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Paper Mario

Paper Mario
Paper Mario

Developer(s) Intelligent Systems
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Director(s) Ryota Kawade
Toshitaka Muramatsu
Takahiro Ogi
Hironobu Suzuki
Producer(s) Shigeru Miyamoto
Kenji Miki
Artist(s) Naohiko Aoyama
Writer(s) Kumiko Takeda
Kaori Aoki
Composer(s) Yuka Tsujiyoko
Taishi Senda
Koji Kondo
Series Paper Mario
Platform(s) Nintendo 64, iQue Player, Virtual Console (Wii, Wii U)
Release date(s) Nintendo 64
JP 20000811August 11, 2000
NA 20010205February 5, 2001
EU 20011005October 5, 2001
iQue Player
  • ZH June 8, 2004
Virtual Console
JP 20070710July 10, 2007
EU 20070713July 13, 2007
NA 20070716July 16, 2007
Wii U
NA 20150430April 30, 2015
EU 20150521May 21, 2015
JP 20150715July 15, 2015
Genre(s) Role-playing video game
Mode(s) Single-player

Paper Mario, known in Japanese as Mario Story (マリオストーリー Mario Sutōrī) and originally known as Super Mario RPG 2, is a role-playing video game developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64 game console. It was first released in Japan on August 11, 2000, in North America on February 5, 2001, and in Europe and Australia on October 5, 2001. Paper Mario was re-released for Nintendo's Wii Virtual Console in July 2007 as well as Wii U Virtual Console in 2015.

Paper Mario is set in the Mushroom Kingdom as the protagonist Mario tries to rescue Princess Peach from Bowser, who has lifted her castle into the sky and has successfully defeated his foe after stealing the Star Rod from Star Haven and making himself invulnerable to any attacks. To save Mushroom Kingdom and get back Peach and the castle and defeat Bowser, Mario must locate seven "Star Spirits" by defeating his minions guarding the star spirits which can negate the effects of the stolen Star Rod, which Bowser uses to render himself invincible. The player controls Mario and a number of partners to solve puzzles in the game's overworld and defeat enemies in a turn-based battle system. The battles are unique in that the player can influence the effectiveness of attacks by performing required controller inputs known as "action commands".

Paper Mario is the second Mario role-playing game to be released (following Super Mario RPG) and is the first installment for the Paper Mario series. Paper Mario is the predecessor to the GameCube game Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, the Wii game Super Paper Mario, and the 3DS game Paper Mario: Sticker Star. The game received a positive reaction from the media, attaining an aggregate score of 88% from Game Rankings and 93% from Metacritic.[1][2] It was rated the 63rd best game made on a Nintendo system in Nintendo Power‍ '​s "Top 200 Games" list in 2006.[3]


  • Gameplay 1
  • Plot and setting 2
    • Story and characters 2.1
  • Development 3
    • Music 3.1
  • Reception and legacy 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


The game's visuals feature two-dimensional character cut-out designs contained within three-dimensional backgrounds.

Paper Mario combines traditional role-playing game (RPG) elements with concepts and features from the Mario series.[4][5] For the majority of the game, the player controls Mario, who can jump and use his hammer to overcome physical obstacles placed in the game's overworld. Many of the game's puzzles and boundaries are based upon the abilities of Mario's partners, who each have a specialised skill required for progression in the game.[6] The player accumulates partners as they advance into different locations; only one partner can accompany Mario in the overworld, although the player can interchange them at any time. These characters also assist Mario in the game's turn-based battles, where damage inflicted against them results in temporary paralysis as the characters do not have individual HP statistics.[7] Attacks in the game are similar to those in traditional RPGs, although the player can influence the power of a move when attacking or defending by timing a button-press accurately or performing some other action command as required.[8] Mario and his partners have a finite capacity to perform special moves, with each of these consuming a particular number of flower points (FP) when performed. Such statistics can be increased by earning Star Points (experience points) in combat to level up.[5] There is also an on-screen gauge to display Star Energy, which is required to perform another type of move that accumulate in number as the player advances through the game. The player can locate hidden battle upgrades in the game's overworld, which promotes one partner character to a new rank at a time.[7]

Progression through Paper Mario depends upon interaction with the game's non-player characters (NPCs), who will often offer clues or detail the next event in the storyline. As in other RPGs, the player can find or purchase items from NPCs to help in and outside of combat.[5] Badges can also be obtained that yield bonuses ranging from added moves to gradual health restoration during combat; each consumes a set number of Badge Points (BP), meaning Mario can only equip a limited number of badges at a time.[8] Princess Peach is playable at particular points in the game as a recurring sidequest.[5] The objectives and actions of each transition to Peach vary, although most are stealth-based.

