario and Luigi's normal battle theme) is highly commendable.

I can't say much else about BIS except I WISH that Fawful wasn't killed off. It was such an incredible delight to see Fawful back in all his furious glory. But now that he's gone, I have to shed a tear off and on for that awesome minion who aspired to be something more fearsome and villainous than what he was at the time. Fawful, you did great being a minion as well as a villain all these years. And if you really didn't get killed off, I'll eagerly await the day you come back to make a wonderfully delicious sandwich of maliciousness topped off with the well known sound of your laughter and beloved mischief making across all the kingdoms. Farewell, Fawful of Fury.

"Paper Mario", and "Mario and Luigi". Two very different, yet very similar game series that have been there to entertain, inspire, amaze, and to speak to so many people across the world in so many ways. After a lifetime of going back and forth between these games, I've become too attached to ever let go of such things. I feel there are lessons as well memories from these games that I should never forget, thoughts that remind me what the essence of these games try to be, and what the games themselves aspire to get across to the player. I feel that to remember what makes video games what they are, we MUST remember the games in our lives that affected us in such ways that make them our favorites. When we remember the good things about games, it's that knowledge that game companies use to create new ones. Without this kind of common sense so to speak, how can we possibly preserve the true future for the games we hold dear, and the ones that haven't, but still NEED to be made? I think that is something that all game companies should hold on to.

Now, to bring this to a close. I don't know how much fun, how long, or exactly how spectacular Paper Mario: Sticker Star will be. But I will say this. I can't ever turn my back on this series, as well as the Mario and Luigi series. Paper Mario, as I've made well known, is something I treasure most above all other games. If there's anything that shows that a game hasn't forgotten what it's all about, I see no reason not to give it a chance. This Sunday, for what seems like an eternity instead of 5 years, I'll finally get to again experience the feeling of playing my favorite game ever for the first time.

And maybe, someday soon, I can finally say the same for Mario and Luigi on the 3DS.

Thank you. For taking so much time out your day to read my comments about my favorite games.

Ian SaneNovember 07, 2012

Thousand Year Door gets a lot of praise and it's probably the best Paper Mario game so that is no surprise.  However when that game was announced I was quite annoyed because it deviated from a pattern that suggested a path for the Mario RPGs that I think would have been much cooler in the longrun.  At that time there was only three Mario RPGs and each one played differently and was made by a different dev.  See the pattern?  I thought that that would be the formula, that each Mario RPG would be handed to a different dev to do their own unique take on it.  It would be like the old Final Fantasy games where each one had a different cast and gameplay mechanics.  As much as people love the Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi sequels I still think this would have been a better way to go as each game would be a more essential experience and the constant changes would ironically tie the entire Mario RPG series together with a common trademark, while in the end we just seem to have two Mario RPG series for some reason.

This just fits my preferences in game design where I prefer having more distinct games where every title is essential over making safe sequels that are similar enough that a gamer can skip a game here or there and not feel they are missing out.  I understand the short term financial success of derivative sequels but in the long term a series will have more legs if each entry seems like a big deal and if the company brand itself becomes as valuable as a specific IP (Blizzard fits this model perfectly).  Quick 'n' dirty sequels poison a brand in the long run.  Of course in this case there remains a popular brand in Mario so the approach would still would have been easy money.  I doubt Paper Mario or Mario & Luigi is the real selling point as much as just the Mario franchise in general.  If Nintendo made a completely new Mario RPG with a different dev, different gameplay and with no direct connection to the existing series, it would probably sell just as well.

Of course the worst part this?  My favourite game of the series is the only one to not get a sequel!  :(

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