From the Super Mario Wiki
“As long as you have a map, you'll feel safer in foreign lands, right?”
—Border Bros., Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door'
A map is an item used in all of the Mario role playing games. It shows Mario's current position in a certain area, and is usually received near the start of the game. In Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, the player could get the Beanbean Map by defeating the Border Bros. in a game of Border Jump. A map is also received at the start of the game in Paper Mario and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door.
In some games, such as Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, the map is more of a feature rather than an item; these maps (which are sometimes called map screens) are mere portals to the other places in the game. Map screens have even appeared in side-scrolling games such as Super Mario Bros. 3 (which was the first Mario game any type of map appeared in) and Super Mario World, which had a fully connected (or seamless) world map. New Super Mario Bros. U also features a seamless world map, much like Super Mario World.
The Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars map is notable for being both a feature and an item, as it is used as a feature but given to Mario (by the Chancellor) as if it were an item. The Super Mario Sunshine, the map was similarly "given" to Mario towards the beginning of the game (this time by a Pianta known to play for the Doot Doot Sisters), although this Map is not literally given as Mario could use it before it was "received" from the Pianta. Luigi also used a map to find his mansion in Luigi's Mansion.
In Super Paper Mario, the player can purchase maps from Flamm. These maps will lead Mario and the heroes to hidden treasures throughout the game. All maps are purchased with coins. Once the heroes find the area with the hidden treasure, they must use the Pixl Fleep, move him over the treasure spot on the screen and press to flip and find the treasure. Many of the treasures are Catch Cards, and sometimes a character's Catch Card can even be found using a map before the character themself appears in the game, such as King Sammer V, Welderberg, and Brobot L-Type, to name a few.
List of maps in Super Paper Mario
- Main article: List of Maps in Super Paper Mario