Hidden, 16-year-old Paper Mario messages expose the existential crisis of NPCs

Paper Planes Drifter

What happens when you, loyal Toad, are a cog in a created world, existing only to abet the Hero (Mario, now paper) in their journey? And what happens when obsessive glitch masters like Stryder7x “log skip” to enter your neighborhood before the game’s natural progression should allow?

Well, at least in the Japanese version of Paper Mario, the Toads enter a sort of existential crisis, as if you were exposing a Replicant that didn’t know it was a machine. “This message should not appear,” a Toad warns. “I’ll be scared if it does…”

Another impotently cried out for the help of its masters: “You shouldn’t be able to get here yet. If you did, it’s a bug, so please get in contact.”

Unfortunately for the Toad, its masters are no longer listening for their cries. God is dead.

Steven Hansen