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The other day I got asked to do an interview for a GamesRadar article. I didn’t really know what it was for until now – turns out it was for one called Ask GR Anything: What’s the deal with EarthBound?
Basically, the question posed is: What the hell is Earthbound and why is everybody freaking out about a seventeen-year-old game?
You can see part of my own response in there, but if you’re interested, my full responses to the questions are here:
Q: What about the game do you think has sustained such an enduring community? It’s kind of remarkable that there’s such a dedicated fan presence when only one game has been released in the West.
A: I think it’s two things: 1. the game just has so much heart, the kind that’s hard to find in most games, and 2. the fact that only one game has been released give it a sort of underdog feel, and everyone loves an underdog! If I had to give a third reason, it might be that the unique look at Western culture from Japanese eyes – in GAME form, no less – has a charm all its own.
Q: Has Nintendo addressed Earthbound fans about new games in the series or localizations? Are there any plans?
A: Aside from Reggie commenting on the enthusiasm of MOTHER fans, there hasn’t been much of anything from NOA about the series. I think as far as they’re concerned, the series is long, long dead.
Q: I’ve heard fans say that the game is very ahead of its time. Can you explain what makes that game ahead of its time?
A: I think fans could give dozens of thoughtful responses to this. A lot of RPGs back in the day were overly serious and based around medieval themes. EarthBound was one of the first RPGs to really act silly, utilize a modern setting (which is much more common in RPGs now!), and have a more set piece-laden story, like you see with blockbuster titles nowadays.
The game’s presentation was also pretty ahead of its time – it has like 120 or more different music tracks, which was unheard of at the time. And they’re all from wildly different genres, it was just crazy.
EarthBound’s graphics were regularly criticized for being too cartoony and not filled with zillions of colors. The game’s cartoon style was definitely an artistic choice, though, not an accidental limitation. Only many years later, with games like Wind Waker and Killer 7, did game designers and players really start to embrace the idea of purposeful art styles to build atmosphere.
That’s my take on it, at least. I’m sure many people have different opinions on the matter!
Do you agree? Disagree? Anything you’d say instead? I feel like I missed a lot of things in my responses, but since only two short quotes got used in the interview that’s probably okay 😛
Other Related Posts:
14 Comments to GamesRadar on EarthBound
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