How a Simple Line in Paper Mario Became a Fire Emblem Advertisement


YoshiRider123 asked an interesting question about some text from Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. One of the NPCs near the start of the game references the Game Boy Advance and the new Fire Emblem game.

I get so many questions about this game that I really should just do a full recording of myself playing through both versions so I can pull out screen captures at any point I need in the future

Since Fire Emblem was making its first foray outside of Japan around this time, the question is – did the original Japanese text mention Fire Emblem too, or was it changed somehow to include a quick Fire Emblem advertisement?

First, let’s take a look at this guy’s text in both versions of the game!

Oh noOh no

now I wanna play this game againnow I wanna play this game again

Keep it away ack! I hope more Paper Mario games with this quality come out soon. I still gotta play Sticker Star but I hear mixed reviews about itKeep it away ack! I hope more Paper Mario games with this quality come out soon. I still gotta play Sticker Star but I hear mixed reviews about it

And here’s the translated text side-by-side for easier reference:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Version
I’ve been hooked on playing Famicom games lately.Hey, what’s up? I gotta say, I’m really hooked on playing GBA games lately.
There’s a game I especially like called “Super Mario Bros.”…There’s this one game that just absolutely rules. It’s called “Fire Emblem”…
Have you heard of it? I totally recommend it!You ever heard of it? Man, it ROCKS MY SOCKS!!!

Neat! It looks like the reference was indeed changed from original Super Mario Bros. for the Famicom to Fire Emblem for the Game Boy Advance!

I guess in a way the original line was going for a bit of self-referential humor, but there’s something charming about Nintendo plugging its own current games to try and boost sales 😛

The funny thing is, I actually did go and buy Fire Emblem a short time after playing Thousand-Year Door. Did I fall prey to this secret marketing, or was it just a coincidence? I don’t know, but I’m curious how many other Mario fans checked out Fire Emblem thanks to this!

If you liked this article and are pals with other fellow Fire Emblem / Paper Mario fans, I hope you'll tell them about it. People rarely seek out localization articles, so sharing really helps me a lot!
  1. Haha, I recall seeing this when I played it through for the first time. This actually introduced me to the Fire Emblem series as a whole, so I guess Nintendo’s strategy paid off!

    1. Cool! I wish I could see when/how the decision to mention Fire Emblem was made, I wonder if it was a serious meeting or just some localizer who just did it for fun 😛

      1. Probably because both Paper Mario and Fire Emblem are made from Intelligent Systems. And also the first Fire Emblem game released outside of Japan went out around the same time as The Thousand Year Door.

  2. The best advertisement for Fire Emblem was Smash Bros. Melee though.

    I bought Fire Emblem for the GBA after playing with Marth and Roy in Melee, and luckily loved it and have been a FE fan since then! 🙂

    1. Definitely – I’m actually amazed it took so long for a Fire Emblem game to get released after Melee. But better late than never!

      1. Right, more so because the first one that came after Melee had Roy yet that never came outside Japan. Instead we got the one about Roy’d dad where Roy only makes a cameo in the epilogue, unless you’re European as then you get no Roy ever.

        Nintendo logic, ladies and gentlemen.

  3. I owned both but… I cannot remember why I got Fire Emblem. Oh my.

  4. I like the Japanese line better, since the idea of asking Mario if he’s heard of Super Mario Bros. is charming. Almost a bit like returning to talk to Chief Strong later in the game, and he tells you how he’s been playing a game called “Earthbound” lately. 🙂

  5. You know, it’s funny. Fire Emblem is my favourite video game series of all time (I own every game in the series physically and even got ahold of the Fire Emblem Thracia 776 Deluxe Box) and Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door happens to be my favourite video game of all time.

  6. Because this article is about the Mario series, I think I’ll ask while I have the chance:

    Super Mario Wiki recently made some edits to its article about the Viruses from Dr. Mario to account for the recent release of Dr. Luigi. One of those edits was a line declaring that the Magenta Virus from Dr. Luigi is the first female Virus, which contradicts an earlier statement from the American SNES Tetris & Dr. Mario manual that the Red Virus from Dr. Mario is female (page 23: “Not only does Red Virus move very fast, she attacks very intensely. A game against the Red Virus is for advanced players.”).

    The Red Virus has no feminine characteristics in its appearance, and the SNES American manual is the only one so far to give a gender to any of the Viruses. So, I’m curious. Are there any official Japanese-language statements or materials that state the genders of the Viruses?

    Also, are the names “Fever”, “Chill”, and “Weird” exclusive to the English world? Those names originated in the Nintendo Comics System.

    1. The Viruses having names /only/ appeared in the Nintendo Comics System. Nowhere else.

  7. I would highly recommend Super Paper Mario if you want a game full of fun and quirky references. The writers really impressed me with the localization. It’s among the best.

    1. Yep, I really liked what I’ve played of Super Paper Mario. I probably stopped about halfway through and never finished it though, oops.

      1. Then you should definitely go back and finish it! 😀

      2. I was actually really impressed with the second half of the game in particular. Definitely go back!

  8. I’m not loving Sticker Star Story. The battle game play is almost Chain of Memories stupid (though not quite that bad). The story isn’t even a shadow of the earlier games in presentation or presence…I dunno, it’s definitely the weakest entry. I’m having a hard time staying interested in it.

    1. I liked Sticker Star for the most part, but the boss fights are unremitting awfulness.

      1. You’re the first person to feel the same way I do. Everyone seems to just hate it, but I DO like the game, but it really dropped the ball in a few places (such as bosses).

  9. Sticker Star is really pretty bad. It removed the charm that made the games fun in the first place by watering down the story and dialogue, and made battles a pointless chore. ALL of my friends hated it, and we all love the Paper Mario series to death. I was the only one who even kind of liked it. I definitely do not recommend this game.

    1. Blame Miyamoto for it. He’s the one who suggested to change it from a clone of TTYD and to tone down the story greatly.

  10. I’ve been staving off the urge to replay TTYD for awhile myself and you made it harder to resist! I’ve got so much schoolwork and other games that I finally got to play but I love that game SO MUCH! 😀 I gotta finish Sticker Star too actually. I forgot I hadn’t finished it (I do that a lot). It’s honestly not the best game, especially in the series. Maybe you should find a way to try it before buying it.

  11. Speaking of in-game plugs, there’s a similar easter egg in “Shining Force II”. If your character is inflicted with the “muddle” status, there’s a chance they may waste a turn playing “Shining Force: Sword of Hajya” on Game Gear. I don’t know if this text was in the Japanese version.

  12. I hate this change, it ruined the joke. Instead of a funny line in which a Toad asks Mario himself if he tried SMB, we got shameless advertising.