Blogging Earthbound: A Recaptured Memory #6

Posted by Genjai (300 posts) -

 

So, I hate mushrooms. Both in Earthbound and in real life. On my pizza, on my burgers, even with steak. However, there is one thing that I hate worse than mushrooms: incurable confusion. Gah! Those stupid mushrooms keep putting a shroom on my head! Not that big of a deal fighting mobs, but have to go up against the Trillionage Sprout was less than ideal. Factor in his PSI Flash, and it’s an endless wave of frustration. So, I wiped my first time through… and the second. On the third time, however, I was careful to target the shrooms in the cave first, preventing the constant “feeling strange” and then run back from any shrooms in the little meadow. Boss went down fairly easily. Third My Sanctuary Location unlocked! Time to get back to Threed!

 

The now liberated Threed had a gentle light shining on it, replacing the unending night. There was a lot more people to talk to and some more humorous dialog. I waved goodbye to the happy denizens of Threed and hopped into the bus for Fourside! Unfortunately, there was a traffic jam in the desert that brought our bus to a standstill. Ugh, I hate road slow-downs. If it had been construction, I would have flipped. Fortunately, our beloved designers chose not to torture us for that reason. We hop out of the bus, run into some nice people in a store selling goodies and set out to explore the desert. So, on top of the store is a giant sign that says “DRUGS”, which didn’t strike me as odd when I was young but now seems kinda suspicious. I also remember having a terrible time getting sunstroke and being out of PP to heal it. Wet Towel for $24? No thank you! For whatever reason, this time was much easier. I think I breezed through the zone in about 15 minutes, collecting the contact lenses, opening all the presents and talking to the black sesame seed. Wouldn’t you know it – the traffic cleared up! We hopped back on the bus and high-tailed it for the big city of Fourside.

 

Fourside is an interesting place. I like it in concept, but the cross-pattern layout is a little difficult to navigate. Moreover, of the many skyscraper-like buildings throughout the town, only a handful you can go into. Thinking about this a little more, it’s probably about the same number as in Onett or Twoson, but it feels like less because of the large designs. There is, however, a gem hidden in Fourside, which is one of the best Easter eggs I’ve found in any game: a sign outside a building that reads “Planning Meeting for Earthbound 2. Only those who are related to this project are allowed to enter. APE Software Development Team.” As a 12 year-old, this was my first experience with a game breaking the fourth wall, and it blew my mind. It took me a while for me to realize that this was not actually a real meeting that I had somehow stumbled upon – probably because I wanted it to be real with every fiber of my being. When Earthbound 2 was never released, I was sad :^( Fortunately, I’ll be playing the fan-translation of Mother 3 after I finish this runthrough of Earthbound. So, I checked out the museum and the absolutely epic dinosaur skeleton, which that awesome whimsical musical track that makes me want to fly into space, saw the once again indebted Runaway Five and got kicked out of the penthouse of recently wealthy Master Pokey… jerk.

#1 Posted by Genjai (300 posts) -

 

So, I hate mushrooms. Both in Earthbound and in real life. On my pizza, on my burgers, even with steak. However, there is one thing that I hate worse than mushrooms: incurable confusion. Gah! Those stupid mushrooms keep putting a shroom on my head! Not that big of a deal fighting mobs, but have to go up against the Trillionage Sprout was less than ideal. Factor in his PSI Flash, and it’s an endless wave of frustration. So, I wiped my first time through… and the second. On the third time, however, I was careful to target the shrooms in the cave first, preventing the constant “feeling strange” and then run back from any shrooms in the little meadow. Boss went down fairly easily. Third My Sanctuary Location unlocked! Time to get back to Threed!

 

The now liberated Threed had a gentle light shining on it, replacing the unending night. There was a lot more people to talk to and some more humorous dialog. I waved goodbye to the happy denizens of Threed and hopped into the bus for Fourside! Unfortunately, there was a traffic jam in the desert that brought our bus to a standstill. Ugh, I hate road slow-downs. If it had been construction, I would have flipped. Fortunately, our beloved designers chose not to torture us for that reason. We hop out of the bus, run into some nice people in a store selling goodies and set out to explore the desert. So, on top of the store is a giant sign that says “DRUGS”, which didn’t strike me as odd when I was young but now seems kinda suspicious. I also remember having a terrible time getting sunstroke and being out of PP to heal it. Wet Towel for $24? No thank you! For whatever reason, this time was much easier. I think I breezed through the zone in about 15 minutes, collecting the contact lenses, opening all the presents and talking to the black sesame seed. Wouldn’t you know it – the traffic cleared up! We hopped back on the bus and high-tailed it for the big city of Fourside.

 

Fourside is an interesting place. I like it in concept, but the cross-pattern layout is a little difficult to navigate. Moreover, of the many skyscraper-like buildings throughout the town, only a handful you can go into. Thinking about this a little more, it’s probably about the same number as in Onett or Twoson, but it feels like less because of the large designs. There is, however, a gem hidden in Fourside, which is one of the best Easter eggs I’ve found in any game: a sign outside a building that reads “Planning Meeting for Earthbound 2. Only those who are related to this project are allowed to enter. APE Software Development Team.” As a 12 year-old, this was my first experience with a game breaking the fourth wall, and it blew my mind. It took me a while for me to realize that this was not actually a real meeting that I had somehow stumbled upon – probably because I wanted it to be real with every fiber of my being. When Earthbound 2 was never released, I was sad :^( Fortunately, I’ll be playing the fan-translation of Mother 3 after I finish this runthrough of Earthbound. So, I checked out the museum and the absolutely epic dinosaur skeleton, which that awesome whimsical musical track that makes me want to fly into space, saw the once again indebted Runaway Five and got kicked out of the penthouse of recently wealthy Master Pokey… jerk.

