Paper Mario, often referred to as Paper Mario 64 or PM64 for short, is an adventure role-playing game for the Nintendo 64 developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo, initially released on August 11, 2000 in Japan. The game also happens to be the main subject of the Star Haven website.
Note: Because the Star Haven site has many pages for specific subjects relating to this game, this page may not contain specific information you are looking for. You may want to find the page for your specific subject.
Development and Release
Paper Mario was originally developed by Intelligent Systems for the Nintendo 64DD as a sequel to the SNES game Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (appropriately named Super Mario RPG 2). The game's script was written by Kumiko Takeda and Kaori Aoki, directed by Ryota Kawade, Toshitaka Muramatsu, Takahiro Ogi and Hironobu Suzuki, produced by Mario series creator Shigeru Miyamoto as well as Kenji Miki, and Naohiko Aoyama was the art director who was responsible for the game's unique paper-style of visuals.
Aoyama's idea for the unique graphical style of 2D characters in a 3D environment came from a rough image he created in his spare time on March 5, 1997. This image may also suggest a planned title for the game was Mario RPG 64.
An initial reveal for the game was presented at Nintendo Space World in 1997. Shigeru Miyamoto had previously stated that the game was being made with amateur gamers in mind, and that only around 20 developers were actively involved in the project.
Eventually development switched from the Nintendo 64DD to the Nintendo 64 itself, likely due to the failure of the 64DD at launch. The game was also renamed 'Mario Story', likely due to licensing issues with the developers of Super Mario RPG, Square Co., however it is speculated that the game would not have the original name outside of Japan anyways, due to several English reports referring to it as 'Super Mario Adventure'. The game was eventually given the name 'Paper Mario' outside of Japan.
The game was again shown off at Nintendo Space World 1999, where the game looked much more similar to the eventual final version, although the title of Super Mario RPG 2 was still in use.
The game was released in Japan on August 11, 2000, in North America several months later on February 5, 2001, and eventually in Europe and Australia on October 5, 2001. It received critical acclaim, with IGN giving it a review score of 9/10, and receiving a Metacritic score of 93/100, although many reviewers noted that the game was fairly easy and did not require much skill to play. The game sold 1.37 million copies worldwide, and received a sequel, Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door for the Nintendo GameCube in 2004.
Main article: Paper Mario (Virtual Console)
Main articles: Category:Paper Mario Chapters
Above the Mushroom Kingdom, high in the sky, there is a place called Star Haven where the honorable Star Spirits live and grant wishes of the citizens below using the power of the Star Rod. However, with the help of his right-hand woman Kammy Koopa, the evil Bowser steals the Star Rod for himself. He uses it to kidnap Princess Peach and defeat Mario, as well as imprison the 7 Star Spirits guarded by fearsome bosses. Mario embarks on a quest to save the princess, and with the help of a few partners on the way as well as the princess herself, rescues the Star Spirits and uses them to overcome Bowser's strength and save Peach as well as the entire kingdom in the process.
Paper Mario is an adventure game, as well as a turn-based role-playing game. While in the overworld, you move around in a 3D environment where you can jump, spin, talk to NPCs and interact with objects. Along the way, there are puzzles to solve which usually involve visual illusions, or your partner abilities.
In the overworld, enemies will roam areas, and will pursue you if you get too close. When you make contact with an enemy, you will begin a battle in a turn-based system. This battle system has 3 (sometimes 2) phases:
- Mario phase, where you may choose to attack your enemies using a jump or hammer attack, use items, use star power, or choose to do nothing or run away,
- Partner phase, where you may choose to attack your enemies using your partner, or switch out for another one,
- Enemy phase, where your enemies will attack you.
The battles often involve great strategy, and are made more interesting with the addition of the Action Command, which allows you to use precise inputs to make your attacks more powerful or reduce damage taken by your enemies.
Main article: Battle System
Main Article: Paper Mario Soundtrack
Legacy and Community
The community surrounding Paper Mario on the internet has grown over the years, and have become a vocal part of the overall Nintendo gaming sphere. After the release of Super Paper Mario in 2007, a game which abandoned the turn-based open-world formula of its predecessors in favour of platforming and a linear structure, fans of the original games hoped that the next entry would be a return to form for the series, although Super Paper Mario was well-received and enjoyed in its own way. However, the next game in the series, Paper Mario: Sticker Star (released in 2012), was a heavy disappointment for many fans and was critically panned for being unoriginal and uncreative, as well as 'gimmicky'. While Sticker Star did return to the turn-based format, many noted that the game's story and levels lacked any creative inspiration or unique characters. Other features, such as partners, badges and FP were dropped as well.
Finally, in 2016, Paper Mario: Color Splash was released and many fans of the original format lost hope of a return to form, with Color Splash being a notable improvement over Sticker Star, and enjoyable in many ways, but still lacking the charm and uniqueness of the original games. Many fans were quick to point this out, and were very vocal about their disappointment in the direction the series seemed to be going, with campaigns to remaster old games and restore what many fans thought of as the series' prime.
Paper Mario itself also has a small and loyal community dedicated to uncovering the game's hidden secrets and glitches, as well as a strong speedrunning community. A few YouTubers, such as Stryder7x, have dedicated their channels to discovering and showcasing the many oddities and inconsistencies in the game, with the help of other members of the community such as movMarioPaper. Contributors such as these have helped 'break the game open', so to speak, providing an insight into the game's development and programming.