Plot and setting

The game is set in Mushroom Kingdom, beginning as Mario and Luigi are relaxing in their house when the mail Parakoopa, Parakarry, arrives with a letter. Mario sends Luigi to fetch the mail, which turns out to be an invitation from Peach to a party. Mario and Luigi then head to the castle, and as Mario is about to have some quiet time with Peach, Bowser appears. After Bowser's invasion and victory over Mario, the castle becomes attached to Bowser's fortress, which serves as the location for playable side quests of the kidnapped Peach. In the main quest, Mario tries to retrieve all of the Star Spirits on land,[8] where most of the locations are linked to the central Toad Town, which acts as the game's hub area. The story's main conflict arises when Bowser invades Star Haven, the residence for the seven Star Spirits, and steals the Star Rod.

Story and characters

The game's story centers on Mario as he tries to reclaim the seven Star Spirits, who have been incarcerated in playing cards by Bowser and Kammy Koopa.[7] Their combined power is required to negate the effects of the Star Rod, which makes Bowser invincible. Once Mario rescues all of them, he uses their assistance to defeat Bowser and rescue Peach. The story is presented in the context of a novel, with each adventure involving the rescue of a Star Spirit denoted as a single chapter. Peach is playable between chapters, where she allies with a star named Twink in the castle to relay vital information to Mario regarding his quest; this is ironic, as the player already knows the plot details revealed, where as Mario does not.[5] During the final boss scene, Peach gives Twink a wish to defeat Bowser's assistant, Kammy Koopa.

Mario allies with eight partners in total, each of whom represents a different type of enemy from the Mario series. These allies are:

  • Goombario (Kurio (クリオ)) the Goomba, who has the ability to tell the player about any character, any environment, and any enemy.
  • Kooper (Kameki (カメキ)) the Koopa, with the ability to throw his shell at otherwise unreachable objects.
  • Bombette (Pinky (ピンキー Pinkī)) the Bob-omb, with the ability to blow up weak parts of walls.
  • Parakarry (Paretta (パレッタ)) the Paratroopa, with the ability to help Mario cross gaps too large to jump across.
  • Lady Bow (Resaresa (レサレサ)) the Boo, with the ability to make Mario become invisible and transparent.
  • Watt (Akarin (アカリン)) the Li'l Sparky, with the ability to light up rooms (also, the only ally in the game with the ability to penetrate an enemy's defenses). Also has the ability to see hidden objects.
  • Sushie (Opuku (おプク)) the Cheep-Cheep, with the ability to allow Mario to swim.
  • Lakilester (Pokopī (ポコピー Pokopī)) the Lakitu, with the ability to allow Mario to traverse dangerous environments, such as spikes and lava.

Near the end of the game, Mario recounts his tale to Luigi, who had remained at home while Mario went on the adventure. Princess Peach throws a huge party for saving the entire kingdom, which is then followed by a parade that Luigi takes in charge of in the credits. In the end, Mario and Peach gaze up the sky, seeing fireworks. This part will not end until the player turns off the console. When restarted, the file will restart from the last save.


Paper Mario was developed by Intelligent Systems. Kumiko Takeda and Kaori Aoki wrote the game's script, while Naohiko Aoyama was the art director responsible for the game's distinctive graphical style.[9] The game was initially called Super Mario RPG 2, and was first revealed at Nintendo Space World '97, a former video game trade show hosted by Nintendo. Critics compared the game's 2D character style to PaRappa the Rapper. Shigeru Miyamoto, who consulted on the project, stated that the game was being developed with amateur gamers in mind.[10] He had earlier revealed at E3 that around twenty developers were actively involved with the project.[11] Paper Mario was re-released on the Wii Virtual Console in 2007, and the Wii U Virtual Console in 2015.[12] The game was also released for the iQue Player in 2004.[13][14]


Mario Story Original Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Yuka Tsujiyoko and Taishi Senda[15]
  • JP September 21, 2000
  • NA 2001
Genre Soundtrack, video game music
Label Enterbrain

The game's soundtrack was first released in Japan on September 21, 2000, with the game's original title by Enterbrain, and distributed by the magazine Famitsu.[15][16] It was followed in the United States a few months later as a Nintendo Power exclusive with the illustration from the international game cover. It included both the original music to the game, as well as sound effects, in 78 tracks on two disks. All of the game's compositions were written by Yuka Tsujiyoko, with reprise arrangement of previous Super Mario themes by Koji Kondo.[15] The games other event and sound effects music were composed by Taishi Senda.[16] The game's music mostly received positive reviews, with Lucas M. Thomas of describing it as "vividly appointed with catchy, expressive tunes and comical audio cues."[17]

Reception and legacy

Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 88.81%
(35 reviews)[1]
Metacritic 93/100
(15 reviews)[2]
Review scores
Publication Score
EGM 9.33/10[1]
Eurogamer 9/10[4]
Famitsu 33/40[18]
GameSpot 9.5/10[5]
IGN 9.0/10[8]
Nintendo Life 10/10

Paper Mario received a positive reaction from the media. 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".[8] Nonetheless, other reviewers complained about the "brain-dead easy" puzzles and bosses requiring "basic strategy at best".[6] 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.[5][8] 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",[4] 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.[8] 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.[7]

