Frog 42: Isn’t This Such a Utopia?

I admit, I’ve been dreading this.

No, not this. Not the return to good old frog-writing, though any revival of a writing project comes with its own (often self-imposed) pressures and expectations. This time around, I’m not the same hesitant, unsure writer who wrote Frog #0 with an uneasy feeling in his stomach. It’s not the creative process that has been scaring me away, but Mother 3 itself. If you haven’t heard, three years have gone by no slower than the blink of an eye. Things have changed.

And I don’t just mean that characters have grown older, or that Wess has grown colder, or that mild-mannered Lucas, overnight, has grown bolder. I mean that, after some flashbacks of Lucas’s development, Chapter 4 rips into life with the sounds of thunder–or was that the sound of industry? How does a train sound to a village that once bartered berries for bread?

Yes: this is what I’ve been dreading. A Tazmily with steel fixtures instead of boarded up passages; Tazmilians in orange jumpsuits instead of their usual hodgepodge of styles and sensibilities; paved roads, hotels, a public place for peddling orators to drive their point home even further, and even save frogs who talk about currency. If you put yourself in Lucas’s shoes, this, quite literally, ain’t your mama’s Tazmily.

What has happened here? Is it good? Is it bad? With a song like “A Railway in Our Village!”, it might first appear that Mother 3 is inviting us to open our minds to change. The song is obviously a reprise of “Mom’s Hometown,” which itself contains the “Love Theme,” one of the game’s central emotional tracks. With a foundation like that, you might be tempted to take a breath of relief when seeing Fassad, still, posted up in town square. The song is pretty upbeat, right? Maybe everything is okay!

Well, let me first just say that, as always, I love this song. If it isn’t clear yet (it really should be), I love about 90% of the songs in this game, but I especially like this one. When I think of great tracks in Mother 3, songs that I have to listen to every now and again to remember the highlights of the games soundtrack, this one always comes to mind. “A Railway in Our Village!” is one of those special songs in Mother 3 that comes along every now and again–one of those songs that is both fun to listen to, and communicates information to the player in a unique or otherwise creative way. Again, what we’re experiencing is simple, but effective, use of musical motifs–our brains remember these sounds, we’ve heard them before, and we begin to connect the dots without even knowing we are: mom, Tazmily, love, change. “Human lives are composed like music,” writes Milan Kundera. “Guided by [a] sense of beauty, an individual transforms a fortuitous occurrence into a motif, which then assumes a permanent place in the composition of the individual’s life.”

I don’t know if we can call Lucas’s life, or the lives of the Tazmilians, fortuitous, but I’m bringing up this Kundera quote because I think motif is such a cool concept that works very well here. Yes, “A Railway in Our Village!” is an exciting song, and after seeing Chapter 4’s brief intro of all of the Tazmilians hustling and bustling about, one might be tricked into thinking we’re looking at happy circumstances. Through motif, however, this song might make us think of Hinawa, of Claus, of all that we have lost emotionally, alongside all that Tazmily has gained technologically. The technology is a wonder, which is why the music is upbeat, but it’s also not the same iteration of mom’s hometown that we used to know and love, which is what the motif itself recalls. Musical motif alone in Mother 3 can help us chart the development of certain ideas and the composition of the characters’ lives.

Anyway, all I’m trying to say is that this excellent opening triggers our “poetic memory,” as Kundera would call it. “The brain appears to possess a special area which we might call poetic memory and which records everything that charms or touches us, that makes our lives beautiful.” Shogo Sakai and Shigesato Itoi didn’t decide to put this song here for no reason; the motif triggers our poetic memory and understanding of Mother 3. Because don’t forget–The Love Theme is still buried in there as well, and is that something we want being referenced as we see Fassad, comfortably, in town square?

I don’t want to be all doom and gloom, given how much I truly do enjoy this song and given how most of the Tazmilians, at this point, barely remember their quaint lives from three years ago. There’s something about this upbeat remix that works in both ways: as an overly excited facsimile of a song we already know, leading us to question what we see as “progress” or, to borrow the peddler’s word, “happiness”; and as a well-composed song that is easy to bop around to and enjoy. It’s like the consciousness of Tazmily is on full display, where people like Lucas would hear this song and think, “You all don’t think this is real, right?” And everyone else saying, “Who cares! Listen to how fun it sounds!” And if I didn’t know the full context of Mother 3, I’d probably side with the dumbed down Tazmilian populace, at least insofar as I think this song does capture the real excitement, however manufactured it is, of seeing a railway in your simple town. The title, the song itself, says it all, and with exclamation: a Railway in Our Village! I particularly love the part of the song where one of the instruments recalls a train whistle. It’s a simple but brilliant touch that always gets my PSI popping.

But to go back to the doom and gloom, I do think the player is asked to consider these changes to Tazmily in a critical sense from the start; I did not mention that the chapter does not technically begin with this song and its montage, but with a brief replaying of Lucas’s life over the past three years or so, featuring a memory of Claus, a few scenes at Hinawa’s grave (including the moment where Lucas reveals that Claus has run off into the mountains), and the showdown with Fassad in the Sunshine Forest. These memories, juxtaposed with the remix, are a perfect reintroduction to Lucas as he finally takes the main character mantle. You heard it here first, folks: we’re finally playing as Lucas!

I think some key things are revealed to us through the Lucas flashbacks. First, at one point we see both Lucas and Flint at Hinawa’s grave, but, after a brief word, Flint adjusts his hat and walks away. I think this shows us that, of course, Flint is still looking for Claus, but also that there may be a rift of some kind between the surviving son and father. Writing about Flint is complicated because you never want to say outright that this grieving man is neglecting the son he has left, but let’s face it: this grieving man is neglecting the son he has left. Searching for Claus day after day is as noble as it is heartbreaking, especially given that Itoi based the decision off what a real-life parent said they would do if their child was lost, but the tragedy here is that Flint and Lucas lose each other over this three year span. When we cut back to Lucas in the family’s house, he’s there alone. Flint is gone once again.

These flashbacks also show us that Lucas, I believe, feels guilty over what happened to Claus. Because Lucas will be a silent protagonist now, Itoi likely wanted to lay some groundwork for what’s going on in Lucas’s psyche as we begin this chapter. With that in mind, I believe that’s why we see the scene again where Lucas reveals that Claus has run away; I believe that this day, this moment, sticks in Lucas’s mind. Should he have gone with Claus? Should he have told an adult immediately? What if this? What if that? For poor Lucas, all of these what if’s end with: what if Claus were still alive?

Come on, this is a game, here!

The last thing I’ll say about these flashbacks is that I love the final transition. We see Lucas crouching in front of Hinawa’s grave. Flint has just left. The sunflowers shake from a passing breeze, waving “see you later” to the cowboy. Lucas sits for a moment, then the scene transitions and we see him grown up, at least by a few years, still spending time at this mother’s grave.

Of course, flashback-into-timeskip scenes with protagonists are nothing new, but I like this particularly for what it tells us about Lucas. I think this spot in Tazmily, the burial place of his mother, captures Lucas’s motivations as a protagonist. I think that’s why, along with scenes of Claus and Flint, we also saw the flashback of the showdown in the forest. Why would we need to see that, when we literally just saw it? Well, in my opinion, we see all of these things so that we know what Lucas is fighting for, where his heart is at, who he is as a protagonist. I wouldn’t go as far to say that Lucas is fighting to reunite his family–I think he knows his mother is gone, and, in a way, his father is, too. But, like Kundera said, I think this particular spot is important to Lucas. His motivations were born here. Everything changed here.

Damn. Well. I’m really taking my time, aren’t I? We’re like ten paragraphs in and we haven’t even gotten past the introduction. It’s not my fault that Chapter 4 hits you with so much right off the bat! But hey, Mother 3 leaves me with no options if it’s going to start with some emotional flashbacks, some great music, and an intriguing name for a chapter title: Club Titiboo. With a name like this, maybe the opening song should have been titled, “A Strip Club in Our Village!”

All right all right. Sorry for the bad jokes. It wouldn’t be a Mother blog without them. Let’s rein this back in, shall we? But what do I do? Where do I go? I haven’t written about frogs in a while… Maybe a section heading would help…

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes!

If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you’re familiar with some of the ways that playing Mother 3 Frog by Frog has augmented the experience. If I were to pick one example from each chapter, I’d say that in Chapter 1, playing Frog by Frog extended the drama of the Night of the Funeral, turning what is usual a one-sitting area of the story into a truly grueling night of suspense and uncertainty. One of the reasons I bonded with Flint so much, I think, is because I spent so much time with his emotions and his situation. His circumstances drive him to the absolute brink of sanity, which he crosses over more than once before the chapter’s conclusion. I understand that Flint is complicated, and I’ve learned that many people in the Mother fandom have harsh critiques of him, however, I feel like I went through something with Flint. Playing frog by frog makes me feel, more than anything, a deep sadness when I think about him.

