The problem with Paper Mario: Sticker Star

#181Counterpwnt(Topic Creator)Posted 11/26/2012 11:33:40 AM
Here's what I said that wasn't just writing out plot points.

When I refer to a game as story-centric, I am referring to its possession of a particular element: namely, a plot that holds the entire exposition together. The plot is accompanied in this case by written narrative, written dialogue/monologue, and particular plot-related events. Written narrative directly concerns the actions, feelings, or thoughts of characters within the plot at hand. Written dialogues and monologues are tools used by the aforementioned characters to clarify: the motivations of their actions; the content of their reactions; and to have first-person individual reflections on their actions, feelings, or thoughts. Plot related events are necessary story elements that present obstacles to the plot path, and become problems to be solved, moved through, or moved around.

The narrator intends to finish the story—whomever he is telling the story to is not entirely relevant, though we can assume as engaged gamers that he is telling it to us. However, considering that the game begins with the opening of a book, we can assume that the entirety of Paper Mario is contained, or will be contained, within this book. It is the story of “Paper Mario,” or “Mario Story” in Japan. It is also creating a setting for both the beginning and the end of the plot. Like many stories, it begins and ends in the same place.

We are then given the context of importance for the Star Rod. So it is not only a sacred and unworldly object within the Paper Mario universe, it is vital to that world’s safety and prosperity to some degree.

On the next page, the lilting melody used as a backdrop for the story begins to warble out of tune, and we see Kammy Koopa taped to the page. This is where we go from listening to the story to being enveloped in it. What is happening is no longer a past event: it becomes the present.

This part of the game leans heavily on a wrap of narrative, punctuated by dialogue from Bowser, Kammy Koopa, and the terrified Star Spirits. The “stage” has been set… quite literally, as it all takes place on a stage. From here, we know all we need to know about the game’s plot. There is a sacred object that Bowser has stolen in order to enact revenge upon Mario. The prologue then picks up on that same day, but from Mario’s point of view in the Mushroom Kingdom.

Why would Bowser brag and show off his ace-in-the-hole to Mario? Perhaps because it makes his victory sweeter to be one step ahead, for once.

Let us take a brief aside from this exposition to analyze the story-related purpose of this fight. It wouldn’t be enough for Mario (the player) to simply be told that Bowser was too strong. Intelligent Systems forces the player to take on Bowser, in both his pre- and post-Star Rod transformation, and experience this seeming invincibility per the game’s combat system.

Mario is, of course, defeated. If Mario won, there would be no story. This staged battle serves the purpose to show the player in objective, numbers-related terms (i.e. turn-based, numeric damage combat) that Mario needs to grow stronger and more diverse to beat Bowser this time.

In many Mario games, Mario has the tools to win right off the bat. He does not get stronger, does not gain new abilities, and only needs to get to Bowser to defeat him. This time, Mario is not equipped to win. One facet of the story’s purpose is to equip Mario for victory.

Mario, defeated, is tossed out the window, floating down through the clouds away from Bowser, the Star Rod, and Peach. He is sent far away with no immediate advantages. Then the title pops up. It is a way of saying, “Now you know what it happening, now you know what our game is about. This is Paper Mario.”

***

Now would one of you please address those points and explain how this game focuses more on gameplay elements than story elements?
#182RadosityPosted 11/26/2012 11:41:46 AM
Dude you should totally email these essays to Nintendo, I'm sure they'd be mighty impressed with how your entire life apparently revolves around the franchise.
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Where the video games at
#183quietisgoodPosted 11/26/2012 11:53:17 AM
Counterpwnt posted...
quietisgood posted...

1) i didn't say they were contradictory, I said they were completely different statements. is reading that hard for you?
2) no, you've done nothing but continuously hyper-analyze the plot. you haven't constructed an argument that proves anything. all you've done is continuously list random things, you haven't logically connected those things to form a coherent argument to prove your point.

