You know which game has a really great visual style that I totally didn’t appreciate in 1995 because I was a big dope with a blinkered perspective on gaming and life? Yep, EarthBound. Oh. You… you guessed that one, huh? Because the title of this post and the artwork above gave it away? Oh. Well. Yeah, OK then.
8 thoughts on “GameSpite Journal 10: EarthBound”
Oh man, EarthBound. I nabbed my copy from a friend in ’99 for $10 and a Pokemon card. I was really into it back then, and the EB community was actually the first big internet community that I was a part of, back when starmen.net was still earthbound.net. I was a moderator there for probably 5 years. I haven’t really been back there since it became fangamer, but I do play Left4Dead and TF2 with reid and the gang occasionally.
Incidentally, it was from starmen.net that I learned of this place, after you poked fun at the, uh, more obsessive side of the Mother fan community.
A long time friend and I are replaying EarthBound. It’s surprisingly entertaining even with what should be dated JRPG battles.
I also thought you should know, if you cut a little off of your closing ramble. Your blurb would fit right in.
I was ready to type a long comment about how EarthBound is great but so many better writers have done it so many times over the years. So instead I’ll just yell “EarthBound!” like an excitable sports fan and pour out a 40.
You said it – the game’s mechanics are rarely brought up. Which is a shame, because as much as I want to like this game, I just can’t get into a game if it’s not actually fun to -play-. People who want to champion this game’s ‘charm’ and all the trappings are hardly going to mention how bland the battle system is.
I’m not so sure about that. While the battle system is a Dragon Quest-alike, it includes a few interesting twists that make the experience of playing EarthBound a lot more engaging. Off the top of my head I can think of the following:
-The way the Guts stat is implemented (it allows you to survive mortal blows if it’s high enough, for example)
-The rolling HP counter which adds an element of temporal urgency to an atemporal battle system
-The use of status ailments that affect the gameplay experience (homesickness makes you waste turns occasionally, can only be contracted by the main character, and is curable by talking to his mother; mushroomization messes up your controls as well as acting as a stand-in for the Confusion ailment, and the mushrooms it produces can be sold off for cash)
True, the battle system is pretty basic and bland, but it adds a few interesting touches that make you feel like you’re playing with actual, living people, and not game pieces.
Saying Earthbound’s battles are bland is like saying angel food cake has no flavor. Just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s not rich.
Have still never gotten around to playing EarthBound but it’s been on my to-play list for some 15 years. I keep thinking I’ll work my way through the whole trilogy in order.
Also: nuts to you guys; some of my warmest childhood memories ARE of Thundercats.
I feel your pain, Parish. I had a chance to get this or Stunt Race FX for $10 as a kid in some blowout sale, and I chose…the mediocre one with the FX chip.
I kinda rectified that by renting it later, but still. It had the big box with the guide and everything!
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