Hall of Fame Entry #7: ‘Earthbound’

by Ricky Fernandes da Conceição
Published: Last Updated on

Goomba Stomp’s Hall of Fame is reserved for only those Nintendo titles that can be called absolute classics. Chosen by the crew of the NXpress Nintendo Podcast, these bite-sized capsule reviews reflect what we’ve discussed on the podcast over the past six months. Look for more entries every 25 episodes we record.

EarthBound, known as Mother 2 in Japan, was met with poor critical response and sales in the United States, but as the years went by, the game received wide acclaim and was deemed by many a timeless classic. It has since become one of the most sought-after games in the second-hand market, selling for upwards of $80 for the cartridge alone. The second game of the Mother series (the first was never released in the English language), follows Ness and his party of four, traveling the world to collect melodies en route to defeating the evil alien force known as Giygas. While EarthBound’soverall gameplay feels like a traditional Japanese RPG of the era, the game breaks from tradition through its setting: a world of 90’s Americana seen from a Japanese point of view. Nothing stands out quite like its visual style – an 8-bit presentation powered by a 16-bit processor. The graphics might not be as advanced as some of the other 16-bit titles available on the SNES, but it is certainly among the most memorable. The SNES was home to some amazing soundtracks, but EarthBound’s soundtrack remains the best. Created by four composers, there’s enough music here to fill 8 of the 24 megabits on the cartridge – with direct musical quotations of classical tune and folk music, and a few samples culled from commercial pop and rock. EarthBound is not only one of the most unique and refreshing RPG experiences ever made but also one of the most entertaining as well. Holding onto an incredibly dedicated cult following, the main character Ness became a featured character in the Super Smash Bros. series and in 2013, EarthBound was reissued and given a worldwide release for the Wii U Virtual Console following many years of fan lobbying. A Japan-only sequel, Mother 3, was released for the Game Boy Advance in 2006. Of all the games I own on the Super NES, Earthbound is the game I treasure the most. (Ricky D)

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