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[Comments] (2) One Bad Mother: I've completed Mother 3 (see previous entry). On the "offensive" note, I forgot to mention that fairly early in the game you get covered in soot from a fire, and everyone talks about how wacky it is that you look all black. I don't want to be the blackface police, but I guess I kind of am.

In non-offensive news, there's an dream sequence that's not as weird as the Magicant sequence in Earthbound, but is creepy and horrifying and would probably scar you emotionally if you were a kid playing it. Except what kid would play it? You'd have to have played Earthbound to get an interest, which at this point means you'd be into retro gaming, an odd hobby for a kid and one that probably indicates you could handle a super creepy dream sequence. The sequence does go over the top into ridiculousness in one place, which if you've played it you know exactly what I'm talking about. But all in all, well done with the creepiness.

Around the point I wrote the previous entry in this series of weblog entries, the game stopped being focused around changes to one place and became much more Earthbound-like, shuttling you off from locale to locale like a Bond movie. That was a bit disappointing. The secret of the game, revealed about two hours before the end in a huge infodump, is decent and exactly the kind of poignancy I was hoping for, though if your multi-part infodump involves a special recording device that lets the player refer to the infodump later, your infodump is too big.

There are some connections to Earthbound and although I'm a huge EB fan I think the connections made Mother 3 a lesser game. I'm thinking especially of the main villain. If you've played Earthbound the villain's identity will not be a secret for long, and if you have a functioning brainstem the identity of the villain's henchling will never be a secret at all. I'm going to just accept this in the name of dramatic closure and move on.

There's a tendentious video-game logic that says that bad things are caused by people who are evil, and that the evil people do the bidding of a boss, and that if you kill the boss you've solved the problem. This causes big problems when applied to real life, but it's hard for me to get worked up about it in a video game. And yet, if there's one video game that could take a more realistic approach, it would be a Mother game. Especially Mother 3, whose plot, for all its ridiculous rock video television-enslavement, teaches the realistic lesson that bad things happen because people sacrifice their long-term interests for short-term satisfaction. But no, the boss is behind everything, and you defeat the boss. And then something else happens that is difficult to describe and that I'm still thinking about. Suffice to say it's cool but not as cool as the end of Earthbound, which I'm still thinking about after a longer time.

In conclusion, huge thanks to the translation team, without which I'd never have been able to appreciate the game. Because as much as I'd love to, the odds of me learning Japanese from scratch now that I'm pushing thirty are pretty slim. And, seriously, thanks for not hiding or (I assume) toning down the offensive bits, because it's better to have this kind of thing out in the open where it can be called out.

PS: Check out this stop-motion Mega Man video, which is certainly better than this weblog entry.

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Posted by DSimon at Tue Nov 18 2008 09:43

Well, supposedly, those Happy Boxes aren't televisions. They're even more pointless, since they really DO only display a boring screensaver, it's not a metaphor for actual imagery on the screen.

So, it's more directly a "hypnosis box" and less so an "MTV hypnosis box".

My favorite part: you can tell the future is evil because the future brings ill-constructed nursing homes.

Posted by Leonard at Tue Nov 18 2008 09:52

Sorry, "rock video television enslavement" was ambiguous. I meant that the Happy Boxes are the kind of metaphor for technology-based alienation that you see in bad rock videos.

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