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08/19/2014 19:13:54 •••

The SMiLE of video games BOING!

When you're sitting down to play a game like EarthBound (I'm just gonna initialize it from now on because the constant Wiki Word bypassing stuff is a pain to do) what is most important is to come in with an open mind, akin to the blank slate of a child's mind. There's gonna be some strange shit, brother. Strange, yet wonderful, for minds properly attuned to it. On the surface, it's a simple-looking, basic RPG. But, does not a pickle bring joy to those who choose to look past its fuzzy surface to discover the juicy treasure within? Judge ye not a tree by its cover, lest it judgeth you (and suicide bomb you with fiery death!).

As far as gameplay goes though, EB is strictly average. Typical leveling and equipment system. There are some cool special attacks and all, but you'll want to save them for more dangerous situations than a mere mook, reducing most battles to a bit of a repetitive slog. The enemy level scaling is also badly balanced; you could get raped by, I don't know, a scalding coffee cup or something, without being given even the slightest warning. This is, of course, all completely immaterial. You'll be too busy laughing your ass off at the wacked-out enemies and their strange attacks to ever feel much repetitiveness at all. This is somewhat of a masterstroke and I have no idea how to explain why it works. A good old Nintendo Hard feeling might go a long way in explaining.

Always walking a taut line between dadaistic humor and horrifying visions of Hell, it always manages to get its point across despite (what I presume to be an intentionally) simplistic translation. And that music... goddamn. One of the a-number one soundtracks in video gaming right here. Bold and experimental, it showcases why the SNES' sound processor is the best in the business. And those basslines... Christ! The things I would do to those basslines if given physical form through some future technology. I'll be waiting. The Mrs. will understand. She's heard it too. We'll all have fun together...

In short, I am as good, and as bad, a choice as anyone to explain EarthBound in our lacking human language. There are so many things I could say about this game but in the end, you must take that journey yourself. If you go to Eagleland, and your mind is in tune, the change in you will be visible to all. Nothing needs be spoken.


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