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Tips for Buying EarthBound

July 24th, 2013 | EarthBound, Events, Videos

The other day, Nintendo asked EarthBound fans to stop by at SDCC and record their thoughts about EarthBound and its recent re-release. The resulting video was posted yesterday here:

I have to say, it’s been pretty cool how much attention Nintendo has given a Virtual Console game, much more than I expected! I hope it’s doing well enough that the execs don’t say, “Well, that was a waste of marketing time and money.” yet again 😛


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21 Comments to EarthBound at San Diego Comic-Con

SamWibatt said on Jul. 24, 2013

That’s terrific! I think the execs will have plenty of reason to be happy if their new campaign isn’t as horrible as the “This game stinks” one.

Zigler said on Jul. 24, 2013

Just saying yall are back in rolling

Erikku8 said on Jul. 24, 2013

That is so cool!

Anonymous said on Jul. 24, 2013

The first guy that talks about it in this video is Chris Hoffman, formerly of Nintendo Power!

The Great Morgil said on Jul. 24, 2013

^I thought he looked familiar.

Earthbounder said on Jul. 24, 2013

Awesome! Still dont understand the T rating very much though…

Earthbounder said on Jul. 24, 2013

@Earthbounder yea i dont either

Metal202 said on Jul. 24, 2013

Earthbound has taken the number one spot in every region except for the US becuase of the 30 cents sale on Donkey Kong.

Brobiwankenobi said on Jul. 24, 2013

Theory: Maybe they are intentionally putting a ton of money and effort into advertising and raising awareness for the re-release so that no matter how much it sells, it will still seem like a failure and waste of time and money. They are setting it up to fail so that they can reflect that they had been right all along.

nintendofreak said on Jul. 24, 2013

you say this after its been known that its #1 in the European VC shop, and #2 in America (just because donkey kong is 30 cents, if it weren’t for that it would be number 1)

how is it failing exactly Brobiwankenobi?

JohnOpencho said on Jul. 24, 2013

I hope this is Nintendo’s way of surveying to see if they should warrant the release of its prequel and sequel.

DragonBattousai said on Jul. 24, 2013

The Teen rating is probably a marketing gimmick to try and appease older audiences to purchase the game. I mean, if I was an immature teen and saw that the game is rated E, I would probably not buy it because the game seems childish.

Chivi-chivik said on Jul. 24, 2013

It would be great if they did such thing at the only Con I can go… TT_TT (Dammit)

Reed said on Jul. 25, 2013

I hope this bodes well for EB0 and Mother 3. I think it may be advertising for the new Smash Bros. though.

Anonymous said on Jul. 25, 2013

@brobiwankenobi: Conspiracy theorist ahoy!

Seriously, why would they do something like that? They have nothing to gain from throwing hundreds of thousands of dollars down the drain, and could potentially make a few million dollars.

Seriously guys said on Jul. 25, 2013

Seriously guys. They’re not even spending that much on marketing. They’re not even doing any flashy ad campaigns. They already had a presence at Comic Con. They didn’t pay to be there solely for EarthBound. Do you guys have brains. I doubt they’ve spent more than a couple thou on marketing.

KingMike said on Jul. 25, 2013

” “Well, that was a waste of marketing time and money.” yet again”

Well, they could hand out $10 off coupons again and then said it wasn’t very profitable. 😀

Honestly said on Jul. 25, 2013

*SORRY FOR THE TYPOS. If you can, delete that above. I have to fix that post, sorry. It was written quickly.


Honestly, I’m still surprised that people actually think “This Game Stinks” was in any way a BAD idea. It was a genius idea and I still don’t understand people’s thinking in criticizing it.

It was a great idea on several levels. First of all, this was the mid 90′s. Gross-out humor and juvenile, toilet humor was incredibly popular at this time. Ren and Stimpy was huge. Beavis and Butt-Head was even cruder and it was a pop-culture phenomenon. Not to mention, Garbage Pail Kids stickers, Creepy Crawlers, Nickelodeon’s “Green Slime” campaign, the list goes on and on and on. Then there’s all the Young Teen novel books at the time from Captain Underpants, to Goosebumps, and tons of other marketing in incredibly popular mediums and toylines were all exploiting this mentality and doing phenomenally well at it.

Secondly, what a clever double meaning. Are we really stupid enough, then or now to have seen “This Game Stinks” and actually believe, even as a kid, that this was a serious indication of the game’s quality? Did anyone EVER SERIOUSLY BELIEVE “Oh, the marketing says this game “stinks”…. I’d better not buy it.” Of course, not.

Come on, even 8 year olds know sardonic, self-depreciating humor and snarky, clever sarcasm when they hear it. “This Game Stinks” taken literally? Really? Are people seriously going to knock the marketing, by giving ourselves such little credit that we weren’t going to get the sarcasm in that? Because that’s just calling ourselves dumb, there. Cutting off our own arm just to spite Nintendo’s thumb.

People today who knock the “This Game Stinks” marketing are, in my view, being incredibly foolish in taking that literally. Or even hinting that any of us would have taken that literally. Even as a kid, you know for a fact we never would have. The game was making a clever joke and being smart enough that kids were going to get that, and instantly think “Wow, the game is being snarky. That’s cool.” I know at that age, being into ALL of those pop-culture things as I was, that such clever irony of Earthbound’s marketing was incredibly 90′s and in fact very fitting. The 90’s were the time of sarcasm. This was the edge of edgy icons needing to have that attitude to hook us. Every mascot needed a catch phrase.

I actually rented this game multiple times from Blockbuster Video back in the day, until I finally beat it, saw all the marketing and as a kid, myself, thought it was clever and enhanced Earthbound as being a self-aware, clever, ironic bit of marketing that worked on me, for sure.

Otherwise, I never would have picked the game up after seeing Nintendo Power’s Earthbound feature and thinking the game was totally playing it edgy and hip the same way everything was attracting attention back then. We gravitated towards Rapheal as the sarcastic, snarky Ninja Turtle for a reason. Just as we gravitated towards Sonic The Hedghog’s snarky attitude for a reason, ect.

And to be honest… I think we keep looking for so many “reasons” to explain why Earthbound failed, that we don’t ever want to admit that the problem was us, ourselves. That it simply didn’t catch on, becuase RPG’s were a niche. That platformers beat the hell out of RPG’s at the time, 10 to 1. That Earthbound was weird, and that too many other games we were more interested in. That we weren’t quite ready for it. That it was ahead of it’s time.

Instead, we blame Nintendo. I get it. I do. You feel ignored becuase the game was an initial failure, and you feel we were the ones slighted by the company, and that people are still bitter that our letters were never returned, and that our pleas were never answered and we were never given a straight answer for years when we asked about everything related about Earthbound since then. The fact that most of us STILL never heard about Earthbound until Ness ended up in Smash Bros, is still proof enough. I played the game originally at the time even though it was a hard sell for even ME, and I had Final Fantasy 6. But I hear way more eople say that they never heard of Earthbound before Smash Bros, and that has to be a major indicator or a clue as to why it really failed to catch on at the time of it’s initial release. Clearly, a huge, colorful box, free giant guidebook and bold sarcastic 90’s wit wasn’t enough to make us buy or notice an RPG…. that what was going to? Nintendo eschewing an edgy 90’s marketing for…. no marketing? I don’t think so. Everyone says it should have had “better” marketing, but I never hear anyone give any good ideas on what that should have been.

So yeah, I get the bitterness POST-Smash Bros, but to hold onto it this long and blame Nintendo for everything, exclusively? No, guys. No. Sorry.

To take that bitterness and start blaming Nintendo, and looking for scapegoats by critisising their marketing, by taking “This Game Stinks” literally, is taking any credit that Nintendo WERE giving us at the time to be able to figure out what obvious sarcasm was, and proving them right that we just weren’t ready for it, because we clearly are reading their marketing the wrong way, and saying the blunder was theirs for a marketing strategy we’re conveniently turning into a scapegoat to absolve ourselves of the guilt of honestly, just not caring for RPG’s or counter-culture attention grabbing cleverness as we probably should have.

Saying “This Game Stinks” with gross scratch and sniff stickers and images of smelly sneakers that we were all about back then, and preying on the hottest pop-culture irony trend aspects from the 90′s in bold attention catching letters, with a gigantic, attention grabbing, super colorful box that was 3 times as big as any other game, with a giant, 128-page free book with it, was MORE than attention grabbing at the time.

I think it’s time to come right out and admit that the marketing was pretty much perfect, or at the very least it deserves no fault for Earthbound not catching on. It was 90′s and it stood out from the pack. I think it’s also time to admit that we just couldn’t get our head around them complicated RPG’s, that we passed it over and the fault was really on us. We just didn’t want it. It’s not that we didn’t see it. It’s that it was the game we deserved, but not the game we needed right then.

