Gradient Ocean

Episode 19:

Earthbound

#19 - Earthbound
00:00 / 01:04

"SAY 'FUZZY PICKLES!'"

When it was originally released in the Summer of '95, Earthbound was an absolutely criminally overlooked game on the Super Nintendo. I'm not sure if it was the unique graphics (it looked like a children's game), the name (it didn't say "Final Fantasy" or "Secret of ______", which is what we had been trained to look for to identify RPGs), or the "gross out" marketing campaign, but people just didn't play this game.

My friend Rob was an RPG fan. He originally got me playing Final Fantasy IV, and when Earthbound come out, he clued me in. I remember asking for it for Christmas, and luckily, big fat Santa got my letter. The game came in a giant box, and each copy came with a full (gorgeous) player's guide. I read the guide front to back about 100 times. (Ruining it in the process. Luckily, it isn't worth any money now or anything. *sigh*)

I played through this game again and again. To this day, it has to be the RPG I've played to completion the most times. I love the way they think outside of the standard RPG box. Swords? Who needs swords when you have baseball bats. And frying pans. And bottle rockets. Why fight demons and dragons when you can fight cups of coffee and piles of puke? And giant zombie tents? And cops? Evil mushrooms! It's so perfect...

You play as 4 children, tasked with saving the world from one of the most terrifying bosses in gaming history. The game is clever, hilarious, witty, charming. It's phenomenal. My buddy Chris think so, too. That's why he came over to my house to talk about it with me.

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