Mario is one of the most recognizable pop culture icons around, and most definitely the most popular video game character there is. From his first appearance alongside Donkey Kong in the 1981 hit to his first real solo adventure Mario Bros which landed in arcades in 1983, to the of course famous platformer Super Mario Bros. which hit the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985; Mario has been around seemingly forever. From crossing genre’s and finding himself in sports titles such as Mario Golf, Mario Strikers where he played Soccer and Mario Hoops where he found himself on the court slamming it home, to even board games and go-karts with Mario Party and Mario Kart. The little red plumber has certainly been around with us for all sorts of adventures throughout the years.
Two spin-off series in particular however have garnered high praise and legions of fans, the Paper Mario series and the Mario and Luigi saga. Both spin-offs have featured turn based combat similar to the more traditional role playing titles out there, as well as distinct art styles and humor, but while the Mario and Luigi series differ wildly from one another they still retain the turn based combat for each entry. The Paper Mario franchise has held an unmistakable visual charm but also a sense of creativity with each release, not afraid to mix up its core formula with each title. From its 2D paper craft art style and later on its use of 3D world traversal allowing Mario to squeeze into tight areas, the Paper Mario franchise has been one of constant visual feats and risks.
Thanks to Nintendo here is a nice reminder of the history of the Paper Mario franchise detailing each release from the 2001 original to its newest incarnation, Paper Mario: Sticker Star which was released for the Nintendo 3DS handheld late last year.