Editorial: New Super Mario RPG

But I write about it as though I have!
I have not played this game. I repeat, I have not played this game.

I failed yet again to get my hands on a copy of Skies of Arcadia this week, LusiVyses. I went to both of my favourite used games stores in Toronto a few days ago and while GameCentre did not have it, I was pleased to grab A&C Games’ last copy of the GameCube version (although I was less happy to find how expensive it was). Lo and behold, dear LusiSkyPirates, when I cleared out an afternoon, set up my favourite smaller monitor on my end of the couch, and popped in Skies of Arcadia Legends, the disc did not work.

“Crapoopula,” I said, in reference to the famous feces-based vampire of whom we are all well aware. I feared for a moment that it was my Wii console, breaking even after I had played so much Thousand Year Door on it just a few months ago, but a quick test proved that it was both fortunately and unfortunately just the Skies disc itself.

However, during the test of my Wii’s GameCube drive, I spent around an hour reacquainting myself with Thousand Year Door, and from that I returned briefly that night to Mario & Luigi: Dream Team in addition to continuing to play Super Paper Mario (in which I died a few minutes after defeating a boss that gave me trouble, so I took a day away from it). This got me thinking about Mario’s RPG outings and how it has been seven years since his last console RPG and how even then it was a platformer RPG. So let us put on our imagination hats, LusiRolePlayers, and conceive of what a new Mario console RPG could look like. First, it is easy to imagine that…

Paper Mario continues

The most expected route would be for Nintendo to stick with a proven franchise that continues to do well. Of course, the direction of the series is now a little confused. After two similar entries, Super Paper Mario was an obvious attempt to break from the mold and it appears as though Sticker Star (the one Paper Mario game I have not played) was something of an experiment on the 3DS, just like New Super Mario Bros. 2 could be considered one. If the series returned to the big(ger small) screen, how different would Nintendo want it to be? More interestingly, how would we want it to be? And because I am the one typing right now, how would I want it to be? I am only on the third pure heart in Super Paper Mario, but I do really like its particular brand of roleplaying. However, I still feel there is some meat missing when compared to the fleshed out vignettes of Thousand Year Door, so being able to combine the two somehow seems appealing, although that is easier said than done. I really like the new challenges and style of real-time battles that Super Paper Mario offers, but I do miss the dynamics of the classic turn-based Paper Mario games as well. Perhaps enemies in one dimension would require turn-based battles but enemies in the alternate dimension would require action-based combat, although that sounds silly too. Maybe this is why the series switched to the handheld. However, that could mean that…

The script might as well have said 'writing team tired. go sleep now. bye bye.'
They were REALLY stretching for jokes in this one.

Mario & Luigi comes to consoles

The Mario & Luigi series is a mixed bag, with the most recent entry – much like Sticker Star – leaving the most to be desired. To its credit however, there is a lot that Dream Team does well. Sidequests to perform well in battle as well as more challenging battles and collectibles that require thoughtful exploration make it more obvious how bland and tired the world and characters are. Perhaps a move to consoles would re-inspire the team that seemed to have peaked with Bowser’s Inside Story. The Mario & Luigi games were always less imaginative, but more complicated and challenging versions of the Paper Mario games, so perhaps a console version would be well-timed with Nintendo’s apparent march toward apologizing to life-long gamers. Or, to continue the trend of making each prediction less likely, we could see…

The return of Super Mario RPG

Mario RPGs are in a state of disarray and Square Enix is wandering the path of lost souls while playing dress-up with a Lightning doll, so perhaps it is time for these two to find each other again. Super Mario RPG is what came before both Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi and after so much time, the “series” could start from scratch, bringing new ideas to the table without trying to cram it into the motif of a particular series. Paper Mario can no longer really be called an inspired series after Sticker Star (again, I have not played it beyond a few demos, I am currently going off the opinions of trusted friends and colleagues) and the same goes for Mario & Luigi after Dream Team, so maybe it is time for another singular game to come in and re-establish what a Mario RPG should look like. I cannot be the only one with this dream.

What about you all, LusiGoblins? In what incarnation would you like to see the next console Mario RPG. Do you even believe there will or should be another? Sound off in the comments below!

12 comments

  1. I think both of the Mario spin-off series need a rest at this point. The dev teams need to go away and have a long think and come up with a lot of different ideas, and then pick the best. Right now, I get the sense they are coming up with one, ‘next’ idea, and going with it for better or worse. And the result is, as we’ve seen, usually for worse.

  2. Ah, too bad about that unreadable SoA disc. Did it looked scratched? Some jerk traded in a nonworking copy for a good amount of cash, I bet. The store should really check for that kind of thing.

  3. @Lusipurr – Agreed. That’s why the third option is the most appealing to me. Have another team throw something out of left field.

    @Mel – It didn’t look scratched, and they’re actually excellent about that at A&C. They spent 20 minutes trying to fix it when I brought it back and the guy who tested it was baffled. They have a reputation to upkeep, so I believe him when he said he tested it for 20 minutes and it worked perfectly. I guess it was on the brink, or my Wii took a shit on it, who knows.

  4. That stinks. I used to replay this game once a year, but lately I’ve let a couple years lapse. But I never really stop thinking about playing it whenever I daydream about games instead of doing important things.

  5. After thinking about it for roughly 3 minutes, I’ve decided that I’d like to see a Mario hardboiled detective-style RPG. Super Mario Noir? Yes.

  6. Super Mario Noir gets my vote. You could even set it in New York City without breaking canon.

  7. *pushes up on glasses* ACTUALLY, the Sticker Star game is a part of the Paper Mario franchise. NOT the Mario & Luigi franchise.

  8. Sticker Star is a good looking game with really bad gameplay mechanics. It may be the worst Mario game I have played.

    As for the other RPGs in Mario’s history, the original is my absolute favorite. Maybe it is just the fact that it was my first ever RPG, but it remains one of my favorite games of all time.

  9. @Mel – Yeah, I genuinely miss replaying both Skies and FFIX on a yearly basis.

    @Java/Lusi – Thirded on Super Noir Bros. Now I will accept nothing less.

    @Sup – Thanks!

  10. @SN – and “Super Noirio” is the best name for it yet too. This game is pretty much confirmed now.

  11. I’d buy Super Noirio. I also really enjoyed this article. I’d like to see more “What if?” articles for other franchises.

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