Angry Video Game Nerd Wiki

Earthbound (SNES) Angry Video Game Nerd Episode 156

(The episode starts as the Nerd sniffs a controller, Game Boy and NES games.)

The Nerd: What is that smell? What.. what could it.. All these years, I thought a skunk crawled in here and choked to death on dog shit but it's actually coming from this corner. (The Nerd then sniffs various gaming magazines.) It's coming from one of these magazines! It's this one, Nintendo Power Volume 74. (The Nerd flips through to an ad for Virtual Boy.) Of course, the Virtual Boy. It was so bad, even the mere mention of it in print emits the rancid odor of buffalo barf. (Looking at the ad on the next page.)

The Nerd: Wait, no it's this: "Warning! Use only in a well ventilated area... Because this game stinks". EarthBound, well that's a game  nobody ever talked about. So they're saying it stinks? If so, it'd be the first time Nintendo Power was honest. "As if life didn't stink enough already" Oh that's beautiful. "The first Role-Playing Game with B.O. Scratch here if you dare." (The Nerd scratches a monster on the page and sniffs, giving the same reaction he did to the EarthBound ad in the Nintendo Power episode.) AUUUGGGHHH! THAT STINKS! Let's try the pizza. (Scratching the pizza and sniffing, letting out a groan in agony.) Oh God! Wow, that must mean the game is foul, like real rotten and that means... I gotta play it!

The Nerd: I know nothing about EarthBound other than it was the second part of the Mother trilogy which was only released in Japan. First was Mother on the Famicom, then Mother 2 on Super Famicom, which became EarthBound in the US, then Mother 3 for the Game Boy Advance and then Mother! based on the psychological horror film starring Jennifer Lawrence. (Holding up a fake Nintendo 64 cartridge for the film, Mother!) So EarthBound must have been so bad, we didn't even get the other games. Well, what do people have to say? Let's find out: How bad was EarthBound? (The Nerd reads various reviews of EarthBound online, all positive.) Oh okay, it's just one of the greatest RPGs of all time, that's all. When did this happen? One of the top Super Nintendo Games? Of course when Nintendo rounded all their most iconic characters for the Super Smash Bros. series, they included Ness from EarthBound. And that doesn't even sum up EarthBound's legacy. This game has a whole community, it's worshipped! If God had a favorite game, it might be EarthBound! Everybody and their grandma talks about it. EarthBound, EarthBoundEarthBound, the Mother series, the Mother series, Mother-fucking shit! Well, guess I missed out on that one. How was I supposed to know?! Nobody gave a shit back then. Now I really need to play it. But it's the one game I don't own. Let's see here. (Goes to eBay and sees the ridiculously high prices for EarthBound) Oh, you son of a bitch. Ugh, my God. You gotta be kidding me. It's one of those, okay. 

The Nerd: Well luckily, it's been released on the Virtual Consoles for the Wii U and new 3DS and also on the fun-size Super Nintendo Classic with several built-in games, but this thing probably isn't that much easier to get. I usually play the original cartridges but this time for the convenience, I'll make an exception.

(The Nerd starts the game up)

The Nerd: So the game centers around a young boy, as I mentioned already, his name is Ness or whatever you want to name him since it's an RPG. He's eventually joined by Paula, Jeff and Poo. That's right, "Poo". Your goal is simply to collect eight sacred melodies and save the world from Giygas, who is one of most intangible villains I've ever come across, since it's never really explained exactly what Giygas is. It's more like a vague evil force that hovers over the world. Unlike most fantasy RPGs, it has a contemporary setting. You'll see drug stores, burger shops, stop signs and vehicles that all resemble real life. This is kind of a breath of fresh air. As much as we love the far-out fantasy stuff, it's cool to see something we can sort of relate to. Even the first enemies you fight are common animals.

