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Tips for Buying EarthBound

March 30th, 2009 | EarthBound, Images

We’ve already looked at the ugh-ness of the EGM review of Earthbound and the “this can’t be for real”-ness of the GamePro review of EarthBound, so here’s another magazine review of EarthBound from back in 1995!

This one is from Game Players magazine. Thanks go out to Ema Nymton on the SA forums for the images, and Mark S. for the tip 😀

The review is just one page in the magazine, but since I think these were taken with a digital camera, there are multiple pics of different parts of the page:

This review’s actually written quite a bit better than the other reviews, but it seems like he was especially focused on the graphics and that it seemed too kiddie. Man, I remember when those days were like that – most everyone, not just this guy, almost seem too obsessed with both things. Still, 69% is surprising. I wonder if reviewers back then (and now?) actually had very little time to play the games and had to rush like crazy. And that it’d be easy to get sick of playing them right away.

EDIT: Also, as commenters have pointed out, this review does sometimes read like it was written without much thought, as an example:

“The graphics are simple, the storyline is easy to follow, and even though the game is huge, it moves along pretty quickly.”

But just a few inches down, he says this:

“How many times can you play a game this big and slow?”

Anyway, there you go! I might dig up some various newspaper reviews of EarthBound at some point, but if anyone knows of any other magazine reviews of EarthBound, please let me know! I love these old reviews, and I need more more more! Also, I think I’ll make a section on the site that lists all these reviews of the games, since it’s really interesting stuff 😀


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46 Comments to Game Players’ EarthBound Review

Anonymous said on Mar. 30, 2009

I dont like this guy who wrote the review. The game doesn’t feel rushed, that review does.

the retard of epic proportions said on Mar. 30, 2009

Not a very good review but what do we expect?

Hejiru said on Mar. 30, 2009

I’ve always taken most revies of any game, good or bad, with a grain of salt. You’re pretty much deciding whether or not to buy a game based on one total stranger’s opinion.

darkhamsterlord said on Mar. 30, 2009

“How many times can you play a game this big and slow?”

..If I told him how many times I played EarthBound to completion last year alone, I’d blow his mind.

santiagoff said on Mar. 30, 2009

I don’t think older people would get bored of earthbound quickly , but I do believe this game is a much better experience as a kid and not as an older guy , mainly due to it’s randomness factor and the surprising ending of the game.

SuperTrainStationH said on Mar. 30, 2009

I really feel baffled by how many contemporary reviews of EarthBound accuse the graphics of looking like an NES game.

It reminds me of when the first screenshots of Wind Waker came out in 2001 and people were saying “OMG THESE GRAPHICS ARE SUX THIS LOOKS LIKE A SUPER NES GAME”.

I guess the “good graphics = realistic graphics” fallacy is nothing new after all.

pooppoop said on Mar. 30, 2009


i bought it new in 1997 for $15

Xi said on Mar. 30, 2009

Considering the era of the N64 had begun by the time you bought it, I would hope so.

“Even though the game is huge, it moves along quickly”

“How many times can you play a game this big and slow?”

He first says that it moves along quickly, then he says it is slow. Sounds like when you’re writing a paper at 5am in the morning and your conclusion is completely different from your thesis.

I also always wondered why gaming magazines focused on the size (megs) of the game, and why some super nintendo games had a small picture like “12 MEG” on the front of the cartridge.

riskyfish said on Mar. 30, 2009

One thing’s been bothering me with these reviews: they say EB looks little better than an 8-bit game. Have they even played both systems, man? I mean, Mother and Earthbound/M2 look so different…
That and I’ve never seen EB as a “kiddie” game. Methinks they didn’t get around the ending. Enough to scar a kid for life, the ending can be. :>

Mr. Beefy said on Mar. 30, 2009

I remember this review and the reply Bill [douchecookie and a half] gave a few months later after somebody questioned the 69% score it got.. this was actually how I was first introduced to my medicine known as EB and a few weeks later my neighbour decided to trade me EB for I think it was 2 Spiderman Comics and SM All Stars + SMW, fair trade if you ask me.. but next tim I go back to my ma’s I’ll check and see if I still have these in the basement and I’ll send some scans in if I have em.

Hyperstar96 said on Mar. 30, 2009

You can’t save at anytime…

This review has SO many errors. @_@

HossTehMaster said on Mar. 30, 2009

Ugh I hate the “it’s too kiddie” argument, “there isn’t a man bleeding to death in this game? How childish!” And whats up with reviewers comparing EB to Dragon Warrior like always? RPGs aren’t games you can just play 10mins for and the write a review of. You have to play them fully to see all the good and bad parts. Oh well…at least this guy got past onett.

