The most surprising thing about the Paper Mario saga is not only all that it has offered us through its six video games, but it was originally planned as “a role-playing game for beginners,” according to Shigeru Miyamoto himself. In fact, the title was initially raised as the sequel to the legendary Super Mario RPG, with a release initially set for the 64DD (the failed Nintendo 64 expansion). The game would not be developed by Squaresoft on this occasion, but by Nintendo itself.
Well, rather by Intelligent Systems, a Nintendo affiliated company that received his blessing to take over this project after proving his worth in other reputable sagas such as Fire Emblem. The point is that the play went well. The first Paper Mario was released on August 11, 2000, in Japan and it took about a year to reach the rest of the territories. The reception? Very positive, with very high scores by specialized media, which highlighted its accessibility, the strategic nature of its combative system, and the personality of its protagonists.
There were those who did not find too many reasons to justify the name of Paper Mario, but it is something that Nintendo has worried about over the years. Over time, we’ve seen increasing importance of origami in both gameplay and storytelling. There are not a few users who consider that the sequel to the first game, Paper Mario: The Millennial Door (Gamecube), is the best in the franchise, both in terms of narrative and gameplay. Which is why not a few fans ask for the return of this GameCube classic.
The titles of the series have stood out for their sense of humor, but also for proposing a different approach with each installment (something that the developers themselves recognized). For example, in Super Paper Mario it was possible to alternate between a traditional 2D vision and a 3D one that at that time was new in the saga. For its part, Paper Mario: Sticker Star introduced the use of stickers, not only in the graphic aspect but also in the playable, through power-ups of very varied use. Paper Mario: Color Splash brought back the card system for the combat system, this time with a nice paint bath in the process.
Despite everything that the saga has achieved in terms of quality, sales have not always accompanied. More than 10 million units have been sold among all titles, and the one that has achieved the most success so far is the Wii (something that was influenced by the reception of the machine). We’ll see what happens with the latest game: Paper Mario: The Origami King, although we already know that it is achieving good sales figures in all territories. It will be interesting to see in another 20 years where the saga is.