The Nerd: At first, I didn't find this battle system to be very appealing. You can't see yourself, you can only see the enemies. Compare this to Final Fantasy III, Chrono Trigger or Super Mario RPG. That's how I prefer my RPG battles. I want some kind of visual representation of the hero characters. If I wanted to read through the whole fight, I'd get out a pen and paper and play some D&D or something. Also, a common complaint I have with all RPGs is I really wish you could see the enemies' hit points. When I inflict damage on them, those numbers mean nothing to me. Is he almost dead? Should I be keeping track? How about a damn counter? But after a while, I got used to it, because I had to, right? And this is what you do more than half the game. But then, I started to really like it. (The Nerd demonstrates the colorful effects of Ness performing PSI Rockin' on two enemies.) Hearing that slashing sound when you make a successful strike on an enemy is so satisfying. (A brief montage plays with Ness and his party landing successful hits on different enemies, ending with a SMAAAASH!! attack). You can't mention the fight mechanics without talking about the rolling hit point counter, which is a real cool idea. When you take damage, the numbers roll down, where in most RPGs it would be subtracted immediately. Why does this matter? Well, let's say if an enemy inflicts mortal damage on you, you have a chance to heal that character before it hits zero. This can get real tense, because when you see those numbers going down, you're hoping to get your turn in quick.

The Nerd: There's some other cool ideas here like the auto battle option so if you need to take a piss or do something else, you can let the game play by itself. There's also the sneak attacks: If you approach an enemy from behind, you get the first turn but if they approach you from behind, they get the first turn. The dialogue is never boring. Characters will often break the fourth wall, making comments that allude to the fact they're inside a game. This guy says "It could only cost you your life, and you got that for free!" or they'll say something that has nothing to do with the game like "I want to tell you the story of the creature from the vegetable soup, but I won't do that because I don't want to bother you with a story that has nothing to do with your adventure." I wanna know! YOU DON'T JUST TELL ME ABOUT A CREATURE FROM A VEGETABLE SOUP AND LEAVE ME HANGING HERE! In lots of RPGs, the dialogue can be tedious but here, because it's so funny, it makes you want to talk to everybody. The music is very diverse. It can be jolly, or creepy, and of course, it has the mandatory happy town music. Oh those towns, always so peaceful... yeah. (The smile fades from the Nerd's face) Ye-Yeah.

The Nerd: The moment I think best exemplifies the shifting tones in the music is when you're walking in the desert and through the winds and trippy ambiance, you start to hear a song come in as if being played on a distant radio. There's no way to cover everything that happens in this game, but just to give you a taste of how unpredictable it is, let's just say you use a pencil eraser to erase a pencil, Ness rides on a Nessie-type creature on your SNES, you use zombie paper to catch zombies like, flypaper so it makes perfect sense. You follow a hooker into a hotel room where a bunch of monsters gang up on you. You wake up in some weird room, you telepathically communicate with Jeff in a snowy land where he fights giant cavemen at Stonehenge and goes into a lab where a scientist builds a spaceship, you fly around and crash into a graveyard, ending up in the same weird room. You get a Carrot key to use on shadowy bunnies to enter a cave! There's a town where nobody talks unless you give them a book to overcome shyness! There's a guy who turns himself into a dungeon. You go inside him to get a submarine! This is not normal, you gotta be insane to come up with this! (Ness, Paula, Poo and Jeff fall down a hole, being minuscule sprites on the overworld map.) What... What just happened to the game? (The Nerd squints and uses binoculars to see them.)

The Nerd: And we gotta talk about these enemies. (The Nerd fights a small, blob enemy called a "Worthless Protoplasm".) What the hell is that thing? You never know what you're going to have to fight. It might be a pile of puke or a UFO with a pink bow or a cup of coffee, a car, happy vinyl records, gas pumps, melting clocks, a speed limit sign. I'm fighting a sign! (Referencing the 40 MPH seen on the sign.) And they chose such a moderate speed limit. It could have been 9,000 MPH but they picked something ordinary. Even Handsome Tom makes an appearance (An image also shows of Handsome Tom as the Ghost of Christmas Present from "An Angry Nerd Christmas Carol".) and now I'm fighting a tent! Dude, I'm fighting a tent! Whoa... dude. That's it, this game is awesome. You know, I've talked a lot about wasting your time playing bad games, but there's something equally sad about missing out on a good game. I thought it was shit. I thought it was shit! I THOUGHT IT WAS SHIT! YOU DIDN'T TELL ME IT WASN'T SHIT, YOU FUCK..! (Throws the Nintendo Power magazine down on the couch in anger.)

