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Issun

Let's 90s gaming
I am going to do it this time. I am going to actually play through this game. I am looking forward to it.
 

Beowulf

Son of The Answer Man
(He/Him)
I actually just finished my first replay since 2009! I played the MaternalBound translation (which only changes a few minor things and adds a run button) and remembered both why it's delightful and why I found it frustrating.
 

Mr. Sensible

Pitch and Putt Duffer
Onett is my favorite starting area of any RPG. It totally nails the mood of running around your hometown as a rambunctious kid, complete with a secret clubhouse in the woods and a bunch of hoodlums hanging around the arcade. Though I can't say I ever beat down my town's entire police force at Ness' age, but maybe if I'd had PSI powers...

The only useful tip I can offer is not to hoard items because your inventory space is so limited. You will be tempted to hang onto three Bags of Dragonite "just in case," and I implore you to ignore this urge (except with Magic Truffles found in Deep Darkness, you do actually want to save those for the final gauntlet).
 
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Rascally Badger

El Capitan de la outro espacio
(He/Him)
If you're like me, there is a subtle trick to the naming of the towns you might not pick up until your third time through the game.
 

Lance Noble Aster

did his best!
(he/him)
Thought I really disliked this game until my most recent playthrough. Earthbound is really grindy if you try to play it safe, but even absurdly dangerous enemies can be dealt with if you're willing to use all the tools in your toolbox. Now it's one of my favorite JRPGs on the platform because that level of difficulty means its also never wasting your time with filler encounters.
 

Beowulf

Son of The Answer Man
(He/Him)
Thought I really disliked this game until my most recent playthrough. Earthbound is really grindy if you try to play it safe, but even absurdly dangerous enemies can be dealt with if you're willing to use all the tools in your toolbox. Now it's one of my favorite JRPGs on the platform because that level of difficulty means its also never wasting your time with filler encounters.
Flash, Paralysis and Brainshock actually work on a surprising number of enemies, including many bosses. Early DQ and FF games didn't train us for that.

Also, the randomness inherent in the system means that "try, try again" can get you through things just as well as grinding. The boss might melt your face three rounds in a row...or might stare blankly into space to give you time to heal. I think it was the Pink Cloud boss that I got totally destroyed by in a single round on my first try, and then just sailed past the second time, because Crashing Boom Bang missed or hit the person with the Franklin Badge rather than wiping the rest of my team.
 

zonetrope

(he/him)
Once your characters are powerful enough to steamroller everything, what's left is basically a breezy, hilarious adventure game, and I had a great time with it.
 

YangusKhan

does the Underpants Dance
(He/Him/His)
Early DQ games didn't train us for that.
Just want to point out, because I'm a huge nitpicky person about this, that status effects have always been useful in Dragon Quest games, and indeed since Earthbound/Mother 1 are greatly influenced by DQ in the first place, it's a big reason why status effects in Earthbound are actually useful. The biggest difference here is for bosses -- DQ bosses aren't susceptible to status effects typically, but also there are a lot fewer bosses in those games compared to Earthbound.
 

Beowulf

Son of The Answer Man
(He/Him)
Just want to point out, because I'm a huge nitpicky person about this, that status effects have always been useful in Dragon Quest games, and indeed since Earthbound/Mother 1 are greatly influenced by DQ in the first place, it's a big reason why status effects in Earthbound are actually useful. The biggest difference here is for bosses -- DQ bosses aren't susceptible to status effects typically, but also there are a lot fewer bosses in those games compared to Earthbound.
Okay, that's fair. I spent a lot more time on FF games than DQ games as a kid (besides DQ1, where Sleep and Stopspell were useful, I just was constantly rationing my MP). I didn't use buffs/debuffs for years, either, because there was a common wisdom that anything worth casting them on was immune to them. I think it was the DS version of DQ5 where I finally realized the key to several areas was casting Insulatle (for a paltry 3 MP) in almost every random battle, and it took me insultingly long.

Regardless, in Earthbound, virtually everything in your toolbox is useful. Except maybe the Ruler, which never seems to do anything but confuse yourself.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
I love Earthbound. It feels like a grand childhood adventure during summer break, capturing the mood perfectly. It just feels so much like my childhood summers did, it's crazy. Beautiful game.

I would love to share a specific video, but that would spoil the whole game, so I'll wait until you are done.
 

Cyrael

...we're shy.
(he/him)
I love Earthbound. It feels like a grand childhood adventure during summer break, capturing the mood perfectly. It just feels so much like my childhood summers did, it's crazy. Beautiful game.
I played this from when I got it for my 10th birthday EVERY summer break (and occasionally winter break) till I was an adult. Now it's a every-other-year or so, but you captured this very well for my experience.

It's very special.
 

Paul le Fou

Pickle Bus Owns Tulip Town
(He)
I never played this as a kid, but went back to emulate it at some point. I got to Fourside, I think, or a little past that? In the end, it just didn't quite stick with me, and I ended up not finishing it. Maybe if it ever comes out in some kind of Mother series collection I'll pick it up and give it another go, but even then I'm not sure I'd get myself around to it.

I appreciate it a lot for what it is and was, and a lot of fun and unique stuff it does that few games have really ever followed up on since. But I guess it's more an academic appreciation, in the end.
 

Issun

Let's 90s gaming
I beat the Titanic Ant. This means I've made it further in the game than I ever have.

Overall I'm really enjoying it so far. the battles are actually pretty breezy, and the atmosphere is cool. Now how long before I get a second party member?
 

Lokii

It's always time for burgers
(He/Him)
Staff member
Moderator
You have a little ways longer but not too much longer but a hard dungeon before you get there
 
I beat the Titanic Ant. This means I've made it further in the game than I ever have.

Overall I'm really enjoying it so far. the battles are actually pretty breezy, and the atmosphere is cool. Now how long before I get a second party member?

IMO you're at the point where the game really takes off and becomes great. Stick with it!
 

Issun

Let's 90s gaming
Just got Paula, ready for Lilliput Steps.

I think the two main reasons this game is more enjoyable than its Dragon Quest contemporaries is 1) The setting is just so weird you can't wait to see what happens next and 2) gaining levels in this game is a breeze and so are battles compared to just about any other 16-bit RPG.
 

Ludendorkk

(he/him)
Yeah Earthbound has one of the most lopsided difficulty curves I can think of, once you get Paula and her backpack it feels like a completely different game
 

Lokii

It's always time for burgers
(He/Him)
Staff member
Moderator
I disagree. The game consists of difficulty peaks and valleys that occur at semi-regular intervals. It's a design strategy that exists on both the macro level of overall game progression and the micro dungeon-level scale. Peaceful Rest Valley is a big spike for sure, but it's hardly the only significant one to the point of lopsidedness.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
In my memory, it's at least the most obnoxious, because the enemies are so annoying with their status nonsense, and you only have Ness to deal with them.
 

MetManMas

Me and My Bestie
(He, him)
Earthbound definitely has hard bits throughout but things do feel a lot more manageable once you get a second party member.
 

4-So

Spicy
One of my favorite games, in case that wasn't obvious. Actually got a Starman Super tattoo a few weeks ago.

I should make time to play it again. Probably been a decade plus since my last playthrough.
 

Issun

Let's 90s gaming
Just saved a rock band from indentured servitude and they were then able to drive me to zombietown because they're too loud for ghosts to bother.

I love this game.
 
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