Ah, the year was 1995. My brother and I aged 7 and 12 woke early Christmas morning to the vast array of colorful presents under the tree. There was nothing quite like Christmas to us, a free day of sorts to just eat and play the day away. We could usually get away without doing any chores. We always scoped out the video games, in there rectangular box, but this year something was different. Our mom (santa) initially gone to get a different game, one we had asked for. They were all sold out. But the hundreds of untouched large Earthbound boxes sat neatly lined up awaiting someone to pick them up. She did, in place of the other game. We unwrapped Earthbound in it's very large box, unusual for an SNES game and quickly rolled our eyes thinking it was another dud game. That night we gave it a try, we were hooked. The manual it came with was my bible, I carried it everywhere, and read it over and over planning the next days strategy. We quickly wore out the scratch and sniff stickers that smelled of awful things that I can't quite remember. We must have died about 300 times when we were that age playing this game, but the ending brought a tear to our eye and still does today.
If you know of Earthbound, you could probably tell by my blog background I am a fan. Now choosing Earthbound as my favorite SNES game was a tough choice, a close call next to Zelda: Link to the Past, Secret of Mana, Super Mario RPG and Breath of Fire. So how did I come to this conclusion? Earthbound is one of the most creative and randomly insane games I've ever played, it's pure childhood silliness while still keeping an adult player challenged and begging for more is hard to do. This game is now a rarity, a used copy will put you back $200 and find a rare mint game with the manual and you're talking $600-$1000. This game is becoming a rare gem, virtual console and Nintendo DS won't release it due to what I heard is "copyright infringements" because the Runaway Five somehow resemble the Beatles and other weird accusations.
What is Earthbound? Earthbound is an RPG cult classic, staring a young boy named Ness. Ness joins up with three other young kids Paula, Jeff and Poo as the chosen four to fight a war against the Giygas, or aliens. They travel to all sorts of locations from towns to cities, vast deserts to snow covered Stonehenge and meet many friends on the way. Ness also travels in a few dream like states and fights alone. The gameplay is straight forward RPG and pretty easy, some strategy is definitely involved, even after my 20th time playing I still die in battles. Ness must travel to his Sanctuary locations and record them on his Soundstone to become more powerful. You will encounter strange enemies like New Age Retro Hippie, Master Barf, Annoying Old Party Man and the all awesome Kraken (RELEASE THE KRAKEN!!). The enemies in this game are so original and fun, and you can fight enemies with strange objects like a toothbrush, dirty pair of socks or Monkey Love.