The Nerd: You know, why did it flop? Some say it was because of those smelly ads, but that couldn't have been the whole reason! The 90's were all about gross-out humor, that was the same decade that gave us Boogerman, Nickelodeon's Gak, Beavis and Butt-Head, Earthworm Jim, Ren & Stimpy! The 90's was the barf age! All the grunge bands, they sounded like they were just getting over a sickness. Marilyn Manson, he sang like he was perpetually vomiting (Imitating Marilyn Manson) Sweet dreams ARE MADE OF (Barfing sound) It doesn't make sense! Like how did it tank so bad?! Some say, it was because the game was overpriced because it came with a player's guide inside of an oversized box... YOUR MOM HAS AN OVERSIZED BOX! So, it's a good game, maybe even a masterpiece. That means I'm gonna let it off the hook, there's nothing wrong with it, it's perfect. My ass! Yeah, don't mean to piss on everybody's parade but I do have some gripes.

The Nerd: Beginning with my most minor complaint. All the money you earn from defeating enemies, you have to withdraw from an ATM or cash machine. Whenever you die, you lose half the money you're holding. You might say it's an interesting game mechanic because it's like real life where you only wanna take out as much as you need, but it only causes you to keep making extra stops and is a constant inconvenience. There's a part where you have to give someone a diamond, but she won't take it unless you walk around to the other side of the desk. Have you ever had to walk around a desk to give somebody something?!

(A cutaway of the Nerd giving someone, also played by the Nerd, paperwork at a desk is shown.)

The Nerd: Here you go.

(Worker Nerd points for the Nerd to come around the desk. The Nerd sighs and walks around the desk, staring at Worker Nerd in anger.)

The Nerd: (Continuing his gripes) It doesn't help that walking around anything could get you stuck. Hey, it's just trees! look how tiny I am! I can't fit past that tree?! This is almost as bad as Little Red Hood. Also, you move pretty slow and with such a big world, getting around can be a chore. Sometimes you wanna outrun enemies but they're all the same speed as you or faster. But oh hey! I found a bike, that solves that. (A text box shows up, exclaiming that you can't ride the bike now because there are more people in the party.) Oh shit. Seriously? As soon as more characters join your party, you can't use the bike anymore. It's a one-seater only. (Sighing) Well, since Ness is solo for only a small part of the game, that means the bike is pretty much worth jack shit. THANKS FOR THE TEASE, ASSHOLES! 

The Nerd: There's too many incidental items that only get used once like the Piggy nose, which you use to sniff for magic truffles. I can't think of any other area where you need that so your inventory gets filled up pretty quickly with all these items that you don't even know if you're gonna need again and yes, what you see on screen, that's all the inventory you can hold for each character. You can use Escargo Express, which is a pick-up delivery service that can take the items off your hands to save them for you but everytime you call these bastards over, they only pick up three items at a time, so it's more messing around and jumping through hoops just to keep what you wanna keep.

The Nerd: When you buy items, there is no option to pick quantity. If you want to stock up on many of the same item, you have to buy them (The Nerd buys Refreshing Herbs one at a time, becoming frustrated.) UGH! UGH! UGH! Wouldn't it be so much easier just to do this? (Final Fantasy is shown with the Nerd buying items in quantity.) Something as simple as buying items from the store is torture. Absolute fucking torture! Then there's a secret entrance you have to access by standing behind a waterfall. You're supposed to stand still and wait. This is very similar to the tornado in Simon's Quest, which I've referenced a thousand times but that's nothing. You only have to wait about five seconds but you want to know how long you have to wait here? Three whole minutes. I am dead fucking serious.

