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Paper Mario

Paper Mario is a video game series and part of the Mario franchise, developed by Intelligent Systems and produced by Nintendo. It combines elements from the role-playing, action-adventure, and puzzle genres. Players control a paper cutout version of Mario, sometimes with allies, on a quest to defeat the antagonist, primarily Bowser. The series consists of six games and one spin-off; the first, Paper Mario (2000), was released for the Nintendo 64, and the most recent, Paper Mario: The Origami King (2020), for the Nintendo Switch.

Paper Mario

The first two games in the series, Paper Mario and The Thousand-Year Door, received critical acclaim, and were praised for their story, characters, and unique gameplay. When Paper Mario: Sticker Star was released in 2012, the series began to receive complaints about its change in genre, removal of original fictional races, and less unique character designs, but continued to earn praise for its writing, characters, music, and enhanced paper-inspired visuals. Super Paper Mario is the bestselling game in the series, with 4.3 million sales as of 2019. The series has collectively sold 12.54 million copies.

In the series, Mario is tasked with a quest to explore either the Mushroom Kingdom or a similar world. Each game divides the world into several explorable areas that contain puzzles and interactive elements, such as obstacles that Mario has to hit with his hammer,[1] that need to be completed to progress in the story. The locations are designed to look as if they are made out of paper,[2] and contain coins and other collectibles, such as hidden trophies.[3] There are also non-playable characters (NPCs) which Mario can talk to.[4] All games except Super Paper Mario feature a turn-based combat system, where Mario and one or more opponents take turns attacking one another.[1][5]

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door[b] is a role-playing video game released for the GameCube in 2004.[20][24] The game is set mainly in Rogueport, where Mario and Peach discover a locked portal that is thought to lead to the riches of a lost kingdom. Soon after, Peach is kidnapped by the X-Nauts, who want to open the portal. Peach e-mails Mario about her kidnapping and informs him that he needs to search for the seven Crystal Stars to find the treasure. During this, Mario becomes cursed, which allows him to perform special moves such as folding into a paper airplane or boat.[25]

Color Splash preserves certain elements of gameplay introduced in Sticker Star. Mario is equipped with a paint hammer; various containers of red, yellow, and blue paint can be found that can be applied to Mario's hammer.[1] When he hits something in the overworld, an uncolored object is colored and rewards items such as coins.[1] The player can use the Wii U GamePad to trace a hole in the paper environment to reveal secrets, known as the "Cutout" ability.[34][37] Much like Sticker Star, the player pre-determines their action in combat with cards to determine the action and target.[1] Cards can be collected in the overworld or purchased in shops.[38][1] Thing Cards are present, which function similarly to Thing Stickers in Sticker Star.[39]

Although Paper Jam is a crossover, its gameplay is more similar to Mario & Luigi's than Paper Mario's. The player simultaneously controls Mario and Luigi, who use their usual abilities, and Paper Mario, whose actions are paper-inspired, which include folding into a shuriken in combat, and performing a high-damage attack by stacking multiple copies of himself.[49][50]

Super Mario RPG, which was released on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), was the first Mario role-playing game and was developed by Square. Square used experimental gameplay mechanics, such as timed button presses to deal more damage in combat, to try to ease fans into finding interest in the genre.[53] Although Nintendo wanted Square to create another RPG game, Square later signed a deal with Sony Interactive Entertainment to create Final Fantasy VII on the original PlayStation. Instead, Nintendo hired Intelligent Systems to create an RPG for their newest console, the Nintendo 64.[20] Game development began shortly after the console's release in Japan in 1996. The game, produced by Shigeru Miyamoto, was originally planned to be a sequel to Super Mario RPG, Super Mario RPG 2, used a similar graphics style to its predecessor, and was to be released on the 64DD, a disk drive add-on for the Nintendo 64.[20] Naohiko Aoyama, the game's art designer,[20] later switched the graphics to a paper-like style because he believed players might prefer a game with "cute" 2D character designs instead of one with low-polygon 3D graphics. Development took four years and was released in August 2000 towards the end of the console's lifecycle with the Nintendo GameCube nearing announcement. The game was titled Mario Story in Japan and Paper Mario in North America.[52]

Paper Jam's development was mainly inspired by Sticker Star.[35] AlphaDream wanted to use a third button to control a third character in their newest game, and felt Paper Mario would fit the role.[63] Every game in the series from Color Splash onward has a white paper outline around Mario; the developers of Paper Jam needed to differentiate the characters from the separate series.[35]

