Monday, April 14, 2014

Playing Games: Earthbound

My parents gave me a Wii U for my birthday present, and it came early, so I've been playing it in my spare time.  I've been playing numerous games which are new to me: Wind Waker, Super Mario Bros 3D World, and New Super Mario Bros U.  And I've also been playing an old game, Earthbound.

Earthbound must be one of my favorite RPGs of all time.  The tongue in cheek nature of the gameplay and text is amazing.  And the music by Hirokazu Tanaka and Keiichi Suzuki is just incredible-- from the sampling of All You Need is Love to the remakes of The Champs Tequila and The Dallas Rag, it's an incredible montage of various Americana audio.  Here's a video that I made to show in my Video Game Music class about some of these audio references.  (I'll embed once it's available.)

I'd forgotten that the main goal for most of the game is to collect the melodies of different locations throughout the game.  I love that your progress through the game is measured in this way musically.  This reminds me a bit of a Zelda game where you learn different melodies throughout the game.  I do give Zelda a one-up over Earthbound because the songs you learn activate different in game powers and in Earthbound, you simply collect the melodies and don't really "use" them during gameplay.  Also, it's kind of lame that the last tune you collect from the Fire Spring is just tonic. The countermelody is cool too, and you don't hear that until this moment when you have all the melodies collected:



Also cool, but primitive, are the concert performances by Venus and The Runaway Five, which I've blogged about before.  Enjoyed re-playing this game, remembering the music and audio...  if you haven't played it before, I totally recommend it.