The Nerd: If you die, you get the worst punishment ever. All your friends remain dead and have to be revived. To revive them, you have to take them to a specific place, usually a hospital. Along the way, Ness will most likely be forced into fighting a bunch of enemies without the help of his friends which makes the whole process take even longer. When you get to the hospital, you have to pay a fee. Oh shit, I need to go to the ATM to get some money. So I get the money, go back to the hospital and now the friends are revived, but their PSI, or magic, is still not replenished so you either have to find a bunch of magic butterflies or go to a hotel and pay another fee for that but the craziest thing is many of the areas in the game don't have hospitals or hotels. It might be a spring or a pool or a geyser or some weird character with healing powers. You never know so you do not want to die in this game because depending where you are, it can take maybe 30 minutes to get everybody powered up again when a simple reset would have done nicely like every other fucking game.

The Nerd: Even something as simple as saving the game is a hassle. You have to call your dad who records your progress. That would be fine but the guy just won't stop. "Your dear old dad was also thinking about hitting the hay for the night. I have recorded a record of your adventure to this point. Good night, sleep tight." No I'm not done! Continue! "You like to work hard just like your mother but I don't think it's good to work too hard." This happens every time. Every single fucking time. You wanna know how you save a game? (The Nerd saves progress instantly in Super Metroid.) That's how you save a game, instead of having to wait through all this bullshit! (The Nerd presses rapidly to get through the text.) Ugh!

The Nerd: Sometimes, your dad calls you out of the blue. "Hello, it's your dad. You've been out there for a long time now. It may be none of my business but don't you think it'd be a good idea if you took a break?" Don't you think it'd be a good idea to GO FUCK YOURSELF! This game is all about interruptions. Again, seemingly using Simon's Quest as the model. Here, earthquakes constantly stop you from moving and you know it's coming but there's nothing you can do. Any second now.. Any second now.. Ugh! Come on! Ugh! Go! Go! Go! But the worst interruption of all (Happy music plays and the Photo Guy drops in.) The photo guy. He drops in to take your photo again and again and again for no real purpose except for the end credits. Whoopity doo. He shows up all the time and I mean, all the time. (A montage shows of Photo Guy dropping in to take pictures.) LEAVE ME ALONE! LET ME PLAY THE GAME! 

The Nerd: Often, you may need to backtrack to areas in the game you've already been to and with such a big world and so many enemies in your way, it can take forever to get from one place to the next. So thankfully, you get the power to teleport. Now, you can instantly go anywhere you want...(Ness and the party run to teleport but crash into a bridge, turning black.) or not. There can't be anything in your way, you need extra clearance, perhaps just enough to reach 88 MPH. This isn't Back to the Future! What is this shit? And if the roads are on a isometric angle, forget about it. You know how teleporting is supposed to work? Like this (Link teleports away in A Link to the Past.)

The Nerd: Many areas in the game, the space just doesn't exist. How am I supposed to teleport here or here or here? You have to take a long hike to get somewhere else which defeats the whole purpose of teleporting. It's another useful ability gone down the shitter. By the end of the game, you get an upgrade. Now, the teleporting goes in a circle, which is significantly better but still, you can slam into things even when there seems to be plenty of space. (The party crashes into something on the minuscule map while teleporting.) ASS! I'd throw the game out the window but it's on the Super Nintendo Classic so that would mean throwing out Street Fighter II, Donkey Kong Country, F-Zero, Castlevania IV and after all, I'm willing to excuse most of the shit because the game charmed me so much with its' unique style. I still maintain it's an awesome game but those are some serious strikes against it. 

The Nerd: No matter how frustrating it gets, I can't stop playing it because I want to see what happens next. You never know what this game's gonna throw at you. All of a sudden, you're fighting a bunch of police officers. Police officers are trying to beat up a child! Then you're fighting a bunch of Klansmen who worship the color blue. Holy shit, I'm so overwhelmed trying to explain everything that happens here. The question is, what doesn't happen? Each area invents its' own set of rules. In the neon town of Moonside, you can't walk around much. You're always trapped inside invisible barriers so you have to talk to certain warp people who look just like everyone else and they warp you to the next place. Also, in this town, yes is no and no is yes so you have to answer everything opposite. "Pay for the doctor's fee?" Yes, no, yes, no.. Should I say yes or no?

