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Friday, July 17, 2020

Paper Mario: The Origami King is Out Now!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Check it out. If you dare.

Since Paper Mario: The Origami King was almost silently announced by Nintendo just a mere two months ago, it's felt like the game has been under a constant barrage of scrutiny that you usually wouldn't see from a just-announced Nintendo title. That goes to show just how passionate the Paper Mario fanbase is... and how divided we are.

Then we got a closer look in June where we learned more about the characters and the battle system. It was rather obvious to me that this wouldn't be in the vein of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, though a few people continued to think it would be despite no evidence of that.

By the way, quick correction: According to the official website, I apparently misheard Kamek being into cleaning as Kamek being into cream. Alternatively, he likes cream and cleaning. Multiple interests, you know.

Kamek Paper Mario The Origami King character biography magician cleaning
Hey, I'm getting Captain Vul (Events of Star World) vibes from this.
Even if pretty much no one reading this caption will get that reference.
By the way, Kamek's getting married soon. Cleaning makes sense.

After that, we saw a semi-dedicated Nintendo Treehouse: Live... well, just last week. It wasn't very interesting.

Now the game is out and we get this scenery-filled trailer:

I would tell you my own personal impressions of Paper Mario: The Origami King, except my copy is going to be delivered on Monday, after the retailer claimed that it would arrive today. That's the only reason I ordered it instead of physically going to the retail outlet and getting it myself. Regardless, I don't want to keep contributing to the digital slide of the new normal.

I guess I'll use the rest of tonight's article to discuss an interview that gaming outlet VGC had with Nintendo EPD and Intelligent Systems. It's certainly making the rounds.

Basically, the whole thing gives me “Shigeru Miyamoto has permanently meddled with the Paper Mario series” vibes, as well as vibes of Shigeru Miyamoto saying you'd enjoy his games as long as you don't have preconceived notions of what they should be like.

The developers kept repeating what I've been saying all along: Paper Mario: The Origami King is not an RPG. It's an adventure game with a few RPG-like elements to be slightly spicy, but it's an adventure game. The Paper Mario franchise has been officially classified as adventure games ever since the release of Paper Mario: Sticker Star. I hear strange comments like, “Nintendo is just trying to pretend it's not an RPG, but it doesn't matter what they say, it's an RPG.” And with remarks like that, maybe Miyamoto's line about preconceived notions has some merit.

They outright say that Miyamoto doesn't let them (“it's no longer possible”) create original characters that aren't surreal and out-of-this-world like Ollie, Olivia, and the Steak from Paper Mario: Color Splash. They HAVE to make a brand-new concept for Paper Mario with every new game, though it's pretty obvious that Color Splash was their (relatively successful) attempt at iterating on Sticker Star akin to The Thousand-Year Door being an attempt to iterate on the first Paper Mario.

I dunno, a lot of the things the developers are thinking just feel so unnecessary and restrictive and even hypocritical. Not for the sake of reaching a better product, but for the sake of Miyamoto's whims that seem very unevenly applied across various development teams. Like, LEGO gets to make a Boomer Bill—why can't Clubbas come back in Paper Mario?

Paper Mario Crystal King boss fight illusions copy chapter 7 Nintendo 64 sprite
By the way. The Crystal King? (Who I'm a big fan of.)
He would totally fit in Paper Mario: The Origami King.
And I'm pretty sure Miyamoto wouldn't ban this design.

Ludwig was planning to spend his entire weekend playing Paper Mario: The Origami King, but now he doesn't know what to do with his time. He can't suggest to himself to read KoopaTV articles for amusement, since he already has read every article on the site (multiple times). That may not apply to YOU, however, so you should check the wealth of free KoopaTV content (that's...all of it) over the weekend. Leaving comments on the articles will do you good with the KoopaTV Loyalty Rewards Program, as will contributing to KoopaTV's TVTropes page!

After almost a year and a half, KoopaTV's review of Paper Mario: The Origami King is out, too!


  1. Well, I DID get the digital copy (I didn't want to a) wait to pay for it b) swap out its card for other things) and I look forward to showing my impressions once you've shown yours. For now, I think that the whole "preconceived notions" thing is spot-on. People are bashing Origami King for what amounts to superficial resemblance to Sticker Star.

    One person on Twitter, whom I otherwise greatly respect, dismissed the possibility of it having good storytelling out of hand just because of one major detail they spoilered. Frankly, it's outright dismaying. But I think once the anti-hype is allowed to die down, Origami King will be vindicated as a genuinely great game.

    1. ew Twitter spoilers

      From what I can tell, it's more superficially similar to Color Splash than Sticker Star.

  2. How do you feel about the case some fans make that the blame lies less with Miyamoto's mandate and more with Tanabe's rigid interpretation of it? (I've seen people say that when Tabata joined for Color Splash, Tanabe told her to play Sticker Star to understand what Paper Mario was all about, but I haven't seen an official source for that story.)

    1. I put the blame on Miyamoto. There's no possibility of it being misinterpreted for a decade and no one saying anything internally about it.
      That's just not realistic.
      If you do see a source for that, send it my way~

    2. Seems to me like both Miyamoto and Tanabe have their problems. For Miyamoto's part, if he is actually forbidding, or even tacitly approving of forbidding, character design liberties beyond what amount to mere palette swaps, yeah that's...what's the point, especially when people have clamored that that's exactly what they want?

      But then you get Tanabe, and he gives me the impression that even without the executive side of things, his understanding of why people want to go back to the form of the first two games is "Duur, what's this 'Arr Pee Gee' thing you kids are talking about?" Like...Arlo said it best in the recent video of his:

      "That's what the original games had, is they didn't need puzzles baked into the battle--that's what STRATEGY is. That's what strategy naturally is, is it makes an encounter naturally feel like a sort of puzzle instead of forcing it to be like a puzzle." (source: time 9:42)

      And like...that's one thing that one way or another, the people making Paper Mario these days just don't get. And I think that bit's probably more on Tanabe than Miyamoto.

    3. (You can feel free to right-click a YouTube video to link directly to a time stamp)

      So it goes to this...
      Miyamoto? Responsible for character, story, whatever being restricted.
      Tanabe? Responsible for the gameplay changes.

    4. Yep, that pretty much sums up my Paper Mario prognosis.

    5. So then one wonders which is the BIGGER/more important of the two main problematic buckets, since they exist independently of one another both in terms of source and game design implications.

  3. My copy arrived yesterday from GameStop without the pins, but I was able to pick them up in-store today. As of now, I have completed the first boss battle and am greatly enjoying my time with the game. The battle system may be unconventional, but it is quite fun attempting to come up with the optional solution to the puzzles. Most of them have been pretty simple so far, but there are some that are a little more complex. The boss battles, however, are where the difficulty truly ramps up. I hardly ever spend any coins on regular battles, but during my first boss encounter I had to buy more time as the 1 minute time limit did not provide me enough time to strategize. Besides battles, the environment is also very fun to explore with plenty of hidden secrets to find. Just when I thought found everything, I go back through an area again and find a Toad that I missed. In addition, the dialogue has been top notch so far. I believe most people who go into this game without any preconceived notions will have a great time.


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