Death, Sharks, Localization

Cleaning up the town of Sharks involves a various step measure. First the streets and then the arcade. Real consequences presented themselves during the fight with Frank. Frank had two knives and then killed Ness! “Ness decided to return after summoning all the courage and energy he had.” I do not know how mustering up […]

Cleaning up the town of Sharks involves a various step measure. First the streets and then the arcade. Real consequences presented themselves during the fight with Frank. Frank had two knives and then killed Ness! “Ness decided to return after summoning all the courage and energy he had.” I do not know how mustering up courage is enough to return from a knife attack.

After various multiple attempts Ness finally defeated Frank. However, a second battle takes place with Frankystein Mark II. That also took several attempts.

Frankystein Mark II

Frankystein Mark II

There were various important things to do that were overlooked over the course of the three gameplays. I had access to an ATM and I was carrying a debit card that my in game dad had loaned me. It contained about $210 but it felt as if though the amount would fluctuate. This was important as I was able to upgrade to stronger weapons with the new found allowance. The town of Onett has so much to offer yet I still felt completely lost.

When attempting to make sense of Ness’ adventure thus far, the comparison I can make is to the Grand Theft Auto franchise. Remove the bloody death scenes, stealing cars, sex and add a meteor and psychic abilities and you get Earthbound. You get the violence early on by “taming” wild animals and eventually the “Sharks.” But as an adult playing through it, I definitely know Ness was not a match for a gang leader with two pocket knifes and the alluded to gun earlier in the arcade.

The game does not take itself too serious which really makes Eagleland worth discovering. Sadly, the Earthbound series was a victim of translation problems, specifically lack of translation and localization of the final game in the series, Mother 3: “Nintendo’s American branch decided that translating the game would be too much work, and too expensive a project, given the limited audience they expected the game to have.” [1] The reason why this is a dilemma is because Earthbound has a great following as well as its potent ability to send the video game community into chaos at moments notice. [2] Maybe if Nintendo has any faith left, they might decide to translate after summoning all the courage and energy they have of attaining success with the localization.

In all its un-localized glory

In all its un-localized glory

1. Anna Anthropy, Rise of the Videogame Zinesters (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2012), 80.
2. Jason Schreier, “The Mother 3 Rumors Are Getting Intense,” Kotaku, February 4, 2016, http://kotaku.com/the-mother-3-rumors-are-getting-intense-1757072418.

Who are you talking to?

Entering the neighbor’s home with both of the children with me. They get punished by their Dad and then the Dad starts to complain about loans that he lent Ness’ father. Apparently, they live in poverty, but the two-story house says otherwise. A small correction, the boys were not punished physically, they are simply not […]

Entering the neighbor’s home with both of the children with me. They get punished by their Dad and then the Dad starts to complain about loans that he lent Ness’ father. Apparently, they live in poverty, but the two-story house says otherwise. A small correction, the boys were not punished physically, they are simply not allowed to eat desserts for a week.

Ness has a treasure hunter friend named Lier X. Agerate, who built tunnels underneath his own home. His discovery thus far is “The Golden Statue.” Taming wild animals with a baseball bat is a great way to acquire goods and gain experience points to level up. NPCs really need to take better care of their dogs because there are definitely way too many wild dogs running around: “Is the mayor going to let them just run around…I’m here to protest!” The town of Onett is currently under attack from sharks.

Onett

Onett

When exploring the world of Eagleland questions regarding realism and realisticness in Earthbound arise. In Gaming by Alexander R. Galloway the amount of representation present within a game divides both social realism and realisticness: “Realisticness is important, to be sure, but the more realisticness takes hold in gaming, the more removed from gaming it actually becomes, relegated instead to simulation or modeling” [1] There are various moments where Earthbound could have been a real world simulator of suburban life with a touch of sci-fi action. So far, in the gameplay that is not the case. Interacting with the citizens of Onett is definitely what really pushes this role-playing game (RPG) further away from realisticness and into social realism. In Eagleland, realism’s “phenomenological qualities,” the “desires…details…defeats,” are present through Ness’ trials of tribulations that came with title of hero. [2]   

There is much to learn about Ness and his neighborhood. Two gameplays have yielded minimal understanding of this environment, but it is definitely not a simulator of the player’s world. Eagleland has buildings and humans that look similar but this world is definitely hiding so much more.  

1. Alexander R. Galloway, Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic Culture, (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2006), 73.

2. Ibid., 74.

Keep it down outside!

Earthbound (SNES) starts of with very loud unrecognizable noises. These abstract noises drown the gameplay. There is chaos outside due to a meteor. Yes, mother, Ness is going to go investigate the noise outside. Similar to my first experience with another role-playing game, Pokemon, I spent quite some talking to every NPC as well as […]

Earthbound (SNES) starts of with very loud unrecognizable noises. These abstract noises drown the gameplay. There is chaos outside due to a meteor. Yes, mother, Ness is going to go investigate the noise outside. Similar to my first experience with another role-playing game, Pokemon, I spent quite some talking to every NPC as well as running around in circles due to spamming the “A” button and skipping important dialogue.

Pokey is a nuisance! He lost his brother Picky and blames it on the cops. He now needs the help of Ness to locate his brother. At least we get a bat and dog to take on the journey. The most valuable characters in all this mess are Ness’ parents and sister who make sure he is prepared to go out and become a hero. On our way to locate Picky, we are constantly attacked by crows, snakes and dogs.

The attack sequence is confusing. The animals do not have a health meter and they outclass Ness. There are various stats to keep track of: offense, defense, hit points, psychic points, speed, guts, and luck. Sadly, Ness’ dog is leaves as it wants no part in the investigation of the meteor. We found Picky! A bee from the future comes out of the meteor and begins to share a prophecy and something about Giygas?  Up to this point, nothing really makes sense in Earthbound. “Pokey apologized profusely!” Did I mention how unreliable Pokey is? Instead of attacking he apologizes to the enemy.

The strange world that is Eagleland leaves many unanswered questions. Its sci-fi world building is heavily reliant upon the conventional future beings returning to the past, but the interaction between characters returns the player to the real world feeling of “Would I investigate if a meteor landed outside our home?” I really enjoy feeling lost in this game as the game’s music makes it feel like the right state to be in.

The meteor was bound for Earth

The meteor was bound for Earth