Paper Mario - The RPG You Can Doodle On. (Not Mobile Friendly) (Last Update: 2/28)

Paper Mario is the second RPG featuring the well-renowned Nintendo character Mario. This game is significantly different from its predecessor, Super Mario RPG, putting more focus on timing your attacks and giving Mario the brunt of the gameplay in battle. There are eight partners that join Mario throughout his adventure, each with a wide variety of abilities both within and outside battle. But what stands out most is the game’s aesthetic, which appears as a story book (thus the Japanese name “Mario Story”) and plays with the idea that this version of Mario and the Mushroom Kingdom are, well, made out of paper. All these factors create a unique and innovative game that happens to be one of the crown jewels of the Nintendo 64 and an all-time favorite of mine.

This Let’s Play will be screenshot with numerous music links and GIFs, plus the occasional video or two. I plan to show off as much content as I can as long as it won’t drive me crazy. I’ll go into what I love about this game as well as any flaws and whatever other interesting facts that relate with this game. If you prefer video LPs, Faceguy and Wogturt have done video LPs of both this game and its even more-amazing sequel.


My Twitter account will contain links to my updates, in case you don’t bookmark this thread.



Click Here to open the update!

Here is the introductory video for this game. If you don’t want to watch it, here’s a brief recap:

Story of the Stolen Spirits

There’s a place called Star Haven ruled by seven Star Spirits that holds a Star Rod that grants all wishes. See if you can find the common theme between these names.

Bowser appears to ruin the day because of course he does. So guess what we’ll have to do.

Main Title

The title screen! This game was developed by Intelligent Systems, who’ve developed a boatload of various Nintendo games, most notably the Fire Emblem series as well as the later Paper Mario games.

Fun Fact: This game was released exactly 16 years ago today in North America. I didn’t really plan for that, but it works out well!

There’s also an attract mode that shows off gameplay, but I won’t show that off since that’s my job! And also because it’s a bit spoilery.

File Select

If you’re familiar with the game, you’ll probably notice the font is different. That’s because I really hate the game’s actual font and made the effort to change it myself so you can actually read what’s going on. If you’re not interested in the technical side, feel free to skip the following paragraph.

There’s a great incomplete texture pack located here that was an attempted effort to add HD textures to Paper Mario. The font itself is pretty nice, and it’s pretty simple to insert into Project 64. Except I’m using the Wii emulator Dolphin to emulate the VC version of the game because N64 emulation is simply that bad. These textures are still compatible, but they use different file names. Thus I had to dump the textures from the VC version and manually rename every texture from the HD version to the corresponding VC version texture. There’s white and black versions of each character, so in total there’s around 150 textures I need to do this with. It took me a couple hours but I still feel it was worth it because I really think the default font is completely terrible.

That said, the texture pack was a work in progress so there might be a few weird letters with some minor artifacting (capital O and W stick out for me) as well as some general sizing weirdness (lowercase U stands out next to lowercase T, lowercase I has spacing issues). I may go back to tweak these later, but probably not.

I go Mario because I’m lazy and that’s what I usually use in these games. I don’t think it really matter anyway.

Mail Call!

This first update alone I’ve already broken my personal record for most GIFs in a single update. So yeah, expect lots of them, this game has some great animations.

Luigi, oddly absent from Super Mario RPG besides a small cameo in the ending, doesn’t really have a big role in this game. He’s much more entertaining in the sequel since by that time Nintendo finally got Luigi’s personality down pat. It’ll still take the Mario & Luigi games to make Luigi a proper playable RPG character, though.

All right, let’s see…

Princess Peach’s Theme

Many guests from distant towns are hoping to meet you.

The artifacting here is the emulator, which acts kinda weird once it loads the white letter textures. The cramped sizing is the textures I used, but generally this isn’t an issue in regular dialogue.

Otherwise, Peach is throwing a party to boost foreign diplomacy and enhance international relations. It’s mainly an excuse to get a preview of the various locales Mario will be visiting throughout the game.

