The Zero Hour

Reviews, rants and oddities on video game and film culture.

My top 10 Games Of All Time: Day 2 – No #9

Mother 2/Earthbound
Platform: SNES
Release: 1994 (JP)/1995 (USA)

You’re probably not aware of Mother 2, or Earthbound as it was called in the west. It’s understandable, the game is the second in it’s respective series and is still the only game from it to be officially released outside of Japan. Not just that, it was only released in America and didn’t sell that well. It’s quite possibly one of gamings biggest tragedies that this incredible game didn’t get the audience it deserved.

The game tells the story of Ness (remember him from yesterday?) a young boy from a town called Onett in America, sorry, Eagleland, who is woken up in the middle of the night by his neighbour Pokey Minch (Somehow one of my favourite video game characters) because an meteor has landed just outside his house. Upon investigating, he is informed  by aalien from 10 years in the future that he has to stop the evil Giygas from taking over the world.

The game in itself is a cheerful RPG, you go through towns and valleys fighting off all kinds of weird enemies, from Stray dogs to hippies to (seriously) big piles of puke in order to collect the 8 melodies. The game quite literally takes you on a journey and you pretty quickly feel like you’re one of the chosen 4. You’re not just controlling the game, you are in the game, talking to Everdred, getting creeped out by Moonside and getting the run-around from Pokey (who, by the way was mis-translated, he was supposed to be called Porky) every so often.

Ask anyone who’s played the game and you’re most likely to get the same response, it’s a quirky kids game. But it’s so much more, sure the game has it’s quirks, every character has a unique set of dialogue to go on, from the mundane.
“Why is the road to Twoson closed? An emergency, of course. At times like this, kids like you should be playing Nintendo games. Anyway, are you sure you want to go to Twoson?” – Captain Strong

To the absurd,
“‘HERE iS PRESEnt. I HanD yOU cUP Of lifEnOODlES. I HanD yOU mR. SatURn cOin. i nO HanD yOU my StaG BEEtlE…OH! tEaSE yOU! i HavE nO SOmEtHinG.”
– Mr Saturn (Who for the record are an alien race…)

Every line in the japanese version was written by series creator and director Shigesato Itoi, it’s pretty spectacular, however for translation, it unfortunately had to be altered slightly, I’m not going into the details, but you can find it all here, it’s really worth a read. Anyway, another thing I think I mentioned that people are led to believe it’s a kids game, because of it’s simple graphics, it’s (in the US) fairly harmless nature and it’s silliness. Not so, the game is pretty relateable to children at the start (the opening town involves sneaking out of the house and later visiting the arcade) but it then grows up as the game progresses to a very mature, torturous finale. Porky suddenly does seem very brat-like and childish in comparison to you, no matter what age you play it at.

Unfortunately, it’s pretty useless me singing it’s praises, due to legal issues and an unwillingness to take a risk (people do forget, video game selling is a business too) it will never be released on the wii’s virtual console, it’s GBA port Mother 1+2 will never get a stateside release. It’s a real shame, the game really does stand out from other RPG’s, it’s a game whose ideas still ring true today and it’s a game that just takes you on one hell of a journey.

10: Super Smash Bros Brawl
9: Earthbound


One response to “My top 10 Games Of All Time: Day 2 – No #9

  1. Aaron Anderson 08/04/2010 at 00:36

    My Bro loves this game, from the amount of time I’ve spent with it I came to enjoy it also. The same kind of humour from Rare(ware) is also found here I think. This game is long, which is great really, but once you’ve completed it you’ll be hungering for more.
    Luckily unlike certain other epics *cough* Jet Force Gemini *cough* there are several other games, unfortunately we add the Mother series to that long list of classics awaiting their return into the next gen industry; we’ll place it posibly somewhere between Battletoads and Kid Icarus…

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