Claus said on Mar. 30, 2009

I bet that people who say those bad things about EarthBound have never even played it, but i’m not talking about the reviewers. They just judge the game by its graphics.

someone said on Mar. 30, 2009

Fair review in my opinion. Although he did contradict his own statements, it looks like he tried his best to write an unbiased review. Huzzah for a decent review.

And this also made me think why a Mr. Saturn is in Happy-go-blue-blueville.

SamWibatt said on Mar. 30, 2009

I guess the “good graphics = realistic graphics” fallacy is nothing new after all.

SuperTrainStationH nails it.

That fallacy has been around since Pong, when it was absurd, and will be around as long as there are people who don’t grasp the concept of style.

angryeyebrows17 said on Mar. 30, 2009

Another review that looks like he got only a few hours into the game. Notice how he focuses on the Happy Happists as the enemies in the game. No mention of anything past that point, like Belch or Mr. Saturn. What a retard.

Anonymous said on Mar. 30, 2009

Who. cares. about. graphics.
Seriously, it’s like this guy was loaded on coffee when he said the game was fast and then crashed and forgot everything about the game. “it’s big and slow”
Well of course it’s big! It’s an RPG. Ever played super mario RPG? That game takes like 30 hours to complete, and that’s not even counting the motherload of extras in that game.

And he probably muted it so he can’t listen to the awesome soundtrack.

Darien said on Mar. 30, 2009

Wait, Earthbound *doesn’t* contain a man who’s bleeding to death? I kind of had the impression that was what was happening with Everdred in Fourside.

That said, yeah, the “kiddie” argument is lame and has always been lame. I remember Yoshi’s Island getting bagged the same way, and I completely bought into it at first. Then I played the demo at an EB and changed my tune pretty quickly. 😉

Xi said on Mar. 30, 2009

Reviews are much different today than they were back in 1995. Although these days it is not too uncommon for major magazines to get demos upon demos of games about to be released and at least one reviewer has played through the entire game upon release, back when Earthbound was released this was not the case. Don’t forget to look closely at the picture… this is a 1 PAGE REVIEW.

The editor was probably approached with something along the lines of “So there’s this new game Earthbound, go ahead and take the copy and write a one page review for our reviews section.” You can’t expect the reviewer to take the time to play through a game as massive as Earthbound to write a one page review on top of his other responsibilities. He played through the game until he got a generally good feel of how it was played, and then wrote the review.

As for the comments about the graphics, you have to put yourself in the time. While nowadays the advancement of games is generally just making things shinier and smoother, in 1995 they were pushing the envelope, gamers were seeing really cool action sequences in games, and were drooling at the mouth for the 3d systems set to be released in a matter of months. When Earthbound came out, you had a simple art style where the only thing that moves on screen at any given time were the expressionless people, aside from objects like cars that moved without the wheels moving, and a battle sequence where you were using and interface not much updated from the 8-bit era where you are fighting a picture of an enemy (except for the background, which the author commends).

Although there are errors in this article, it is definitely the best article relative to the others, and gives an insight to what many gamers were saying about Earthbound back then, and why it was turned down by most gamers.

Dumbo said on Mar. 31, 2009

No deaths? He obviously never got up to Everdread’s final word…

entropicdecay said on Mar. 31, 2009

Why not feature some Japanese magazines’ reviews of EarthBound if you can find any? It might be interesting…

Viewtiful_Justin said on Mar. 31, 2009

I probably have an Earthbound Review in an old Nintendo Power. I have every issue since StarTropics (Issue 20). I’ll have to look it up next time I go home.

Flint said on Mar. 31, 2009

Here in Mexico we never had a review of Earthbound (besides of the gamepro one translated) but the game managed to appear in the bests sold games section (for about three months) of our official Nintendo magazine, strange thing since I never saw a copy at retail till the N64 era.

Robert said on Apr. 1, 2009

I noticed that once again the pictures they have are the from the Beta translation.
look at picture 5 and you can tell, The Happy Happy…….person still has the HH on his hat and dosent have the puff at the end of his hat. ^_^ I feel proud of myself for seeing that

LovelyBang said on Apr. 26, 2009

Flint, do you mean “Club Nintendo”?

MegazeroX said on May. 5, 2009

They were playing the beta version! The cultists have HH on them without the puff ball!

MegazeroX said on May. 5, 2009

You can save at any time! Realy!? Wow! We have seen this before? So I have played an RPG battling hippies and piles of Puke! Wow! A slow and fast game? Older gamers won’t like it?…………….Wait a second this wasn’t published on April Fools day? Hold on a second…..(calls 991 and tells them to check on “Jeff’s” brain)……OK I’m back.

Leirin said on Jun. 3, 2009

This review stinks.

wishydude said on Jun. 11, 2009

i can imagine the scenario now “What only $50? fine expect a bad review”…idiots, if only they actally played the game

Tentelumper said on Oct. 23, 2009

“there isn’t a man bleeding to death in this game? How childish!”
Did they forget about Everdred?

