I’m currently playing the first GameCube game I’ve ever purchased, Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, and I love it. Don’t get me wrong, the game isn’t a bastion of progressiveness: there’s a sentient computer “in love” with Peach that watches her shower and every other word out of a character’s mouth is “craziness” and “this is LAME!” But, most of Mario’s party members are female, and my favorite is the first to join, Goombella. Plus, fighting on stage is really fun.
Goombella holds a soft spot for me because she’s a smart, feminine university student (in the sciences, too!) and that knows everything about everyone. She gives Mario clues when you’re stuck on the game, and is just as tough as any character in battle. Goombella by no means a sexualized character yet is proud of her cuteness, but it’s her brains that ultimately get her and Mario through the game.
Unfortunately, Goombella doesn’t seem to care much for female solidarity: she calls another party member Floozie and says that she’s way cuter than Vivian, another woman who joins your group. Still, she’s a fun and lovable character that sets the tone right off in a game that is turning out to be a lot better than I thought it would.