hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts


Nicky Austin's blog

2:27 PM on 07.13.2012

One Obsessed Boy's Impressions of Mother 2/Earthbound

After Mother's awesomely heartfelt conclusion, I wrote my article on my impressions on the game and dove headfirst into Mother 2 (or Earthbound as others know it).

Earthbound had always eluded me and taunted me. I absolutely loved playing as Ness in Super Smash Bros. and always wanted to play through his quirky story. I thought I would never get to play until I finally uttered a passionate "Fuck it." and downloaded the ROM and played to my heart's content. After deciding to play through the first game first, I was prepared to go for it.

And I had no earthly idea what I was getting into.

The enormous story of Earthbound starts on a not-so-quiet night when our hero Ness is awoken by a meteorite crashing near his humble abode. After investigating with his buttmuncher of a neighbor, Pokey, they encounter a bee from the future named Buzz-Buzz, before getting hilariously smacked to death, his final breath is that of a prophecy. A prophecy of a boy named Ness and 2 other boys and a girl saving the world from the one called Giygas, the embodiment of Evil. And so begins the story of Earthbound.

Let's just get this out of the way, Earthbound is simply one of the best gaming experiences I have ever... well, experienced. This game does everything Mother did but better.

First, let's talk about the graphics. This is a Super Nintendo game, and a gorgeous one at that. The colors are so wonderfully bright especially in the town of Onett and the far away kingdom of Dalaam. The sprites all look wonderful, and boy, do some of these enemies look awesome. I really dig the dinosaurs in the Lost Underworld, the Starmen, and Master Belch, one of the funniest bosses in video game history.

The music is also one of the better OST's I've heard. The tunes composed by Hiroshi Kanazu, Keiichi Suzuki, and Hirokazu Tanaka are all wonderful and fit the mood of many key scenes. There are also clever nods to songs such as "Johnny B. Goode", "Good Morning, Good Morning" by The Beatles, and even the name of the series (Mother) is derived from the intense feelings Shigesato Itoi felt after hearing "Mother" by John Lennon.

Now, let's get down to the gameplay. As I said, this game does everything Mother did but better. Itoi ditched random encounters in favor of being able to see enemies on screen before engaging in battle a-la Chrono Trigger. On top of this, when you beat a dungeon and have to get out the way you came, the enemies of the dungeon run away from you, and if you surprise attack them, you could get an instant win, very nice!

The game also has one of the coolest in-game mechanics I have ever seen. The scrolling HP-meter. with this brilliant idea, when a boss kills you, you have a chance to still win. If you manage to dispatch the nefarious dude before your HP scrolls down to zero, the HP will stop scrolling when you win, and you therefore survive. This feature has saved my ass too many times to count, and I wish more RPG's would implement this.

The game is not without it's flaws, sadly. The game's one true flaw lies in the story. Story is a very important aspect to me when playing games, and while this game is one of the most fun I have ever played, aside from the beginning and the last two hours, the story is almost non-existent outside of updating the roster of your party.

I recommend this game to any and everyone out there that has even a smidgen of interest in this game. It is one of the SNES's crowning achievements on nearly every front, and impressed me immensely. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to play through Mother 3.   read

12:33 AM on 07.10.2012

Next-Gen: A Generation of Choice

The next generation is almost here, folks. A new generation of a "war" between companies with tech to show off, and games to play on them, A new generation of fanboys singing the same praises about their favorite video game company they did 5-6 years ago.

And I'm saying that none of this really matters.

This new generation seems to be one of choice. The next generation will no longer be directly competitive, but one of 3 companies with different practices and different strategies. By that, I mean that now all 3 companies have slowly but surely changed in some degree.

Also, prepare for some really shitty mock-ups of what may be the next generation.

Let's take Microsoft for example. In the days of the original Xbox, they were very dedicated to the hardcore and had some real games to back it up. Hell, I almost bought an Xbox. This somewhat carried over to the Xbox 360 in it's first two or three years with some very interesting and impressive games at the time, games that spawned some of the best selling series this generation.