In Chapter 2, playing Frog by Frog changed my entire perspective of Osohe Castle. I had always seen Chapter 2 as a sideshow, a mini Mother game, and as such, I never cared much for Osohe Castle, at least as a living (ha!), breathing location in Mother 3. This time around, because I spent over a month inside the castle’s walls, inching forward one ribbit at a time, I found myself intrigued by Osohe Castle. I appreciated Chapter 2 more than I ever have before because, for me at least, playing (forcibly) patiently helped me ask questions about the castle’s history and role in the story. When you spend over a month in the same location, instead of just one or two gameplay sittings, it can really change things. I also began to question my own sanity as the walls began to flash their teeth and the ghosts began to party…

And lastly, playing Frog by Frog in Chapter 3 elucidated Salsa’s storyline in a way I didn’t expect. See, in the actual storyline of Mother 3, Salsa is in Fassad’s clutches for a few days. They travel through the desert, rest for the night, give their speech, rest again, then Kumatora and Wess save the poor little monkey. Despite the story’s brevity, Salsa’s struggles have stuck with many players, me included. However, when Chapter 3 stretches out into two and a half months of gameplay sessions, Salsa’s situation takes on entirely new emotional resonance. I felt Salsa’s exhaustion and confinement more strongly than I had before. I started to literally wince every time Fassad shocked the monkey. As I returned to Chapter 3 one frog at a time, I felt as though the monkey’s troubles would never end. At one point, I realized Salsa had only been with Fassad for a couple days, instead of a couple months, and I could barely believe it. From my point of view, Salsa had been being tortured for an absurd length of time, and, given how grueling his torture is, he may as well have been.

But that’s just what playing Mother 3 Frog by Frog does to the experience: everything exists under a magnifying glass, and Chapter 4 is no different. Actually, this time around, I have an extra level of verisimilitude on my side: Mother 3 skips ahead three years, and the Frog Blog skips ahead about a month and a half. I haven’t touched this game, or this blog, since posting back on March 23rd, so, in a way, I’ve created my own artificial time skip. I admit, I didn’t mean to wait this long, but waiting had its own advantages. When I saw Lucas standing a little bit taller after the chapter’s opening montage, I truly felt as though I had not seen him in a long time. And when I saw Tazmily again for the first time, a part of me wondered, “Wait, how did this happen?”

Mapson: replaced by modern street signage?

Now, we can go back and forth on whether or not the time skip feels earned by the narrative. As I’ve said on the blog before, the more I learn about EarthBound 64, the more I concede that the version of Mother 3 we did receive at times feels like a sacrificed story. Sacrificed to the limitations of the GBA, sacrificed to time, or, perhaps, sacrificed to a writer wanting to trim the fat. I won’t say conclusively that our version of Mother 3 is a lesser story than what would have been EarthBound 64, because we never got to play that game. For all we know, Itoi chopped off all the right story threads that were no longer needed, leaving us with all the best stuff. (The research on EarthBound 64 may imply otherwise, unfortunately).

But like I said: that’s neither here nor there. I’m here to talk about time skips. It’s impossible for me to divorce myself from my perspective on Mother 3’s story, seeing as I have played the game before and I know the outcome of the events. Because of this, I have to wonder: what does this time skip look like to a new player? When I see the train, when I see the paved roads, when I see Fassad in the town square, I’m thinking: no, no, no! What happened to you, Tazmily? Where is this headed?

But there’s really no reason to think that right off the bat. I played Mother 3 for the first time over a decade ago, so I apologize that I can’t remember my first impressions, but I think it’s possible that a new player might think, “This was the evil that was foretold? This is what Duster and Co. were fighting against? This doesn’t look so bad!” Some players might not even question that something weird is going on until they see that Lucas’s house and sheep are in quite a state.

But more on that in a second. There’s one more detail I’d like to point before we finally head into Lucas’s house and check on the poor kid.

As the view pans across different parts of Tazmily, we see a short scene of Fassad entertaining a small group of listeners. Now, right away, you’re probably thinking, “Wait, didn’t Lucas and his Dragos knock that charlatan right out of town?” And you’d be right to think that! Yet here he is, back again, proselytizing his bullshit just as much as ever before. I guess our interpretation of this has to be that Lucas and the gang’s victory that night was only temporary, which makes sense. Don’t forget that the Pigmasks appear to have carved a highway through the Earth itself, where underneath they keep their tanks, their bombs, and their guns. Just try not to let it get to your head.

Even though I’m sad to see Fassad’s return, that’s not the detail I’m pointing out; I’m more concerned about Fassad’s audience. First, note that the gossiping women, who used to practically own town square, now gather ’round Fassad. The gossiping women are some of my favorite NPCs in the game, so my heart always breaks just a little bit when I see this scene, as it solidifies that many, or most, things in Tazmily are always irrevertibly changed. The gossiping women aren’t supposed to be listened to someone else’s bullshit; they’re supposed to be saying, loudly, their own bullshit! They’re supposed to tell Flint that he’s reckless, right to his face! They’re supposed to question whether or not there’s a fire, even though Paul is coughing his lungs out in the corner! They’re supposed to say whatever the hell they want!

