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EarthBound's Overwhelming Greatness Explained

EarthboundI've spent the last several years insisting that you — yes, you! — play Nintendo's fantastic EarthBound, but maybe I'm just not getting through to you.  Maybe you need a different perspective to understand why the best RPG in the Super NES library is worth your time.  To that end, I will now direct you to JHarris over at MetaFilter who will explain in just two paragraphs why you are missing out by overlooking the adventures of Ness and his friends.

The great thing about Earthbound (and in this area it is slightly better than [its sequel, Mother 3]) is how it uses the conventions of JRPGs without being enslaved by them. This is the furtherest thing from the excesses of Squaresoft. It is a thoughtful story, goofy in places but knowing that it is goofy instead of asking the player to just ride along with it, filled with wit and wonder. It doesn't have the heavy-handed, leaden bible-reference-loaded, light-against-darkness plot of your typical anime-inspired fantasy quest game. There is no angst. There are no cat-girls. There is no evil analogue for the Catholic Church, led by Super Mega Pope with Magic Power.

You can have pizza delivered to you while out in the field. You can ride a bicycle for absolutely no good reason. You can go to just about every hotel in the game after every major game event, stay the night, and after waking up the next morning every hotel's complementary newspaper will have a new headline. Your character gets
homesick at random moments; cure this condition by calling your mother from any phone. Exactly one if the decorative drawers in all the rooms in the game actually contains an object, an "Insignificant Item." There is a man whose greatest ambition is to become a dungeon; I will not spoil how that particular ambition turns out. You can buy a house. A photographer takes pictures of your party along the way, and they are presented in the background during the closing credits. Once you beat the last boss you can go back to every damn person in the entire game and they each will have a congratulatory message to give you. A dog in the first town gets possessed by the spirit of the game designer, and if you talk to him during the end phase he gives you an address to write to HAL to tell them what you thought about the game. MR. SATURN. There is so much more than what I've said here. It plays like it was made by someone who has done more with his life than play video games and watch anime. It puts other JRPGs to shame. Do not miss it.

Are you ready for EarthBound now?  Because EarthBound is ready for you.  Do not keep it waiting any longer than you already have.

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