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Tips for Buying EarthBound

April 26th, 2018 | Videos

The Angry Video Game Nerd recently posted an episode about EarthBound – and it’s his longest episode yet at over 40 minutes. It’s got a nice mix of insightful commentary and valid criticism, along with a look at various series details and fan theories. But more than anything, it’s offers a neat view at how EarthBound looks to retro gamers who missed out on it 23 years ago:

It sounds like he originally had no plans to do an EarthBound review, but while playing it on the Super NES Mini last year he decided to do some sort of general video about the game. It then transformed into a giant project that spanned months of work. Here’s his description about it:

This video has been in the works since last October (2017), when I first started the playing Earthbound on the mini SNES Classic. It wasn’t originally meant to be an AVGN episode. It was for myself.

I never played much of Earthbound before, but it’s a game that always appealed to me. Yes, even when I saw the ads in Nintendo Power. The only reason I never played it much was because I was too busy with Final Fantasy 3 (6) and Chrono Trigger. SNES has so many amazing masterpieces, it’s almost impossible to play them all. But after more than 20 years, I owed it to myself to complete Earthbound.

The gameplay took me 45 and a half hours. After recording it all, I decided to put all those hours to good use, and make a video. At first, I didn’t think it would be an AVGN episode, but more of a casual “James review”. But I realized there were plenty of wacky moments in the game that the Nerd could react to.

If you’re wondering about the characters’ names such as “Milly” and “Lilly”, my 4 year old daughter named them.

To write the script, I had to search through 45+ hours of game footage, to confirm and describe accurately all the moments that I wanted to comment on. Then came a bunch of researching facts, and developing my own personal theories. It turned out, I had a ton to say. It became the longest single-part AVGN episode, by total accident (running nearly 40 minutes). On top of that, I couldn’t resist adding a dream scene with laborious green screen effects. In total, counting gameplay, writing, shooting, editing, the entire video took 137.5 hours to finish, making it the 2nd most time-consuming AVGN episode to date. (Episode 139: Mega Man still barely holds the record at 138.5 hours). Ironically Earthbound was meant to be a break for myself, but it turned into a major task, as all my other projects screeched to a halt.

I had fun with this video and am happy with it, but now that it’s finally done, I hope to get back to my personal long-term projects such as a film and a book I am trying to write. But I will always be jumping back and forth with AVGN episodes. I’m always trying to keep those coming.

Come to think of it, a lot of the info in the video came from research I did for Starmen.Net and EarthBound Central!


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12 Comments to The Angry Video Game Nerd Reviews EarthBound

DJMankiewicz said on Apr. 26, 2018

I loved this review, it was pretty insightful and its good to see the deeper elements reached him as an adult, things that sort of passed me by when I played it when I was younger and only noticed as I grew up myself.

His criticisms of inventory management are valid, though I will note that his criticisms of interruptions are ones I don’t share. The game really pushes a “sit back, relax, and reflect” lesson that I think is important, but that he possibly missed. I mean, a lot of it is his character, but that really is the first time I heard of someone hating the photo taking man. I found that interruption charming and welcome when it happened, and I enjoyed Dad’s calls too. I think I might agree that all that text for saving the game is a little much, considering it’s the exact same text every time. Maybe if it had a lot of different comments for Dad to make, and it randomly inserted it into what would usually be a much quicker saving experience, it would be a good tradeoff. The waterfall thing also seems like a lesson in patience. The game flat out tells you to wait, so that’s what you’re expected to do. Get a snack, go to the bathroom, or just lay back and listen to the waterfall. Relaaax nerd.

He mentioned the cash issue on death, and how you don’t get your items back. For my part, I just hit the reset button every time I died. I never hit “continue”, so I never had that problem. Rather, I had the other problem, having to do everything over again past my last save. I don’t know if “continue” does anything beyond letting you keep your exp, but it doesn’t seem worth it to me. I use the trusty purple friend just to the right on the console every time.

All in all though, this is one of my favorite reviews, and he even had a cameo appearance from Big Rigs, my OTHER favorite review of his.

J64 said on Apr. 26, 2018

He goofed a little when talking about reviving the characters. He says their PSI doesn’t recover when they’re revived, even though just moments before saying that he revived Paula and we can see her PP recovering.

Other than that I really enjoyed the review.

Leeaux said on Apr. 27, 2018

Yes!! I knew it wouldn’t be long before this post. I loved the video. I’ve always loved AVGN, but I’m glad he took such an in depth look at my favorite game of all time.

Felt like an extra large cherry on top of an extra large sundae. James really knocked this out of the park.

Hope he does Mother 3 someday!

G.Wicks said on Apr. 27, 2018

Awesome video! I was not expecting James to ever cover EarthBound, so this came as a delightful surprise,and his analysis definitely rekindled a lot of those old feelings the game gave me so many years ago that I had forgotten about.

What an amazing game. There really isn’t anything that touches the heart like EB. It’s like the game is sentient and can see your soul….

Anyway, video was awesome.

AKHHuffman said on Apr. 27, 2018

I really liked his review. It was well done and the criticism (after all, nothing is perfect) was valid. Maybe he’ll do reviews on the rest of the series someday.

PSIUser658 said on Apr. 28, 2018

I freakin’ loved this review. One of AVGN/James Rolfe best videos yet. I do agree and respect his struggles and criticisms of the game, especially the inventory management (thank god it was a bit fixed in MOTHER 3), but the other criticisms I didn’t mind personally, I didn’t have troubles with the teleport (although James had to noticed that Poo had the Beta level before Ness, that could of saved a bit of struggle, lol), and the photo man, and Dad’s dialogue were really charming and setting more personality to the game. The point is that what’s important is that I’m glad he truly enjoyed the game and embraced the tone, atmosphere, charm, character and story telling it had, especially the end game segments, which is amazing he dedicated time to express his feelings in his unique ways of reviewing as AVGN. This game for me is the definition of touching someone’s heart, and when crazy things or struggle occurs, you still have great mind and courage to move forward.
This game is one of my favorite games of all time, MOTHER 3 is my second favorite game of all time, and the entire series is a full experience I will always carry with me on my heart.
Between this, NicoB’s 2016 EarthBound playthrough, and many other videos and arts found on the Internet, makes me feel great, amazed, relieved, happy and glad I can still call myself a MOTHER/EarthBound player and still always have opportunities to share my emotions and passions to this great and passionate community.

ranboob said on Apr. 28, 2018

I don’t think he knew you could move when teleporting. It just shows him using teleport and moving straight forward. I always thought teleporting was a fun experience.

DrRobert said on Apr. 28, 2018

Excellent video from James. He hit the nail on the head of what makes the game enjoyable while giving a fair retrospective on the game’s mechanics. I liked his “Nerd Magicant” scene, and how he covered the Giygas battle.

DJMankiewicz said on May. 1, 2018

You can move while teleporting?! In all my travels and in all my years…

ranboob said on May. 1, 2018

Move in different directions while teleporting. You can control the direction you are teleporting while teleporting. You understood what I was saying.

DJMankiewicz said on May. 3, 2018

So I can like “tilt” my run up and down when teleporting left and right? I’ll have to try that!

KingMike said on May. 12, 2018

You can run, but the reason for Teleport Beta is because with Alpha you are running at such a high speed that doing it, without touching anything, anywhere except when you have a straight line is difficult (but possible).


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