A Party at Peach’s Castle

Warp Pipes are abundant and serve as screen transitions between geographically-diverse locations. Mario and Luigi live off by themselves, so it makes sense they’d have a warp pipe connecting their home to town.

Though sometimes Mario gets stuck and regrets his life choices.

Otherwise, an automated walk to Peach’s castle. Don’t worry, we’ll explore town in due time. For now, let’s focus on the party.

At this point, we’ve got free control.

If you press (A) in front of the door up there, you can open it.

There’s a lot of NPCs around here, and of course I’m going to talk to all of them. Every. Single. One.

Even the ones that don’t really have anything useful to say! Luckily there’s only this guy and one other.

I’ll bet you could hear some stories about places you’ve never been to, huh?

As I said, this party is kind of a preview of the places you’ll be visiting. It’s a pretty clever way to introduce to players the rather expansive world in Paper Mario.

He’s come all the way from the Shiver region, which lies far to the north of here.

Important toads have punny names that all end in the “T” initial. This toad is “Russ T”, while the Toad next to him is “Frost T”.

I’d mock this but I plan for all my update titles to have paper-based puns so, uh, I’m not exactly one to criticize here.

Mario, please come visit us in the Shiver region someday!

Sounds like a plan.

I already ate way too much… I’m taking a little breather.

Yes, I made individually distinct character portraits for every single toad variation. This is what happens when you’re on your 20th or so Let’s Play and keep pushing yourself to be better, you invest more and more time in more and more pointless tasks.

This is the other “useless” toad, but that’s not a fair assessment. This toad is a guard and greets people, his role is very important and he takes it seriously, whether it’s a commoner toad, a distinguished foreign emissary, or the nation’s greatest hero. If anything, this toad guard is by far the most important person at this party. So please think of this toad guard the next time you want to write off a game NPC for being useless. Thank you.

She’s been restless… hee hee hee… How cute…

Mario games have always been kinda hands-off as far as any potential Mario/Peach relationship. It makes sense because these games are aimed at kids and adults alike, and it’d be kinda weird to incorporate an intense relationship in a series known for being light-hearted and whimsical. I do think the way Nintendo handles it is a bit weird, but then they rarely deviate from the “Mario rescues Peach” narrative anyway. Still, this game probably comes the closest of any Mario game to implying there’s something more between Mario and Peach and, well, unsurprisingly it doesn’t go anywhere.

Oh! By the way, Princess Peach has been waiting for you.

For someone dedicated to hosting parties, Peach doesn’t really want much to do with them.

All but one of these doors are locked.

If you’re not next to someone, pressing A makes Mario jump. There’s some platforming aspects in this game (you can walk on the banisters for instance), but it’ll take awhile for them to develop and of course it won’t compare to your usual Mario platformer.

This game does have 3D backgrounds that move around at times to adjust the player’s view, and that’s always a neat-trick when used with the characters’ paper dimensions.

The bottom door leads to the kitchen.

You may not know this, but I cooked all the food for this big party. I made all of my most delicious dishes! But… Oh dear… I got so into my cooking that I used up all of my ingredients! Now I have to go shopping!

It’s pretty impressive for one toad to make all the food for a party this large.

I hope that someday I get good enough to cook food as delicious as Tayce T.'s.

Cooking is always something I want to get into more but end up too tired and lazy to do. But then that’s true of pretty much every hobby I try to get into. I don’t know how I managed to do Let’s Plays as long as I have, honestly.

I wish I could stay here at Peach’s Castle forever!

There’s quite a few representatives from the Shiver region, including this fellow.

She must be a bit tired.

Through this door is the other half of the party.

It’s good to see you here. When you’re around, I feel like our kingdom is secure. Yep, our future looks bright!

For the sequel, this guy would get replaced by Toadsworth, who himself kinda fell off the map after the Gamecube era. I mean, I’d feel bad for Toadsworth if he weren’t so one-note. That’s still one more note than this generic fellow, though.