Critics lauded the game's blend of RPG and platforming aspects.[4][5] GameSpot noted the "exciting and somewhat strategic" battle system, which requires the player exploit the enemies' weak points.[5] The "refreshing" action command features was praised in particular for adding originality to a battle formula that was present in many games of the same genre.[8] IGN claimed the game was "the best RPG for Nintendo 64", calling it "fantastically deep, intuitively designed, and wonderfully rewarding".[8] Despite this, enemy design itself was bemoaned for being "corny and generic", with notable exceptions to some of the Paper Mario‍ '​s original boss characters.[7] Eurogamer noted how "Of the various characters you meet, none is of less importance than any other", welcoming the partner characters and their relating puzzles.[4] GameSpot praised the game's use of humour and side quests, with references to the control of Peach in particular.[5]

The reaction to the game's visuals was generally positive. IGN noted some paper-based visual effects such as when Mario folds in a bed to sleep, but complained about character zoom-ins, which revealed "a pixelated mass of colors".[8] Although reviewers claimed that the novel graphical style was initially confusing, most welcomed the style eventually,[4] with GameSpot claiming that it was "extremely well done".[5] The audio was also mainly praised, although reviewers criticised the lack of voice acting and character-specific sound effects.[5][8] RPGFan were particularly critical of the game's "generic filler music", despite enjoying use of multiple songs simultaneously.[7]

The game was also well received upon release for the Virtual Console, with IGN's Lucas M. Thomas stating "it's held up very well even placed into context against its GameCube and Wii era sequels, and it's an RPG for goodness sakes".[17] Paper Mario proved popular on the Virtual Console, reaching a high of 'Second most downloaded game' in the US in August 2007.[19]

Paper Mario was the top selling game in Japan on the week of its release, selling more than 276,000 copies,[20] and the top-selling game for two weeks in other regions.[21] It was ranked #141 on Electronic Gaming Monthly's "Greatest 200 Videogames of their Time" in February 2006,[22] the 63rd best game made on a Nintendo system in Nintendo Power‍ '​s "Top 200 Games" list,[3] and the 13th greatest Nintendo 64 game of all time by the same magazine.[23] It currently ranks as the sixth-highest scoring Nintendo 64 game on Metacritic,[24] the ninth highest rated video game of 2001,[25] and the highest-scoring Nintendo 64 game released that year.[26]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Game Rankings: Paper Mario".  
  2. ^ a b "Metacritic—Paper Mario".  
  3. ^ a b Michaud, Pete (January 2006). "NP Top 200".  
  4. ^ a b c d e f Bramwell, Tom (2001-02-05). "Eurogamer: Paper Mario review".  
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Stahl, Ben (2001-02-05). "GameSpot: Paper Mario review".  
  6. ^ a b Tidwell, Mikel. "RPGamer—Paper Mario".  
  7. ^ a b c d e f "RPGFan—Paper Mario". RPGFan. Retrieved 2008-08-17. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Casamassina, Matt (2001-02-05). "Paper Mario review".  
  9. ^ "Game Credits for Paper Mario".  
  10. ^ "Mario RPG is for the Kids".  
  11. ^ Imamura, Takao; Miyamoto, Shigeru (1997). Nintendo Power August 1997 - Pak Watch E3 Report "The Game Masters". Nintendo. pp. 104–105. 
  12. ^ "VC Monday: 07/16/07".  
  13. ^ "Paper Mario".  
  14. ^ "iQue Ltd.". Retrieved 2015-10-30. 
  15. ^ a b c "Paper Mario, album info". Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved 2012-06-04. 
  16. ^ a b "Paper Mario, Album Stats". Video Game Music Database. Retrieved 2012-06-04. 
  17. ^ a b Thomas, Lucas M. (2007-07-20). "Paper Mario (Virtual Console) review".  
  18. ^ ニンテンドウ64 - マリオストーリー. Weekly Famitsu. No.915 Pt.2. Pg.30. 30 June 2006.
  19. ^ "Popular Virtual Console games". Wii Fanboy. 2007-08-08. Retrieved 2008-08-17. 
  20. ^ "Nintendo Dominates Japanese Charts".  
  21. ^ "Mario stays on top". GameSpot. Retrieved 2015-10-30. 
  22. ^ "The Greatest 200 Videogames of Their Time". Retrieved 2015-10-30. 
  23. ^ "Best of the Best".  
  24. ^ "Advanced Search at Metacritic - Metacritic". Retrieved 2015-10-30. 
  25. ^ "Advanced Search at Metacritic - Metacritic". Retrieved 2015-10-30. 
  26. ^ "Advanced Search at Metacritic - Metacritic". Retrieved 2015-10-30. 

External links

  • Paper Mario Profile - Nintendo (Archive)
  • siteMario StoryOfficial Nintendo Japan (Japanese)
  • guidePaper Mario at StrategyWiki
  • Mario at RPGClassics
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