I've defined what I mean by the term story-centric, and shown how Paper Mario fulfills that definition almost constantly. There are story elements used to align Mario with his partners, sub-goals, and various tasks. The lore of the game is leaned upon heavily to provide almost all of the action.
you have yet to show how paper mario has more story elements that gameplay ones. (because you can't show that)


Dude, they're not completely different statements. They're saying the exact same thing. Whether the game emphasizes plot over anything else, or the game is held together by plot, those statements end up meaning the exact same thing. One is the effect and one is the cause. How about instead of picking at words, you show how they're different statements?

One means the game as a blank slate leans more heavily on plot elements than any other. The other means that the game as a finished product leans more heavily on plot elements than any other. Case in point.

I have done more than hyper-analyze the plot. I have written what happens and left it open to interpretation. It's very, very, very clear at this point that the game is story-centric. The only combat in the first hour is a staged fight meant to lend to the plot elements. How can anyone argue with that?

You seem to either refuse to read what I've written or you can't understand what I'm saying. It's very frustrating.


you want me to show how they're different statements? the fact that they're composed of completely different words that have completely different meanings? the fact that it is so broad it could apply to every game with a plot ever and the other isn't? doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this stuff out.

and no, you haven't done anything more than hyper-analyze the plot. you haven't made a logical connection between your rambling and either definition of story centric.

to say it's very clear based on the first hour that the game is story centric is a stupid statement. you mean the beginning of a game is used for plot related purposes? no ****ing way. (clearly every game with an introduction used for plot is story-centric!!!!!!) you also seem to forget two pretty major things: paper mario is a 20ish hour game and what happens in the first hour is more or less irrelevant when we're talking about the entire game and two, there's many more gameplay mechanics in paper mario than battling.
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Hypothetically, if the only choice you've got is to do the wrong thing, then it's not really the wrong thing, it's more like fate.
#184Counterpwnt(Topic Creator)Posted 11/26/2012 12:19:14 PM
SeaArrKing posted...
Wait a minute. Paper Mario has a powerful story? [I don't feel that way.]


The overall plot of "get the Star Rod back from Bowser and save the Mushroom Kingdom and Peach" isn't terribly powerful, no. It's what happens along the way, the interim, that's powerful about it.

I will even dip a little in my exuberance for the game and say that it has a powerful gradual story for a Mario game. Paper Mario and SMRPG have the kind of Final Fantasy/Chrono Trigger "Squaresoft"-style stories that almost no other Mario games have.

In Paper Mario, Mario goes through classic tropes that make up an epic narrative. He is defeated first, which almost never happens in other Mario games. He is forced to gradually grow stronger and add to his abilities via partners who join his cause and through leveling up. He gains in actual combat prowess, as well as in merit, moving through the various areas of Paper Mario's Mushroom Kingdom and meeting a wide variety of different characters, who in the end contribute their wishes to his final battle and allow him to defeat Bowser. It's simple, but it's perfectly crafted in my opinion, with the paper art design and masterfully composed soundtrack lending to this feeling of both long-term seriousness and short-term humor and charm from scene to scene.

I don't expect everyone to feel how I do about Paper Mario, but I also think wacky hair-dos, time travel, and unfamiliar characters might lend to a sense of depth or power in a non-Mario franchise that's looked over in Paper Mario due to its familiarity as a franchise focused on gameplay. To each their own.
#185Counterpwnt(Topic Creator)Posted 11/26/2012 12:30:33 PM
Radosity posted...
Dude you should totally email these essays to Nintendo, I'm sure they'd be mighty impressed with how your entire life apparently revolves around the franchise.


Just because I have the mental capacity to analyze something to this degree does not mean my entire life revolves around it.

I work as a writer and editor, so I type and think these through quickly. I happen to be interested in stories and what makes a good story, and always have been. Paper Mario is also one of my favorite games of all times. I'm paid to review video games, so it's relevant to my work to analyze on this level.

And if you think these are "essays," wait until you get into higher levels of academics.

I'm doing something with my time (and it doesn't take me that long to write out, as I type pretty quickly) that I deem both of interest to me, as well as productive in both the short- and long-term.

