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Tips for Buying EarthBound

May 6th, 2011 | EarthBound, Events

A while back I posted about how EarthBound was nominated to be in the Smithsonian American Art Museum (see here). The results of the public poll came in yesterday, and, as most people know by now, EarthBound wasn’t chosen. Oh well.

You can see the full list of all the selected games for each category here.


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58 Comments to EarthBound not Museum-Bound

Fang said on May. 6, 2011

At least I voted for Earthbound 😛 I was really hopeful it’d win, but I honestly thought that Chrono Trigger would. Oh well.

Skye said on May. 6, 2011

Boo 🙁

Rafael R120 said on May. 6, 2011

Bah, Too late for me to vote for Earthbound. Anyway even if everyone that liked EB voted, by no chance it would stand a chance, since Zelda is a billion times more popular.

flying_rocks said on May. 6, 2011

I don’t have anything against Zelda, but it seems unfair, in a sense, putting two cult classics up against the likes of ALttP. I looked at the list of winners and, oddly enough, almost every, if not EVERY Zelda game nominated won. It’s not like The Zelda series as a whole wouldn’t have been represented. *sigh* Oh well….I suppose I should be grateful EB got nominated in the first place…

man said on May. 6, 2011

Doesn’t matter because I already dreamt I went to an Earthbound museum last night. The Earthbound show was seriously one of the best things I ever saw in my life.

Rafael R120 said on May. 6, 2011

@flying rocks True that. We should be at least happy that Earthbound got nominated, it will probably be hard to see it at least mentioned in other events. Too bad.

Poe said on May. 6, 2011

Don’t get too upset about this, guys – this was obviously a popularity contest (even I almost voted for LttP cuz it’s my favorite game ever). The fans already know that EarthBound is a work of art; that’s all that matters. 🙂

Burnt said on May. 6, 2011

No, it wasn’t a popularity contest. It was a contest for ART. Earthbound was not a work of art. It had cute clay models, but that’s about it. Earthworm Jim deserves the place it got because it WAS art. I’d argue though that Zelda isn’t any more than Earthbound, but my point is, Earthbound isn’t everything. It doesn’t deserve to be number one in every contest or every category.

Onion said on May. 6, 2011

Ah well, like most others I didn’t really get my hopes up once I saw it was going against LttP. Kind of a bummer but what can you do?

Hyperstar96 said on May. 6, 2011

That was a pathetic poll. The moment I saw Pac-Man (2600) and E.T. win something, I knew it was a joke.

resetsurvivor said on May. 6, 2011

flying_rocks is right. At least it was nominated.

On a side note, how did Yars’ Revenge not win?!

Christie said on May. 6, 2011

Awww, what a shame. I didn’t expect it to win, but hey, worth trying, right? I am glad that the game at least got a nomination, that’s a real honor in its own. I am really happy that Wind Waker made it, though, it was my favorite game… you know, until I discovered the Mother series XD

Mark said on May. 6, 2011

Ooh they’re going to have Myst playable. That’s pretty cool.

TMMDI said on May. 6, 2011

I wouldn’t say it was pathetic, but yeah were they joking or something with that E.T. crap? How can you treat it seriously when they have the game known as THE worst game of all time. x.x

blahblah said on May. 6, 2011

Reggie probably paid all of Nintendo to vote for Mario and Zelda.

DD said on May. 6, 2011

Well, that’s too bad. I’m glad EB got Nominated though.

Also, the whole E.T. thing just flew over my head.

Randomguardian said on May. 6, 2011

I hope they list the nominees at the museum. Having earthbound mentioned at all fills me with some average happiness

Pichu said on May. 6, 2011

On the bright side if you don’t have money to buy EB then chances are you won’t see the gallery. At least I think that’s the bright side, or maybe it’s just depressing?

Pak-Man said on May. 7, 2011

Well the Smithsonian is totally free (Your tax dollars at work), so it’s just a matter of being in the right place at the right time.

Dlakii said on May. 7, 2011

Gamers, I am disappoint. 😐

Christopher bell said on May. 7, 2011


No, unfortunately, Earthbound IS ART, despite your potshots at its character design.

If you can persuade me (or anyone, for that matter) that the entire final dungeon and final boss aren’t brilliant (without being a smart-ass) then I’ll give you your point.

It doesn’t take a fanboy to realize how much Earthbound/Mother 2 sticks out. Again, I point to the final battle, which uses the established gameplay mechanics to create a truly disturbing scene in an intelligent way. Where most RPGs (or even games) construct a typical, satisfying last battle, Earthbound/Mother 2 decided to go the extra mile and experiment with something uniquely moving. Can’t say that about many games.

Qiezei said on May. 7, 2011

What bugs me the most is that if you’re asking which game is more artistic, Earthbound would be one of the top choices. I’m not saying that the others don’t qualify; heck, even Chrono Trigger wouldn’t be bad. But what’s artistic about LoZ?

That guy from Onett said on May. 7, 2011

at leats it was a runner up,and maybe being a runner up made people look into the game

I voted for Okami and that made it 😀
But Epic Mickey didn’t make it in 🙁

That guy from Onett said on May. 7, 2011

at least it was a runner up,and maybe being a runner up made people look into the game

I voted for Okami and that made it 😀
But Epic Mickey didn’t make it in 🙁

Mother Bound said on May. 7, 2011

I never thought I’d say this, but I am VERY disappointed that Zelda won in almost every category it was in. Just because a game is popular doesn’t mean it’s “art”. Pitting A Link to the Past up against EarthBound and Chrono Trigger (ESPECIALLY EarthBound) is like a horrible joke. Maybe putting Pac-Man and E.T. on was supposed to give a hint, I don’t know.

RKPK said on May. 7, 2011

As much as I wanted to see EB win (because it bleeds awesomeness), I’m not surprised by Zelda’s win. I also wouldn’t have been surprised by Chrono Trigger’s win either. To be honest, all three games were phenomenal. I just wanted to see Earthbound get more recognition. Maybe someday…

Doruchan said on May. 7, 2011

You probably just don’t like Earthbound much, but it doesn’t take a fan to realize that it is VERY artistic. It is one of the closest you’ll get to a blockbuster game on the SNES. The way it moves you; the emotion – that IS art. Unfortunately, I knew from the start it was a popularity contest…whether Earthbound won or NOT, you would have to admit that much. They don’t have you vote and say “Wow, this is art because…”. Regular people voted and alot of the time it was just nostalgia or them saying “I lyke tiz game.” I don’t disrespect their decisions though, because LoZ LTP is a very good game. Not the best in the series….But because it bears the “Zelda” moniker, thats why it won. I mean, Burnt, you mean to tell me that they have art critics vote and not people in their living rooms?

Doruchan said on May. 7, 2011

I mean, that CAMEL game won. Pac man was a very good game….for its generation. Its one of those games that get old. Chrono Trigger is so much more artful than Zelda. And any game based off of a movie *ET* is doomed from the start…
But then again, these are all of our opinions we call reality. But it’s just our own perception of the world. Right?

PKSTARMAN said on May. 7, 2011

How the FWQK A Link to the Past win?! I mean, I’ve played and it’s so cool, it’s one of the best games I’ve ever played but… What about Chrono Trigger?! I can understand why EarthBound lost, but Chrono Trigger?! Now this made me believe that the end of the world is near.

P.S. If my eneglish is bad, please forgive me.

Anonymoose said on May. 7, 2011

I get the feeling EB is being trolled…..badly. Can’t say I’m too surprised about it not finishing in the museum.

Anonymoose said on May. 7, 2011

Also, could this be the point where people start getting a live since all their efforts have been futile for so many years?

LakituAl said on May. 7, 2011

I have nothing against Zelda, at all, but people are going to enter the museum and think it’s a Zelda exhibit, not a Video Game exhibit. I mean, couldn’t those guys realize that if they had a Zelda for each gen it would knock everything out? No Final Fantasy? Bleh! No Earthbound/Chrono Trigger? Bleh! No Paper Mario and the 1000 Year Door? Bleh!

And worst of all, they keep praising OoT instead of Majora’s Mask! WE GET IT! OCARINA IS AWESOME! TELL US SOMETHING WE DON’T KNOW YET!

They’re all useless! Useless, I tell you!

Anonymous said on May. 7, 2011

Mother Bound- This. 100 times this.

Alex said on May. 7, 2011

I don’t go to museums but well I feel that earthbound should be a part of one someday.

tintinophile691 said on May. 8, 2011

This makes me wonder what ‘artistic aspects’ they will blather about that are in LoZ or Pac-Man. They’ll probably just surf the net and pick out a random line they find about how the game is artistic.

Oh well. It seems like the best we can do is hope that CT and EB will at least be mentioned as ‘runners-up’ and to arrange for MOTHER music to be played in public (which is what I’m arranging right now).

tintinophile691 said on May. 8, 2011

Wait a second – the genre is “Adventure”!? I would’ve thought that such professionals would know what that name really means! I always thought that the genre covered games like King’s Quest, Monkey Island, etc.

Perhaps they weren’t such professionals after all…

? said on May. 8, 2011

I know Earthbound fans are overzealous, but EB is more meaningful and life enriching than any Zelda game will ever be.

You just do the same sh*t in every game, maybe a subtle change here or there but essentially “me find princess” is the redundant theme.

Good to bee nominated, I think they were just looking to get us a buzz…

Zeph101 said on May. 8, 2011

I voted for Earthbound but I honestly thought Chrono Trigger would win due to it’s combined popularity and originality, and it’s artistic way of completely playing around with the traditional rpg mechanics. I’m slightly disappointed about the voting system and choice of nominees.

I really don’t think they needed to have so many Legend of Zelda games up for nomination. I grew up playing as a fan of every Zelda game, yet I still don’t quite get the unrelenting fanaticism associated with the series. Though yes on the whole they are (more or less) incredibly well structured games, so I guess I can understand their artistic value. But in terms of originality, each Zelda game (imo) seems to be just an updated version of the same basic formula and premise, something I expected the art community to, not frown upon or discredit but rather discourage as a form of stagnation on artistic creativity.

On a side note, I’m so surprised ‘Okami’ was voted above ‘Kingdom Hearts 2’. I know this is a bit of a contradiction considering what I just wrote above but I’m really happy bout that.

Burnt said on May. 8, 2011

I love Earthbound. I love it to death. One of my favorite child hood games right up there with Mario World. But, I’m not going to trick myself into thinking it’s something that it clearly isn’t. The graphics suck, the plot is considerably more generic than people want to believe, it has many flaws, but, it’s lovely. It’s not a work of art though. The same thing could be said for any game. In fact, if I could give an art award to a game in terms of technical achievements, I’d give it to Conker’s Bad Fur Day. But, again, it’s not a work of art. I’m usually the one who strays from “blockbuster” games. I don’t own a single first person shooter other than a Metroid demo, never played call of duty, and don’t even much care for Zelda. You’ll find many cult favorites in my collection, like Earthbound. It’s a cult favorite because that’s all it should be.

Dadalama said on May. 8, 2011

I think a history of videogames exhibit should have been handled more professionally in the first place.

Anonymous said on May. 8, 2011

I can still imagine, a part of a museum of Earthbond. Maybe one day it could have another chance.

unnoticedninja said on May. 8, 2011

I think everybody is forgetting that it was “supposed” to be a contest of art. But since many gamers participated in the contest, most of them probably just voted for their favorite game instead of what is actually considered art, I know I would, but also in my opinion all video games are art.

LucasTizma said on May. 8, 2011

At least Chrono Trigger didn’t win… What a barf fest. Sure, it would have been amazing if EarthBound won, but Zelda 3 is a great choice.

Harveyjames said on May. 9, 2011

Man, I’m still laughing at “If I could give an art award to a game in terms of technical achievements, I’d give it to Conker’s Bad Fur Day”

That game is like the ‘F.A.R.T. The Movie’ of videogames.

Harveyjames said on May. 9, 2011

@burnt: Joking aside, I don’t agree with the assertion that Earthbound is a cult favorite because ‘that’s all it should be’.

Like Shadow Of The Colossus (which was also included)- Earthbound’s a very fine example of the potential of videogames to elicit complex and specific emotions in the player, and for this reason it’s an important milestone in the development of videogames as an artistic medium. So, it more than belongs in an exhibition such as this.

Carl said on May. 9, 2011

I think Burnt’s definition of art is far too narrow. Broadly, I’d consider just about any form of creative expression to be “art,” and that includes most video games. But even using a more restrictive definition, I can think of few video games that are more artistic than Earthbound. Read some interviews with Itoi about the game. He had some very specific ideas about the story he wanted to tell, and the emotions he wanted to evoke. Earthbound is funny, touching, and even poignant at times, and it achieves this through a unique combination of storytelling, gameplay, and presentation.

Yes, Earthbound’s graphics are simplistic. This doesn’t preclude it from being “art” for at least two reasons. First, “art” doesn’t just mean “pretty pictures.” Even if Earthbound’s graphics were bad, that wouldn’t stop it from being artistic in its gameplay, story, etc. But I’d argue that Earthbound’s graphics aren’t “bad” in the first place. They’re simplistic, yes, but that’s at least partially a stylistic choice. I think they’re a good fit for a game that starts out with a simplistic, suburban setting, and help set the mood.

If Earthbound isn’t art, then what is? Earthworm Jim? It’s is a fun game, with gorgeous graphics and tons of humor. But, it doesn’t really have much to say, or give the player an experience he couldn’t get from any of the hundreds of other action/platformer games from the genre.

I consider Earthworm Jim to be “art,” too, but I’m having trouble wrapping my head around a definition of that word that would include Earthworm Jim but not Earthbound.

Burnt said on May. 9, 2011

That’s the problem with art. Everybody considered everything art. Dead bird on the road? art. Earthbound simply didn’t belong in an art museum, plain and simple. I know it’s difficult for fanboys/girls, the wrap their heads around, but…

steinmitz said on May. 9, 2011

How can Earthworm Jim be called art? I think people are seriously lowering the standard when stuff like Jim screaming “Whoa Nellie!” or muzak being played in a hell-like area can be considered in any way inspired. The muzak thing in particular had been done before; just because it’s used in a video game for the first time doesn’t make it bold. Now, admittedly, I haven’t read all these comments, so maybe nobody even claimed that those aspects of EWJ were examples of artistic expression; however, I don’t think that any other detail in the game would fare much better. The gameplay, of course, is nothing special at all.

Zelda, of course, is nothing BUT gameplay. There are no ideas being conveyed, no interesting dialogue. With the inclusion of graphics and music, it’s little more than a complex puzzle; it may engage one’s intellect, but not any solid emotion.

Earhbound, however, fuses expression WITH gameplay. EWJ’s merits (?) rest solely on expression. Zelda’s merits are almost exclusively gameplay. Earhbound mixes both to have a dynamic artistic expression.

Anonymous said on May. 10, 2011

That’s a shame. But how are you supposed to pick between them?! Well, I did my support and voted for our favorite underdog, at least.

Carl said on May. 10, 2011


I’m still waiting for you to proffer a definition of art that would include Earthworm Jim but not Earthbound. So far, all you’ve done is assert that this is so; you haven’t actually attempted to describe what’s so artistic about Earthworm Jim, or what’s NOT artistic about Earthbound, except that “the graphics suck.” In other words, it sounds like you’re just being a troll.

Earthworm Jim is unusually well-executed, but is otherwise an unremarkable action/platform game, completely typical for the 16-bit era. It doesn’t appear to have any underlying message or theme that would qualify as artistic expression.

Earthbound, on the other hand, does have all those things. It has a story to tell, and specific themes, emotions and feelings it attempts to evoke in the player. Yes, it’s graphics are simplistic, but if you think that “art” just means “good graphics,” then I’ll say it again: your definition of the word is far too narrow.

neonix said on May. 10, 2011

Carl, I couldn’t agree with you any more.

Unfortunately, this poll WAS a popularity contest, despite that not being the intention. When people see something they like in the running for any title, they’re likely to make a biased vote. Recall the EarthBound shoes in the Jones Soda contest. I’m sure many voted just because it was EB. It’s hard not to be biased, especially if you barely know the competing games. And it’s not like everyone was expected to play all the games in each poll and reflect on the artistic capacity of each one before making an entirely objective vote. I’m sure plenty of us voted for EarthBound just or mostly because it’s our favorite.

EB, Chrono Trigger, and ALttP are all amazing games that strongly convey “art.” But when you make a poll – something that represents the majority – the results are going to reflect that. And more people remember Zelda. Plain and simple.

Karma said on May. 11, 2011

So, basically Burnt’s steady rebuttal seems to be “durr hurr yer all fanboys durr.”

Well, good. That effectively means we can officially disregard Burnt’s entire opinion and his entire argument as the meaningless crap-stirring of an obvious troll.

Move along here. Nothing to see, anymore.

Kyle said on May. 16, 2011

I remember trying to vote, but the site telling me it wasn’t accepting votes due to a temporary problem. This is the first time I remembered it since then >.> oops

stoopid site

Jason said on Jun. 1, 2011

Art is the expression of ideas. Itoi is a man of ideas. But not only that, but he embraced the game as a medium in itself. Mother is an expression of Itoi’s thoughts, philosophy, worldview, etc. and that’s what makes it art.

Zelda is run of the mill rpg storyline with typical rpg mechanics. It’s well done and it’s a fun game, but it’s not more than that. I think it belongs more in a history museum than an art museum.

I think this exhibition is mainly a PR move to try to be relevant, and to try to get people interested in the museum, but you can tell the museum isn’t taking it very seriously if they let it up to an online poll, rather than curating it properly themselves.

Ninten3274 said on Jun. 6, 2011


ET won something? The people who voted for that were obviously high.

Brandon said on Oct. 27, 2011

If it got in Nintendo might have been encouraged to make a new MOTHER game…

RandomGuardian said on Oct. 27, 2011

^ Damn thats the best thing I have ever heard from a “make new MOTHER game” comment :O

Nyx said on Jan. 4, 2012

Zelda isn’t art, it’s just some franchise. Earthbound is real art, Zelda is just……. Bleh.


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