MG said on Dec. 30, 2009

Well, he doesn’t actually BLEED in the game, but it does seem like he’s dying. I guess this shows how desensitized society has become.

“OMG! The game doesn’t have violent images and situations! It must be really bad!”

Ricardo said on Dec. 30, 2009

Club Nintendo probably did a review for Earthbound. In later magazines of CN they say it’s a very good game, so their review must be better.

Rob said on Mar. 20, 2010

The guy who wrote this review was Jeff Lundrigan, who was GP’s RPG guy. I really enjoyed his reviews when I was a kid. He was hilarious when he started tearing into a bad game.

I remember he generally preferred games with darker stories and such. Earthbound is admittedly a love it or hate it kind of game.

Russ B said on Jun. 3, 2010

Woot! I loved Game Player’s mag, they were so fucking hyusterical

Melissa said on Aug. 12, 2010

Ahaha, very randomly, I wrote a reply to this review in 1995 and they published it in the Christmas issue. I used questionable Lisa Frank stationary because that’s all I had in the house and Bill ribbed me about it. I have a scan if anyone’d like it, but it’s not so important. XD

Mato said on Aug. 12, 2010

Yeah, if you can get a scan of it, definitely send it in. I love this sort of stuff!

Melissa said on Aug. 12, 2010

Mato – I got a scan, I’ll send it in. XD It’s a bit of a nostalgia trip, if nothing else.

mr.toast said on Aug. 29, 2010

He probably never got to Everdread’s last words let alone giygas.

Slydog said on Dec. 26, 2010

The reviewer, Jeff, regularly joked about being a coffee-fiend, and one of the two RPG buffs on staff at the time (the other was Chris Slate, current Editor-in-Chief at Nintendo Power).

This was always my favorite game magazine. That being said, the two of them also gave amazing classic RPGs like ‘Phantasy Star IV’ and ‘Lunar: The Silver Star’ a mere 70%, whilst pieces of crap nobody cares about anymore — like ‘Crusader of Centy’ and ‘Secret of Evermore’, would get much higher.

Earthbound seems like it was doomed to be under-appreciated in the US market at the time, and this review mostly indicates that to me. But don’t hate! Game Players and Jeff Lundrigan were actually pretty rad.

Phearn said on Apr. 21, 2011

I heard about Earthbound from this magazine article when I was a kid. After playing it I couldn’t believe it only got a 69%. You can’t see it from the screen shots, but they had another reviewer, Chris Slate, write a blurb giving it a second opinion, and BOTH reviewers said it was too short. I was wondering if I played a better version of the game.

A-wel Cruiz said on Aug. 29, 2011

I used to have a subscription to Game Players, and while I never had this issue, the score was brought up in the score archives section at the back of each magazine (it’s what that last photo is from).

I remember one month, they posted a bunch of comments from readers complaining about the 69% score, prompting the response: “Is Earthbound the only game people played last month? Give me a break!”

anon said on Oct. 30, 2011

the dude who wrote it isn’t going deeper into the gameplay element aspect.

He is a idiot.

Ninten said on Feb. 28, 2012

We have a call of duty fanboy reviewing mother. well….. lets give call of duty some bad reps! not that it’s good anyway

Jabroniville said on Dec. 10, 2012

Hahah, I remember the review for this, and the subsequent complaining from people. All the jokes about people complaining about it, too- I even remember the Lisa Frank stationery joke! Hilarious — it looks like this game was truly overlooked, though as others have said, it’s not hard to see why — it’s a contemporary of Final Fantasy III/VI and it came out during an era VERY close to the Next Generation… the reviewers saw a game with poor graphics and simple style, and probably dropped the review in a hurry because they had little time for a low-end game compared to the high-tier stuff that had priority.

Earthbound/Mother 2 had “Cult Classic” written all over it, but it looks like every reviewer in gaming missed out on it.

Ninjacape said on Mar. 15, 2013

Best part about this review was all of the backlash the magazibe got for it.

eidas007 said on Aug. 18, 2013

I know Jeff personally and I asked him about this review after I saw this.

He said he doesn’t remember ever doing the review on the game, but seemed to remember a fair amount of details about the game. He said what he wrote still sounds about right to him. He pointed out how strange it is that games like this get such hardcore cult followings.

As far as the “Call of Duty fanboy” comment above, that’s pretty funny. If that’s what makes you feel better. He doesn’t and never has owned any Call of Duty games and pretty much despises them.

We’ve spent the last week playing Mass Effect games and a couple others.

The only bias he would have carried into this review was the fact that he highly disliked Nintendo because of the way they represented themselves (something that people who didn’t deal with the company wouldn’t know about).

Still, I’ve never seen him say that he dislikes a game because of its developer.


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