There’s probably no better way to prepare for Mario Day tomorrow than by celebrating an anniversary of a very special, very beloved, Mario game. Today marks the 21st anniversary of Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars’ release on the Super Famicom in Japan.
So what makes this particular entry among Mario games worth observing? Deviating from the usual formula of the series, developer Square (now Square Enix) introduced fans to the concept of playing as Mario and other favorite characters in a role-playing fashion. He was removed from the 2D side-scrolling world and placed in a gorgeous 3D rendered universe where he could attack enemies in a very direct, fast-paced, action based way.
Mechanics and design aside, the story also brought forth new characters, like fan favorites Mallow and Geno, as well as a brand new villain. Sure, Bowser’s usual plot to kidnap Princess Peach with the intention of defeating Mario once and for all was still very present, but another malevolent layer was added to the story mix that gave the game even more substance. A group of anthropomorphic weapons called the Smithy Gang, led by none other than Smithy himself, invaded the Mushroom Kingdom with the intent to take over the world by destroying wishes and shattering Star Road. After attacking Bowser’s Keep, these new antagonists forced Bowser and Mario to join forces (gasp!) in order to bring peace back to the kingdom. Watching the unfamiliar plot unfold in the game was a refreshing treat for any fan.
New music and a very well received sense of humor within its characters and their dialogue accompanied the very welcome changes.
“I’m Mallow from Tadpole Pond. I’m a frog, but can you believe it? I can’t jump. Embarrassing huh?”
(Oh, Mallow… Did you really think you were a frog all that time?)
The title delivered a charming new style to the red hatted plumber’s series, and while some may have been hesitant to embrace the different canon, fans inevitably saw the game for what it was: a truly unique gem that could stand out among all other Mario games.
It’s thanks to this delightful game that we can now experience playing Mario in role-playing successors like Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi, which gives us yet another reason to celebrate the plumber, Princess Peach– and yes, even Bowser.
It’s hard to believe that three years from now will mark two decades of Mario RPG’s existence in the world, but that’s exactly where we’re at. If you’re lookin’ to get your fix for the occasion and don’t happen to have your SNES on hand, remember that you can purchase the title for just $7.99 in the Wii U eShop right this very moment.
We’d like to dedicate today to Super Mario RPG. (Red) hats off to you, Mario!
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