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Earthbound = My Childhood Life - by Henry Midfields

Earthbound = My Childhood Life

Hi everyone, this is Henry Midfields. I just wanted to write this very long passage, of my thoughts when I played this game. I really needs a fair amount of explanation to make my point, so if you could have the patience and the time, it would be really great...

When I first heard of the game EB, I thought it was an American game, for some reason. Observing the screenshots, it was really familiar to USA, which obviously, Eagleland was based on. I did not know that the game was actually from Japan, produced by Nintendo, until when I played a bit of Smash Brothers on the N64… I would have played this game a lot sooner, but circumstances kept me away from this game until this year when I turned nineteen. As of October 2006, I managed to finish the game twice, and as I was playing, I had this sudden flashback of my childhood years… I personally felt that this game was not just a game… it was a memory of my childhood years…


I was born in Japan in the late 1980s. However, when I was four years old, my father had his job transferred to San Francisco, USA, and my whole family had to move. At first it was tough not knowing the American culture and the English language. However, as time passed, I made friends and acquire my English skills, and I began to enjoy my American life more. My friends were compassionate with my language difficulties, and also loved Nintendo as much as I do. I think they truly liked me as I am, regardless of culture differences etc... My family also had fruitful relationships with the other families living in the neighbourhood. Indeed, I believed it was one of the best part of my childhood life. I lived in the USA from 1992 until 1997, which was roughly the same time as the setting for Earthbound. Seeing the introduction movie of the game in Onett, when the meteor strikes, gives me a nostalgic feeling of the times...


Unfortunately for me, my father had to return to Japan and of course we had to as well. This happened when I was nine years old. Now, an average mature person, who has lived away from his/her home, may think of this as a relief, since s/he gets to return to a familiar place, but this wasn’t the case for me. Ironically, I think that I felt the most miserable in this. It was basically due to “reverse” culture shock; I have got used to the American life too much, and I felt very reluctant to the Japanese way, even though I am Japanese in origin...
What were even worse were the intolerances associated with differences. In Japan, there is a proverb which is, “A stump out of the ground will be pounded.” Basically, anyone who is different (better or worse) to the norm (in a group/gang/political party etc.) is ostracized, whether it will be race, cultural background/ or even, one’s ability or the thoughts s/he holds. Although I do not mean to be anti-Japanese, from my experiences, this was exactly the case in my elementary, middle and high school years in Japan. To put into simple terms, many other students hated me, because I was bilingual (in English and Japanese) compared to most other students, and I cherished individuality and diversity, in which they do not. And I miss all my friends in the USA…
Basically, my classmates in Japan, who they lived in the neighbourhood, were my bullies, or my “worst nightmares”, while all my best friends were from overseas... Coincidentally, I have found this quite similar to Ness in Earthbound: Pokey, who is Ness’ worst neighbour, and Paula, Jeff and Poo, who are Ness’ best friends and all live outside of Onett. Playing through the whole game made me realize this, as my painful memory...

For those who have actually taken the time and trouble to read this article, thank you so much! I actually wanted to fully explain all of the relevant bits and pieces, which resulted in a really long “essay”. If there is anything that you are not exactly sure of, please send me an e-mail, in which my address is:

ultra_hisashi@yahoo.co.jp


Otherwise, happy gaming!!

Henry Midfields
November 4th, 2006


Other Submissions by Henry Midfields

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
Henry Midfields Welcome Home!
An attempted orchestral remix of Ness'/Paula's Home theme (EB version of Pollyana's theme).
10/8/06 0.00
Henry Midfields What a Wonderful World (Snowman's Christmas)
Snowman's Christmas; the time for friends to 'shake hands and say "How do you do?"'
12/20/07 0.00
Henry Midfields You encounter a Territorial Oak!
Ness encounters a Territorial Oak in Peaceful Rest Valley!
2/21/07 0.00

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