It is time for my recap of day 8 of the 10 day video game challenge on Facebook. While the games on this list isn’t a top ten, and is a list of the most influential games in my life as a gamer, this is perhaps the only game on this list that is a favorite of mine. Today, I will be covering Earthbound on the SNES.
I had first got this game on Christmas the year Super Smash Bros. Melee came out. I had also gained the game Mega Man X3 on this day (talk about a good haul for rare games). My love of RPG’s was blossoming, and this cult classic became my absolute favorite, which was the case for a very long time. Currently, I have no absolute favorite in terms of video games, but Earthbound is still up there.
Earthbound is unique in terms of setting and style. It is a game that plays like Dragon Quest in terms of design, and it doesn’t add much to that formula game play wise. The difference is that unlike most RPG’s of the time, it takes place in a modern-day setting. You can use hamburgers for healing items instead of potions. Common items like baseball bats, frying pans, and yo-yo’s can be equipped as weapons in place of swords and staves. Characters have psychic powers in place of a magic system.
The cartoonish look, humorous (and strange) dialogue and enemies all add to a unique feel you can’t find anywhere else. Now to be fair, there are some game design faults in this game, some of which were common in that era of game. You have to buy items individually, have limited inventory space, there are a lot of mandatory items, etc. There is even a point in the game you have to wait three minutes doing nothing in order to progress.
I have a strong emotional connection to this game as well. This game was one of the few that had repeatedly infiltrated my dreams. This is kinda fitting, considering how surreal the game’s visuals are. The game reminds me of an old friend who enjoyed it as well, but we had lost touch. The day I sold the game at a yard sale for well under its resale price felt like the end of my childhood. I was moving to my present location, and had to downsize to be sure I had enough room in my new place.
I was overjoyed to find out that the game became available on the Wii U Virtual Console, and was one reason I got a Wii U. I still love this game enough to have downloaded it on the New Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console as well.
Earthbound is one of those rare games were story, setting, and presentation triumph over game play. It has taught me that a game’s quality can be lifted by its exceptional story as long as the game play is at least adequate. Essentially, this game is a triumph of style over substance.
Now I will recommend some obscure, or semi-obscure RPG’s:
- Golden Sun
- Golden Sun: The Lost Age
- Baten Kaitos
- Breath of Fire
- Breath of Fire 2
Now it is tempting to place Fire Emblem games here, but they are popular now. I’m sure there are more to add to this list, but I decided to include the games I had played.
Earthbound is a rare treat, and well worth seeing at least once. I hope to include more Earthbound content on this blog in the near future.
And that was my day 8. How about you? Which game would make your day 8 if you took the challenge? What obscure game do you like that doesn’t get enough love? What is your favorite RPG? What kind of Earthbound content would you like to see from this site? Let me know in the comments below!