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DescriptionIn the year 199X, in the village of Onett, on the continent of Eagleland...
Young Ness was asleep one night when a loud crashing noise awoke him suddenly. As he rushes out of bed and up to a nearby hill, he encounters a strange meteor, carrying a single passenger: a mysterious insect-like being named Buzz Buzz. Buzz Buzz tells him that in the future, an evil alien being known as Giygas has conquered the world, and the only one who can stop him are four young kids: three boys and a girl. Ness, of course, is one of the chosen ones, and he must find the other three children: Paula, a young girl with remarkable psychic powers, Jeff, a mechanical genius, and Poo, the young Prince of Dahlaam. Together, these four friends have the power to defeat Giygas and save the world from his chaotic reign!
EarthBound is a sequel to Mother. It is a top-down role-playing game in which the heroes travel around Eagleland and various other, exotic countries, trying to end Giygas' evil influence.
On the way, Ness and his friends will encounter a lot of enemies and battle them in turn-based combat. Unlike in the previous game, enemies are visibly walking on the screen. Each turn, each of the characters in the party can attack with their weapons, use a special ability (some characters have powerful psychic powers that can hurt enemies, heal comrades and more; some also have some other, unique special powers), use an item or try and escape.
The game features "rolling HP meters" - when a character is dealt damage, it's not all taken away from his HP right away, but instead his HP decreases slowly; if the combat is ended quickly, even a massively damaging attack can leave a character with only minor injuries. By winning battles, characters receive experience and thus become stronger. If the player-controlled characters are strong enough, weak enemies will escape from them instead of trying to attack; when chased down, they will be defeated instantly.
Saving the game is done by finding a telephone and calling Ness' father. When the heroes defeat enemies, Ness' bank account receives money, which can be then retrieved from ATM machines throughout the game and spent in shops to buy better equipment or useful items.
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The Press Says
AdvertisementThe game's advertising campaign in the U.S. was quite a disaster. Apparently, the higher-ups at Nintendo of America decided that "kids like farts!" and thus, the ads ran in the magazines all exaggerated the (few and far between) "toilet humor" elements of the game, making the game look like an endless string of burping, puking and farting. (The ads also included scratch-n-sniff stickers.)
The advertising slogan even said: "This game stinks." Who knows how much this contributed to EarthBound's low sales.
A webpage with more info and scans of magazine ads can be found in the related links section.
Copy protectionThe cartridge has a built-in copy protection with nasty effects for pirates. If a hacked game (which bypasses the first layer of protection which would simply prevent the game from starting) is played, there are a lot more random encounters in the game world. If a player endures this, it will freeze during the final battle and delete all save games. More information can be found on the fansite EarthBound Central.
DevelopmentShigesato Itoi, the creator of EarthBound, added a few personal details to the game.
Firstly, Ness's father never appears in person. According to an article from an issue of Edge magazine (either a classic feature on EarthBound or a review of Mother 3), this was inspired by the fact that Itoi's own father was absent for a great part of his childhood.
Secondly, the dialogue of Giygas was inspired by a traumatic childhood experience where Itoi mistakenly walked into an adult movie theatre and caught a glimpse of a sex/rape scene in the 1957 movie Kenpei and the Dismembered Beauty.
ExtrasThe game included a card of scratch-'n-sniff spots, featuring monsters from the game.
ManualEarthBound was packaged with an Official Nintendo Player's Guide, which also doubled as its manual. Because of this the box was far larger than any other SNES game box.
References to the game
SongAt the end of the last song, Ending 3 - Smiles and Tears (5:05), during the credits the words "I Miss You" are digitally spoken, presumably by Ness.
Information also contributed by Calpis, CaptainCanuck, Chris Chidester, colm52, JudgeDeadd, KFactor, Mark Ennis, MegaMegaMan, Sciere and Warren McHenry
Related Web Sites
Producer / Director:
Satoru Iwata, Satoshi Mitsuhara, Yoshimi Takahashi, Seiji Otoguro, Bou Nakajima, Seika Abe, Yoshiki Suzuki, Jun Yamazaki, Toshiyuki Ueno, Takashi Sasaki, Takashi Sakuma, Kazuo Sato, Kouji MaltaSound Programmer: