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Tips for Buying EarthBound

February 15th, 2011 | EarthBound

The Smithsonian American Art Museum is going to have a video game exhibit next year, and there’s a site up to vote for which games should make the cut. One of the games is EarthBound, so if you’d like to try to get EarthBound some extra recognition as a video game that’s art, be sure to vote here! Voting ends in a few weeks.

In terms of art and art creation, I always found it neat how EarthBound was one of the earlier Nintendo games to have intentionally stylized graphics (Wind Waker being the most famous example probably), the musicians in the game were both accomplished musicians outside of gaming, the game was written by a famous writer, etc. And it all came together in a neat package.

Anyway, it looks like EarthBound is up against Zelda: A Link to the Past and Chrono Trigger, which probably puts EarthBound squarely in the underdog position. Still, it’s really cool that it’s been nominated in the first place!


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69 Comments to EarthBound in a Museum!

Carl said on Feb. 15, 2011

I think their site has some issues. I created an account, but when I login, it says “You are logged in as [blank].” Then, when I actually click one of their “eras” to vote, it just comes up as an empty screen. I got the same results in two different browsers.

Nonomino said on Feb. 15, 2011

Carl > Same here…

Mato said on Feb. 15, 2011

Yeah, the site is acting weird. I wonder if it’s because it’s being hit with heavy traffic or something.

TGP said on Feb. 15, 2011

It happened to me yesterday and today, so who knows.

Omnomnominous said on Feb. 15, 2011

Well, when it’s working again, I’ll definitely vote EB! Also, I’ll try and get some attention on DeviantArt for this – a bunch of my friends on there like Earthbound so I’ll be sure to share the link. 🙂

Labrynian Rebel said on Feb. 15, 2011

I have the same problem, the site just takes forever to load, so just pull up another tab and do some web surfing, it’ll load eventually 😛

Qiezei said on Feb. 15, 2011

Totally voting for Earthbound. No offense to LTTP or Chrono Trigger, but they aren’t exactly “art” material. Earthbound’s theme alone is enough to make it stand out from the rest, not to mention staffers, content, style, music, etc.

Of course, it probably won’t get the spot, not because the other two are more artistic and meaningful, but because the 5-year-old mindset of most fanboys only give “mAGus n ganund0rFK r c00l lol!11!” as a reason for voting for it. Friggin’ fanboys, man.

man said on Feb. 15, 2011

If there is one game that really deserves the title of art, it’s Earthbound. Easily.

PSI rockin' said on Feb. 15, 2011

I would so vote, if I wanted to get an accout, but I don’t really want one, but, EB ROCK ON!

Poe said on Feb. 15, 2011

All you have to do for an account is enter your email address and they’ll give you a password. Nothin’ to it.

EnnuiKing said on Feb. 15, 2011

It belongs in a museum!

Starstormer said on Feb. 15, 2011

Darn I can’t vote because the site is having problems, based on the comments I’m not the only one. Still I’m voting as soon as I can. I have confidence EarthBound will win, EarthBound fans are well organized and vote together, its kinda like that shoe contest a while back.

shibaru said on Feb. 15, 2011

Yea I did that last night and I reloaded the page at least 20 times before it eventually worked. 8)

BLiZIHGUH said on Feb. 15, 2011

“Eek! Your enthusiasm has overwhelmed us and we’re experiencing technical difficulties! Please have patience while we fix this. ”


Anyway, I don’t think EB’s competition will be too much of a problem. Says here (http://www.americanart.si.edu/exhibitions/archive/2012/games/) you can vote for 80 games out of the 240 proposed choices. There are only five eras listed, so its not like only one game is going to get picked for every one.

LakituAl said on Feb. 15, 2011

I’m having the same “Eek!” issue here, too. I don’t know about you, mates, but when I read it’s up rivaling Trigger, I said Ouch!

However, I totally agree Earthbound is far more artistic. Just the Mr. Saturn font and the “You’ve come far Ness…” segments are something no other game would even have the decency of trying. And the music! Man, the music! I say only Stewart Copeland’s score for Spyro rival the Mother music.

PsiWolf674 said on Feb. 15, 2011

I’m sorry, but I agree that EarthBound is just more ‘art’ material than either CT or ALTTP (note I like both those titles; I even still have them for SNES)

I got this feeling when I first played EarthBound that I never gotten while playing another game before… I don’t know how to explain it.

Also, site is acting weird for me too.

Uscdrew said on Feb. 15, 2011

I’m gonna have to go with Chrono Trigger on this.

It captured the exact essence of exactly what makes a game good.

no name given said on Feb. 15, 2011

I liked the okami art design.

Mother Bound said on Feb. 15, 2011

Let me just state that EarthBound not only deserves to be in a museum, but that it’s almost too great for one. ALMOST.

Besides, pretty much everyone in the US has played or at least heard of Chrono Trigger or Zelda, whereas Nintendo hid this gem from newcomers. Heck, if I had a dollar for every time someone said “Who the heck is this Ness kid?” I would’ve had a yacht by now.

No matter what anyone says, I still believe that this game deserves to be under the era 3 category more than any other.

And man, what is wrong with the site?!

What'sHerFace said on Feb. 15, 2011

Site’s not working, but when it is, I’ll vote for EB.

However, I think all these games have some kind of merit that make them deserving of being in this exhibit.


LoZLttP is just overall a good game. I really don’t have much of an opinion on it, but then I’ve never been too terribly big on Zelda.

Chrono Trigger was pretty fresh for it’s time. Do something in the past and it changes the future. (Did any games before it do this? Please correct me.) And it has what I think are some pretty moving moments. For example, the bit where Robo is destroyed by his robot brothers. Or the final words of Azala, the leader of the Reptites. Or even the optional scene where Lucca saves her mother from becoming crippled, resulting in her developing a love of science. These scenes are just a few of the many in the game and many parts of the game really stuck with me.

EarthBound, I think is the most “artistic” of the three and I hope it wins. From the stylized graphics to it’s odd mix of humor and emotion. The characters are, psychic powers aside, just regular kids. Even Pokey is more or less just a regular kid. It’s a strange little game with a lot of fresh ideas. Perhaps ideas that were a little too fresh, since so many US gamers dismissed it completely. But after playing it, especially the very end of the final battle, the game really made an impression on me.

MoonSide said on Feb. 15, 2011

I voted Earthbound even thought I have very fond memories of the First RPG I ever played, Chrono Trigger. Earthbound’s music and text is by far the best I have encountered, to the same caliber as art. From another aspect, think of all the fanart that spawns was inspired from this game. To me, that is enough to get a feature in the Smithsonian.

watercat8 said on Feb. 15, 2011

Erk, CT and LttP? It would probably take a miracle to get EarthBound in! But, we did help it win the Jones soda competition right? I’m sure we could do it if we got every fan to vote for it!

MoonSide said on Feb. 15, 2011

Yeah, but the Jones Soda company never filled their part. They are quite a crooked company.
Heck, that’s get the same result as the Jones Soda Contest!

steinmitz said on Feb. 15, 2011

I remember first playing Chrono Trigger a couple months after Earthbound and being completely underwhelmed . The story , aside from the time travel concept , was very bland , with most characters having little distinction in personality ( Queen Zeal was as generic an evil queen as there’s ever been ; Ozzie was basically a throw-away monster enemy , only with a bigger role than most ; Frog and Dalton were really the only characters I thought were any good ) .

Of course , Earthbound didn’t exactly have well developed characters either , but the Minch clan ( especially Pokey ) , all had wonderful characterization , as did a handful of other NPCs . And in the music category , Earthbound definitely wins . Aside from Uematsu’s pieces and the Ocean palace theme , Chrono Trigger was basically filled with Japanese pop music . And as for Zelda , it’s one of the most overrated series there is , and I prefer Link’s Awakening over LTTP in any case .

SamWibatt said on Feb. 15, 2011

one of the earlier Nintendo games to have intentionally stylized graphics

Indeed, and I love it for that (among many other things.) My only complaint about stylized graphics is all the whiners who think they’re “baaaad graaaaaphics.”

Dlakii said on Feb. 15, 2011

EarthBound. The Smithsonian.

This. Must. Happen.

I cast my vote yesterday; there’s pretty much no way I’d deny myself helping EarthBound get this. If any game deserves it, it’s EarthBound. The exact nature of the exhibiton make this all the more so; I’ve previously written quite lengthily on the artistic merit of the series, not that I’d actually nowadays call said writings actually good. 😛

MoonSide said on Feb. 15, 2011

I’ve noticed that many people in my generation (I’m 18) thinks that all Snes and Nes games had “baaaad graaaaaphics.” My first system I played was the SNES and I thought it was amazing, and I still am astonished today about the potential of the SNES.
Back then, you had to have a good story because there wasn’t much available in the graphics department (i.e. Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, and other text heavy RPG’s). Nowadays, stories are heavily dependent on graphics (except Mother 3).
Thank goodness for Earthbound fresh approach, since 1995.

(No offense, LTTP is really overrated. I never caught on to the lure of that nefarious elf, anyway.)

James said on Feb. 15, 2011

For those who are having trouble with the site, it just takes forever to load. I wants to load a lot at the same time, but if you just let it start loading and come back in about two minutes it will have loaded. Go Earthbound!

meleemario said on Feb. 15, 2011

I just voted for Earthbound!!! \m/

Mr. Anon said on Feb. 15, 2011

Link to the Past may arguably be a better game than Earthbound (can’t say anything about Chrono Trigger since I know nothing about it), but the point of this is to vote on what should be in the museum. Since Earthbound may never be re-released, I feel it is most worthy of being put in a museum.

Tonch said on Feb. 16, 2011

Totally voted EarthBound.
I was actually surprised and delighted at some of the other game choices they had up there– some of them I definitely didn’t ever expect to see. So while it’s shocking that EarthBound was picked for a choice, the people that narrowed it down to the present choices know what they’re doing for the most part.

I picked EB not only because it needs the recognition, but also because it was an example of how to be totally different than the fantasy fare of its time. With its contemporary setting, stylized visuals, fantastic music, and all of that, it’s a good choice.

Labrynian Rebel said on Feb. 16, 2011

What’s to stop someone from getting a long list of email addresses and voting 100 times? Does the site log your IP address? Then whats to stop you from using multiple computers? This is why I’m always uneasy about internet polls.

/b/ said on Feb. 16, 2011

Er….i can’t find Earthbound.

/b/ said on Feb. 16, 2011

Derrrrrp. There it is.
Feel free to mass-vote people!

TMMDI said on Feb. 16, 2011

Yeah, I noticed that their picks were really well selected as well. They even had one of my favorite games of all time, Knights of the Old Republic. Whoever selected these games is awesome.

Mother Bound said on Feb. 16, 2011

Finally, I’ve successfully voted for EarthBound!

Back to my previous comment, just think about it. EarthBound LITERALLY deserves to be in a museum, since it’s practically nonexistent in the US nowadays, excluding all the fan projects.

neonix said on Feb. 16, 2011

Argh, what a calamity! I’m voting for EB, but I refuse to consider it as a vote against CT!

neonix said on Feb. 16, 2011

They could have picked a slightly more interesting screenshot for EB too lol

neonix said on Feb. 16, 2011

Ok, I have to triple comment, just to say… How is Super Smash Bros not a nominee for N64, Gamecube, OR Wii? I did notice they don’t have a fighting genre, but still, I think at least Brawl was deserving of a spot in the action genre. Go play through the adventure mode or just a round on Final Destination and tell me that isn’t some beautiful artwork! lol

Mato said on Feb. 16, 2011

I can’t get the site to work for me – what screenshot did they use?

Floridian said on Feb. 16, 2011

The best idea ever.

@Mato: Ness is on the hilltop at night in the begining of the game with the cops and roadblocks, with Pokey (Porky) running around from cop to cop. There are better screenshots, like “THE” screenshot, or “Ness opened the present. There was a bomb!”
No… “There was a Hamburger in the trash can!”

blahmoomoo said on Feb. 16, 2011

In the Atari VCS Adventure Genre category, ET is one of the nominees… REALLY???

Anyway, I voted for Earthbound. It’s a real bummer that they were lazy when choosing a game screenshot though.

KingDarian said on Feb. 16, 2011


Here’s the picture.

man said on Feb. 16, 2011

@blahmoomoo You know what they say, trolling is an art.

Hibike said on Feb. 16, 2011

I voted for Earthbound because it definitely deserves to be in the Smithsonian. It’s an amazing game, and it would be REALLY AWESOME if it was featured in the Smithsonian!

Mother Bound said on Feb. 16, 2011

I really wish I could go, but I’m…just not able to. Or will I? I’ll have to check.

@blahmoomoo: I think that, if it won, that they would announce it as the “greatest failure in gaming history”. So why not vote for that too, for laughs?

Mother Bound said on Feb. 16, 2011

Actually, Pac-Man for Atari is under the Action genre. Yes, really. Again, they’re probably doing that to state them as the greatest flops in gaming history.

Starstormer said on Feb. 16, 2011

I voted for EarthBound. I have confidence my one vote will help out in the long run so I’m pretty proud of myself. I’m just wondering how it was nominated anyway? Was one of the people making the poll an EarthBound fan, either way I’m glad it was nominated so I could vote for what I wanted.

TeamMountainGaming said on Feb. 17, 2011


Gon said on Feb. 17, 2011

I am incredibly glad that FF VI wasn’t there because that’s a choice I wouldn’t enjoy making…but since it wasn’t Earthbound all the way!

TheBovine said on Feb. 17, 2011

I’m shocked at how messed up this categorization is. Who decided these groupings? Pitting Shadow of the Colossus with Tony Hawk? Please. I did vote for Earthbound. It has some stiff competition in its category, though. D:

Jason said on Feb. 17, 2011

It sure does but I think the way they organized this is really questionable, especially since they’re a museum.

Fan voting generally only measures how popular something is. And genres and categories are a horrible way to organize it. RPGs were a massive part of 90s gaming, and really, all three of those games should be in the exhibit. But at the end of the day, only one will make it. And then it will be put next to the top games from all of these other random systems and genres.

The exhibit will be missing many of the most important games, while including a lot of irrelevant ones.

LakituAl said on Feb. 17, 2011

Json is right. After all, I think they’re missing quite a few gems, like any of the original Spyro trilogy, Kirby Super Star, Monty on the run, etc. And not to mention they should have had Arcade games too, you know?

Also, doesn’t it seem redundant to have Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask in the same place? Might as well disqualify any non-Zelda game!

Mr. Anon said on Feb. 17, 2011

Regarding that about OoT and MM, (I’m going to get a lot of flaming here, but here goes something I’ve been wanting to say for a very, very long time) I’m honestly shocked that they would consider Majora’s Mask anywhere near Ocarina of Time. Majora’s Mask owes it’s entire game engine to Ocarina of Time, so it cannot be superior to it.

Mr. Anon said on Feb. 18, 2011

Ignore my previous post. I said that without realizing that it had nothing to do with the topic.

Not Really said on Feb. 19, 2011

Jason, are you kidding me? RPGs were NOT a massive part of gaming in the 90s. As someone who bought Chrono Trigger, Earthbound, FF2/3, Secret of Mana, Phantasy Star I/II/II etc. new in the 90’s, I was part of a very, very small niche in the gaming community. None of my friends at school played them. If you said “RPG” to the average 90’s gamer, they’d give you a strange look.

I’m being perfectly blunt when I say that, outside of Japan, the 90’s were about platforming/action games.

Yes, I love the classics to death (including Earthbound), but you gotta realize that these games received no attention in most of the 90’s, and it wasn’t until the release of FF7 in 97 that the mainstream even became aware of them.

dwiese1998 said on Feb. 20, 2011

i voted for earthbound but ithose three were really hard to choose those three are my favorite games (funny isnt it?)

dwiese1998 said on Feb. 20, 2011

Id actually be happy if any of them were in though!

Matteomax said on Feb. 21, 2011

I hope they have a gift shop, because they might be selling plushes or figures there!!! Id be H..a..p..p..y if they do!:D

RKPK said on Feb. 22, 2011

I think I’m definitely gonna check out this exhibit, it sounds like so much fun! I voted for Earthbound, though I have to admit, that was a painful choice. I’ve never played Chrono Trigger, but I’ve heard its one of the greatest RPGs out there. As for the Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past, that was rough for me. I loved that game growing up, it really made my childhood. Earthbound I only discovered and fell in love with in the past few years. Regardless, I felt obligated to help get the game noticed. So, here’s to Earthbound! Hopefully it will get enough votes (though it will be an undeniably tough fight against the other 2).

maskedsaturn said on Feb. 22, 2011

in a different section theres Minecraft, that game is awesome but Earthbound is still the best ;D

I am surprised none of the other Mother games made it. The music from Mother 1 could kill all of the competition said on Apr. 1, 2011

lol derp whoops

Ninten3274 said on Apr. 26, 2011

I’m sure the big N will do everything to keep EB out of a museum.

blahmoomoo said on May. 5, 2011

Aww… Earthbound didn’t win. Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past beat it (and Chrono Trigger): http://americanart.si.edu/exhibitions/archive/2012/games/winninggames.pdf

Poe said on May. 5, 2011

Yeah, thought that would happen.

Mrstaplez said on May. 5, 2011

Lol, I just sent Mato an email telling him that. Oh well.

Zoom! said on Aug. 31, 2011

At least Earthbound got recognition

TomServo said on Nov. 22, 2011

I’m gonna try to sneak EarthBound in there during the exhibit. NOBODY CAN STOP MEH 😛

SSBMaster11 said on Dec. 16, 2011

That sucks that Earthbound didn’t win. (imo) If any game ever deserves to be classified as art, it would be Earthbound.

@TomServo-lol, go for it!


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