MOTHERly: From Innocence to Wisdom in the Sea of Eden
Magicant as a Visual Metaphor for Ness' Coming of Age in EarthBound.
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MOTHERly is an experimental bonus content category focusing on the MOTHER series (AKA “EarthBound” outside of Japan).
Like all bonus content, MOTHERly is only available to Game & Word’s paying subscribers. However, I’ve made the following preview available to everyone. If this content interests you, and you’d like to read more like it, upgrade to a paid subscription today:
If you’ve ever played EarthBound (or MOTHER 2 in Japan) to completion, you know it’s a wonderful, unique, and delightful romp through a colorful, psychedelic pastiche of Americana, filtered through a Japanese lens. You also know that, despite EarthBound’s bright colors and overall wacky tone, this is a deceptively deep—and surprisingly dark—game. If you’ve played it to completion, I’m going to guess it’s your favorite game of all time, or at least in your top three.
And if you’re fortunate enough to have met someone who shares your love of EarthBound, it’s all but guaranteed you’ve both spent countless hours analyzing, rehashing, and theorizing on the game’s many subtle details, cruel ambiguities, and sheer brilliance. I’ve had many such conversations—with my siblings, with my podcast guests, with the denizens of Starmen.net’s Discord server… you get the idea.
During one such session with my brother, I connected a couple of mental dots regarding the world of Magicant. As soon as I realized it, all my thoughts and theories surrounding Ness’ strange and awesome dream world charged into each other and fused into one huge mega-theory. It was such an “a-ha!” moment, I felt compelled to tell my readers at once. Hence, this article.
But, much like the Sea of Eden’s ultimate intelligence, you can’t access this knowledge unless you’re truly ready. And how do you know whether you’re actually, completely, totally, truly ready? It’s easy! You’re ready if you fulfill the following criteria:
You’ve played EarthBound to completion;
You’re a paid subscriber of Game & Word.
If you haven’t done #1, then get thee to Nintendo Switch Online and play it, post-haste.
If you haven’t done #2, all you gotta do is upgrade to a paid subscription to Game & Word!
WARNING: SPOILER ZONE AHEAD!
🚨🚨🚨 SPOILER ALERT 🚨🚨🚨
This entire post is one MASSIVE spoiler for EarthBound. If you think you might ever want to play this game at some point in your life, turn back now!
💡💡💡 POINT OF CLARIFICATION 💡💡💡
As far as Pokey/Porky is concerned, I’ll be referring to him as “Pokey” when I’m talking about EarthBound, and as “Porky” when I’m talking about him in any other context.
From Innocence to Wisdom in the Sea of Eden
OR: Magicant as a Visual Metaphor for Ness’ Coming of Age
EarthBound is, among many other things, Ness’ coming of age story. Big whoop, you might be thinking—that much is obvious to all but the most inattentive players. Being the smart and clever Game & Word reader you are, you may have also figured out that Magicant is one big metaphor for said coming of age.
Well, smartypants, you’re right—but you’re merely scratching the surface here. Come with me, and I’ll show you just how deep this iceberg really goes.