I discovered EarthBound about three years after its US release in 1995. I had walked in on my brother playing the game and hung around to watch. At first, I wasn't wowed by its cutesy graphics (which I would quickly come to love soon after) but after seeing the beginning events with the meteorite and Buzz Buzz, I decided that I wanted to try it for myself and so the very next day, I did just that.
And that's when I was sucked into Ness's crazy world of alien invaders, pogo punks, and psychic superpowers and what a world it is! I was excited by each achievement from defeating Frank, to getting the first melody, and rescuing Paula from the Happy Happyists. In fact, Happy Happy Village for me is noteworthy because that's when my parents temporarily forbade me from playing EarthBound!
Now for the record, my parents are awesome, loving, and supporting people. But when I described the Happy Happyist cult, they became a little worried about what EarthBound was teaching me. We were, and still are, practicing Mormons but after having a serious family discussion about EarthBound and video games in general, my parents gave me the OK to play EarthBound again and so I resumed my quest.
I spent the better part of that year working my way through Threed, then Fourside, then all the way to the final battle with Giygas. I remember being very weirded out when Giygas's true form was revealed and I also remember trying many times to defeat him. Then I finally figured it out and felt a great sense of joy, excitement and accomplishment as I played out the game's ending.
The following years were tough and I played EarthBound I don't know how many times over, but then I went through a period of not playing the game at all. My reasons are personal, but in 2008, Super Smash Bros. Brawl was released and that was my introduction to Lucas. Lucas seemed melancholy, the way I was feeling at the time. But he was also a kick-butt psychic boy like Ness. Shortly after, I decided to import a used copy of Mother 3 from Japan.
The wait was excruciating but exciting, but when it finally came, I plugged the game into my clunky first-gen DS and started on my journey through the Nowhere Islands, with only a little knowledge of Japanese at my disposal. I cleared the game with little help from the Internet and soon after imported Mother 1+2 so I could revisit the other two games.
I suppose I could say that EarthBound was one of my happy places as a kid. My elementary school years were good, but my middle school years were terrible and I'm glad I had EarthBound as a sort of oasis from the harsh school climate. And while I'm a much happier person today than I was at that time, EarthBound, along with EarthBound Beginnings and Mother 3 are still a source of comfort as I go through the ups and downs of life. Memories. Fun. Comfort. #thisisearthbound