Mario is one of the most well-known and beloved characters in all of gaming, having stared in dozens upon dozens of games. He's Nintendo's mascot and may very well be considered the face of gaming, having been the star of many games that pioneered various trends in games, such as Super Mario 64, which is widely considered to be the first truly 3D game that was any good. He's famous for being the star of absolutely wonderful and amazing platformers, but he's a versatile character, having starred in other genres of games, such as sports, racing and even RPGs.
The first Mario RPG was a collaboration between Squaresoft (of Final Fantasy fame) and Nintendo and was titled Super Mario RPG for the SNES. It was well beloved for quirky and charming dialog (written by Ted Woolsey!) and introducing involved battle mechanics that required the player to time button presses just right to increase the damage they dealt and reduce the damage they took. Sadly, Squaresoft abandoned Nintendo after the N64 was released, so a proper sequel would never be developed. From there, Nintendo's second-party developers took the reins on Mario RPGs and two vastly different sub-series; Paper Mario, developed by Intelligent Systems, and the Mario and Luigi series, developed by AlphaDream.
Mario and Luigi, which also thrusts Mario's brother Luigi into the spotlight, keeps the charming writing of Super Mario RPG and constructs the battle system entirely around the player-timing mechanics from the SNES game, requiring the player to master the system to stay on par with the challenges the games place on them. It's very involved, but as a result, feels like a true marriage of platforming mechanics and RPG battling; for example, in a platformer, you can avoid enemies by jumping over attacks, so Mario and Luigi allows you to avoid certain attacks by jumping over them.
The original Mario and Luigi, Superstar Saga, was released in 2003 for the GBA and was a story about the Mario Bros' adventures in the Beanbean kingdom, which neighbors their home, the Mushroom Kingdom, and their quest to restore Princess Peach's voice. The game placed equal importance on both members of the party, forcing the player to control both of them with both buttons on the GBA. This game, Partners in Time, was released in 2005 for the Nintendo DS, adds Baby Mario and Luigi to the principal cast, brings the setting back to the Mushroom Kingdom and features a convoluted time travel plot that I don't think makes very much sense, and the addition of the babies makes the controls considerably more complex, as they're also controlled by their own face buttons so you're effectively managing four characters now. For the most part, it's still a two-character party, but there are times when the party gets separated.
These games are incredibly solid and are some of the best RPGs you can find, especially the first and third ones. I remember this one being pretty bad by this series' standards and not worth playing to the point where I felt like I was ripping my friend off when he offered to buy it for $10 and wouldn't budge til I let it go (it's debatable whether the fourth one is like that as well, but that's neither here nor there). I definitely think this is one of the weaker games in the series, but I've been playing the rest of the series recently and I wanted to reconfirm whether or not this game just wasn't up to par with the rest of the series. [Edit: NOPE. FUCK THIS GAME]. This is also the only non-3DS title in the sub-series to not have an LP on the archive, so I thought I could make a replay a little fun by filling the gap there.
Joining me on this adventure is my buddy Jobbo Fett, who hasn't played much of the series except for the first few minutes of the first game, so he's going in blind. I'll try to shoot for one episode a week, but that'll depend on whether or not I have time to record, so we'll see about how frequently I can update. We're doing this as a voiced VLP because the series has so many great animations that it'd be a major pain to make dozens of GIFs for every update and it'd be a lot easier to demonstrate the battle system if it's in motion.
SPOILER POLICY: None specifically about this game's story or any upcoming gameplay mechanics! It's fair game to talk about any of the other games in the series if it's similar to something already introduced in an episode (i.e., sidekicks are fair game to talk about after the first episode when our sidekick, Stuffwell, is introduced).
I also have a Twitter if you wanna follow me for potential updates there for this or anything else I may or may not be involved in.
Other Mario and Luigi LPs!
Mario or Luigi: Superstar Saga by MyNameIsKaz and Medibot
Mario and Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story by YamiNoSenshi