Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door

released on Jul 22, 2004

What Sleeps Behind the Door?

Time passes, the pages turn…and a new chapter unfolds in an unfamiliar land! Get ready for a two-dimensional role-playing adventure for the ages as Mario returns to paper form to discover a mystery that sleeps behind an ancient, legendary portal called the Thousand-Year Door. The quest is long, the dangers many, and this time, Mario will have to make full use of his papery qualities just to survive.

Take to the stage! Impressing the crowd builds power for super attacks, but don’t disappoint the audience, or you’ll pay!

No need to go it alone! You’ll need to rely on sidekicks to survive, and even enemies have roles to play…

Don’t fold under pressure! Fold into a paper airplane, turn sideways to slip through cracks, and much more.

Stay on your toes! Stamp foes, swing your hammer, and use timely button presses to do damage!

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I wasn't too thrilled by the game's story because I already watched let's plays of it as a kid, still pretty interesting to follow through. The battles are cool, although they can get annoying and repetitive against random enemies. I loved the fact the battles took place in theatres, and the boss battles that interacted with the public were the best in my opinion.

One of my favorite turn-based RPGs. If I wasn't tired of being fleeced by Nintendo, I would have definitely revisited this one.

so SO good, its unique its wacky its zany its paper mario

A lot of games with this sort of irreverent self-parody writing can feel flat, like a collection of gags with undeveloped characters. TTYD cares about its characters and is, for whatever reason, really gay, so its tone feels campy rather than uncaring and shallow.
Everyone knows Vivian is trans but there's a lot more that that. Goombella is mean to all the male characters but compliments women and gets flustered around some of them like Vivian. She's also pretty masculine and not concerned with things other women are, especially when you ask her about random side characters. Peach explains love to a robot and dances with her own hologram. Luigi crossdresses as usual. And the general way that women are portrayed as smarter and more mature than the men feels pretty gay too. Not saying Nintendo did this on purpose. Maybe one person on the team knew what they were doing or it was an accident, but it's there in the game.
And of course Vivian. It's scrubbed in the English version, but she's trans and her character arc is about gaining confidence after leaving her hateful sisters. It's a pretty cute story. TTYD treats gives its characters so much agency and personality. Women in video games are often badly written or sexualized or overly childish. It's fun to have a game where they're all weird social outcasts doing their own thing instead.