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Tips for Buying EarthBound

April 3rd, 2009 | EarthBound, Images

Alright, we’ve taken a look at EGM’s old review of Earthbound, the old GamePro review of EarthBound, and even the Game Players review of EarthBound. But if you thought those reviews were bad and overly harsh… you ain’t seen nothin yet 😯

Here, courtesy of Tork_110, is the Video Games & Computer Entertainment review of EarthBound. It doesn’t get any worse than this, folks!

I love these old reviews, so if you know of any others from back then, please let me know! The game sure didn’t get very good reviews back then, that’s for sure. Interesting how it’s so beloved by magazine folks nowadays. Maybe the game was ahead of its time, or it just took a while for people to come around to it, or to forget about these old reviews 😛


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75 Comments to VG&CE’s EarthBound Review

Darien said on Apr. 3, 2009

I love reviewers who have a scoring scale that gives equal weight to graphics, sound, and gameplay. That’s wonderfully absurd.

And I’m not convinced it’s the case that the only objects you can interact with in the game are “kids’ toys.” I’m not, in fact, even sure where he got that idea from. From the gift boxes, perhaps?

Belasted said on Apr. 3, 2009

Most of these reviewers appear to have stopped playing once they got to Twoson.

TragicManner said on Apr. 3, 2009

Haha, reviews like this remind me of how much people were pushing for violent games back in the mid 90’s. Very similar to the graphics craze that came soon afterward and continues to this day.

Anyways, I agree with Belasted. The reviewer obviously didn’t get to the end of the game, or midway through it for that matter, but people who expect instant gratification out of Earthbound are likely to be disappointed. It’s virtue is in how well its story unfolds across the entire game, not just in the first few minutes.

Makes me want to read more reviews like this, haha!

Skullrama said on Apr. 3, 2009

If you look in the lower left corner, the ‘editors reviews’ seem to be a bit more positive over all, with a seven and an 8. Too bad they’re one sentence long.

darkhamsterlord said on Apr. 3, 2009

The Sword of Kings and Jeff’s guns are kid’s toys? What has this world come to?

Berrypievision said on Apr. 3, 2009

I only had Nintendo Power back in the mid 90’s, and as such was completely unaware that many gamers(has that changed?) only cared about flashy visuals and “edgy” content, and did not like Earthbound.

A few months ago, Game Informer did some retrsopective on Earthbound, and I think they actually gave the game a less than stellar review back in the day. I’m not sure, I’ll have to check retromags.

Jem said on Apr. 3, 2009

“Some cool weapons might have helped, but you won’t find any worth using; ….”

Think the guy didn’t know how RPGs work and just hit everything with his hand? XD

rayefrenzy said on Apr. 3, 2009

“another excellent aspect is the ability to talk to eveyone in the game”

uhm… welcome to rpg101…

P.F. said on Apr. 3, 2009

Gawd is this rich stuff. XD These 90’s magazine folks sure were a riot. Geoff Higgins: disenfranchised, smart mouthed high school freshman by day, SUPER COOL PRO VIDEO GAME REVIEWER BY NIGHT.

Psychomax said on Apr. 3, 2009

Infantile? Flinstone Kids? Barney? It’s almost miraculous how badly each and every one of these reviews

SBlaster said on Apr. 3, 2009

This review was made with one of earliest betas of the translation, at least that’s what I see from the screenshots on the magazine.

Hejiru said on Apr. 3, 2009

Yeah, the “Death Ray” really has a child’s toy ring to it. -_-

IWontGetOvertheDam said on Apr. 3, 2009

Ooh, he doesn’t like kiddy games, eh? What a badass.

booo95 said on Apr. 3, 2009

Gyiyg Strikes back lolwut.

At least Chris likes it with it’s good story and memorable characters. So 1 out of 3 like it and have a good reason. The reviewer wasn’t past Twoson and the other editor was all like “A cute game, awesome.”

PSInesslove93 said on Apr. 3, 2009

HAHAH these reviews always make me laugh. that last line got me lol

these reviewers are so sad… if they played further, they’d realize that this is really NOT a barney-esque video game.

Darien said on Apr. 3, 2009

Liking games due to their cuteness is less good a reason than liking them due to the story?

Well, hang it all, I guess I’m also a massive failure at liking games, since it turns out that the quirky atmosphere and “cuteness” is the thing I like the most about Earthbound.

Sorry to disappoint everybody like this! 😉

Adam said on Apr. 3, 2009

How did this guy even get this job? I am open to bad reviews of a game I like, but to criticize it for not being violent enough? What kind of criterion is that! I guess Super Mario Brothers 3 was an even worse game?

I’ve always thought beating random strangers with baseball bats (especially just because they’re different colors) was pretty darn violent, actually.

Spitball Sparky said on Apr. 3, 2009

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. (Or player in this case)

Wyon said on Apr. 3, 2009

This guy seems to have played a bit more than the other reviewers so far, but he still can’t have got particularly far, looking at his comments about it being infantile…

Dadalama said on Apr. 3, 2009

haha someone didn’t get very far.

Belasted said on Apr. 3, 2009

And if he did get past Twoson (judging by some comments further in the review) he’s just a mod-boy jerk!

beams said on Apr. 3, 2009

“The only objects you can interact with are kids toys”
… Gaia Beam

KingDarian said on Apr. 3, 2009

I love how Paula is named STEVE in the bottom battle screenshot.

Greenzsx87 said on Apr. 3, 2009

“Some of the atmospheres are nauseatingly cheerful.”

There are indeed some happy places, but perhaps the “reviewer” didn’t realize that there was a tad more to Happy Happy village. 😉

Saturnome said on Apr. 3, 2009

Makes me wonder how Yoshi’s Island was reviewed back then. I’m taking a class in history of video games and a week ago we were discussing the 16 bits era. It’s like back then things were only compared to Mortal Kombat.

Makes me wonder too where is this Geoff Higgins now and what he thinks of EarthBound : D

TBird said on Apr. 3, 2009

Videogames was actually one of the better magazines of its time, but this review is awful. I can’t believe I’ve never seen it as I had a subscription for years. They were heavily biased towards fighting and sports games though. Probably due to demographics.

It seems most of the major game magazine reviews have been dug up.

BTW, Yoshi’s Island got solid 10s in this mag. No joke.

santiagoff said on Apr. 3, 2009

All bad reviews are because reviewers only played little of the game. The beginning isn’t that much fun , but when you get to Twoson OH GOD THE GAME EVOLVES SOOOOOO MUCH.

linkdude20002001 said on Apr. 3, 2009

Bobby’s World… lol. I suppose Mother 2 IS quite kiddy, but even though it is, it’s still a fun game. The reviewer annoys me.

Millhouse said on Apr. 3, 2009

Lets wind back to the day this review was written:
RPGs usually played in medieval times/steampunk whatever ages
They usually had sad stories where somebody savrifices himself for you
Then, the second weapon you got was often something called Faceslicer-blade or Badass-sword (the names ascended in badass-ness over the course of the game)
The first enemy was a rat, the second enemy a fire-breathing dragon.

So, in that sense, if you play both kinds of RPG only halfway through, EB WILL appear boring, and the generic JRPG will be cool. It looks like it wasn’t a prerequisite fr game reviewers to actually play the games till the end

HossTehMaster said on Apr. 3, 2009

How is a child taking a bat and beating the shit out of a local gang kiddie? I mean whats more badass? A guy who can’t fight so he needs a gun or a kid who just rushes forward and bashes your face in with a blunt object? Also, death ray, sword of kings, and Giygas say hi.