However, displacing our guilt, even here in 2013 by blaming Nintendo for “This Game Stinks” and pretending it’s somehow their fault that we still don’t even understand the concept of irony and sarcasm today is just kind of a pathetic excuse to cling to, and counter intuitive, now.

It’s not going to do anyone any good to pass the buck anymore, decades later, when the fact is that the game grabbed more than enough attention back in the day, and it was just US that didn’t buy it.

RPG’s were just not big at the time. They wouldn’t be until Final Fantasy 7 plowed the entire genre through the roof. The simplistic quirky nature of the game was never going to be easy to translate to the minds of anyone at the time, unless one had already picked it up and played it for 2 hours already to see what they had.

But by trying to infuse it with all of the wit, attitude, edgyness, gross-out humor, giant boxes, free stuff, colorful packaging, and bold sarcasm as they could pack into it, Nintendo did as good a job as they could have to bait the hook. We didn’t bite, and it’s time to just admit that, guys.

Let go of the unwarranted criticism of the smartly ironic slogan and grand marketing that came with a free book and a colorful package 3 times bigger than everything else at the time.

Let go of all the “Reggie hates Earthbound” bashing.

Let go of all the ridiculous conspiracy theories.

Let go of all the mistrust and the blame, and the barbs and jabs.

Let go of the “music copyright theories”. It’s over. We have Earthbound commercially available. And isn’t that what was important? Mission complete, right?

We have the game, all is right, it’s re-released, it’s back, it’s a huge seller, we’ve had over 18 years to know what Earthbound is now, we’ve had 18 years for us to grow up, we’ve had 18 years to know what an RPG is, and we’ve had 18 years for word of mouth to spread from the internet and fandoms. I think we can let go of the misdirected bitterness and passive-aggressive hostility at Nintendo and meet them halfway by giving them the slack and credit they deserve for the hard sell they had, and take responsibility for our own past mistakes, now that all is good, and both sides have met, equally.

They gave us what we wanted, and we finally got what we all now know we want. There is no battle, anymore. We’re all on the same side now, Nintendo and us. The understanding of supply and demand has been reached.

But after all of the darker side of this fandom and all the vitrol we’ve spit at them and claims they’ll ignore us forever, have been going way too far in way too many ways.

If anything is a sign of goodwill and faith that we’re at the mutual understanding between us and Nintendo that we all claimed we wanted, Earthbound on the Virtual Console, I would have thought would definitely be that sign, and that we all would have taken it as such by now.

But honestly, for all the spitting we’ve done, for all the slights we think that we’ve endured from them in the years since then, too… at this point, I think we owe them just as much an apology as the one they’ve finally given us with this game, again. For not giving it the chance when they tried their best to sell it to us with all of the marketing tools they had to custom tailor it to the 90’s Kid demographic it could muster.

For anyone else out there still taking up arms, put ‘em down, guys. The bridge gets REBUILT here, not torn down further.

KingMike said on Jul. 25, 2013

It could have been clever, except most of NoA’s 1994-1995 marketing had gross humor.

I guess the thing is: you’re marketing an RPG (NEEEEEEEEEEERDS!) with “8-bit” graphics (OLD CRAP SUCKS!) in a marketing campaign almost exclusively addressed to “hip” teenagers.

(might be paraphrasing these a little bit, but the idea stands)
“Super Game Boy is like Game Boy on steroids.”
On Stunt Race FX: “The only thing you get to pick in the other guy’s game is your nose.”
Super Pinball: “You can even play it naked.”
Nintendo Power: “Not since your bottled toenail collection have your friends been so scared of you.”
The guy with his tongue stuck to a pole outside. (I feel pain just looking at that one.)
“It’s easier to eat 4 lbs of cafeteria meatloaf than beat someone who reads Nintendo Power.”
(people speculated which one was so bad James Rolfe actually stapled his NP issue closed so he’d never see it)

Nintendo’s TV commercials barely made any sense, and the one I saw had ACCLAIM footage of all things, in the few seconds of actual game footage it had. “Give the world a wedgie!” Explain, Nintendo. 😛

And the Yoshi’s Island barfing fat guy.
So what makes “This game stinks” stand out from the rest?

Electricmastro said on Jul. 25, 2013

Good, i’m very glad that Nintendo acknowledges this.

the guy who wants the tarp said on Jul. 25, 2013

I really want that earthbound tarp


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