This castle is really lovely, isn’t it? Truly gorgeous. So cool and comfortable… I even got a chance to talk to the beautiful Princess Peach. What an honor! When I return to Dry Dry Outpost, I’m going to tell everyone about it.

So already we have an ice town and a desert town. I mean, it’s a video game, you’ve got to have all the staples. The sequel does a more impressive job shaking things up, though.

Everyone I’ve met in this town seems incredibly nice. I think I’ll make this place my home away from home.

Outside the castle is Toad Town, and this mouse is correct in how nice everyone here is.

There’re so many folks here, I can’t keep track of them all.

How embarrassing. But yeah, we’ll explore quite a few more locales beside those three.

She’s such a lovely lady… Whoever she loves must be very special indeed…

It’s definitely the best place for a date. Trust me. Maybe you ought to, you know, ask the princess to go there…

Why is everyone so obsessed with who Peach is interested in dating? Imagine if we did that in the real wo–ohhhhhhhh. Oh dear…

This is currently my favorite NPC.

Ohhh… I just had the honor of talking with Princess Peach! What a wonderful lady she is!

I believe this is the first Mario game that actually has “good” versions of enemy staples like Goombas and Koopa Troopas. I like the idea myself, adds a lot of NPC diversity without having to make up new races.

My goodness, look at the time! I have to go shopping for souvenirs with Frost T.!

That’s four reps from the Shiver region now. We won’t even be going there for a good while!

There’s a door upstairs that we need to take to advance. And since we’ve talked to almost everyone in the room now…

So many guests… My heart’s been beating like a bass drum ever since this morning…

The game does some clever things with dialogue boxes at times. Though usually I’m spamming A to skip through the dialogue since I’m a fast reader.

That’s it! That’s every NPC! I’ve talked to everyone in this castle except for…

Princess Peach’s Theme

I was just resting a bit. It gets tiring, greeting all those guests out there! Nobody will bother us here. Shall we relax and chat, just the two of us?

In case it hasn’t been made obvious by now, Mario is, as usual, a silent protagonist in this game. I get the feeling Peach doesn’t really care right now, though.

Sounds like a good time to get started on the game’s conflict!

Bowser Takes the Castle

…I must say, it’s pretty impressive Bowser managed to build a giant version of his clown car under the castle and lift the entire thing up into the sky. The Star Rod must be powerful indeed!

That’s a pretty swank set-up, alright.

Peach is still trying to grasp what exactly happened. She’s been too busy panicking over the shaking castle to really notice the castle being lifted to the sky, remember.

And it’s time for one of the coolest music themes in the game.

Bowser’s Theme

…Bowser! But this can’t be! It was you who made the ground shake just now, wasn’t it! Whatever did you do?

Yeah, that was me! I’ve lifted your castle up into the sky! It’s sitting on my castle now! Weren’t expecting that, huh?

Ha! Not really! I expected you to turn up, right on cue. You’re just as annoying as ever. Unfortunately for you, there’s nothing you can do this time.
Haven’t you learned your lesson by now, Bowser?

True, true, I have had my problems in the past… But this time is different!

OK, tough guy! Let’s go!

Our first battle in the game is against, of course, Bowser.

I’m not going into the battle system today since for now we can only do one action. This is a plot battle, pure and simple.

So we get a few rounds of combat alternating between this…

…and this.

After three attacks from Mario…

But today, your pathetic little attacks won’t beat me!

This fine piece of work has the power to grant any wish in the whole wide world! And when I use the Star Rod to increase my strength, even you can’t beat me, Mario!

I didn’t alter any colored text since the regular text was enough effort as is, so consider it an opportunity to bask in the terribleness that is this game’s default font.

Bowser’s been buffed.

Bowser’s offense has tripled, while Mario’s has been nullified. This…isn’t good.

This really isn’t good.

It’s not even worth my time to toy with you anymore, Mario. It’s time to end this!

Game Over.

I finally did it! I beat my old rival Mario! Yessss!
Congratulations on your victory, Your Viciousness! That’s why you’re the King!
As long as I have this Star Rod, everything I wish will come true! No one can stop me now!