The Nerd: There's a part where you have to navigate through a series of caves by trading items with monkeys. This is where your inventory skills of what to keep and what not to are put to the ultimate test. If you wanna see how complicated this part is, just look at the Player's Guide and it's just so you can get a yogurt dispenser to give to a secretary to grant you access to a certain floor in a building to fight robots, rescue Paula and escape in a helicopter... or not. (The helicopter flies away, leaving Ness and his party.) It's like The Wizard of Oz with the hot-air balloon. Come back! Asshole! You eat a magic cake which changes everything into a completely different game. This is where you play as Poo for the first time. You have to go to the top of a hill known as the Place of Emptiness and meditate. This is another instance where you're supposed to stand still and do nothing, then a voice calls out and says to stop your meditation immediately.

The Nerd: Okay, so I go back to my master and he says to try again. What? So I go back up the hill again, this time I ignore the voice because you can't even trust what the game tells you. (The Nerd ignores the voice and after a few seconds, Poo is taken to a static screen with the floating head of a spirit.) Oh.. kay. "To complete your trial, I am going to.. break your legs. You will lose the use of them. Do you accept this?" I suppose to say yes. (The Nerd picks yes and his own legs explode as he screams in agony.) This ain't good! "I shall then take your arms and feed them to the crows?" Oh sure why not? I'm almost dead anyway!  (The Nerd screams in agony as his arms explode and he begins to sing One by Metallica.) TAKEN MY ARMS! TAKEN MY LEGS! TAKEN MY SOUL, LEFT ME WITH LIFE IN HELL! "Without legs and arms, you can only lie there, now I'll cut your ears off." Well my HP is 0 so what could happen? (The Nerd's ears explode as he screams.) "No legs, no arms and no sound... Do you care if I take your eyes? Do you want to live in eternal darkness?  I shall steal your sight... Do you accept this?" (The Nerd accepts and his eyes explode. More text is shown as the Nerd, without arms, legs or sight sits on the couch. In the end, it's revealed to be Poo's training and the Nerd is back to normal.) That was weird, man. 

The Nerd: Progessing toward the end of the game, you fight Diamond Dog, the first legitimately hard boss battle because he reflects almost anything you throw at him but if you make it through, you touch the fire spring which transports you to some dream where you visit your childhood home as a ghost and see yourself as a baby who exhibits some signs of telekinesis, I think? If it all isn't celebral enough, next thing, your mind creates a realm called Magicant, which is made up of Ness's memories, such as the flowers from Pee-Wee's Playhouse. (Imitating the flowers) "Introducing the King of Cartoons." They say this land will cease to exist when he wakes up, but in the meantime, he's reunited with past characters, both friends and enemies. "I still feel pain where you wounded me." Well, that makes you feel sad.

The Nerd: This really is one of the most fascinating dream stages I've ever played in a game. There's so many interesting lines of dialogue that just makes me stop in my tracks, like this snowman from Ness's childhood. "We had fun one snowy day. I melted, but I'm still real in your memory." And when Ness meets his younger self, this might be the most brilliant quote in the whole game. "It's me... I'm you when you were younger. Hey, let's play ball. Do you prefer reading comics or playing games? What? You're busy?..." Pure gold. Then you're joined by flying warriors, who represent your courage. When they die they populate a graveyard. How cool is that? You also find the grave of Buzz Buzz, a bee from earlier in the game.