BottleRocket said on Apr. 3, 2009

Sound/Music: “It’s light, it’s fluffy, it’s so darn cute!”
…This guy got nowhere near Giygas. (Or even Threed for that matter)

John H. said on Apr. 3, 2009

TBird’s right in that VG&CE, in general, didn’t sucumb to the aura of general boosterism that infested most game magazines from the time. He’s also right, however, in that this is a poor review.

Hmm… looking at that page, that is not the VG&CE I remember and liked. That text doesn’t read like something from the magazine either. I think it’s from a later period of the magazine when they tried a little too hard to be EGM/GamePro.

KingMike said on Apr. 3, 2009

Well, the comments suggest someone at least made it to the Fourside Department Store.

One of the old reviews reminded me of something now bugging me.
Off topic, but I know one old review of the first Lufia spoiled the game in like the opening paragraph (something like “Boy meets girl, finds out girl is MAJOR SPOILER”). At first I thought it was our old friend Scary Larry, but I found a scan and I guess he’s innocent on that one. But who was it?

riskyfish said on Apr. 3, 2009

I facepalmed so, so much.

I mean, I never thought EB was kiddie. Sure, it’s for younger people than games like Halo or what, but there’s a maturity and heart to it that transcends age.

My God, how much blood and guts do people need in a game?!

sg_06 said on Apr. 3, 2009

Shortly after he finished typing out his review, Higgins felt an icy stare pierce his soul. It was the collective stare of the Earthbound community.

Deiphobus said on Apr. 3, 2009

oh gosh, the death ray is a kid’s toy??? i want one!!!

btw, wasn’t mother supposed to be a parody of all those dragons and swords and menacing things?

Nessrules said on Apr. 3, 2009

“Earthbound is a kiddie game”

“Frank brandished a knife!”

mudkipNDS said on Apr. 3, 2009


Plenty of new things to do.”

Dang, no wonder these guys went outta business. >.>

SamWibatt said on Apr. 3, 2009

Sound/Music: “It’s light, it’s fluffy, it’s so darn cute!”
…This guy got nowhere near Giygas. (Or even Threed for that matter)

Or the opening credits….

Jean said on Apr. 4, 2009

Excuse me? LOL. That review was awful! And did he forget about all of Jeff’s incredibly violent and definitely not-kiddy weapons? Something tells me this guy didn’t get far passed Moonside.

The way he focuses on kiddy is kind of weird. If anything I think it feels more adult than kiddy. The writing and humour are witty and you definitely catch a lot more if you’re older… and, I dunno, some of the monsters are pretty gross and/or scary looking. Not to mention… Gyiyg.

lol, just… lol

Lolmaster said on Apr. 4, 2009

Awesome thing: They foresaw McGiygas by 10 years.
Shitty thing: The rest of the review.

Dr. Meat said on Apr. 4, 2009


I could never understand why people still love old game magazines. Yeah I read them too when I was a kid and guess what. They sucked.

But I gotta say, I do agree with the guy: if EarthBound had been a little more like DOOM, it would have been WAY better. You all know it’s true.

Anonymous said on Apr. 4, 2009

Durr hurr, mature games for mature gamers such as myself.

SuperTrainStationH said on Apr. 4, 2009

Reviews like these are part of the reason the “outside world” had a hard time taking video games seriously as an art form.

EarthBound was a game that leveraged the nature of the medium to engage the player, take a look at the Dallam meditation scene or the player praying to destroy Giygas, neither of those would have been possible in a book or a film and had the same impact or meaning.

Even games today have trouble with this.

But no, EarthBound needs more violence and weapons to stand out and be a “great” game.

Leirin said on Apr. 4, 2009

Each of the reviews you posted before this one sucked really hard, but this one, I have no words for. Terrible. I don’t think he’s focusing on the depth of EarthBound. Something like EB needs to be played with an open-mind because of its uniqueness. I think this reviewer was just going through it expecting “swords and sorcery and violence” and other ****. Ugh, they all really just missed the point, didn’t they?

Barney-esque. McDonald’s Playground. I… I just can’t make the connection.

CruxianAzelf said on Apr. 5, 2009

Looks like somebody never got past Twoson, because that’s where the true insanity, world-warping chaos that is EarthBound really begins. Blue, blue..
In my opinion, one has to finish a game before doing a real review on things — soft and cuddly, huh?
Zombies, Starmen, Mooks and Giygas especially say hi.

And, to be honest, I see little things immature about some of the things you get.
The way I see it, PSI Rockin’ Omega is enough to kill nearly anything in a matter of seconds.
Sparkle sparkle.. boom, and there’s not even ashes left.
Smacking people’s heads in with your trusty baseball bat, possibly breaking bones as you do so?
Knowing that everything you love and cherish could be lost in a matter of seconds depending on what Giygas’ followers do next?

Maybe I’m just reading too much into things, but I don’t see a single “kiddy” thing about any of that. ;D

Devaux said on Apr. 5, 2009

Look at his battle screen.


He can’t tell a difference between a boy and a girl. No wonder he thought this game was kiddie, he’s half-blind!

Koyuki said on Apr. 8, 2009

I don’t really understand the obsession with violence in video games, whether it be the craving for it, or the fight against it. Violence maybe what some gamers are into, but some aren’t. So why does this reviewer think that violent killings and slaughtering weapons are necessary for a good game?
And yes, Earthbound does have a bit of a childish look to it, but many sacrifices in graphics were made to enhance the gamer’s overall experience. The teddy bear for one must have taken a lot of coding to work properly, especially in the days of the SNES. That, and the huge musical soundtrack must have taken a lot of game memory.
At the very least though, he could tell that Earthbound had some revolutionary ideas. He just didn’t care. It gives a bad name to game reviewers….

I wonder if he even got past Onett….

FuzzyPicklez said on Apr. 8, 2009

Um… Did he actually get past Onett? I don’t even think he fought Frank if this is what he’s gotta say about it. THEY DON’T EVEN REMEMBER THE NAMES OF THE CHARACTERS!!!

Nessrules said on Apr. 11, 2009

Oh god, it makes me wonder how bad he rated kirby… or pikmin for that matter.

You have to play through the whole game to review it.

“Doesn’t get worse than this, Folks!” (Tomato)

Matoking said on Apr. 11, 2009

Only 7-year old kids think that the amount of blood equals the quality of the game nowdays.

Dave McGrave said on Apr. 13, 2009

Good god. Journalists killed this game’s chances. EB didn’t have a chance because of people like this. Were gamers really this snobby way back then? I don’t remember that… plus when I was a kid, I got all my friends to play earthbound and they all loved it. Something was seriously wrong with gaming mags back then.

Q said on Apr. 16, 2009

“Thanks to the magic of Ronald McDonald and fans of Deer Hunter…”

PsiOmega.0.0. said on Apr. 17, 2009

Ummm…What do you call beating up Cranky Ladies and New Age Retro Hippies? Seriously someone try to do that they would get arrested…Hmmm…that IS violent!

spoildaj said on Apr. 19, 2009

I doubt he got past the naming screen.
And a kiddie game? Just the MUSIC from the Mu Training screen still scares the heck outta me!
I think Earthbound is perfectly fine the way it is. You don’t need blood and guts to make a game good. You need to pour heart and soul into it. I like Earthbound because of the wit, action, and love all in perfect balance.

But if you want a non-kiddie Earthbound, learn Japanese and go play Mother 2!

stoicmani said on Apr. 26, 2009

I don’t think he actually played the game at all. Probably saw some screen shots and wrote it up on his lunch break at McDonalds…

killa400 said on May. 3, 2009

??????????????How do you hack roms

Shamu said on May. 4, 2009

I think he just started naming Ness and his friends, and when the meteorite scene came in, he just turned off the game, and wrote this thing.