Can you say the same?
#186Counterpwnt(Topic Creator)Posted 11/26/2012 12:44:23 PM
quietisgood posted...
you want me to show how they're different statements? the fact that they're composed of completely different words that have completely different meanings? the fact that it is so broad it could apply to every game with a plot ever and the other isn't? doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this stuff out.

and no, you haven't done anything more than hyper-analyze the plot. you haven't made a logical connection between your rambling and either definition of story centric.

to say it's very clear based on the first hour that the game is story centric is a stupid statement. you mean the beginning of a game is used for plot related purposes? no ****ing way. (clearly every game with an introduction used for plot is story-centric!!!!!!) you also seem to forget two pretty major things: paper mario is a 20ish hour game and what happens in the first hour is more or less irrelevant when we're talking about the entire game and two, there's many more gameplay mechanics in paper mario than battling.


"A game that focuses more on plot-related elements than gameplay-related elements."

"A plot that holds the entire exposition together." Let's change the words around. "The entire exposition (i.e. game) held together by its plot." Let's go a little further. "A game held together by its plot rather than by its gameplay." Whether it's "held together" (i.e. made tenable as a product) by plot or simply "focuses on it the most," I mean come on man, you KNOW those things are exactly the same. Take the plot away and you have less than 50% of the game left. That is what focuses on means, and also what held together by means.

... Give up yet? Your argument is a waste of time.

You spend at least the first 50 minutes of Paper Mario on plot. Then you play a little in Pleasant Path. Then you get to Koopa Village. More plot elements there, dealing with Fuzzies and cementing Merlon's prediction as Kooper joins your party. More dialogue and character interaction. Then you play a little more on the way to Koopa Bros. Fortress. Before long, you're in the final battle—which was set up via plot elements during the aside with Peach/Bowser—and then the Chapter is over, ending with a narrative sequence summarizing what has happened so far. It's a story, that's why it's called MARIO STORY.

At least 50% of every chapter deals with plot in some similar way. There is lots of NPC dialogue, referential lore to either where you are, where you've been, or where you will be, Toads who know other Toads across the world, the continuing sagas of Kolorado, other sages who know Merlon in Toad Town. I was going to go through the next few chapters to cite more specific examples, but you and Horse seem entirely against my "Paper Mario cliff notes" style posts, so why should I bother?

The gameplay, paper design, and music are subservient to the plot. In a play, characters will have musical motifs that signal their arrival or actions. Paper Mario does that. The game uses turn-based combat because that focuses more on a structured, pre-written kind of battle than does the random quality of free-form fighting. Final Fantasy did it for years. The final thematic that plays as Peach and Mario watch the fireworks over Peach's castle is a cross between Mario's theme and Peach's theme. You can literally listen from the first song on the OST to the last and know exactly which part of which chapter you are in based on the musical qualities.

You could take out the visuals and just have "Name: Dialogue" punctuated with the results of boss fights and the narrative at the ends of the chapters, and the story would not change, the whole of the game would be essentially the same. That is how you know that its story is the foundation upon which the aesthetic design and combat mechanics have been built. They are subservient to the story, and that is final.
#187Attack_A_HorsePosted 11/26/2012 1:18:04 PM
LOL DIS TOPIC

Counterpwnt posted...

Again, anyone can analyze every sentence, word and action in a game. Even Sticker Star. That doesn't prove anything.


Yes it does. That's the most basic and thorough way to prove my point. It's concerned with what actually happens in the game, so writing that out makes perfect sense.


Again, you can do that with Sticker Star, and every other game in existence. What is your point that you're trying to prove? That Paper Mario has a plot? Again, no one said Paper Mario doesn't have a plot.

And yes, you do have to prove what you're saying. Why even bother making a topic if you're just going to say you don't care when people refute your points. I don't know if you understand how to even make an argument. You make a statement, make points and then you link your points to your statement. You make bold claims, post irrelevant nonsense and then don't even bother showing how your points prove what your initial statement was.


Nothing I've posted is irrelevant nonsense. Irrelevant nonsense would be uhciuqecrkejcebchewbcjhb. You lean so heavily on pejorative statements while blanketing over the fact that I made enough sense in my first post to garner a myriad of responses—we're on page 18, after all, and again, most people have written in to agree with me and even thank me for elucidating their feelings that something was missing from Sticker Star.