As the Wii U has more graphical power than previous Nintendo consoles, development for Color Splash emphasized the console's graphics and controls. The artists made the graphics look like paper and craft materials, and the Wii U GamePad heavily influenced player combat as the developers found the motion controls fun to use.[33][34] Producer Kensuke Tenabe limited the variety of character designs and continued to exempt original characters, out of respect to series creator Shigeru Miyamoto.[64] The game was announced via a Nintendo Direct presentation in early 2016.[65] The game received negative reception afterwards, as fans were frustrated the series was following an action-adventure genre format like Sticker Star.[66] Tanabe mentioned that Mario & Luigi would replace Paper Mario as the RPG series and[67] Tabata noted that the Paper Mario series would focus more on non-RPG elements, such as "puzzle-solving" and "humor", to differentiate the two.[15] The game released worldwide in early October 2016[68] and became the lowest-selling game in the series, possibly due to the low sales of the Wii U and the announcement of the Nintendo Switch prior to its release.[20] Paper Jam was the last game in the Mario & Luigi series created by AlphaDream before the company filed for bankruptcy in 2019.[69]

In a 2020 interview with Video Games Chronicle, Tanabe reaffirmed from previous interviews that while he makes note of general criticisms, he makes sure not to ignore "casual players" and new fans of the series. With this in mind, The Origami King greatly focused on puzzle-solving. Tanabe said that he could not satisfy every fan amidst the core veterans and casual players, and instead attempted to gravitate towards new concepts, which is why The Origami King used origami as a new paper-like theme. Tanabe explained how the game's writing was kept broad in its context and format so it could be understood by other ages and cultures. He has since kept away from a complicated plot due to how it "led the game away from the Mario universe",[16] and instead created a story where different locales would be tied to specific memorable events.[79] Tanabe also noted that it was no longer possible to bring back original characters since Sticker Star.[59]

The Thousand-Year Door is often ranked as one of the best games in the series.[99][100][101] Reviewers praised the game's plot and characters,[25][26][102] with Eurogamer considering the story whimsical in tone.[102] The new paper-based game and audience mechanics were also lauded.[25][102][103] The Thousand Year Door won "Console Role-Playing Game of the Year" at the 2005 Interactive Achievement Awards.[104]

Paper Mario was the best-selling game in its first week in Japan and other regions,[140][141] and has sold 1.3 million copies, making it one of the best-selling games on the Nintendo 64.[80] Similar to Paper Mario, The Thousand-Year Door was the top selling game in Japan in its first week,[142] and sold over 1.3 million copies since 2007. It is the thirteenth best-selling game on the Nintendo GameCube.[82][143] Super Paper Mario was the top selling game of the week upon release in Japan,[144] and ranked as the third best-selling game on the Wii in April 2007, similar to its predecessors.[145] By 2008, the game had sold over 2 million units worldwide.[146][147] As of 2019, the game had sold about 4.3 million copies and is the best-selling Paper Mario game to date.[84] Sticker Star sold around 400,000 copies in Japan by 2012,[148] and almost 2 million worldwide by March 2013.[149] As of 2020, the game had reached almost 2.5 million sales and is also one of the best-selling games on the Nintendo 3DS.[86] According to a whitepaper published by the Japanese Computer Entertainment Supplier's Association, Color Splash had sold over 60,000 units in Japan and nearly 1.2 million copies worldwide by July 2020, making it one of the best-selling Wii U games.[88][150] The Origami King had the best launch in the series, having doubled the launch sales of Super Paper Mario in the U.S., and the series' best launch in its first month.[151][152] By December 2020, the game had sold 3.05 million copies and is the second highest selling in the series, becoming one of the best-selling games on the Nintendo Switch.[153]

IGN's Matt Casamassina praised the game's accessibility, commenting that "it serves as the perfect introductory game to any person hoping to explore the genre".[5] Nonetheless, other reviewers complained about the "brain-dead easy" puzzles and bosses requiring "basic strategy at best".[3] The game's nostalgic value was lauded, with reviewers noting the sense of familiarity with the Mario series present in the game's settings and characters.[2][5] The game has often been compared to the previous Mario RPG title, Super Mario RPG. Eurogamer's Tom Bramwell judged that "Paper Mario is a vastly superior game to SMRPG",[1] while IGN compared the game's simple plot unfavourably with the SNES game and RPGFan claimed that some of Paper Mario's story was copied from it.[5] RPGFan also questioned the name of Paper Mario, as there were, in their opinion, insufficient gameplay features or aspects which used the paper theme to justify the name.[4] 041b061a72


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