As of late, however, (Late, being the past two and a half years or so) Microsoft introduced the Kinect. This was a very promising piece of technology that wowed every single person watching that E3 conference at the time. However, that potential was sacrificed when Microsoft decided to use their Kinect to market to the casual market very strongly. This was very similar to Nintendo's Wii strategy... This was worse though.

Microsoft has then made some moves and such to suggest that they will go for a cheaper, more family friendly approach to their new console. This will make for some immense financial success, but I feel they may lose a bunch of fans as a result. Just as Nintendo did... But worse.

I feel Microsoft needs to find that precious middle-ground to win over everyone with this new product. They also need to revive or create some new software IP's to keep their exclusive line-up exciting, and not so boring and repetitive.

Nintendo, on the other hand is trying the opposite...

Nintendo's last generation with the Wii was very rocky. They went for a wider, more casual approach and definitely won a lot of families over, they however turned off many potential hardcore consumers. Nintendo fans were in the middle, though. The Nintendo-created games for the Wii were some of the best this generation, but there were too many terrible cash-grab games to make fanboys completely satisfied. I even bought a PS3 because of Nintendo's not so hot generation with the Wii.

Nintendo sees this though, so with the Wii U they are taking action. Nintendo plans to completely win over hardcore consumers with their new console, it will be powerful, it will be smart, and it will be online. Nintendo is sure to have a bit of a rocky start getting used to all this online, hardcore, HD stuff, but it will be worth it in my opinion.

Nintendo always brings innovation to the table with anything they work on, and I think with this new tablet controller, they will do some really rad stuff. However, Nintendo will effectively be doing a balancing act in this generation with both the hardcore and casual consumers. They, like Microsoft will have to find that sweet, sweet middle ground. Nintendo's just going about it the opposite way as Microsoft.

Sony, however, has been very consistent, but can they win over more consumers?

Sony has always been consistent in bringing hardcore games to the table for hardcore fans, and powerful hardware for those techies out there. They also like to sprinkle in some casual ideas along the way, like the Move and Wonderbook... yeah.

Sony has gone on record as saying that they don't want to be the cheapest or the fastest, but to be the best; in both hardware and software. This will definitely set them apart from Microsoft and Nintendo in the PlayStation 4 being an absolute beast, and presenting technology that is well worth it.

What Sony has to do in my opinion is to bring an idea that will win over some casual consumers, because they really need it with the financial trouble they have been in recently. Other than that, they are very good at bringing a lot of games to their customers very consistently.

So, all in all, all three of these companies are going about their respective console strategies very differently, and really, this generation is barely about which is more powerful and more capable, it will be about preference. The console "war" is almost a defunct idea. It will now be a matter of appeal rather than power, because these strategies are so vastly different. The new generation will be underway this holiday, and I can not be more excited to see how this all plays out.   read

3:07 PM on 07.04.2012

The Idea of "Videogame Hipster" and the People that Keep Feeding It.

Today, that lovable hunk of a man, Jonathan Holmes raised the question of "Videogame Hipsters", This is my overly drawn out response.

On many occasion, I have been called a hipster on the subject of both music and video games. I listen to many underground bands, yes you got me there I guess, but I don't listen to this music because of how it makes me look, it's because it's the fucking music I like. So what if they have 47 albums and like 23 fans. If the music is good, I will listen to it regardless of who they are.

The same goes for video games. Unless you lived under a rock, everyone knows that The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword came out within days of each other last year. This caused stupid debates between me and my friends over which game was better.

I've been a Zelda fan all of my life, and Skyward Sword looked amazing (and lived up to it), so obviously I said Skyward Sword will probably be the better game over Skyrim. Every single one of these guys were convinced that Skyrim was the greatest video game to ever exist, so instinctively they called me a hipster for the sole fact that I liked Skyward Sword better than Skyrim.

After both of the games had come out, no one's opinion changed. I actually do not like Skyrim very much. It just feels like Oblivion with dragons, and that still doesn't quite interest me. My friends still think Skyward Sword looks dumb. The thing that separates me from these friends is the fact that I played both and compared the games to each other.

