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Retronauts Joins the Cult of EarthBound

This week, USgamer's classic gaming podcast explores the 1995 Super Nintendo RPG that went from critical flop to Internet sensation.

Article by Bob Mackey, .

Since we at Retronauts just celebrated our third full year of production as an independent entity, frankly, it's about damned time we finally get around to doing an episode about EarthBound. At the very least, it ranks very high on the big list of things I'll likely never shut the hell up about.

If you dig back into the archives, you'll notice that we (and by "we" I mean "other people") already had an EarthBound episode in the ancient year historians call "2009." But things were much darker for EarthBound seven years ago: The ship had just sailed on a potential localization for its sequel, Mother 3, and, during those fruitful days of the Wii and DS, Nintendo didn't need to account for the demands of a small, obsessive group when it had the world in the palm of its hand. These days, a much more desperate Nintendo means all of our EarthBound dreams have essentially come true. You can currently buy EarthBound and EarthBound Beginnings on Virtual Console, and figurines of Ness are now sold at places like Target and Walmart—a fact that would completely destroy the brain of any EarthBound fan in the late '90s.

Even if our wishful thinking of a Mother 3 announcement at E3 didn't become a reality, it's still a very good time to be a fan of Shigesato Itoi's genuinely unique, charming, and funny RPG series. And while it may seem unlikely that we'd find anything new to talk about that hasn't already been said in the past 20 years, devoting a full 90 minutes to EarthBound alone means no element has gone neglected. This episode looks into the people behind the game—including a few you might not know—its incredibly troubled production history, the Baby Boomer nostalgia that fuels much of its content, that goddamned amazing soundtrack, and the Internet fan movement that eventually resulted in the EarthBound-friendly business known as Fangamer. Regardless of your fluency in EarthBound, you'll find something to love in this episode.

Joining us on this one is semi-regular Retronaut Ray Barnholt, Laser Time Network friend Michael Grimm, and IGN's Andrew Goldfarb. And our cover art comes courtesy of Nick Daniel. As always, you can keep up with the latest Retronauts news via our Twitter and Facebook accounts, and check out some of our video content over on our YouTube page. And, in case you forgot, Retronauts is fully funded by our Patreon campaign, so if you can afford to donate even a dollar a month, please consider it! Every little bit really helps our cause.

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