You're not reading what I'm writing. For someone who is SO INTELLIGENT, you can't construct an argument to save your life. Again, I repeat. You make a statement (a thesis), you post points (evidence) and then you have to LINK YOUR EVIDENCE TO YOUR THESIS. Why can't you do that? Why can't you show how all your ramblings are actually proving a point? All these walls of texts are nonsense because they prove nothing. If they do, you're doing a terrible job at showing how they do.

<"I can tell you're just angry and have nothing logical to respond to the valid points, I, as well as many other users are posting."


You: Many other users? Like, 2 other people?

1-It's more than two people, maybe you should stop brushing over the posts in this topic and realize that not everyone agrees with you.
2-It doesn't matter how many people. What matters is that they are bringing up valid points that you continuously either ignore or fail to counter.

ME: "Don't bring up imaginary PMs as though they matter."

YOU: They do. They're proof that I am closer to right than wrong. People recognize the truth on a subconscious level when they see or read it.

No, they don't. You're the only one who can see these imaginary PM's. If you're so right and speak the truth, people who post it in this topic. For all I know, you could just be making it up. Seems to me like you just don't know what to say, so you're just grasping for reasons to try and justify how you're "right".

ME: "I'm receiving PMs saying you're insane and everything I'm saying is spot on, just so you know. Don't believe me? WELL I DONT CARE!!!! (thats what you sound like BTW)"

YOU: Except I don't, because I'm well-written and intelligent. I have reason, good grammar, thorough analysis, and—let's face it—probably age on my side.

You're so condescending, it's incredible. You drown out your points in complex vocabulary. The fact that you can't construct a simple argument shows that you're not as intelligent as you think you are. You have no reason, retarded analysis and the fact that you're just assuming your older and therefore wiser shows how much of a fool you really are.
#188Attack_A_HorsePosted 11/26/2012 1:18:52 PM
You've shown how you can change your definition of story centric when people disagree with you. You've shown how you completely change your opinion and points when people point out the obvious holes in your "arguments." (Longer MarioWiki summary, more characters on boxart, PM being an "interactive cinematic experience", etc). I've said it earlier in the topic and I'll say it again. You are very good at saying nothing. You hide your points in well-written English and complex vocabulary. When you break down and analyze what you say, you're actually not saying much at all.


That's just not true. My definition of story-centric is identical to itself to all but the most nit-picking, anal retentive people who think that arguments consist of looking at the tiniest possible point of contention and hanging it up like a neon sign. How about you respond to some my points? I will repost them and remove the narrative. Give it your best shot.


Okay, if your definition is EXACTLY the same, why change it? I think for argument's sake you should stick to your original definition of storycentric being: "[A game that] is more [focused] on gameplay mechanics than story mechanics." The only reason you would change your definition is, like I said, to make it more vague and applicable to your "points".


SeaArrKing just posted about how he doesn't believe PM is story-centric and even used other games as examples. Good job brushing right over that. Obviously then you act like no one refutes your points. It's funny because you've become all the things that you criticized other users for earlier in the topic (skipping over posts, acting like a troll, etc).


I'm... acting like a troll? I never called anyone a troll, for one. I said "don't feed the trolls" as an off-the-cuff comment that if someone WAS trolling, we should ignore them. I ahven't gotten around to SeaArrKing yet because every time I respond to one of you, both you and quietisgood feel the need to respond to what I said saying entirely similar but slightly different things. I have a full time job, I have to pick my battles.


Excuses. I think you purposely brushed over it, and only responded to it later now that I called you out on it. Your response to his post made no sense anyway but I'm not going to bother, he can counter that.
#189Attack_A_HorsePosted 11/26/2012 1:26:13 PM
Counterpwnt posted...
Here's what I said that wasn't just writing out plot points.

[balbalablablaa]

The narrator intends to finish the story—whomever he is telling the story to is not entirely relevant, though we can assume as engaged gamers that he is telling it to us. However, considering that the game begins with the opening of a book, we can assume that the entirety of Paper Mario is contained, or will be contained, within this book. It is the story of “Paper Mario,” or “Mario Story” in Japan. It is also creating a setting for both the beginning and the end of the plot. Like many stories, it begins and ends in the same place.

We are then given the context of importance for the Star Rod. So it is not only a sacred and unworldly object within the Paper Mario universe, it is vital to that world’s safety and prosperity to some degree.

On the next page, the lilting melody used as a backdrop for the story begins to warble out of tune, and we see Kammy Koopa taped to the page. This is where we go from listening to the story to being enveloped in it. What is happening is no longer a past event: it becomes the present.

This part of the game leans heavily on a wrap of narrative, punctuated by dialogue from Bowser, Kammy Koopa, and the terrified Star Spirits. The “stage” has been set… quite literally, as it all takes place on a stage. From here, we know all we need to know about the game’s plot. There is a sacred object that Bowser has stolen in order to enact revenge upon Mario. The prologue then picks up on that same day, but from Mario’s point of view in the Mushroom Kingdom.

Why would Bowser brag and show off his ace-in-the-hole to Mario? Perhaps because it makes his victory sweeter to be one step ahead, for once.

Let us take a brief aside from this exposition to analyze the story-related purpose of this fight. It wouldn’t be enough for Mario (the player) to simply be told that Bowser was too strong. Intelligent Systems forces the player to take on Bowser, in both his pre- and post-Star Rod transformation, and experience this seeming invincibility per the game’s combat system.

Mario is, of course, defeated. If Mario won, there would be no story. This staged battle serves the purpose to show the player in objective, numbers-related terms (i.e. turn-based, numeric damage combat) that Mario needs to grow stronger and more diverse to beat Bowser this time.

In many Mario games, Mario has the tools to win right off the bat. He does not get stronger, does not gain new abilities, and only needs to get to Bowser to defeat him. This time, Mario is not equipped to win. One facet of the story’s purpose is to equip Mario for victory.

Mario, defeated, is tossed out the window, floating down through the clouds away from Bowser, the Star Rod, and Peach. He is sent far away with no immediate advantages. Then the title pops up. It is a way of saying, “Now you know what it happening, now you know what our game is about. This is Paper Mario.”

***

Now would one of you please address those points and explain how this game focuses more on gameplay elements than story elements?


All you've shown is that the game starts off with an introduction. Congratulations. Didn't know the first 10 minutes of the game is representative of the entire 20 hour long game. I could do the exact same thing with Super Mario Sunshine and talk about how Mario is taking a vacation and the importance of Princess Peach tying her hair in a ponytail and how the voice overs are so important and balablablablabalbalbalablabla, BUT that means NOTHING. Does that mean SMS is story centric? No, it just means I went insane and hyper-analyzed the first 10 minutes of the game.
#190quietisgoodPosted 11/26/2012 1:30:39 PM
Counterpwnt posted...


words


yes, if you completely change your definition again, it ends up being the same thing. and regardless of whether or not your new definition is the same (it isn't), you've failed to show how paper mario fits either.

as for your other nonsense...
.
chapter 1
pleasant path: you explore (gameplay), fight battles (gameplay), solve puzzles (gameplay)
koopa village: there's some dialouge at the beginning, but then you explore (gameplay), fight battles (gameplay), solve puzzles (gameplay) and there's even a small minigame (gameplay)
koopa bros fortress: there's a couple of sections with dialouge, but the majority is again, exploring, battling, puzzle solving etc etc.
this is not a 50/50 gameplay story/split, not even close.
hell, we could use time played as a way to objectively measure how much of the game is spent battling, exploring, puzzle solving, playing minigames, character preperation compared to story related things such as dialogue and cutscenes. i can guarantee you that you spend more time on the former than the latter.

this is completely ignoring the fact that paper mario lacks certain story elements that are pretty important for something to be considered story centric, such as character development.
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Hypothetically, if the only choice you've got is to do the wrong thing, then it's not really the wrong thing, it's more like fate.