There are a lot of games I don't really like that I get panned as a hipster for simply not liking. Games like Call of Duty and New Super Mario Bros. Do I care? No, No I do not.

So the moral of the story is, like what you like. No one can and should be able to tell you what you like and don't like. The very idea of Videogame Hipster or Hipster in general should be written off as complete bullshit.   read

1:55 AM on 07.03.2012

One Curious Boy's Impressions of Mother

All my life, I've been an avid fan of Nintendo. Ever since owning a Nintendo 64 as a kid, I've always loved the worlds Nintendo let me take an adventure with. Whether it be in space with Fox, in Hyrule with Link, in the Mushroom Kingdom with Mario, or the wondrous world of Pokemon, Nintendo has never let me down... Well, almost never. That's for another blog post, though.

There has been one world of Nintendo's that escaped me. A world that is not unlike our own, but alas a world that Nintendo themselves have chosen to forget. Shigesato Itoi's world of Mother.

I decided after being bored with the games I own for my consoles and my steam account, that I would delve into Itoi's Mother trilogy, and I thought it was a good idea to sort of log my impressions of the 3 games on my blog, and hopefully the rest of Destructoid would like to read what I have to say.

Mother is an NES RPG released in 1989 that turned all of the fantasy RPG tropes on their head. Instead of knights in shining armor armed with swords of legend, we have a boy named Ninten that whacks his ridiculous enemies with a baseball bat. Instead of mana and mystical magic mumbo-jumbo, we have psychic children that can just make shit burst into flames. I absolutely adore this aspect of the game, the concept was undoubtedly fresh at the time, and it's still relatively fresh now.

The story is also pretty good as well. Ninten's story starts when he discovers his PSI powers as a result from an attack initiated by, what else, a lamp. After our hero dispatches of the baddie, he immediately sets off on an adventure to find out what exactly is going on, and collect the 8 melodies of his ancestors. He meets some very colorful characters in the sprites of Loid, the bullied nerd who specializes in rockets, Ana, A girl who wants to find her mother, and the very masculine Teddy, a gang leader who wants to avenge his parents. These characters will take you on their journey through the world of Mother and will leave you genuinely touched by their 8-bit personalities.

Overall, the gameplay is very fun and reminiscent of Dragon Quest. The battles are in first-person and the moves are turn based. The game is pretty enjoyable, except for one small thing...

The game's only real gripe is the sheer amount of grinding you must endure to advance in the game. The very beginning of the game can be punishing and very fluctuating in nature. You will constantly endure difficulty spikes and forced to grind. What makes this worse is that Loid and Ana start at level 1. (Teddy starts at level 18) Mother is even referred to by fans of the series as the grind-fest.

The game also has one of the most ridiculous random encounter rates I have ever seen. There are many times where you will be walking to a nearby town and take only one step between battles. It gets incredibly frustrating when you are low on health and desperately need a life-up cream.

In terms of pacing, the story is slightly intriguing at the beginning and kind of trails off near the middle, at this point all you're doing is getting your team together and grinding between cities to get Loid and Ana even close to Ninten's levels. At this point in the game, I started to get tired of it. The game then hits a continuous peak when you meet Teddy in Ellay.

What happens here is a series of challenges and plot twists. This results in a couple of party changes and genuine surprises. At a point in the game, Ninten and the gang actually befriend a monstrous robot capable of destroying most of the enemies. Seriously, this robot is kickass. Soon after, you have all 8 melodies you are able to face the final boss.

By the end of the credits after the very cinematic and emotional final boss, my jaw dropped. I couldn't have ever imagined feeling an emotional attachment to an NES game. Mother opened my eyes and absolutely impressed. After finishing this almost trial of a game, I decided to embark on a journey across all 3 games. Mother was a fantastic game, and I am glad to have played it.

If you would like to experience Mother, you'll have to emulate it, sadly. Unless you are of course, Japanese. The game is in English under the name Earthbound Zero on assorted NES roms.

This game is a real treat, and a refreshing and fun RPG for the NES. I really recommend playing it somehow. I hope my impressions/review swayed you to give it a try. Constructive criticism would be much appreciated and if you liked it, please let me know!   read

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -