Released June 5, 1995- Earthbound
Earthbound, came out for the Super Nintendo in the North American market on June 5, 1995.
I’m not sure there is one gamer around that doesn’t know the game Earthbound. One of the Super Nintendo’s classic hidden gems. The game did not sell well over here. While in Japan, it had phenomenal success. Possibly due to the fact that the idea came from one of Japan’s most seminal advertising figures Shigesato Itoi. He was responsible for many of Japan’s classic slogans and songs and even lent his voice to the Studio Ghibli film, My Neighbor Totoro. Sadly, this didn’t translate to the NA market. Almost certainly because of the advertising campaign behind it. It was clear that Nintendo did not think much of it coming overseas. Earthbound was advertised often in magazines using scratch and sniff stickers with the slogan “This game stinks!”. How was it supposed to sell to people who wanted fun and interesting games?
It was clear that Nintendo did not think much of it coming overseas. Earthbound was advertised often in magazines using scratch and sniff stickers with the slogan “This game stinks!”. How was it supposed to sell to people who wanted fun and interesting games? It was also clear they attempted to market the game using things that young boys would be interested in. Using a grossness factor. This led to many copies being found in bins shortly after release for around $5 a pop. If I had my time back, I’d have bought them all.
As the story goes, Shigesato Itoi was offered a pitch to Nintendo, whom originally passed on the game. But Itoi had put his heart into it at this point. The game was originally known as “Mother” because Itoi was not permitted to contact his own mother while he was growing up. A sad story indeed. However, it was reported later that after the CEO of Nintendo of Japan Hiroshi Yamauchi heard of this, he ordered the game to be greenlit. Therefore, Earthbound (Mother) was almost never made at all. Also just as sad, the original game was never released over here. Instead, we got the game known in Japan as Mother 2. Sadly, only the original NES version of the game known as “Earthbound Beginnings” made its way over, besides the SNES game.
Gameplay and Story
The game starts with Ness, the now iconic Nintendo character and his best friend and neighbor Pokey, as they investigate a strange meteorite that landed on earth. It is revealed that the alien entity known as Giygas has enshrouded the earth in darkness pitting humans and animals against each other. The pair later breaks off and Ness must go through the world saving a team of new friends and stop Giygas.
Earthbound is known for its silly gameplay and deep hidden meanings. There is so much to the game that one can’t absorb in just one playthrough. Although I personally find it a little hard to get through as the game is a little slow, it’s still an extremely fun and challenging RPG with a story that will make even the most grizzled laugh and maybe even cry.
So we say, Happy Anniversary to Earthbound! The game that almost never was!
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