Title Crawl

Bowser has defeated Mario and once again kidnapped Peach. How is Mario going to come back from all of this to defeat a seemingly-unstoppable Bowser?

Follow this Let’s Play of Paper Mario and find out!


This is the best game. I will hear no other opinions.

Ahhhh, Paper Mario. Such a lovely game. I even prefer it to Super Mario RPG. Not that I find SMRPG to be a bad game, I just find this game to have a certain… charm to it.

Speaking of SMRPG, you mentioned that Paper Mario may be the first time we see friendly versions of common Mario foes. While it’s certainly more prevalent in this game, SMRPG did have Monstro Town, a town populated entirely by various friendly monsters and goons.

Looking forward to further updates from this!


yo i’m gonna be playing along to this lp, here’s to the future updates

I’ve always appreciated how the ground floor of Peach’s castle in this game has the same layout as it does in Mario 64. I know it’s kind of a weird detail to care about, since it doesn’t really matter, but it’s a surprising bit of consistency for a Mario game.

It’s a pity it doesn’t stick for the rest of the castle but what are you gonna do.

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Good lord, that texture pack makes the game look a lot better! I can’t wait for the rest of this, I played a ton of this game when I was a kid.

Ah yes, Paper Mario. The best of the two N64 RPGs. Let’s-a go!

My favorite Mario RPG. Even though TTYD is better gameplay-wise, I feel this game has better presentation. Also fantastic music.

That font feels a bit like reading a ranson note, the way the letters doesn’t quite line up and are different sizes.

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I’m looking into messing with the font some more since I’m not completely happy with it, but it might be an update or two before I get around to it.

Copy/pasted from SA since I’m lazy (well not really lazy since I’m freaking reworking the game’s font but whatever):

Preliminary test looks good. Definitely not perfect, but honestly this is probably going to be the best I can work with. Certainly looks better than the other font!

My work process involves first ripping the text textures, then resizing them to 64x64. Then I use the Hey Gorgeous font from TTYD over them and try to match the letter best I can, opting for matching from the bottom-left corner. Then a simple border, and there we go. Just got to do that for 70-something characters (and invert colors for the other type).

It’s still not perfect, as the o and d touch (and I’m sure the o would touch the left character as well if it was wide enough), the T is weird since it’s a lot shorter than PM’s base font T and doesn’t really match well at all, and I could probably lower the y a pixel (which I’ll probably go ahead and do after this post), but it’s still looking much better than the other font I was using. I’ll probably run with this and try to get this all done tonight, which means hopefully I’ll get an update up around Wednesday with the new font.

The things I do for this dumb hobby.

That text update is looking much better.

I really liked this game when I played it. I played through it with my sisters way back when. I’m really looking forward to revisiting it.

I’ll have you know there were four. Though you’re right that only two are worth remembering

Looks like other than a few minor issues here and there that I’ll deal with as I go, the font is pretty much ready. I’ll roll with it for the next update, at any rate. I may also try to go back and fix the first update’s images at some point, possibly this weekend.

When I’m happy with the font, I’ll post a zip file so others can import the font in Dolphin.


It feels like the font is variable width, so the sprites overlap based on data somewhere that defines the width of the characters. If you haven’t already, you might want to try overlaying the original font (resized up) on top of your modified font to try and match widths and alignments.

That’s pretty much how I made this font, though unfortunately the new font doesn’t match the old font well enough. Most letters work fine, but stuff like the i’s and r’s are a good bit wider in the old font, and stretching out the new font would make the lettering much uglier.

I’ll probably mess with it a bit in the future to try to make it look better, but for now I’ll stick with it so that I can go forward with updates. Thanks for the advice, though!

I was talking this and Quest 64, and when you posted, I remembered Ogre Battle, but what’s the fourth?

Thanks for doing this LP, Mega64! I love faceguy and wogturt’s LP and look forward to yours.

Are you planning on getting 100% of the tattles?

Mario would never have been defeated if he knew about timed hits.

Aidyn Chronicles