#2 Posted by Undeadpool (4908 posts) -

Not to harp on/gush on this point, but Earthbound is that game that I play every year. If you'll indulge me, it takes me back something FIERCE. It really trade mostly on charm, the characters are pretty shallow, the combat is meh, the plot is boilerplate, but there's just SOMEthing about the game that  sucks me in and to this day won't let me go. Since I've loved it this long, I have no reason to believe I'll ever stop loving it (I played it when it came out on the SNES originally and  in fact bought a copy of the strategy guide on Ebay because playing the game without it just didn't feel right). It's one of the few games where I could talk about it for hours and still feel like I'm not REALLY talking about it. Keep up the great work, I'm just happy that someone else is so enthusiastic about this under-appreciated gem. 
Also: I love Chrono Trigger, and in particular Magus, so your avatar is awesome by default ;)

#3 Edited by mrburger (100 posts) -

"No no I played it.  I beat it in my basement, like once, for sure, and then another time, but I didn't finish.  And no, you're right, it doesn't, doesn't boast the most amazing plot, maybe, but what has plot ever mattered?--it's the storytelling that is [Earthbound's] whole... ineffable genius.  I can't honestly think of how to even begin ... describing how much appreciation I have for--for the guy, I can't think of his name--the guy whose vision it was.  It's genius.   What do I mean?  What do I mean.  I mean, it's in every aspect and every, every pixel of the game.  It's in the atmosphere, it's in the--the color pallet, the music, the in-jokes, how everything, like the passage of time, has this feel to it, kind of?, am I waxing here?, whatever, it's got all these epic little moments of this weird... almost Freudian pathos, but in the good way, the way the writers hint here and there at some sort of twisted, but I mean important, subtextual...  Something about home or sex or childhood, or a common theme of all those things...  I haven't really put my thoughts together on that yet.  But god yes I played that game.  " -- David Foster Wallace (1996)
 
Group hug?

#4 Posted by BrickRoad (702 posts) -

Earthbound/ Mother 2, whatever you want to call it, is 100% pure awesome. Shame it'll never see the light of day on the Virtual Console. And yeah, Fourside.

#5 Posted by Genjai (300 posts) -
@Undeadpool: Thanks! I'm rediscovering that same charm all over again. It seems that every turn, NPC and change in the music consistently brings a new batch of charm. I'm loving it.
 
Also, Chrono Trigger is my favorite game ever - my personal "10", and I've flown under the Magus banner for years as a result :^)
#6 Posted by Sparklykiss (1947 posts) -

I liked the mushrooms on my head when i was right by Twoson and the like. Selling them for a little bit of cash was always nice. Fun times. 
 
I remember getting stuck on that black sesame seed. When it talked, my mind was blown. I love all the little fourth wall breaking tidbits so much. And you've made it to the point where most people stop playing! And near Moonside! I'm so excited. Take lots of screenies from that, please. I love how crazy and backwards it is. Pokey was always a jerk, but he was sooo good at being a mega brat. I can't wait for part 7. =)

Moderator Online
#7 Posted by Dalai (6995 posts) -

It would be at this point in the game where I'd blow my money on the Mexican slot machine. God I love that game!

#8 Posted by Genjai (300 posts) -
@mrburger said:
" "No no I played it.  I beat it in my basement, like once, for sure, and then another time, but I didn't finish.  And no, you're right, it doesn't, doesn't boast the most amazing plot, maybe, but what has plot ever mattered?--it's the storytelling that is [Earthbound's] whole... ineffable genius.  I can't honestly think of how to even begin ... describing how much appreciation I have for--for the guy, I can't think of his name--the guy whose vision it was.  It's genius.   What do I mean?  What do I mean.  I mean, it's in every aspect and every, every pixel of the game.  It's in the atmosphere, it's in the--the color pallet, the music, the in-jokes, how everything, like the passage of time, has this feel to it, kind of?, am I waxing here?, whatever, it's got all these epic little moments of this weird... almost Freudian pathos, but in the good way, the way the writers hint here and there at some sort of twisted, but I mean important, subtextual...  Something about home or sex or childhood, or a common theme of all those things...  I haven't really put my thoughts together on that yet.  But god yes I played that game.  " -- David Foster Wallace (1996) Group hug? "
 You know, it amazes me that in 1996 the essence of this game's charm that created a masterful story in each pixel still evokes that same feeling well over a decade later. Group hug for sure!
#9 Posted by Genjai (300 posts) -
@BrickRoad said:
" Earthbound/ Mother 2, whatever you want to call it, is 100% pure awesome. Shame it'll never see the light of day on the Virtual Console. And yeah, Fourside. "
I couldn't agree more. Pure awesome... and never on the virtual console :^(
#10 Posted by Davvyk (693 posts) -

i tried to play this game on an emulator a few times but its so damn hard near the start. Is it really really worth ploughing on through to experience it?

#11 Posted by Genjai (300 posts) -
@Sparklykiss: Thanks! I'm looking forward to putting out part 7 as well. It could go up tonight, but I'm trying to get through a little more before I write it. 
 
@Dalai: Horay for slot machines! 
 
@Davvyk said:
" i tried to play this game on an emulator a few times but its so damn hard near the start. Is it really really worth ploughing on through to experience it? "
I think it's worth it. You're right, though, it's a pain in the tooshie to get past the beginning part - actually of each new area of the game. It requires carefully panning the screen to get only one or two enemies or running back from a horde. Also, doing some leveling on the lowest mobs really helps. Also, on an emulator, save-states help a lot. I'm playing through more or less traditionally with this playthrough, but I admit, I cheated a bit at the Trillionage Sprout area to keep from getting more mushrooms :^(
 
I'd say talking to the NPC's is one of the most rewarding parts of the game.

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