Nintendo announced on Thursday on Twitter and YouTube that the original Paper Mario from the Nintendo 64 will become available through the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack starting Dec. 10, joining the likes of Mario Kart 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Super Mario 64, Dr. Mario 64, < Mario Tennis, Star Fox 64, WIN BACK: COVERT OPERATIONS, Sin & Punishment, and Yoshi’s Story in the Nintendo 64 collection on Switch.
Paper Mario is an RPG with elements drawn from Mario’s traditional platforming elements. Like in many RPGs, Mario can acquire companions for his quest, with his own abilities augmented by who he brings with him through the game. The game includes turn-based battles and progression based on NPC interaction.
The story follows Mario on a quest to save Princess Peach from the clutches of Bowser, as is tradition, after Peach invites Mario and Luigi to a party where Bowser lifts her castle and throws Mario out of it. Mario has to gather the power of the seven Star Spirits to defeat Bowser and rescue Peach. During the gameplay sections where players control Peach, she tries countless times to escape the castle, playing minigames and overhearing about Mario’s successes.
Originally released in 2000 in Japan and 2001 worldwide, Paper Mario has had six sequels, including last year’s Paper Mario: The Origami King. The original Paper Mario was also re-released on the iQue Player (a console distributed only in China from 2003-2016) in 2004, the Wii Virtual Console in 2007, and the Wii U Virtual Console in 2015, and was rated number 63 on Nintendo Power’s “Top 200 Games” list in 2006.
Paper Mario was originally titled Super Mario RPG 2 and was supposed to be released for the Nintendo 64’s 64DD floppy-disk expansion, but was moved to a cartridge. Nintendo originally approached Square (before their merger with Enix) to develop the game, but the game developer declined because they were working on the now-iconic Final Fantasy VII. Shigeru Miyamoto said in a 1997 interview with IGN that Paper Mario was designed with “beginners and amateur players” in mind, and referenced Yoshi’s Story as a jumping off point for the 2D/3D design combination.
See the announcement trailer from Nintendo below: