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Tips for Buying EarthBound

June 2nd, 2013 | EarthBound, Uncommon Knowledge, Videos

A couple readers sent in a link to a new video about EarthBound and how its “personality” plays a big part of its game design. The video is described with:

Earthbound’s greatest strength is its personality, something most modern games seem to lack. But, from a game design perspective, “personality” isn’t something often considered. How does Earthbound use its charm to benefit its gameplay and story? And how did this quirky RPG gain a cult following unlike so many other games that have come out before or since?

On top of the points the video makes, I feel that the MOTHER/EarthBound games aren’t so much about quirkiness as they are about charm and personality – I don’t think Itoi was ever like, “Oh man, I am gonna make THE wackiest games ever!” I think this is why a lot of quirky games/whatever that people say take after EarthBound never quite feel “EarthBound-y”, you know?

Anyway, if you like game analyses, check out a bunch of other Game Theory videos here!


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15 Comments to Earthbound, Personality, and Game Design

GasparYellowVersion said on Jun. 2, 2013

This guy makes great videos. I’ve seen everything on his channel and the game theorist channel.

misterdigi said on Jun. 3, 2013

Tomato! Excellent point! I feel that so many reviewers, or folk oustide of the EarthBound community refer to the game as “quirky” or “charming”. To me the word quirky sounds like a cop-out to actually describing the game as full, moving, and intense. Actually, there is very little about the game that is “quirky.” It plays like a very emotionally charged novel, with many funny, scary, strange, and sad moments.

Shannon Carr said on Jun. 3, 2013

I once saw a Anime on YouTube called ‘Earthbound the Movie’. I don’t know if it’s real but Ness looked really cool. Jeff looked a bit stupid but the rest of the characters were good.

Vukadin said on Jun. 3, 2013

EarthBound isn’t ‘quirky’ – it’s very, VERY atmospheric, which is why we all like it. We like the feel of adventure, the ‘smiles and tears’ if you will. From childhood-like Onett to warm Twoson to creepy Threed: the game is diverse in all of those atmospheric aspects.

This is why the game has a special place in my heart.

gustr15 said on Jun. 3, 2013

Where in the game is 6:25?? I don’t remember that place at all.

BB Gang Zombie said on Jun. 3, 2013

Happy Happy Village, I believe – the one pink house in town

Ness1985 said on Jun. 3, 2013

Just remember people, the reason Twoson is called “Twoson” is because it wasn’t first…lololololol

bobsburgerking said on Jun. 3, 2013

It’s colorful and had a weird not-2d-but-also-not-2.5d perspective. Dialogue was witty and fun. Characters lacked real personality, but the npcs and attitude of the game really made it shine. Basically, it is quirky because of the tendas, going inside your mind to fight your inner demons, going back through time as a robot, talking to pink genitalish genius blobby homer simpson things enslaved by a puddle of barf, zombie paper. Those are quirks. Not personality.

MasterNess64 said on Jun. 3, 2013

yay game theory. D&S

florpy said on Jun. 3, 2013

Satoru iwata for supreme ruler of the everything!

DJMankiewicz said on Jun. 3, 2013

I agree 100% about the personality thing. I’ve enjoyed “quirky” RPGs since Earthbound. Some I’ll return to again and again. However, Earthbound is clearly written from the mind of one very specific quirky fellow who put a lot more than quirk into the game.

Just as it was a mistake for Nintendo of America to market Earthbound as “gross out humor” back in the 90’s, it still doesn’t quite get the mark to say that Earthbound is “a quirky game”. It’s more accurate, in that saying the Earth is a perfect sphere is more accurate than saying it is flat, but not QUITE there (Earth isn’t a perfect sphere).

EarthBoundnerd199X said on Jun. 5, 2013

“You don’t mess with Mother fans.”

Shannon Carr said on Jun. 6, 2013

Yeah! EarthBoundnerd199X is right! 🙂

gustr15 said on Jun. 6, 2013

I had no idea that you could actually enter that house.

Farmer T. said on Jun. 28, 2013

I agree people who haven’t played Earthbound are monsters.


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