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8-13 (Threed) - by F. Jammes

8-13 (Threed)

(Threed, Dahl)

I was walking around Threed yesterday to flesh out an idea I had for an article. Many interesting subjects readily presented themselves—indeed, too many for one article only—and it’s always nice to be reassured that the game’s peculiar, friendly charm is not only surpassing but undying. I would almost be content keeping my thoughts between me and my dear cartridge but that I am not occupied and feel like writing, more’s the pity for you I guess. We’ll see how it goes.

I remember reading all of Roald Dahl’s books at my local library when I was in elementary school—at least, all the children’s ones—and I am now privileged to own a few of them. Well, recently I was reading Matilda to pass an idle afternoon. Perk up, now, I’m getting back round to Earthbound: for the very terrible Ms Trunchbull’s yearnings include a sort of fly paper for small children (first paragraph in the chapter “The First Miracle”). Inventive and outlandish were Itoi and Dahl both.

Then there remains to discuss another strange association. Maybe it’s a bit of a stretch. There’s a character in Matilda called Ms Honey, gentle and thoughtful as the Trunchbull is fierce and mad. Thus the Fly Honey may enter the discussion as, in a sense, overlapping along with the Zombie Paper—at any rate the concepts of honey and of fly paper were not far from one another in the minds of either of our creative geniuses. Itoi recombined them to fit his Threed, halloweenesque and circus-tented; Dahl appropriated them to frame a dramatic dichotomy between two teachers of little Matilda—who, by the way, had psychic powers. Hmm. All right, this is all very interesting, but I’m not getting any closer to my punch-line so now check it out: we have Fly Honey and Zombie Paper. Disentangle and rearrange them to get back to Fly Paper…and you’re left with Zombie Honey…Doesn’t fit anywhere, unless—oh yeah, the Zombie Honey is that mysterious chick who lures you into the Threed Sunset Hotel as the music goes askew.


I like just walking around in Earthbound more than I like most entire games; taken as a whole, story, graphics, etc, they don’t come close to touching the simple joy of wandering around in Earthbound. Turning on the game for a few spare minutes is like opening up a favorite book and reading a few passages at random, or listening to a song or two from a favorite cd. It’s true that the dialogue of the sprites is akin to the one, and the background music like the other, but somehow walking around in the little worlds of the game is wholly another experience, one that has little to do with its constituent parts. I won’t say a better, because they are all a joy and all different, and even comparing them insofar as I have done is dangerously skirting the mire of academicism. But you’ve played it, probably you know what I mean without words more.

That’s what the programmers’ graffiti on one of Threed’s billboards says, (…Just play it!). They appreciate that you’re going to feel the need to read all the billboards, but while at first you’ll do this to try to gain Information for your Quest, hopefully by Threed you’ll have realized, ‘Say, these billboards don’t help much, sorta like most of the people, but I’ll keep reading them all and talking to them all anyway—because they’re funny’. The programmers share the joke with you in so many instances once you’ve made this distinction; and until you do, those same little messages are so many taunts, well deserved, to make you set aside your boring, conventional notions of RPGs.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, I give you

(P.O.O.P., or, Don’t Tread On Me)

The second billboard I must mention is posted by the Parents Opposing Obsession Plan. It might go along with the first and no more ado, but there’s a special reason I single it out. I assume that other people, a lot of you, have already noticed that the acronym spells that funny, funny word. Someone will have mentioned it or alluded to it somewhere in the forum or elsewhere on the site. But I haven’t heard about it, I only just realized it myself yesterday on my visit to Threed.

I’m making this sound pretty trivial, I guess, and beating it to death, but I feel quite strongly that I’d rather not hear from you guys saying, ‘Hey new kid, none of this is original, I/my friend/my grandma said something about it in this post, or this story, etc’. I feel like I have the right to bring up things that, while old hat to you, are new to me. Don’t be thirsty coil snakes wearing Franklin badges and use your poisonous fangs, all, ‘Don’t tread on me’. (It was Franklin who drew that crappy flag, wasn’t it?)

I’m not advocating plagiarism, it should be clear, but putting in its place any notion that I should be obligated to go through and read every word ever written by any member of this site. If things people write are thoughts you’ve chewed yourself before, don’t thrust the long-digested remnants in their faces and expect due respect for it; you might make them lose their appetite ere something really tasty is cooked up whose like you never knew, and they alone have the recipe for the that Magic Cake.


The ghosts and dogs in the south of Threed are safely caged away. I like to look at them and think of the wagon-cages strung together and the circus hitting the road again, a bit like the Runaway Five, or Pokey…It’s a shame the sequel doesn’t yet exist. You think if it did the site would be more lively, or less? Y’see, right now we can all commiserate here and huddle up for warmth, so to speak, and be vindicated by the presence of like-minded others in our attachment to what is just a kids’ game; if a new one came out, might it break the spell, and reminiscence of the old give way to action, playing the new game? And will new people keep finding Earthbound, perhaps pirated, perhaps legally with the prospective Revolution library, or will it be forgotten eventually?

I see I’ve strayed from considerations of the game as such, and talked awhile now about issues pertaining to something close to it, but separate, existing in a degree exclusive from it on the merits of friendships made, money donated…the websites. This is where Earthbound becomes a caged animal: we can come and see it, but I am convinced it’s not its natural habitat, talked about through this screen of conflicting egos and the accrued flotsam of their idiosyncrasies and the wreckage of their conflicts—and where the game can’t be Just Played the way it was meant to be. It’s a convenient way to meet people who share an interest with you, yes, but let’s be careful not to bury the real thing under childish talk.

But that’s all a paradox, eh? Many endangered species are preserved by zoos. And another: I sound harsh and arrogant enough, but I depend on the kindness of people running the site to post what I say, and on the rest of you to read it—and be advised, if you cut me will I not bleed? so be polite if you drop me a line about something I’ve written, and if I don’t hear anything well that’s almost worse than being criticized. We’re a social animal; there is no pure art. And I’ll just conjecture here, but isn’t it more interesting to see new things people come up with than it is to always discuss the original game? Only compare the opening of this essay with what it evolves into.

(The third billboard’ll keep until next week. Well, there’s one thing more)

It’s a bit anticlimactic, I’m afraid. I only thank you for reading the whole thing, and say I’ll continue it in about a week. And say this: when I say I’ll continue it in about a week, I will. I get really annoyed by people who aren’t prompt; and if you aren’t prepared to keep to a schedule you declare you’ll keep, why, it’s very simple: don’t make the promise in the first place. But I’m always ready to forgive a fair excuse, and to give one.

Other Submissions by F. Jammes

Author Sort Ascending Sort Descending Title Sort Ascending Sort Descending Description Sort Ascending Sort Descending Date Sort Ascending Sort Descending Rank Sort Ascending Sort Descending
F. Jammes 8-13 (Threed)
7/31/06 0.00
F. Jammes A Nativity Scene
Cameos but no camels.
1/9/07 0.00
F. Jammes Because College > High School
7/31/06 0.00
F. Jammes Cocoons
an idyll; just for fun
9/4/05 0.00
F. Jammes EB houses 11/7/05 0.00


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