GSQ5: Ness topia

So, we go from yesterday’s post — a quirky RPG that probably gets a little more hatred than it deserves — to its mirror-universe counterpart. That is, a quirky RPG that probably gets a little more love than it deserves: Earth Bound. Please note that this is Earth Bound with a space between the two words, not EarthBound without a space between the two words. The latter is the Super NES RPG that, I’ve come to realize, actually does deserve the love it gets. Earth Bound, however, is its very rough 8-bit prototype that was never officially released in the U.S. Not a terrible game, but neither is it the masterpiece that its sequels were. Still worth reading about, though! (That is a hint to click the link above, you see.)

11 thoughts on “GSQ5: Ness topia

  1. I actually went to the trouble to make a custom cart out of this one. Just the idea of “owning” the cart is cool to me, even if it did come at the expense of a Deja Vu cart.

    As for the game, it’s actually pretty decent. It’s not mind-blowing, and I suspect it’s mostly the constraints of the genre at the time. It ends up being a very competent Dragon Quest clone with a bit more quirk, which is what you’d expect, given the sequels.

    Too bad I lost my save when I decided I was going to “fix” my cart by actually getting it back into a cart (I was using the bare PCB stuck in a Game Genie because I had used a chip socket, and it wouldn’t let me insert the game). Obviously messed something up during the desolder / resolder job. :P

  2. “In retrospect, it’s safe to say that the joy of the hunt yielded more excitement than the game itself.”

    This quote encapsulates a majority of older (and sometimes rare) games that are praised to absurd heights by their fanbase. It’s just that when you do some fun real-life treasure hunting — for example: “Oh my god, I just found Panzer Dragoon Saga for twenty bucks at some mom-and-pop store!” — you’ll also find that oh, yeah, this is a good game and all, but not the Second Coming I was expecting.

    • I found panzer dragoon saga well deserving of the praise and more. Although I did play it first not knowing it’s legacy or how well regarded it was.

  3. It’s BRUTALLY hard towards the end. Absolutely ridiculous. I recommend spending a LOT of time grinding levels when you have the giant robot thing on your team. It would be very difficult to become anything like overpowered.

  4. For whatever reason, I could never get into RPG’s wherein I couldn’t see my characters in battle. Perhaps Final Fantasy ruined me in that way? It’s hard to say; but I always felt very disconnected from EarthBound for that reason.

  5. It’s curious how much affection Japan holds for this game, despite the fact that it seems like a very dry run for the 16-bit EarthBound.

    I’d guess it was a big deal over there because: a) It was the first RPG produced by Nintendo themselves. In fact, it was the “big” Nintendo release for the Famicom of 1989, and b) The writer/designer Shigesato Itoi is apparently very well respected and pretty famous.

    I can only assume that some special quality in the writing was lost when it was translated into English.

  6. Aw, I rather like Earthbound Zero, not nearly as much as Earthbound, but despite its primitive aspects, it’s still awesome. I’m probably the only Earthbound fan who isn’t a huge fan of Mother 3. Love the soundtrack, like the surprisingly good writing (for a gba game, that is) but not the game so much as a whole.

  7. Played through it rather recently. It’s an ok game. It looks great and the music is spectacular for a NES game but there’s just far too much grinding. The game just has these massive difficulty spikes that require you to grind for hours before you can move on. The trek up the final mountain is ridiculous and requires you to paralyse one of the enemies to drain MP from them which takes ages because you’ll waste so much MP healing and damaging the regular enemies. When you get to the top you are better off running away from all the enemies up there because they are far harder than even the last boss who is a breeze in comparison.

    Still it has merits and when you find out the secret of magicant it’s actually quite moving. It might not be impressive now but back in 1990 I’m sure there was nothing else like it or as emotionally involving. I’d actually like to see a remake of the game with modern sensibilities and think it could actually be very good.

  8. I think in one Seanbaby feature or something, the word typed in for favorite food was “ASS”.

  9. I beat this game a few years ago and I had a good time with it. I never knew there was an easy patch for it, so I’m kinda proud to have done it “legit,” even though I did my fair share of running away in the endgame.

    Having finished all 3 games in the series, I can say Earth Bound is the weakest of the three, but it is still a great deal of fun. To me it suffers from the obtuseness of the RPGs of yesteryear – figure things out with minimal hand-holding, maybe more so than it’s contemporaries (though I’m no expert). Still a fun game and worth a play.

    As an aside, no game in recent memory has really pulled me in story and character wise like Mother 3.

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