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Tips for Buying EarthBound

May 16th, 2015 | EarthBound, Uncommon Knowledge

A few weeks ago, JWitzz posted a video showcasing similarities between EarthBound/MOTHER games and Pokemon:

There’s info in there about “NINTEN” being a hidden default name in a Pokemon game – if true, that’s news to me, especially with “SONY” being the antagonist’s hidden default name too. I’m sure the NINTEN name is just a coincidence (similar to this) but it’s neat to see another instance of it like this!


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9 Comments to Pokemon and EarthBound Similarities

Vegetable Man said on May. 16, 2015

Never noticed some of those O.O

KingDarian said on May. 16, 2015

He totally forgot the really obvious connection between the character name Pokey and the series name Pokemon. I mean, that can’t just be a coincidence.

Pinci said on May. 17, 2015

@KingDarian Pokemon means Pocket Monsters
Poke = Pocket
Mon = Monsters

So it’s just a coincidence.

Anonymous said on May. 17, 2015

Agreed with Pinci. Obviously it was just a coincidence since his name is actually Porky and Pokey was a translation error.

mesousaThinger said on May. 17, 2015

Pinci, Anon: What is a joke??? How does this “humor” thing work???

Anonymous said on May. 17, 2015

Gee what a hilarious “joke.” Maybe we should review how humor works.

DJMankiewitz said on May. 18, 2015

Sarcasm is a very tough thing to get across when written out. If it was Darian’s intention to be sarcastic, which is certainly a possibility, then it wasn’t clear to some others. That’s fine, this sort of thing happens all the time.

The funny thing is, people always bring up how “Unique” the setting of Earthbound (and by extension, Pokemon) is, being in “modern day”. In reality, a little research will get you plenty of games released at the same time that were also in modern day, even RPGs. However, Earthbound set itself apart from even those I think. Final Fantasy 6, for example, was certainly not set in the middle ages. Technologically, it was something closer to the industrial revolution, if that revolution had jumped way further. Basically, it was Steam Punk. Another RPG with a similar “modern day” setting include “Sweet Home” (this one is certainly modern day, even set in “our” world). Without going into too much detail, there are also a huge number of such “modern day” setting games on the PC.

However, Earthbound sets itself apart from those. Even Sweet Home, set in a “real” place rather than fictional Eagleland, feels less “familiar” than Earthbound does. I think it all comes from the “grounding” of these games. Final Fantasy 6 starts in a mining town with an amnesiac. Sweet Home starts with some documentary makers on a dark and stormy night walking into a mansion that’s creepy from start to finish. Earthbound starts with you sleeping in your bed. It gets weird, but that beginning grounds the game. It’s not just the start. Sweet Home is basically ghosts from start to finish. Throughout Final Fantasy 6, you find plenty of townspeople. Some of them you help, some of them just have information you need. In either case, Earthbound “grounds” things by having townspeople who just are… people. Most of them don’t even have anything useful to say, like most people in the real world. They’re just being their own weird self. It’s like the whole world is steadily becoming your weird relatives rather than people who are strangers when you meet them and strangers when you leave.

So, I’d say this. Earthbound’s “modern day” setting isn’t unique because of the modern day part, but rather it’s unique because of how mundane and grounded it makes that setting. Vampire: The Masquerade is another game that is in modern day but has a totally different “feel” due to being as far from mundane as possible. It’s whole deal is being as disconnected from normal life as possible. Heck, Mario has some hooks that set it in something similar to modern day (it certainly isn’t in the middle ages), but the whole feel of that series is something more like Wonderland than our world. It’s a strange otherworldly place.

I think this is why people talk about how unique Earthbound’s setting is. In actual fact, PLENTY of games are set in something like modern day just like Earthbound, but none of them pull off that same “grounded” quality of actually living a normal life (while also battling psychic aliens) like Earthbound does. Except, as this video points out, the Pokemon series.

Oh, and also Animal Crossing. Animal Crossing probably accomplishes it even more.

DJMankiewitz said on May. 18, 2015

I forgot to mention The Sims, but the fact is, those weirdos in The Sims have never seemed entirely human to me. More like, broken fragments of human behavior cut off from any sort of context.

Chivi-chivik said on May. 20, 2015

Red was supposed to be named ‘Ninten’, but they changed that in the end, so it’s not something hidden, it’s just a scrapped idea. I would understand why the rival’s name was going to be ‘Sony’, knowing this (Knowing the shit that happened between the two and the story behind the creation of the Playstation).


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