EarthBound: Starting blind
In what is becoming a familiar position for me, I’m coming into this hopelessly, happily blind. I’ve never played EarthBound before. I’ve heard rumors and conspiracy theories about this strange game from a strange series, most of which has never been available in the US. (Maybe I’ll talk about the strange theories later, but suffice it to say for now that they tell you a lot about um, someone’s psychological state at some point in the game’s creation without telling you anything at all about what to expect from the game.)
So unlike Final Fantasy VII — where I was coming in with a fairly broad knowledge of the Final Fantasy series, and the major plot points of the game itself, and even a couple of hours of direct exposure to Cloud’s first adventures in Midgar — I’m totally, totally cold here.
But I’m stoked. EarthBound is the kind of game that people talk about like having played it gives you access to some sort of club. And I’m about to join that club. Even better, everything I’ve heard about it is weird. It’s an RPG that makes fun of American culture and includes the ability to phone in for pizza. There’s time travel, I think, and you have to kill this alien thing and I have no idea how that fits together with being able to phone in an order for a pizza. My mind is blown and I haven’t even turned on the game yet.
And the second reason that I’m stoked — beyond joining some weird, cool, elite “I’ve played EarthBound” club — is that I’m diving into a true full-on SNES role-playing game. RPGs are my first video game love, and I missed the SNES generation of video games — which IGN.com recently declared to be the greatest system for playing RPGs ever — almost in its entirety. I never owned an SNES. I didn’t have any friends or close family who owned an SNES. I had an NES in grade school, and played the N64 plenty in college, but during my high school years, it was almost as if video games didn’t exist. It’s a strange vacuum in my childhood, and I’m looking forward to filling it.
So let the weirdness begin!
Next week: I hit the “on” button.
Gavin Craig is co-editor of The Idler. You can follow him on Twitter at @craiggav.