I’ve finished my 234th video game. Here are my thoughts:
I’ve tried to complete the beloved JRPG Earthbound several times over the years, and the game simply doesn’t resonate with me. However, its Japan-only Game Boy Advance sequel is different matter entirely. Mother 3 is an extraordinary game that deserves to be considered among the classic JRPGs of the 16-bit era.
Rather than introducing a sword-wielding hero in a world of magic, Mother 3 revolves around simple family in a vaguely-20th-century town. It feels eminently personal, establishing its emotional roots quickly and maintaining a brisk pace throughout. (Though the story does seem to slow as the stakes increase in seventh chapter.)
The game is instantly charming, striking a much better balance of whimsy and melancholy than its predecessor. I found myself genuinely thrilled and occasionally moved by each twist and turn of this game.
I don’t know how I’ll feel about this game years from now, especially when I place it alongside my most nostalgic JRPG memories. But for now—in this moment—I’d consider Mother 3 to be one of the best games of its kind.
I’ve tentatively ranked it 28 out of 234.
It is unfortunate that this game has never been released outside of Japan, but the fan translation is top class. It’s absolutely worth playing, even if you have to download a ROM and use an e̷̮̽m̶̢̍u̴̡͐l̴̛̩a̸̘͝ẗ̴̹́o̶̗͂r̷͈̃.