The Super Mario RPG franchise is an extension of Nintendo's Mario brand that features semi-traditional role playing games in the Square Enix style starring Mario and other Mushroom Kingdom characters. While the games can be considered traditional in that they are turn-based RPGs featuring familiar concepts such as persistent character growth, they also contain elements that separate them from many of their contemporaries; these elements are primarily derived from both the Mushroom Kingdom setting as well as the gameplay conventions of traditional Mario games. For example, every Mario RPG game contains some form of platforming. The turn-based combat present in these games is also slightly modified from more established RPG fare through the extensive use of timed button presses to increase the effectiveness of actions, short minigames to activate attacks, or sometimes both in tandem.
The Mario RPG games are also well-known for their humor. The dialogue and settings are usually surreal in nature, and the writing, especially in the later games, is often cited as sharply self-aware and witty, which is somewhat unusual for a Nintendo product.
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (shortened to and known in Japan as just Super Mario RPG) was a collaboration between Square and Nintendo for the SNES. The game was originally released in just Japan and North America, and was later released on the European Virtual Console in 2008. Super Mario RPG takes Mario, Princess Peach, Bowser, Mallow, and Geno on their quest to defeat Smithy. Being developed by Square, the game contains many references to Final Fantasy and other Square games, such as Chrono Trigger. The game does have platforming action gameplay out of battle, similar to other Super Mario games (except not on a 2D plane).
The Paper Mario franchise has been developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo. The first one came out in 2000 for the Nintendo 64 (and was later released in 2007 for the Virtual Console).
The game retained much of Super Mario RPG's role-playing mechanics, but introduced many new aspects. Paper Mario has more puzzle-based gameplay than Super Mario RPG, with Mario solving puzzles in the overworld. Also, players can now affect the effectiveness of an attack by pressing certain buttons.
The Paper Mario franchise has had three sequels: Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Super Paper Mario, and Paper Mario: Sticker Star
Mario & Luigi
Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga began the Mario & Luigi franchise in 2003. With every game in the franchise developed by AlphaDream and published by Nintendo, the game contains many similarities to previous Mario RPG games. The first game, Superstar Saga, took place in the Beanbean Kingdom rather than the Mushroom Kingdom. The Mario & Luigi franchise differs from other Mario RPG games in that it has Bros. Moves, a dual attack with both Mario and Luigi attacking at once. Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, and Mario & Luigi: Dream Team have been the three sequels in this franchise.