Now, I could be like every other asshole on the internet and just post craploads of videos of Super Paper Mario to depict how excited I am for this game, but I think I will choose not to. You’re not a dumbass… you know where to go when you want to find videos. I mean, ok, so you’re lazy, and it’d just be way easier if all you had to do was click on a big Play button in the middle of this article, but I’d hope you already had an idea about what you were getting into that it would be a somewhat moot point for me to post a video here. Also, I think that the game is so near release (Tuesday, I believe is the release day), that it’d be a travesty to spoil and thusly partialy ruin what you’ll be getting into, hopefully oh-so soon.
[more mario origami action!]
Anyway, so as I’ve already mentioned, I am excited for Super Paper Mario, and I thought I’d write about it here. Outside of the obvious reasons for anticipating this title such as series fandom, Wii goodness, and all around classic franchise fun (more on these soon), I also have many traditional and unorthodox reasons for anticipating this game itself including the look, the redifining and replaying of classic and not-so-classic gameplay, and all around poking fun at the social standard of 2D gaming we’ve all lived and loved and grown up with.
Ok, so first I’ll start with the obvious reasons:
I love Paper Mario, and I always have. Of course this all started where it may have for many of us, which would be Super Mario RPG. Though the Paper Mario direction was a drastic change in the make of the Mario RPG world, it was a continuation of it in a way, and for that I was happy. Although this created quite a divide in gamers from loving Mario RPG and hating Paper Mario for not being a Mario RPG 2, I personally never found much justification to that logic. Just because it ain’t broke doesn’t mean that you can’t try to fix it. Now, people may have been turned away by other reasons such as non-traditional combat mechanics, or the look (which was definitely ahead of its time), or some other bogus reason I myself can’t put to words, which is at least a little bit understandable because while I may not have agreed with them, at least they were legitimate reasons.
I also deeply enjoy the Mario & Luigi series on the GBA and the DS, but I think by now that those games, despite their Mario and RPG connections to Paper Mario and Mario RPG, the series is an entirely different endevour. The only reason Mario RPG and Paper Mario are at all connected anymore is because of expectations people had from the original Paper Mario… and here’s still hoping for a true Super Mario RPG 2. Anyway, so I loved Mario RPG, I loved Paper Mario, and I loved Paper Mario “2“, so I am obviously a fan, and any incarnations of its future, no matter how drastically different, will appeal to me.
Ok, so I mentioned earlier how the look may have turned some people off, and while the look wasn’t a point of decision for me starting out, as in, I didn’t particularly like or dislike the look, now for me certainly isn’t the case. Though on the N64, this was a clever means of creating a bright colorful vibrant world without fear of overburdening processors or having poor visuals and such, the style flourished incredibly with the release of PM2, a leap I see of significant proportions with SPM as well; while the paper-y look of PM2 was amazing, to say that they concept was used to its full potential would just be …stupid.
Ok, now this is a weird reason, but I think most of you might know what I mean. Well, there are two meanings really. One, I enjoy playing games on the Wii; the new control medium and such is something I so truly enjoy and am so desperately hungering for more gaming goodness to pass away the time, especially something with a bit more depth and continuity. Which leads to my second reason, in that, there isn’t actually much else to play. I don’t mean that as a complaint because I think the launch window is doing fantastically as far as games go, but at the same time, while most of the games have that “hey it’s on the Wii and the Wii controls are a lot of fun so this game is at least a little worth playing”-ness to it, at the same time, outside of Zelda and maybe WarioWare, nothing is die-hard must-have until now this.
And now the less obvious reasons:
So despite everything I just listed, I wasn’t always without my doubts. Though I love Paper Mario, and enjoy the look and such, the game was originally slated as a GameCube title, and the stuff shown at E3 ‘06 was although cool, a little less than impressive. To me at the time, it looked like a 2D with the Paper Mario skin on top. Now though, while I think Nintendo not really initially revealing the “third” dimension was definitely a good thing, at the time, I had no idea what to expect with it. The game still looked like it would be fun, and something I would be willing to be head-strong on and buy without doubts of quality, but I was still worried that it was just a half-assed game. At the time, I would have much rather had a new Paper Mario RPG but I realize now that thoughts like that one and the same as thoughts of Mario RPG versus Paper Mario.
2D vs. 3D
Now this definitely is the bang of this game. While in PM2 they added the simple ability to travel in the depth of the 2D space, in this game, they literally turn that on its side. Har har, that was terrible. Anyway, I saw the first few levels of this game being played, and each and every level not only looked fun and fantastic, it appeared that each level in the game had such unique puzzles and designes and themes, that it appeared to have the level of depth to the level design as New Super Mario Bros. for the DS, except, moved from not only 2D, but to 3D as well. And then, this combined with the fact that I love 2D games in general, I still love them now, and despite my true undying love for the third dimension, the 2D can never end.
Which is where this game comes in. Bridging the gap between 2D and 3D and destroying norms we’ve lived by in game and level design, all while being fully aware of it and making amusing fun of it at the same time is something that should appeal to every gamer… well, at least any gamer that started playing games before it was “cool.” I saw people tire away at puzzles for a few minutes before realizing that they could turn the world to its side and see the solution as clear as day, but in 2D see nothing. Watching the realization of what the game designers and developers intended is something that I was truly happy to be able to appreciate, and I will be even more greatful when I am able to play it.
I think I’m not the only one out there that shares these sentiments and similarly anticipates SPM, and I don’t also believe that I’m the only one that this release kind of snuck up on. While I was always looking forward to it and keeping it in the back of my mind, in the wake of Super Mario Galaxy, Metroid Corruption, and SMASH BROS., it’s not hard to see a title like this vanish. Seeing it at GDC was a blessing because when I heard that it would be out only weeks later, I was so relieved. I don’t think I would have been able to easily wait for this one. (Also, I’ve been very busy. :P)