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Postcards From Earthbound

Yesterday I finished playing Earthbound for the first time. I wanted to share a few of my most memorable moments in the game. I also included some text that you can read while you listen to them.

Jeff’s Journey

It’s not that running away from boarding school seems all that big of a deal. I mean, I know people who did. Sure, you don’t usually have to fight bears and cavemen, and you don’t usually ride a friendly sea monster, or meet a monkey that likes bubble gum. But those are incidental, and really exciting things.

But to come home to my father…to run away from school and make it all the way there…and have him not remember me. Where does Jeff find his pluck? Is his courage a reaction to his father’s indifference?

The Dungeon Man

Why did you have to climb all the way up this tower?

-To get the Dungeon Man!

Does the Dungeon Man fight stuff?

-Nah, he’s a Dungeon Man!

Does he move things?

-Nah, but he IS a Dungeon Man!

Why do you have to walk BACK up him again?

-DUNGEON MAN!

…Yeah, ok. Dungeon Man.

The Chicken

I was in the middle of a desert and I fought a snake. Just a regular old snake of a variety which I had smited 20 that day alone. But this one was special. This one was carrying a chick. That chick chirped happily in my inventory until, a few minutes later, it grew into a healthy chicken. This chicken (who I told all my friends about and who I name “My Earthbound Chicken”) came with me everywhere, through snow and city, the highest peak and the lowest depths, and then into the heart of evil itself, contributing nothing but the joy of its presence and an endearing cluck every half a minute or so.

Mother

From the pseudo-reality of Eagleland, we had plunged into the depths of mania. Giygas’ lair was stowed far away from any knowable place, and within Giygas lay a further foreign entity. Not so straightforward as a force of evil, Giygas was a dark and confused force, led to madness by the wicked little flea Pokey…or perhaps in the heart of evil and violence does lie simply madness. Regardless, we were stranded in this unknowable place assaulting the walls to no avail. In a last desperate attempt to save us Paula sat quietly and prayed as we protected her. She prayed to Jeff’s father, to Mr. Saturn, to the Runaway Five, to the boys at the boarding school…and they gave us strength but it was not enough. In a desperate attempt she called out to Mother.

And I could see clearly my mother, not knowing the danger that we were in, the insanity around us, the fact that she could lose her son at any moment. She froze suddenly, and something breached her. She could not hear Paula’s voice, but she knew. Knew that her son was in danger. That there was nothing that she could do but pray. And all I wanted was to let her know that I was safe, whether it was true or not.

The Museum

Somehow the memory that stays with me most of all is a quiet one. You can stand in the Fourside Museum and stare at the massive bones of a creature that will never live again. It is so vast that you cannot see most of it, and it fills the majority of the building. People mill about around you, but none will disturb you. As you lie there listening to the quiet noises that fill the hall, your mind wanders. And you begin to think not just of the dinosaurs, but of the space. This place will always be here. It is not under threat of Giygas, or Pokey, or terrorists, or businessmen, or drug dealers, or stupid kids with too much time on their hands, or global warming, or moronic voters, or the sun crashing into the earth, or even the crumbling effects of time’s feet crashing against it. This museum will always be here. Even when I flick the switch and turn off the system, erasing the immediate instance of that museum, it is still there. It is embedded in the silicon, and in anyone who takes the time to visit it. This museum will always be here.

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One Response to Postcards From Earthbound

  1. Amr says:

    Ahhh I can’t believe I still haven’t cmoemnted on this Good call re: making something of the altered reflection of Ness in the Devil’s Machine, which I don’t think I did. I like your angle here, perhaps all the more so because I can now look at Earthbound as parallel to Chrono Trigger, which also features an ultimately unknowable, irreconcilably alien antagonist which can do whatever the hell it wants with time, but mostly seems to do so on accident, or incidentally, or because people deliberately try to screw with it. The difference seems to be a matter of intelligence, or perhaps manifest intelligence; Giygas is minded enough to be insane, presumably (he’s kind of an evil mastermind in Mother, I think), while Lavos just wants to eat and reproduce, as far as we know.Which reminds me: Chrono Trigger! Get on it! Like Earthbound, it nails RPG cliche in the cojones, but in a different way.I lol’d a little at the Anakin Skywalker comparison, but it makes a lot of sense. Probably more so because I went ahead and spoiled Mother for myself as I was writing that Giygas post. I wonder if part of the problem is that Giygas, having alien notions of things, just doesn’t know what to do with all the knowledge of human families and such he acquires. Does he really want that? Does he know whether he wants it? Does he plot to destroy it while secretly catching glimpses of it through Ness, i.e. the Republican senator approach?

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