168. EarthBound

EarthBound (1995, SNES) by Nintendo

Current Any% Glitchless (RNG Manipulation) Leaderboard (speedrun.com)

When people ask me “What is your favorite game of all time?” I usually have a hard time not saying EarthBound.  Known as Mother 2 in Japan,  EarthBound is the story of a young boy named Ness who has telepathic powers, who is told by a galactic bee named Buzz-Buzz that he’s the boy of prophecy, who is predetermined to save the world with 2 boys and a girl, after a meteorite lands in his small town.  This is an RPG through-and-through, but unlike most JRPG’s of the early to mid-90’s, this is set in a modern, contemporary setting.  You’ll find no dragons here, no witches or wizards.  You refill HP with burgers and pizza, and you attach with baseball bats and frying pans.  It’s really an awesome feeling, and was even more so in 1995.

I was one of the lucky kids that got this game when it first came out.  I played the heck out of it, multiple times.  Somewhere in my storage exists a playthrough of my childhood games on VHS (I cannot wait to find that someday!), and I played this game all the way through so many times, I knew this game inside-out even before I learned the speedrun.

And this game still took me 160+ hours to get my goal time and learn!

I began learning this at AGDQ 2019 with Skateman222, and decided to press forward with it once I returned home.  This game took me the longest, despite already knowing it like the back of my hand.  Learning stutter-stepping to get past enemy encounters, or quick-turns when you can’t avoid any.  Using teleport to skip encounters, or how to manipulate the rolling counter to survive tough encounters.  Rabbit foots and multi bottle rockets, skip sandwiches, and SMASH! attacks abound here in this un-Earthly game.  And, having the support of so many wonderful folks in the EarthBound community made learning this game much more of a blast, despite it taking over two months to finish this Trial, likely the longest of the entire project!

And one of the most time-consuming things to learn in EarthBound was the manip.  Specifically, the manipulation through the end of Onett. The speedrun doesn’t require the manip, which is a pre-planned route where you walk, talk, and menu an exact way to guarantee the outcome of the early game, eliminating a huge portion of the early game grind.  Mostly it’s just menuing and inventory management, but it does make some portions of the game hectic when you’re underlevelled and trying to hurry.  The manip makes it so much more tolerable, and I was able to successfully manipulate to the Titanic Ant (the first boss of the game) before losing it in my Trials PB, which is a good example of how much time can be saved using this strategy.

This was such a good game to learn, but it’s not without flaws, the largest of which is just how LONG this game is.  Especially since I was working when I ran this, I would only have time to do one good attempt a night, and then it was all-or-nothing.  But I still thoroughly enjoyed this game.  Sure, the graphics aren’t great for SNES in 1995, but the amazing music, perfectly unique characters and settings, and humor aren’t lost on me, and won’t be on you, either.  Casually I disagree with the Nerd; this game is perfect.  The speedrun is close.  Pure bliss, you won’t regret learning this game if you’re a fan.


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