Sometimes it takes a little Mario to open up your eyes to a whole new genre!! So let’s talk about Super Mario RPG!!
The RPG that Started it All
Good afternoon backloggers!! It’s busy over here at The Backlog Odyssey, so I think I’m going to try and keep today’s update relatively short. It’s also why today’s Daily Backlog is hitting so late! But, since it’s Throwback Thursday, I thought I’d go down memory lane and talk about one of the games that solidified my love for RPGs, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars!
Now, before I ever played Super Mario RPG, RPGs were kind of an intimidating proposition for me. They were filled with complicated systems, intricate stories and seemingly open ended gameplay. Nowhere near as straightforward as my beloved action-platformers like Mega Man or even Super Mario World. I mean, I definitely dabbled here and there with games like Final Fantasy VI, Chrono Trigger and even oldies but goodies like the original Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior, but none of those games really stuck. I almost had an aversion to those games for one reason or another.
But, once Super Mario RPG was released, those doubts all but dissipated. For one, it was a Mario game and there was no way I wasn’t going to play that! It was also coming at the end of the SNES’s life-cycle and Nintendo was already talking about their 3D powerhouse, the Nintendo 64. Honestly, seeing those pseudo-3D graphics made my mouth water! Sure, we had a taste of the pre-rendered 3D graphics with Donkey Kong Country, but this was Mario dang it!! It was the perfect bridge to the N64, and I was going to play the snot out of it!!
And let me tell ya, once I played it, I was hooked for life. I was officially an addict. Playing JRPGs left and right from that day forward! But to this very day, Super Mario RPG still goes down as one of my favorite RPGs of all time. Square did a wonderful job of creating a hybrid of what we all love in Mario games with what we all love in a Square RPG, including a secret Final Fantasy boss! Something I didn’t really get until much later. I mean, you could jump like Mario, you could swing his hammer, and it even had wonderful remixes of all your favorite tunes! And not only that, it was witty, cleverly designed and you could play as FREAKIN’ BOWSER!! I’m honestly surprised how fast Square was able to knock this out!
The Mario RPG Legacy
Unfortunately, we’ve never seen a true sequel to Super Mario RPG, but it’s humor and many of the things that made it unique and fun live on in some of the other Mario RPGs. Games like those found in the Paper Mario franchise, slathered on the cute with stunning papercraft graphics! They also simplified the overall mechanics to make them a little more approachable for a younger audience. That’s not to say they’re not for us cynical adults though! Because they’re still just as witty as the OG SNES title and they expanded the gameplay by showcasing a surprisingly deep combat system with the inclusion of partners, badges and the classical Mario RPG timing mechanics to modify the amount of damage you do! Truthfully, trying to collect all the badges and experimenting with different combinations in battle is one of my favorite parts!
And then there’s the Mario and Luigi games. Which are probably my favorite of the Super Mario RPG spiritual successors. These games cranked the silliness factor up to eleven with over the top and goofy characters! And not only that, they presented us with a superbly concocted pixelated world found within the Mushroom Kingdom! But really, the one thing that sets these games apart from their brethren is the unique and fun “brothers” based gameplay, where you can control Mario and Luigi in and out of battle simultaneously! Each brother being controlled by their own button. At first it was a bit overwhelming, but the clever usage of these mechanics made solving puzzles and fighting enemies super fun!
Like I said, the Mario RPGs may have just been my first real foray into the RPG rabbit hole, with plenty more in the years to come. Especially during the PS1 and PS2 eras. But Super Mario RPG will always be my favorite and the game that opened my eyes to a whole new genre!!
Day One Hundred and Thirty Six
Well my friendly neighborhood backloggers, I think that’ll do it for today! There are so many great RPGs out there and I’m glad that my naive pre-teen self, finally got the hint and gave them a chance. And what better place to start than a Mario game! Do you have a favorite RPG or perhaps one that made you fall in love with the genre?! Send me an email or Tweet at me because I’d love to know!!
Until next week my friends, have an amazing rest of your week and a fantastic weekend!!
Vambrace: Cold Soul (Steam)
Guacamelee (Xbox One)
Marenian Tavern Story: Patty and the Hungry God (Nintendo Switch)
Total Backlogged Games: 728 …The number of years sunk into completing every RPG that crosses my path!
Total Completed Games: 40 …The number of times I need to tell myself to quit and go to bed before I actually listen!
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