Paper Mario is a game that I notoriously love, I have told myself that I cannot in good faith review the first two games if the opportunity ever arose because I love them just that much. So to see what has become of the Paper Mario franchise physically hurts to see. It is a massive departure from what made the series so great. The gameplay, story, and especially characters are so incredibly well done and well written that The Thousand Year Door is personally in my top 5 games of all time, it takes what the original did so well and expands on it perfectly. Oddly enough, 2020 will mark the 20th anniversary of the original Paper Mario’s debut in 2000. And it is the perfect time to give it the attention it so rightfully deserves.
The original Paper Mario released August 11, 2000. Known as Mario Story in Japan, the game quickly became one of the best games to come out on the dying N64. The team at Intelligent systems built a game that was not only fun but accessible to all ages. And the Thousand Year Door matured well, learning important lessons and offering a bold new take on the universe, it is also where Bowser gained his most relatable trait of being pretty goofy and more often served as the comedic break from the regular story, always just one world behind. Then the series started experimenting with the formula, Super Paper Mario was actually a fun game, it suffered because of the expectations of the previous two games but it was a good game in its own right. And, the two most recent titles have been met with serious fan criticism, taking the game in a direction that fans have absolutely no interest in.
That’s why at E3 this year, I’m hoping and wishing for a collection of the first two games be released on switch. It would be such a natural fit on the system with its bite sized gameplay and easy story. Plus, Paper Mario is one of the few franchises to not have a game available or even an announcement of a game on the horizon and there is no better way to satiate the fanbase than with packaging these two games together. Call it an anniversary collection and completely forget about it after release if you want to, but Nintendo has only a few RPG series and this one is arguably the most enduring of them all. The games are so beloved and have such a unique art style that even ROMs of the old games look great. If it were just the two old games with no work done to them it could still justify a $60 price tag.
Announcing the game for next year would not only hype up the fanbase but also flush out some more of Nintendo’s plans after 2019. This year looks incredible however there isn’t much announced for after this year. Nintendo has obviously shown a commitment to the franchise as they keep trying to reinvent the wheel in new iterations, and failing miserably. Releasing this collection shows a commitment to the fans that they are listening. It is also noteworthy to mention that of all the Wii U games being re-released on the Switch, there has been no mention of Color Splash coming to the console any time soon. This shows a lack in confidence in the direction of the series because pretty much everything that was quality on the Wii U has been released on the switch. Something else to think about, also, is the fact that Nintendo is taking their most stale and displeasing games from the Wii U and making all new games first. This includes: Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and Super Smash Brothers, all games that fell flat on the previous console and have come back stronger than ever on the Switch. Paper Mario definitely falls into the category of games that fans are unhappy with.
Nintendo has poured too much time and money into this franchise to let it go, the Shadow Queen had a spirit in Super Smash Brothers Ultimate, which proves that the game at least exists to Nintendo and maybe, just maybe, we could get a true Paper Mario sequel in the way that we had been hoping. Until then, all we really need is that collection, just let us relive the glory days of the series and fans of the series can at least have a little hope for the future.
What’s your favorite Paper Mario game? Do you think a new game is on the horizion? Let me know in the comments down below and make sure to subscribe for more Bring Your Own Games.