EarthBound Beginnings:

Prior to the release of Earthbound Beginnings on Virtual Console on June 14th, 2015, the focus of the Earthbound Community and gamers alike seemed to be centralized on the possibility of the global release of Mother 3, due to the announcement that Lucas, the main protagonist of Mother 3, would be added to the roster of Super Smash Bros. for WiiU and 3DS weeks beforehand. As E3 approached, many waited with baited breath for any type of announcement regarding the Earthbound series, hoping for a what was believed to follow. Of course, what resulted was out of far left field, for many.

On June 14th, 2015, a day before the scheduled digital event, Nintendo proudly held the first Nintendo World Championships in twenty-five years, subjecting internet personalities to multiple video game challenges, all of whom hoping to claim the prestigious title of Nintendo World Champion. The auditorium was lined with anxious spectators, who while waiting for the beginning of the competition, were shown a select number of games that would be appearing later on at the upcoming event. In the midst of it all, it was said that an announcement was to be made, and what followed for several moments was silence, and then…

The announcement itself was one peppered with not only the emotion of the crowd and all those in attendance, but with the emotion of Shigesato Itoi, as well. Within the first portions of the broadcast, Itoi solemnly stated that the purpose of the re-release of what was formally known as Earthbound Zero was to commemorate the original release of Earthbound for the SNES, as he went on to describe the game as “A game that is peculiar… and fun… and kind… That you can’t put down… and that stays in your memory so that even after 20 years have passed, fans still come together and talk about it.”
He continued discussing the game’s involvement in starting his career, and its connection to its sequel, with the presentation finally ending with a final statement as he expressed his gratitude toward the fans of Earthbound for changing his life, finishing on this statement; “When I think that perhaps, even after I have left this world, someone may still be playing the Mother series, I feel a little uneasy, but all so very… kind of happy.”

After the release, the gaming media began to run rampant with news of the game’s revival. Gaming sites such as IGN and Polygon took to the presses to announce its immediate availability on Virtual Console, as fans quickly prepped themselves for the new, yet familiar, adventure ahead.

In terms of reviews, the game received mixed reception from many, while some gave it near perfect scores. According to Nintendo Life, the game garnered a near perfect 9 out of 10, stating that “Sticking through its older style of play, with its difficulty and occasional fluctuations in balance, will yield a fine story and a strangely transcendental sense of nostalgia, like a letter of love written to a child who hadn't even been born yet.” However, several other outlets seemed to disagree with such a decision, including IGN, who awarded it a 6.5 out of 10, boldly stating that “Earthbound Beginnings feels like a massive, unparsed prototype for its legendary successor, with a “kitchen sink” design philosophy that reflects too many ideas and not enough balancing.”

Either way, the game as it is remains a staple of the Earthbound series. Despite its obvious and plainly apparent flaws, it undoubtedly deserved such a heartwarming announcement after so many years of fan out cry.



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