July 27th, 2008

I just played EarthBound recently. There’s a fairly large cult following surrounding the game, but I’m left wondering why they’re so rabid. It’s a great under-appreciated game, don’t get me wrong, but it’s ultimately a footnote in the history of RPGs. It’s got an interesting story, and at times is very clever, but everything in the game is just an excuse to go wander around dungeons and explore towns. I guess you could say that about most RPGs though, particularly Japanese ones, but the whole game didn’t seem particularly concerned with the story.

In the end though, all it really does is remind me of Robotrek, which I’d say is an equally under-appreciated weird little game. They’re so similar in fact, I’d think they had the same creator if I didn’t know better. Robotrek is less refined, has more experimental way of doing battles (which isn’t always a good thing), but in particular, it has a much better story which makes it ultimately more endearing to me. It’s one of those games that has an extensive enough history you’d have to play it twice just to pick up all the hints they were giving you from the beginning.

Neither of these games really holds up today, they’re lightweight, somewhat childish, aging games. In the end games like Chrono Trigger will last forever, EarthBound and Robotrek are footnotes.

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