So Earthbound is now available on the Wii U, and a bunch of people are now able to get a hold of(legally) a game that until now was, to put it one way, fairly limited. I've been hearing from people who've actually started playing it now for the first time, and I have to say, I'm a little envious. I guess I could relive it all from the start if I intentionally beat myself over the head until I caused enough head trauma to forget the game, but I'm not too crazy about the hospital bills that would come along with that.
I have really fond memories of when I first played Earthbound, though. When it came out I was but a young Darrow, and at the time had never played an RPG. Given that I've had a very long love affair with RPGs ever since, Earthbound was basically the gateway drug that started it all for me. However, due to being young and inexperienced with games where you don't run and jump on stuff to win, I was...really, really bad at the game. I rented it from a video store and had this big print out of the manual to help, but unfortunately for the amazing hero who went to the trouble of printing it all, I barely took a look at it and just dived right in.
I remember getting rocked quite a bit through the game, but I loved it to death because it let me name the dog, King, after my sister and that was the best damn thing in the world at the time. I did a lot of stupid stuff like charging into the base to face Belch with Jeff dead and no preparation whatsoever. I stumbled through a lot of stuff like that, and given how poorly I played, I'm surprised I made it anywhere. Eventually, once I reached the Deep Darkness, I got my hands on the Casey Bat, and...continued to use it through the rest of the game. Yeah.
I assume I had Ness using PSI constantly, I don't quite remember how I reacted to Ness constantly missing, but it took me until Magicant until I wised up. You know the path where you have to travel to get to the Sea of Eden? Yeah, that was a day where many Flying Men cursed my name as they tried to carry Ness to the end, only to fail horribly. I did eventually figure it out, but it was too little too late. However, at some point I finally managed to pull it together and make it to the final battle. That was definitely a treat, especially since back then game spoilers were only something told among friends or at school, so the likelihood of seeing the final battle coming were pretty slim.
In the end, it all kind of balanced itself out. For as poorly as I had done making it through, I somehow managed to connect Pokey's hint in the final battle with Paula's pray ability. I distinctly remember burning through everything I had, and it was down to the wire, to the point where I had just assumed I'd end up losing right before I won. It's one of those gaming moments that left me with such nostalgia that it's no wonder why I've now devoted myself to several years of working on a comic for the game. If there's one game that definitely deserves it, it's Earthbound.