Before the big, dramatic rise to the top for RPGs, Square Enix took a stab at creating an original RPG for Nintendo, using Mario and his friends from the Mushroom Kingdom in a way that no one had ever played, or thought about playing as Mario before. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars truly showed off how universal Mario, the character, really was.
While there was never any direct sequels to this game, many regard it as being directly responsible for the the Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi franchises, which is flat out awesome. It's not that this game wasn't good or wasn't a success, but with Square Enix (just Square back then) choosing to go elsewhere, Nintendo was handcuffed and not able to move this game into a franchise. Oh well, at least we got one awesome game out of it, right?
And yes, this game is awesome. Look, I'm not an RPG kind of guy. I don't hate them, I just never found much time to get really deep and committed to them. But, if you couldn't tell, I am a sucker for all things Mario, and as a kid, this game used that angle to welcome me to the realm of RPGs. Having a team of characters that you were already familiar with was awesome, and finally having a different enemy for Mario and company to battle was a refreshing twist to the franchise.
Playing this again, I really enjoyed the story telling the most. Sure, the game play is good and works just like it should, and having the cross-over between RPG and platforming worked well. But having a legit storyline in a Mario game was fascinating, as it seemed to open up the mysterious world of the Mushroom Kingdom a lot more than ever before. And that's what a real RPG is all about - telling a great story. ALl too often this seems to be forgotten, but thankfully, this game did it well.
I wish I still had this on Super Nintendo, but playing it on the Wii Virtual Console worked well enough. Actually, if you want a fun fact that might come up in a trivia question one day,