The Nerd: Lots of people have theories on who Buzz Buzz really is, but I think Buzz Buzz is a collective entity that represents all the other EarthBound players out there who have shared this experience with you from a distance. Near the beginning of the game, Buzz Buzz says he's from the future, which is when the game finally got popular, as if it predicted its own legacy and I like to think the tomb belongs to a player who gave up on this spot in the game, which is why you must go on. Then, you go deeper into your subconscious (Ness gets a phone call from his dad while in the subconscious.) OH, SHUT UP DAD! COME ON! You go deeper into your subconscious to a place where you touch the truth of the universe, and then fight your evil self in the form of a gold statue. This game is nuts! It's really nuts!  And once the statue's beaten, Ness absorbs the power of the land into his heart and all of his memories flash before him. (Ness spins as his memories flash before him while the same thing happens to the Nerd, flashing various clips from previous episodes and awakens in his own subconscious while Shit Pickle hops by.)

Shit Pickle: Shit pickle. Shit pickle, shit pickle, shit pickle, shit pickle, shit pickle, shit pickle, shit pickle. Shit pickle.

(The plane screeching and crashing from Top Gun is heard while a seagull, a seaman from Seaman, and Tong Shau Ping from Hong Kong 97 fly by while "I Love Beijing Tiananmen" plays. Skylar from Cybermorph is shown next.)

Skylar:  Where did you learn to fly? Where did you learn to fly?

Glitch Gremlin I shit all over it with glitches.

(The younger version of the Nerd comes and begins talking.)

Young Nerd:  Hey, Nerd! I'm your younger self! Want to play some ET?

The Nerd: Fuck no!

Young Nerd: Oh, well, why so angry?

The Nerd:  Stop playing these games. They'll ruin your life.

Young Nerd: But... games are fun. What happened to you?

(The Young Nerd takes off as the slashed and smashed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III VHS shows up.)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: I was fun too. You used to watch me over and over. 

The Nerd: I destroyed you. I slashed you with a sword and smashed you with a hammer.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: That's true, and it's still painful but I still exist in your memory.

(The Nerd walks up and meets Bimmy.)

Bimmy: I'm Bimmy! I'm Bimmy! I'm Bimmy! Want some shit? (Bimmy pulls out shit resembling the one the Nerd took on the Atari Jaguar.)

The Nerd: No!

(Mr. Rigs shows up.)

Mr. Rigs: That's right, Nerd! Don't take shit from nobody! Only give shits and while you're at it, get some clothes that fit.

(The shit Bimmy is holding begins to talk.)

The Nerd's Shit: Yes, it's a little on the baggy side.

The Nerd: Hey! I don't need any advice from you or the shit talking shit.

The Nerd's Shit: I'm not just any shit. I'm the shit you dropped on the Atari Jaguar.

The Nerd: Where's the Jaguar?

The Nerd's Shit: You didn't want it. All there is now is shit. (The subconscious then turns to shit in front of the Nerd.) Everything now is all shit. That's how you made it.

The Nerd: But I don't want it to be shit! Not anymore. I've been through so much. I recorded so many memories and experiences but the shit is still spreading. It lives on and on.

The Nerd's Shit: To defeat it, you must go back to the source of the anger, the beginning. You can't go back to your childhood, not physically anyway. You can only go back in spirit  and even then, you'll be isolated inside your own world. You'd be powerless to win without help from the outside.

Mr. Rigs: Yeah, Nerd! Do what the shit said. Beat EarthBound! Keep on trucking, you fuck!

The Nerd: (Sitting down to continue the game) Alright. The final stretch of EarthBound is one of the craziest things you'll ever experience in a video game. You're now ready to confront Giygas but a scientist explains that Giygas is actually attacking from the past. So the only way to fight him is to get in a time machine called the Phase Distorter to take yourself back to the past, but the time machine can only transport inanimate objects. Any living beings are demolished in the process. So first, you have to transplant your soul into robots. Yeah. Uh, essentially, you can only go back in spirit. So, when you're successfully sent back, the place known as the Cliff that Time Forgot becomes the Cave of the Past. Then, you have to fight a whole bunch of enemies in your new robot bodies. Every few steps you take, you get stuck in another battle.

