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Assignment: Earthbound

EarthboundIf you still don't believe that Earthbound is one of the best RPG games ever created, then perhaps this week's Retronauts column at can change your mind.  Jeremy Parish explains just what makes the Super NES so great while in the sidebar other fans of the game wax nostalgic on the game's high points.

Earthbound doesn't play entirely like a typical RPG, and seemingly delights in inverting gamers' expectations. Nowhere is that more obvious than in the final battle, which is won not by using the party's most powerful attacks -- which are reflected back at the group and instantly fatal -- but by standing down while one of the characters simply prays for victory. That showdown is only one tiny example of the game's willful bending of the medium's rules, though; throughout the game Ness and his friends are thrust into situations which can only be solved with twisted or even inverse logic. At times, Earthbound can feel like a spiritual descendant of Douglas Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

The weekend is quickly approaching and since it's a holiday weekend there won't be much of anything on television.  This is the perfect time to experience Earthbound.  You can probably finish the game this weekend provided you start right now and put aside pesky things like family and religion.  What could be more important than helping Ness and his friends defeat the alien threat and save Eagleland?