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.