The Nerd: The Starmen are some of the toughest enemies in the game. They just pulverize you, so you need to put up magic shields, if only you get the chance and if there's one of those enemies that explodes and causes mortal damage to everyone, you better make sure you kill them last. Ugh, this whole thing is an endurance and if you don't have enough items to heal, or revive party members, or replenish PSI magic, you could be fatally screwed. As far as I know, there's no way back anymore. You can't teleport to find a store to stock up on items. Whatever you have now,  that's all you get. If you die, the items don't come back. If you run out of items, I really don't know what you would do here and I don't want to experiment by hitting reset or anything like that.

The Nerd: When you make it this far, this is when all the classic symptoms of gaming fever occur. Your hands sweat all over the controller, your face gets hot, you might even stand up like I do. You get so hyped, you think you might end up in a hospital and if you want to experience this amazing finale for yourself, consider this a spoiler alert. Up until now, the game has been cute and adorable but now, it's about to hit you with a precision mind fuck. You walk through a weird passage that looks like intestines or something. You step up to the Devil's Machine, which contains Giygas. A portal opens revealing Ness's face, whatever that means and to make things even more confusing, Ness's neighbor, Pokey, appears as a secondary villain. He's a recurring character who's always had a rivalry with Ness. It's not very clear how he ended up here but what interests me is that you're fighting your own face. Anyway, now with that metal music going on, you know you're in for some serious shit. (The Nerd fights the face to the metal music.) Come on.

The Nerd: If you win, Pokey turns off the Devil's Machine, releasing Giygas and then, this happens. (Gigyas' face is shown.) Holy mother of shit! I'm glad I didn't play this as a kid. I'd be traumatized. I can't believe this was rated K-A. When you finally see Giygas, you still don't know exactly what he is. He's just a vague swirling red face. Even when he attack, it says "You cannot grasp the true form of Giygas' attack." It's as if Giygas isn't really a thing but more of an idea. In fact, he can't be harmed by physical attacks. You have to use Paula's ability to pray for help, then you see all of the supporting characters from all over the game praying for your safety.

The Nerd: The idea of praying goes along with the idea that Giygas is the vague embodiment of evil, or the devil itself, which makes this whole battle feel like an exorcism. After each prayer, Giygas changes shape as the visuals start to look even more like you're in Hell and what's that? (The Nerd looks closely as the fetus outline of Giygas' form is shown.) Oh, I am so freaked out. I don't even know what to say. Intentional or not, there is the distinct shape of a baby. More specificially, a fetus as seen through an ultrasound. Whoa! Now look what it's doing. (Giygas starts to become distorted and static-like.) It's like an ultrasound machine got possessed. If you've seen Gremlins 2, you remember the electric Gremlin that goes inside the electrical equipment? It's a little bit like that except if it was the devil and if I wasn't already impressed by the technical capability on the Super Nintendo, this is something I've never seen it do. Think about it, you're fighting the background.

The Nerd: It's a surreal immersive experience that feels like you're actually fighting the console itself and that it's been possessed. You want to see something really wild? You know those magic eye images where you stare at a pattern and let your vision go blurry or whatever until you see a 3D image pop out? You can actually do that here. I don't recommend it if you're not comfortable. Umm.. there's several ways to do it and everybody's different. The technique that works best for me is I cross my eyes until the double images converge, creating a false focus and that gives you this crazy, three-dimensional depth. So if you want to freak yourself out even more, there you go but I warned you. Many fans haven given theories as to what the baby means, just like analyzing the baby at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The Nerd: It's worth noting that there was a theory spreading around, saying that Giygas himself is a fetus and that the reason you travel back in time was to destroy him before he was born. Now let me state, this is not my own theory but it's interesting: An abortion basically to prevent the birth of an evil villain is such a morally complex idea. They say the entrace to Giygas's lair represents, um, a woman's spread legs, which means the cave in the middle is, well, use your imagination.. it's a vagina! When you go inside, you're traveling toward the uterus.. Yeah. Again, keep in mind, this is just an old fan theory. Many fans have debated against it or pointed out other plot elements in the Mother series that contradict it and the game designer, Shigesato Itoi, denied the theory but I still think one of the artists might have put the baby in there because it's the shape of a baby, that's the only thing that's clear. As far as rest of the theory goes, if Itoi denied it, then it's not true. It's just based on a movie scene where a woman gets strangled and hacked to pieces, that's all.

