EarthBound: A spiteful crow stole my breadroll

Unlike many other RPGs (“Role-Playing Games” for you Normals), EarthBound (for Super Nintendo) has you name all of the characters at the start of the game, even though you won’t see all of them until later. I indulged a bit and set Ness’s name as Dan, but kept the rest of the names their defaults: Paula, Jeff, and Poo. But the naming fun does not stop there.

Yes, you also get to name your trusty dog, which I named Banjo, and your favorite food. Here is where a bit of sophomoric humor can take place: whatever you list as your favorite food, Mom will use in the phrase “Eat some ___ and go to bed!”

As a teenage boy I saw the comedic opportunity here. I shall let you use your imagination. This time, however, I church’d it up a bit and selected the second “Don’t Care” option of “Pie.” <homer simpson voice>Mmmm, pie.</homer simpson voice>

You can also name “Your Favorite Thing,” which becomes the name of Ness’s powerful PSI attack. Again, this is the opportunity for a bit of low-brow humor. But, I instead came up with METAL followed by a musical note. Too bad “Canvassing for an Election” or “Reading War and Peace” wouldn’t fit.

Like Final Fantasy VII, you are dropped right into the action at the start of the game (sans eco-terrorism however). Ness discovers his destiny via Buzz Buzz, a talking insect from ten years in the future, who is an Obi-Wan Kenobi of sorts (for about five minutes). Ness has to stop Giygas, who has assumed control in the future.

Time travel? Huzzah! That never makes for a confusing plot.

Early on the battles are rough, as Ness is flying solo. I had to do a bit of level grinding from the get-go just to survive the random battles. Unlike the Final Fantasy games, where you can more-or-less save anywhere on the world map, you must use a phone to save a game in EarthBound. That is correct. You have to call Dad. But wait: black phones are free, but green phones are $1/call. Pay to save? Yikes. And phones are only in certain locations. (Hotels, etc.) Double Yikes.

Another quirk is the item system. Instead of Final Fantasy where you would have “Potion x 50” in your inventory, each item in EarthBound takes up a slot. That’s right. If you wanted fifty hamburgers, you would need fifty slots. And, each character only has fourteen item slots — which include slots for your weapon and armor. In Ness’ case, you also have to carry the ATM, Sound Stone, and Town Map pretty much all the time.

Oy. Item management shall be a challenge.

You know what else is a challenge? Gangs of enemies. While exploring the Giant Step cave, I got my butt handed to me by a squad of Black Antoids. They kept calling for help, and I was overrun. But, once I learned my first PSI attack, I showed them what’s what. EarthBound is very challenging in the early levels, but I once I get a teammate or two, it will get easier. Right?

Where You At?: Twoson
Sanctuary Songs Recorded: 1 (of 8)
Party: Ness

Read Gavin Craig’s week 2 post
Read Andrew Simone’s week 2 post

Daniel J. Hogan is the geek half of Ginger and the Geek. He is also a photoblogger and host of the Magic of Eyri Podcast. He loves that there Ninten-doo. Follow him on Twitter, @danieljhogan.

2 Responses to “EarthBound: A spiteful crow stole my breadroll”
  1. yoga says:

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