Clear Mind

Earthbound and the loss of innocence.

The path of self-improvement involves finding contentment within oneself. In Earthbound, such a journey is visualized by the state of maturity and loss of innocence.

It all comes to a head in the penultimate area of the game, Magicant, otherwise known as a representation of Ness’ subconsciousness. The game tasks the player to cleanse the evil hidden deep inside his mind. Ness is surrounded by his deepest wishes and desires, and Magicant is a repository of repressed memories and childhood memories.

Here’s where the path for Ness begins growing and coming of age becomes necessary to combat the evil forces ahead. The manifestation of “courage” in the form of temporary party members is called “Flying Man”. Whenever one of them dies in battle, it is treated as a real death, and they do not come back. Their gravestone carvings scold Ness for using Flying Men as cannon fodder. Despite trying to keep them alive, death is difficult to forget.

Nearing the center of Magicant lies the root of his evil subconsciousness in the form of the Evil Mani Mani statue. Ness was led to confront his fears through the sanctuary locations, as they enabled a profound connection with his past self through visions.

Gaining power from all sanctuary locations and the swell of music encapsulates the feeling of reaching his true potential. “Instantly, Ness’ mind cleared,” the game tells the player as Ness puts on his red cap. Through that clarity, Magicant disappears.

As Ness grows as a character, he sacrifices his desires to go beyond what he is capable of. Failure to do so would result in a state of stagnation, leading to a world of redundancy. Magicant recaptured growing up for me. It recaptured the loss of innocence, and the importance of looking back at how much I changed as a person.

By Kristofur Catchings

Kris C is a freelance writer and professional planner in RPGs based out of Compton, CA. Whenever he is not writing, you can find him daydreaming about how many games he still has to complete. You can see most of his work at

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