The Nerd: Itoi recalls being at the movie theater as a child and walking into the wrong film. It was called "The Military Policeman and the Dismembered Beauty" from 1957. There's a scene where a man strangles a woman then carries her to an operating room where he cuts her up to hide the body. If you try to compare  the film with EarthBound, you're not gonna see any similarities. There's no lines of dialogue that carried over even if they were somehow inspired by it. Even Itoi remembers the movie differently than how it actually is but nevertheless, it shocked him and left a permanent impression so when he was creating this final boss battle, he was remembering that feeling of childhood trauma. Giygas is just a symbol of all your childhood terrors. (The Nerd squints and sees the LJN logo and ET within Giygas' design, shuddering.) Oh! Itoi said Giygas is something you can't make sense of and it gets the player's minds working. This means you can interpret it any way you want, just like any Stanley Kubrick film. That's what makes the game so great is that we're all able to share our own different ideas.

The Nerd: So, what I'm about to say is just a personal hunch, nothing more. What I like to believe is Giygas is an eternal being who's reincarnated as Ness. Whatever alien life form he existed as in the first Mother game was just another body for him to inhabit. There's no better way to explain it than in the lyrics of one of my favorite Black Sabbath songs, "A National Acrobat", which itself is open to interpretation but it goes hand in hand so well. I believe Giygas is the same traveling entity that is speaking from those lyrics so I like to think Ness was the reincarnation of Giygas all along and he's had powers that he can't even understand. Those powers are what influenced animals and people to become violent so when he fights them, he's fighting against his own evil side. After all, so much of the game seems to exist inside his own imagination.

The Nerd: It begins with Ness waking from bed having heard a strange noise then taking a bat and ordinary household items. An innocent, imaginative child, arming himself in the only way he knows how. The sacred melodies that he records each remind him of something from his youth, connecting him closer and closer to his childhood. Only after he obtains these memories, he creates Magicant, where he's able to examine all his life experiences, putting everything into context and coming to terms with the events from his past. Only then can he go back to the source of the evil, the beginning. You go back to the very moment in the womb when Giygas was reincarnating into Ness. Yes, this kind of plays along with the much contested fetus theory except the fetus is Ness and Giygas is trying to take over so what you're doing is driving Giygas out, or performing a sort of exorcism, if you will. Even if this is not at all the idea that was intended, I find it more interesting, in my opinion.

The Nerd: A double image of a demon and a baby. Who will take control, good or evil? Now I'm starting to sound like a movie trailer and if I haven't already lost my mind, get this: The final battle takes place in a separate dimension, which exists as a metaphysical bus to transport Giygas from one life to the next so when Ness and his friends leave their bodies behind, they become travelling entities themselves. That's the only way they could exist in the same dimension as Giygas in order to fight him but they still can't defeat him on their own while trapped inside that world. They're powerless to win without help from the outside and that's where the prayers come in. So everybody, please help. Help me beat this game!

(A montage of images is shown of various fans holding up signs and artwork, cheering on the Nerd to beat Giygas. Chanting for the Nerd can also be heard.)

Young Nerd: Go Nerd! Go Nerd!

The Nerd: (Fighting Giygas) Come on! Come on! (More fans are shown as the Nerd beats Giygas.) Yeah!

(The screen begins to distort and turns to black as the Nerd wakes up on his couch, staring at Ness and his friend as they all wake up from the subconscious.)

The Nerd: I am blown away. That was one of the craziest games I've ever played. Sure it has flaws but I think it does belong on the list of mandatory Super Nintendo games. I think the worlds they created here has potential far beyond the games. Just look at how much imagination they put into the Player's Guide. There should be an EarthBound animated TV series. That could be amazing! Well let's hope more things happen with the Mother series and if not, the fans will still keep it alive.

(A MIDI of the AVGN theme plays as the episode ends.)