EarthBound: Cut!

I finally rescued Paula (for the second time) the other night, and I am glad to have her back in the party. I missed her PSI Powers. But, maybe I missed her extra item slots even more (OK, that sounds kind of dirty).

Last week, I touched on some of the heavy handed plot elements in the game, and well, the exposition and hand-holding was piled on again.

I mentioned last week how the game dishes out plot driving items without little or no involvement on the player’s part (they aren’t really connected to what the party is doing at the moment).

Case in point, Apple Kid.

Apple Kid randomly calls Ness up to say he has invented X device to help the party do Y. This really sticks out, because he phrases the calls in such a way to suggest he invented the necessary gadget without having any idea of what the party is doing. Coincidence, he has it.

I guess this plays into Apple Kid’s “unappreciated genius” status a bit, but it would probably make for better storytelling if Ness went to Apple Kid for help in the first place and the party had to search for the items to build the gadget.

Also, the fact that “Apple” Kid invented a portable phone to help the party is not lost on me. Did EarthBound predict the iPhone? Maybe. (See: You Can Find Meaning When You Want to Find It.)

What I really noticed this past week was how the NPCs (non-player characters) try really hard to tell Ness where he should go. For example, NPCs will say something like “Man, that room behind me looks pretty weird. You should go check it out. Go ahead, I’ll wait here.”

This grew to annoy me a bit, as the “go there,” “do this” text came in a flood during and after rescuing Paula.

Then I thought it over a bit. I figured, EarthBound was (more or less) intended for gamers around half my age. When I played this game originally as a teenager, I was “age appropriate” and did not notice the spoon-fed plot as much.

Let us (lettuce?) not forget the translation factor. The over-obvious plot (at least the text) could be the result of the English translator. Maybe. Maybe not.

I guess the mantra of Mystery Science Theater 3000 is worth noting here:

“It’s just a show, I should really just relax.”

EarthBound is just a video game. An atypical video game yes, but still a video game.

Where You At?: Winters
Sanctuary Songs Recorded: 4
Party: Ness, Paula, Jeff

Daniel J. Hogan is a photoblogger and the Geek half of Ginger and the Geek. You can follow him on Twitter at @danieljhogan.

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