Or even worse, he didn’t even know about the game at all. I mean, don’t you think the meteorite scene was just a little creepy?
Onett is also violent, you know. Look at franky. He holds a knife? How violent is that?!
Let’s face it; Yeah sure, the first parts (Onett, Twoson) are pretty kiddish, but when HH village came, it all became screwed up. Cults? Zombies? Oh wow, suuure kiddish.
But then Moonside came and it got even more f***ed up.
Now, what could be worse than this?

Lucky said on Jul. 8, 2009

Hehe just found this and I love all the mature references everyone is coming up with. My favorites are the gang leader brandishing a knife to you, then immediately after you beat up the town’s police force lol. Not to mention your dad sending you money every time you beat up a hippie, cop, or cranky old lady!

Tentelumper said on Oct. 23, 2009

“no meaning creature”
Looks like someone didn’t get to Giygas.

Ness Hero said on Dec. 15, 2009

Its not that cute wait until you get to Demon Giygas

I am with Tentelumper that is right he has not

played to the end

PK-Lovin' said on Dec. 29, 2009

He gave the Sound and Music a 5?!? *Goes into angre earthbound-fan mode* EARTHBOUND HAS (if not the best) SOUNDTRACK ON THE SNES!!! *Turns back to normel*
And how can you say the graphics “Make me want to gag?” They’re simpel yet buiteful, and a death beam is a “kids toy”? This guy who worte this review should be WEEGEE stared at by earthbound fans tinil death!

IAMCARBONDOG said on Mar. 4, 2010

we should go make a time machine go back and make the preisdent of the companies play earthbound so that they fire the people who reviewd it bad besides rpgs arent all dragons and flashy giant fireballs why cant reviewers understand that -.-

Mr. Saturn said on Apr. 26, 2010

“This sequence is surpassed only by the scene where the characters are hosed down by a rampant fire hydrant.”

Lee H Pappas said on Apr. 12, 2011

We were kind. Watching Barney was probably more fun than that game… 🙂

(Actually I remember Earthbound as a l fun game, and I was the one member of the staff big into RPG’s, but I was long gone from VG&CE in the mid 90’s when this game hit. This thread was a fun read.)

Yonderfork said on May. 8, 2011

Actually, quite a few people would LIKE to imagine Giygas in Barney… if you write fan fiction about this, don’t give me credit. 😉

NatX2 said on Jun. 19, 2011

I guess it’s magazine reviews like this that got me absolutely no friends at all in elementary school.

Zoom! said on Jul. 23, 2011

Anyone noticed how the title screen in the article says “Gyig Strikes Back!”, even though they’re not reviewing the Mother 2 version?

Mato said on Jul. 23, 2011

Similar screenshots appeared in Nintendo Power back then too: http://media.earthboundcentral.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/preview2.jpg

Zoom! said on Jul. 23, 2011

Even weirder, it says Earthbound, and it doesn’t appear to be spaced to “Earth Bound”

Ninten said on Feb. 28, 2012

At least that stupid navgatr guy actually got to the cave of the past! Barney????? This Numbskull never saw giygas obivously!

coffee's brother said on May. 4, 2012

one word: giygas

jinxkatty7 said on Oct. 28, 2012

WHAT IS THIS CRAP. Cuteness? Barney-esque? McDonalds PayLand? They pull these insults out of thin air!!! LIES. Lies, I say! Apparently they didn’t play all the way through Earthbound if they want to call The Cave of the Past a “McDonalds Playland” How about Giygas being Barney-esque and cute? *is done raging*

Ninjacape said on Mar. 15, 2013

geoff Higgin later workede for Gamefan. He always hated JRPGs. He was a fan of Everquest, Might and Magic and claimed that all JRPG fans had bad taste.

KingMike said on Jul. 27, 2013

Who published VG&CE?
Larry Flint Publications.
Lisa Simpson: “Larry Flint! Larry Flint! Larry Flint!”


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