Currently Playing: Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door

Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door Splash Screen

My brief break from extended RPGs has come to a close after finishing Doom and moving right along to a recent addition – Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door.  So far, it’s been a nice change from both my previous main games.

So, Paper Mario: TTYD has been a game that I did not get to play the first go-round on the GameCube.  Turns out that was an error, as the game has become increasingly difficult to find, and has not had any re-releases.

I have played Paper Mario for N64, as well as many of the Mario & Luigi series, and of course the genesis of all Mario RPGs – Legend of the Seven Stars.  I just never got a hold of a copy of TTYD, mostly because I never really got into Gamecube.

Mario Playing Games

Well, I have since been scouring different places for used copies of TTYD.  Sure, I could go onto Amazon and buy a copy for $50, but the exploration and find is part of the fun.  I had recollected all the PSOne versions of the Final Fantasy games the same way.

With TTYD, I was at a used bookstore which carries video games.  I was perusing one shelf when I noticed someone going through some Gamecube games I did not notice initially.  He was stopping and pulling out the better titles, such as Windwaker and Twilight Princess.

Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door Mario with Map

That’s when I saw it – Thousand Year Door.  The other guy did not seem to notice it and as soon as his finger went past the game, I swooped in and grabbed it.  Got it for about $30 total.  I finally found the elusive RPG after constantly keeping an eye out for so long.  Who needs Amazon?

With that extended collecting story out of the way, I have actually begun to play through the game I missed so long ago.  Being familiar with the gameplay of the Mario RPG titles, as well as hearing of the hype behind the game, I’ve had pretty high expectations.

Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door Save Block

In contrast to the more recent Paper Mario titles, TTYD is more “traditional” — you move about on the map, trailed by a swappable partner, collecting items and advancing the story.  When you make contact with an enemy, the battle commences.

Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door Petalburg Entrance

The battles are turn-based but with the added bit of timing.  When Mario jumps on an enemy, if you press A at the right moment, you are rewarded with more damage or other beneficial effect.  Same goes for defense — timing grants you reduced damage.

Mario and his various friends have regular attacks and special attacks, along with even special-er attacks granted from collecting stars.  Further, you can customize Mario’s skills with badge points, which allow you to equip badges which have  variety of effects.

Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door Hooktail Battle

The story is fairly typical Mario fare, Peach has been kidnapped and you have to collect the stars to rescue her.  The value in the story and narrative is in the humor, which just has a certain flair that elicits chuckles throughout.

I’ve been enjoying the experience so far.  I was a bit worried that the game might show a bit of age, but so far, the basic mechanics remain fun and interesting.  Timing attacks and defense keeps things skillful, and strategizing with badges is fun too.

Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door Admiral Bobbery

My biggest qualm so far has been in the backtracking that has occurred.  Several times so far, Mario will work his way to the end of a dungeon or castle or what have you, only to have to then go backwards through the trek, and possibly then BACK to the end of the dungeon.  The enemies typically respawn each time you enter the new zone, so it can get old fast.

All in all, the game still holds a unique charm that other games have yet to match.  The art style, timing-based battle system, and humor create a fun experience despite the age of the game.  Now that I’ve started the game, they will inevitably re-release it on Switch…

Have you played any of the Paper Mario series?  TTYD? Is Sticker Star your favorite in the series? Comment below!

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17 thoughts on “Currently Playing: Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door

  1. I love this game, though I haven’t beaten it yet (even though I got it soon after it was released). I love how you snatched it up from right underneath that guy’s fingers! Sounds like something I would do, haha! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have only played Super Paper Mario on Wii, I enjoyed it quite a bit. It was very colourful, my car strangely enough love watching me play it.

    I’ve yet to play it’s predecessors which I’ve only heard good things about. I’m hoping thousand year door makes its way onto the Switch virtual console. I’d probably try it out there.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I thought I’d wait it out for TTYD to make its way to Switch, but pulled the trigger in a collector frenzy. The older games are turn based, but I have heard good things about the changes in Super Paper Mario

      Liked by 2 people

  3. The Thousand Year Door is my favorite of the Paper Marios. It gets the mechanics the 64 game set up so balanced and good feeling, and was a really good hurrah for the system before it got changed up for the later releases.

    Your story really does remind me of the joy of collecting games. I remember back when I was a kid, when your collection was limited to whatever games your local stores were willing to carry, and finding something that would normally be out of your sphere was a joy. I think we’re better off being able to get anything we want so long as we pay the price, but it does take out a lot of the joy of the hunt.

    Liked by 2 people

    • After recently completing TTYD, I really do think the series should go back to its style for at least one console entry. It’s just fun.

      And the joy of the hunt is difficult now when you are always a couple clicks away from anything. I artificially create a barrier by needing it to be a “deal”. Sadly haven’t had many good finds other than Mario recently.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Nice find. I always hear these great stories of collecting out in the wild and my experience is always so lackluster. I’ve never found any hidden gems at the thrift store or a yard sale and I generally have to stick to the classic independent game store I have near my work to get older stuff and their stock is a crap shoot at best.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yea it’s normally a lot of disappointment punctuated by small joys in finding a gem or two. This one id had my eye on for so long it was nice to find it (even though it wasn’t dirt cheap). Also found a gold Zelda for NES at Goodwill long ago, paid $1. That was a good bargain.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I have not played this game, or any Paper Mario games. I enjoyed the story about actually buying the game. It seemed bizarre to buy a game from a used book shop and having to sneakily retrieve one from someone buying Game Cube games. I have been interested by the Paper Mario series as the first one seemed strange. After developing 3D games with more developed graphics, it seemed weird that Nintendo would suddenly release a 2D Mario game and then create a separate series of 2D Mario games.
    How does turn-based combat work in a Mario game? I am used to fighting enemies by jumping on their heads. How does the player reach other levels? Is there a central location linked to the levels? Or are they linked one by one?

    Liked by 2 people

    • You have a hub city in Rogueport, where you then can enter the other worlds you explore for the stars. The turn based combat is just that, but with the added element of timing the attacks in real time. Works pretty well

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I played this game when it was released and have fond memories. The graphics and art style are appealing and it has a sweet sense if humour. As is often the case, the hype about this one online is rather OTT, but it was certainly a good game, and I hope it’s still fun to play. I wonder whether it feels as dated now as a near-contemporary like tales of symphonia; I suspect not.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’d say playing through it today, it’s aged pretty well. The art style holds up, and the timing attacks are still an interesting mechanic. The level design and backtracking are still my only qualms.

      Liked by 1 person

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