EarthBound is an integral part of my identity.
Like many, I took the leap and rented the game in the unusually large box at a Blockbuster Video in the mid-90s. This would be my first foray into the world of RPGs. As an impressionable middle-schooler, I thank this series for helping to build and shape my unique sense of humor and expression.
It would be a few years before I felt comfortable identifying as LGBT, and while at first I didn't know how to process the character of Tony (the US in the 90s were a very sheltered land), it was incredibly important for me to have such a positive, normalized portrayal in a story so close to my heart. The Magypsies in Mother 3 were such a welcome addition to the series for fans, and to the characters inhabiting the world of EB.
Across hand-made EarthBound Valentine's and birthday cards and original short stories featuring EB characters written for Spanish class, for the past 20 years I kept the spirit of EB alive in my heart. I always looked forward to those annual playthroughs.
I am so happy that the Smash Bros. series has always included Ness as a playable character - ushering him out of relative obscurity among the American masses. The release of EB (and EB0/EBB) on the Wii U should also go to show the everlasting fandom and support. And let's not forget the recent Camp Fangamer convention. I never knew I would shed tears with so many new friends. That said, it isn't at all surprising that we all became fast friends - to have one thing in common, the adoration of this one game, was enough to guarantee we'd get along. That's how magical it is.
This game brings people together. The ever-present messages of positivity. The quirky, offbeat atmosphere.
This game taught me the power of friendship. Caring. What matters most. Supporting each other. Friendliness to strangers.
This game inspires. All the art. All the merch. All the time and effort that went into Camp Fangamer, effectively transforming a small hotel in the desert into the hub of the EB universe. The positivity must have caught on - while the staff may have been initially confused, they knew they had a good thing on their hands and were happy to accommodate our ragtag group of a few hundred, super-devoted fans.
But - this isn't where the story stops. So many out there have yet to play the third game in the series, arguably the most emotional story, for us to continue to celebrate its legacy. And celebrate we will. I've already spent 2/3 of my lifetime as a devoted fan, and I'll carry that for the rest of my life - no game or series will ever have as large of an impact on my existence, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
"I miss you."