The Earthbound Journal
February 2, 2012 10:46 PM   Subscribe

The Earthbound Journal is the Mother of all fan projects; a labour of love that took journalist Armand Kossayan over 150 hours to complete. And it's amazing. Armand describes it as "a retelling of the game’s plot from the point of view of primarily Paula and Jeff, with some smaller parts from Ness and Poo." Did I mention it's free. Go get it!
posted by Effigy2000 (12 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
I see what you did there with that Eartbound/Mother pun.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 12:40 AM on February 3, 2012

The Mother series nearly redeems, all by itself, the genre of JRPGs. It is fun to watch people who don't "get" it, but know of its rabid cult following, try to write positively about it without real understanding of its wonder.

Earthbound and Mother 3 are immune to ratings; they are good because they are good, you can't plot them on a continuum. This is because they are capital-A art. People talk about how video games are this emerging art form, but there are pitifully few games, when you really press the Roger Eberts of the world, that you can point to and say, with a straight face, this is Art.

You could speculate for years about why this is. It's not that the game teaches you something about life, it's that it has a certain insight into life, and by playing it, you learn it for yourself even without realizing what it is you learned.

posted by JHarris at 12:48 AM on February 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

The Mother series nearly redeems, all by itself, the genre of JRPGs

cool thanks for the info
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 1:40 AM on February 3, 2012

You're so welcome! Stick around, I'll tell you all sorts of things.
posted by JHarris at 2:13 AM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Wait. I can do better than that. Sometimes I'm a little too quick with the snark, especially in response to snark.

When I say the Mother series redeems JRPGs, I don't mean it to say that JRPGs are necessarily worse than nearly any other video game genre. There are good games (a few) and bad games (many, many) of just about any type you can point to. What the Mother games are, however, is transcendent. It doesn't feel right to compare them with other games; it uses their trappings merely as tools to go about something different, larger.

They rise up out of the body of JRPGs and concern themselves with great things. That's hard to do; lots of people think they've done it while failing hard. Earthbound does it without even making it seem particularly difficult.

As an example of what I'm talking about.... what the hell is Giygas? You can't begin to answer that question without playing through the original Mother. That experience turns him from a Lovecraftian Great Old One type into a profoundly tragic figure, while revealing something fundamental about the nature of humanity. If you can stomach it, I strongly recommend to any Earthbound fan to play through Mother 1. Tomato's done a translation patch of the version in Mother 1+2 that improves upon the (in)famous leaked official translation by adding an optional Easy Ring item that makes the game much less hardcore and more generally enjoyable.

There. If you can snark to that, I'll feel better about lobbing your shots back at you.
posted by JHarris at 2:32 AM on February 3, 2012 [5 favorites]

Previously on MeFi, the Mother 3 fan translation and its lovely associated product, the Mother 3 handbook. I've never played the game much, but have leafed through the handbook many times. It's really charming.

I sure wish someone would make a modern game with the Mother/Earthbound æsthetic. I can do without the JRPG trappings, but the sweet innocence and goofiness of these games is so wonderful. I'm tired of being a survival horror Space Marine with RPG elements and an RTS overlay.
posted by Nelson at 7:44 AM on February 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

What fortuitous timing. Just the other day, MeFi's Own me wrote a thing about the Mother 3 localization that you guys might find interesting if you're into behind-the-scenes stuff. (I was the translator for the initial translation and did a lot of the name changes, many of which were kept in the final patch)

Mods: if this is unacceptable, feel free to delete.
posted by DoctorFedora at 7:59 AM on February 3, 2012 [5 favorites]

posted by The Whelk at 8:27 AM on February 3, 2012

I've been playing through Earthbound again recently on a SNES emulator on my Android phone. Being able to do that impresses me more than it should. I must play 1 and 3 next. The Mother 3 handbook and courage badge JHarris linked to look amazing.
posted by jiroczech at 8:50 AM on February 3, 2012

cool thanks for the info
This, of course, alludes to you

I've seen you make this exact comment several times in recent threads. Is yours some sort of redditesque novelty account? Or, if you don't care about the comment being made, couldn't you just...ignore it and move on? I really don't understand this behavior.
posted by Sangermaine at 10:01 AM on February 3, 2012

Just came here to threedshit.
posted by fleacircus at 1:24 PM on February 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

Sangermaine, we've all done that at some point. I kind of understand where Tocaty is coming from really.
posted by JHarris at 1:24 PM on February 3, 2012

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