Yes, yes, Mother’s Day was yesterday. Whatever.
I sure haven’t had much time to play Mother 3 lately! But that’s OK, because it means I can take it slowly and savor the experience. The game reminds me of a good book in that it’s the sort of thing you could easily skim, but taking the time to soak it up is far more rewarding.
At the moment I’m well into the second chapter of the game, wherein I’ve taken control of a gimpy slacker with a knack for theft in the wake of a tragic turn of events. (Chapter one’s parallels with EarthBound — dealing with strange happenings in the dead of night — are not lost on me, but there’s much less “quirk” and a lot more “this is heartbreaking” in Mother 3.) The end of the first chapter is what’s sticking with me, though. Not just because of the events, but also because of the care that went into depicting the aftermath as Flint beats the crap out of the ground, the citizens of Tamzily, and most of the scenery in a fit of raw rage.
Illustrating sprites is something of a lost art these days, which is a real shame. It demands a certain level of artistry… which isn’t to say that 3D animation doesn’t require artistry as well, but it’s a different kind of artistry. There’s something really satisfying about unique sprite animations that appear once in a game never to be seen again; they’re opulent, indulgent, almost wasteful. The one-off animations were something that really made me fall in love with Final Fantasy Tactics, and already I’ve seen more of them (or so I assume) in Mother 3 than in just about any other game that comes to mind. Seeing a grieving Flint smash up a fire and take wild swings at his friends would have been powerful in any medium, but knowing that each frame was meticulously animated, that so much thought was put into the way the debris flew from the impact and the townswoman scurried to shield Lucas and Claus from the sight of their father flipping out, really added an extra layer of meaning to the whole scene. Even little things, like the careful palette choices on the ground around the fire to simulate what would normally be handled by self-illuminating light sources, catch the eye.
But then again, maybe I’m just a polygon-hating luddite! You just can’t trust my technology-hating ways.