Amazing VGM: Smiles & Tears (EarthBound)

EarthBound | ending credits

Another years has come to a close, and It is time for me to end this year the same way as I usually do, with a highly emotional ending theme from one of my favorite games of all time. EarthBound holds a near and dear place in my heart, and I can’t help but become super emotional whenever I listen to its music or play it. Hell just speaking about it now makes me want to replay it.

And it is also quite appropriate since 2020 was a highly emotional year. It’s been kind of a meme about how much this year has sucked, but it did end on a positive note with Trump losing re-election. And yes, that doesn’t mean all of our problems are gone, but after four years of this asshole, it’s a relief to see him go the fuck away. And maybe things will start to get at least a little bit better.

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Standard Review: The Mysterious Murasame Castle (NES/GBA)

The Mysterious Murasame Castle | Box art

I’ve always had some level of curiosity towards retro Japanese games that were never localized, especially those by major developers before they got big. It’s hard to think of a more household name than Nintendo. After all, a lot of Nintendo’s major series have started back on the NES and are still going strong to this day. I mean, Mario, Zelda, and Metroid, no context needed.

But not every classic Nintendo title went on to get tons of sequels and get milked into oblivion. Kid Icarus got one Gameboy sequel and then a reboot decades laterbefore fading into obscurity again despite the reboot being very successful. Punch-Out got a SNES sequel that no one cared about, and then a Wii reboot decades later that flopped. StarTropics got one sequel then nothing. But at least these games were localized (except for StarTropics which was made in the US and not released in Japan).

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MOTHER 3 (GBA): A Genuine Classic (Detailed Review)

MOTHER 3 | Chapter 6

I really should have played this game a lot sooner than I did. I’ve commonly listed EarthBound as one of, if not my favorite games of all time. It’s hard to believe that my review of EarthBound was only the 2nd review I ever wrote, and yet I did not get around to even playing the equally amazing sequel until 7 years later.

To be honest, I may have just played MOTHER 3 for the first time fairly recently, but I have seen a lets play of it before. Hell I was actually introduced to this series through the lets plays of Chuggaaconroy and NintendoCapriSun, which I just realized were posted over a decade ago. Hell now that I think about it, I think I first saw those LPs almost a decade ago. Read more

Amazing VGM: The Eight Melodies (EarthBound Beginnings)

EarthBound Beginnings | Melody

Oh what’s this? Annie has remembered that her Amazing VGM series exists after not posting one since May? Yeah, this series has been put on the back burner for quite some time. Really this blog, in general, was more of a side thing since I have been so heavily focused on political activism as of late, and thus when I found time to write gaming content, it was for my standard reviews. Of course I still need to finish a few of those and I don’t know how soon I’ll get back to doing these, but I have thought back to my Amazing VGM piece on NieR Automata’s “Weight of the World. ”

I just re-read that piece and I forgot how touching it was. Generally my Amazing VGM pieces are short and and quick, but I basically used this piece to speak to both the current state of the world and my own personal life. The same went for my piece on “Reunited ” from Undertale, and I wrote that one before I even had this blog. Considering how emotional this year has been for me, it is only right that I continue this tradition, and to make it even more poetic, I will re-write the last pre Guardian Acorn VGM piece that I needed to revise, Earthbound Beginning’s “The Eight Melodies.” For the purposes of this piece, I will be sticking to official arrangements.

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Has it Held up? – Metroid (NES) (Standard Review)

Metroid | metroids

Recently I decided to play through the original Metroid on a whim. I have a specific set of games I want to play through but I always tend to deviate from that schedule eventually. The reason why I decided to was because I have actually never played the first Metroid before this. I have played through Super Metroid, Metroid Prime, and Metroid Fusion before but not the original. Granted I could have just played the remake Metroid: Zero Mission for the GBA but I wanted to see how the series started. I wanted to play through the first Metroid just so I can ask, has it held up?

The answer to that the original Metroid does in fact pass the test of time, but it does so with a C minus. I did have fun with Metroid but there was a lot of shit that really interfered with that and will be difficult to go back to. Nonetheless there is still quite a bit that puts this game ahead of mediocre clones like Legends of the Universe – Starcore even with the game’s age. Read more

EarthBound (SNES/GBA): Pure Artistic Desire (Detailed Review)

Earthbound | Ness's Nightmare

EarthBound is a game that has been well received since its introduction, but has only recently received a serious look by mainstream gaming websites in the past few years. We now find it frequently in top-10 lists near the number one spot. The weird thing about this however, is that Nintendo of America has ignored the EarthBound series and has given it no publicity over the years, so what was there to increase its publicity so drastically that major gaming sites started noticing? The answer would be the game’s rabid fan base that is incredibly loyal to the series and have pushed hard to get it noticed. This however has led some to some fans that are really overzealous and give the series a massive amount of hype with great expectations to fill. I myself at one point have been in that same position of near obsession with the series, but it has been years since then and I have moved on and played many other games that have made me just as passionate as EarthBound did.

I recently decided to replay EarthBound and I expected that losing my overzealous passion would make the game’s flaws more noticeable. Despite having a very special place in my heart I expected this review to be one that, while still having a positive tone, was more critical of the game. I was wrong, and being wrong has never felt so right. It turns out that not only in this play-through that I re-discovered exactly what it was that made me fall in love with it in the first place, but I discovered more. This play-through marks the only time that my opinion of a game I already played improved despite being one of my all time favorite games to begin with. Read more

RPGs of the Famicom: Earthbound Beginnings

Earthbound Beginnings | Title

With the release of Earthbound Beginnings on the Wii U e-shop, Nintendo of America has corrected a 26 year old mistake on their part. Earthbound Beginnings is the prequel to Earthbound on the SNES that was not originally released in Japan. The game was originally intended to be localized but was canceled despite the localization having already been fully completed. Until now the translated version of Earthbound Beginnings (which was otherwise known as Earthbound Zero) could only be played via emulation or a reproduction cart. Nintendo just now released the translated version for the Wii U e-shop making it available more easily and legally.

Earthbound Beginnings is different from its successor in plenty of ways and is mostly an inferior game, but this is usually to be expected in terms of sequels. Even if one were to hold Earthbound Beginnings to the standards of a lot of modern day games it still handles things far more competently than most and is an amazing game on its own. Read more

Standard Review: Ghosts ‘n Goblins (Arcade/C64/ZX/NES/Amiga/GBC/WS/GBA/PC/IOS/Android)

Ghosts 'n Goblins | Level 1

Ghosts ‘n Goblins was always infamous for being one of the hardest games ever made. That statement is pretty much 100% accurate, Ghosts ‘n Goblins is so difficult that it is only on the border of how difficult a game can be while still being playable. One should note that I am using the word “difficult” and not “challenging.” The reason I say this is because being challenging is generally a good thing as it implies that a game brings you up to its own level by being demanding and through its design.

Ghosts ‘n Goblins, on the other hand, is just difficult in the sense that it is very patience trying and unfun. Before I hear the parade of apologists proclaiming “git gud” I should make it clear that I did beat this game twice, and yes I am counting it as twice regardless of that stunt they pulled the first time. Ghosts ‘n Goblins may be beatable, but it isn’t exactly an enjoyable game to play. Most players will be having far more frustration than fun and beating it serves no purpose other than bragging rights. Read more

Amazing VGM: Buccaneer Beach (Pac-Man World)

Pac-Man World | Buccanear Beach

Yep, another “VGM from a game I just reviewed” piece here today. There isn’t really a set plan more so than reviewing a game just makes me remember its music so I have it stuck in my head later. I may not have enjoyed Pac-Man World 1, but there was definitely some finer points to it. I only briefly mentioned the music because most of the music didn’t stick out but I remember it being good. The obvious exception to this is the first level theme, “Buccaneer Beach.” Read more

Standard Review: Pac-Man World (PS1/GBA)

Pac-Man World | Box art

Few gaming icons have had quite a fall from grace as much as Pac-Man. One of the most iconic video games of all time that even your grandparents recognize has not been relevant in how many years? Aside from the arcade games, the only games I have seen that are remotely well received have been the Pac-Man World trilogy of 3D platformers. I am quite fond of 3D platformers contrary to what those who think I only play RPGs and visual novels believe, so I thought I may enjoy this game.

I initially bought it during a PSN sale in 2016 along with Heavenly Guardian, but I barely played it. It seemed alright enough but didn’t interest me enough to keep me playing. Within the last few months I started it up again for no real reason other than that my PS3 happened to be set up and I had it there, and I figured I likely wouldn’t play it any other time so I should do so now. Read more