I’ve decided to take a break from Pokémon, because somehow I’ve been chipping away at it for six weeks and still have a long way to go. The second half of the game thus far has proven to be reeeeeally boring, given that it’s designed almost entirely to coast along on nostalgia for Red/Blue that I simply don’t possess. I figure I have at least a year before Black/White makes it way to the U.S., so that’s plenty of time to work through it one boring little piece at a time. At this point, I’m mostly just determined to complete it so that I can say I did it. The most noble motivation of them all.

To cleanse my palate, I decided to ask for suggestions from the Talking Time kids. Then a few minutes later I remembered, oh dang! I still haven’t played the English translation of Mother 3 yet! And that seems like a grand and glorious thing to do.

I guess if you hate the Mother series you probably shouldn’t read the site for a couple of weeks, since I imagine I’ll be talking about it a fair amount.

In the meantime, I’m going to pretend that this decision is entirely by design, and that I’m tackling the game in honor of Mother’s Day and that this isn’t just another of my life’s random stupid coincidences. Likewise, the fact that I’m abandoning my mission to battle pokeyman creatures in order to battle Pokey-man’s creatures.

For the record, I’m playing this fan-crafted translation on an Afterburner-modified original model Game Boy Advance. I thought about using a DS Lite, but there’s a certain poetic symmetry in using a system hacked to shore up Nintendo’s design deficiencies in order to play a game left stranded overseas by Nintendo’s U.S. release scheduling deficiencies.

19 thoughts on “Pokey-vacation

  1. That pun was terrible. That said, I have to say I never really quite got why the Mother/EarthBound series was so popular among the geek crowd. I’ve played through Earthbound and part of EBZero, but while it was certainly charming and a fun game, it wasn’t earth-shatteringly great like it gets made out to be sometime.

  2. I’m with mightyblue. I played Earthbound, and it’s just as s/he said – ‘charming and fun.’ But not nearly as much as it’s been made out to be. To me, it’s more of a curiosity and less of something I want to spend a significant amount of time with.

    But I can definitely see how refreshing it might be after playing a lot of something so rote and derivative as Pokemon 2010 or whatever.

  3. I’d love the Mother series if it had fun gameplay behind the clever writing and great sprite art. Instead it hones right in on the things I hate most about RPGs, like inventory management.

    On the subject of RPG length, replaying FF4 Advance recently made me respect how epic that game feels without actually taking up ridiculous quantities of time – I’ve almost maxed out my levels and I’ve spent forty-five hours in that save file, most of that in the post-final boss content. And the game doesn’t at all feel like it’s too short. It just doesn’t waste time.

  4. Jeremy, I am looking forward to reading about your experiences with Mother 3. I am kind of surprised it took you so long to get to it, but I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

  5. Earthbound is a brilliant game. It’s not just charm and witty writing that make it special, it’s one of the last RPG’s that has a sort of innocence to it. To me, it’s the video game equivilent to “The Land Before Time”.

  6. I’m really worried about HeartGold because I just hit a wall going up against the Elite 4, which means a lot of grinding. And then, taking clues from above, it’s just going to be boring afterwards? Meh. That’s not good.

  7. Ok this is a bit creepy. I only just started Mother 3 last night as well and for the same reasons, burn out from pokemon (leaf green in this case). I’m really loving Mother 3 though. Was talking to a non gamer friend today and was trying to explain that it’s quite an emotional game despite the cute graphics :)

  8. Mother 3 is incredible. Should play on a micro though. Definitely the sweetest GBA available.

  9. Make sure to play obsessively and get the front and back poses for every enemy.

  10. While I personally like EarthBound more, I think you’ll prefer Mother 3, Parish. Rote RPG mechanics aside, it really is a great game.

    Of course, the best moment comes only an hour or so in, but hey.

  11. Ah, Mother 3, my all time favorite game by a very lare margin. I hope you enjoy it too.

  12. I preferred the first as well, but Mother 3 oozes quality. As does the translation. Seriously, I swore up and down that Nintendo did the localization themselves, knowing full well that they didn’t. It’s really quite impressive. Several studios could take notes.

    The game can be tough at times. They certainly aren’t afraid to throw some really tough enemies / bosses at you. You’ll probably have to grind a bit at some point. Much like the Dragon Quest games, it’s amazing how much just a few levels helps.

    It’s interesting that Earthbound, for the most part, is basically just Dragon Quest in modern day with a great sense of humor. But seriously, is that a bad thing?

  13. Amendment. The “first” would actually be Mother / Earthbound Zero. I meant the Earthbound we actually got, but heck, even the original NES one is good stuff, and did some things that most Dragon Quest derivatives didn’t even think about. It’s a unique offering for the NES. Heck, I even made a custom cartridge out of that one. :)

  14. Well, I’ll be damned. I’m just on the tail end of playing Pokemon HeartGold and I was just about to start playing the Mother 3 translation as well! I swear you’re reading my mind.

    Although I did try to play the Mother 3 translation when it first came out, and I got a few hours in, but then my save got deleted somehow, and I was disheartened enough to put it down. It’s been almost a year since then, so I was thinking it was finally time for me go give it another try. I’ll be looking forward to reading your thoughts on it!

  15. Sounds like an epidemic of people casting aside their monster-catching activities in lieu of playing Mother 3. This is all slightly disconcerting.

  16. I would never say thanks enough to the dedicated team who translated Mother 3. This game is much more the “cute, weird and witty RPG from Nintendo”. I hope you’ll enjoy it too!

  17. Never much cared for the Mother series. In fairness, though, it’s a rare game that can successfully walk the tightrope between serious and comedic like Mother tries to do.

  18. I’m still playing Earthbound myself, so I’m going to pretend I did so for the same reasons, and not because I was on a hiatus from buying boxed games.

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