But even this isn’t the saddest detail to me.

Can you see it? I’m sure you can. Fassad isn’t just talking to the three woman, but also Alle, a little girl. When we last saw Alle, she was doing things like asking Flint how long “a while” is, and if Claus would be coming back soon. She seemed like one of the younger, if not the youngest, Tazmilian child. I guess this literally seconds-long scene bums me out because it shows that Fassad is shoveling his propaganda straight to Tazmily most vulnerable population. And I’m not saying that Alle, who is probably like 7 or 8 years old here, is understanding everything he’s saying, but I don’t like the implication. I don’t like how, like the women, she is standing and facing him. I don’t like that he’s there and she’s listening. Especially considering Fassad’s “Happiness First” messaging, there’s a chance that he’s already well on his way to crafting a perfect little disciple in Alle.

You better watch it, Fassad. I’ve got my eye on you.

Anyway, I think that’s enough about Tazmily for now. We can only tell so much from just a few frames of information. How about we go check up on the hero of the story, finally? I mean, if I keep writing at this rate of reveal, we’re going to be on Chapter 4 until 2022.

Same Bedhead as Always (II)

If you’ve played EarthBound, few things in Mother 3 feel as nostalgic as hearing “Good Morning” for the first time. You might recall waking up as Ness and his friends, the four chosen ones groggily coming to life, walking down to the first floor of a hotel before beginning their adventure again. Although, the player needs no experience with EarthBound to appreciate this serene track. Similarly, the player needs to no experience with any Mother game to appreciate Lucas’s opening scene.

I am writing this post at 7:18 AM, and the birds are chirping outside, just like in this song. Like Lucas, I’m fresh out of bed, my PJs are on, and I’ve got the same bedhead as always. It’s a new day, but it’s a day I’ve lived before. Isn’t waking up strange, sometimes? I can’t remember what I was dreaming. Have you ever woken up in a great mood? A terrible mood? What decides our mood in those first few seconds of the day? Is it truly a matter of waking up on the right or wrong side of the bed? As for me, I feel peculiar this morning. But why do I feel like this?

I’ll be honest. As weird as it may make me sound, I’m feeling a bit emotional seeing Lucas again. Like I said in the extended intro to this post, I’ve experienced my own time skip, having not touched Mother 3 in over a month, but I don’t think it’s only that. Mother 3, and the Mother series, has been a part of my life for over a decade, and I’ve grown to love these characters in a way I have not done in many other games. Seeing Lucas wake up to an empty house is sad, and even moving. Where is his mother? His brother? His father? It shouldn’t have to be like this–a boy waking up to no one else around.

I also think I’ve done more reflection on Lucas as a character this time around (obviously), and so I feel my heart break when I see a poor boy waking up alone in his own home. There’s none of Hinawa’s famous Cabbage cooking in the kitchen, nor is there anyone to even say, “Good morning.” I direct Lucas over to the mirror, hoping to trigger the good old dialogue prompt of Lookin’ handsome, but instead I trigger a cutscene where a patient Hinawa is combing little Lucas’s hair, taming that familiar bedhead, the same as always. I am Reminded of how Hinawa joked with Lucas in the prologue, calling him “manly” once he had properly dressed for the day. I am reminded of a quick-witted woman who said I could stay inside for the rest of my life if I wouldn’t change out of my pajamas.

And I would like to thank Itoi for fading to black after that scene, then fading back in to Lucas dressed and combed for the day, because I think if I’d seen Lucas combing his own hair, I might have cried.

I know it sounds crazy, but this entire opening sequence, containing nothing more exciting than Lucas walking around his house and stepping outside (you can do all of this in like 30 seconds) had an impact on me. I can’t quite put it into words yet. Maybe I forgot how much these frog analyses can make me feel, maybe it was just the excellent track that plays during the cutscene, maybe it’s my own familial losses over the past year. I can’t believe that in four months, my grandpa will have been gone for a year. It feels like only yesterday we were talking on the phone. It doesn’t feel right for a Cardinals season to begin without him. It has been so long since I’ve seen him in a dream.

I think I’m having one of those moments where that human touch, that spark of the Mother series, is reaching out to touch me. Itoi and his teams clearly imbued each game of the series with something special, and it’s times like these, those quiet moments, where I believe Mother 3 really sings. Do you remember, 40 posts ago, when we talked about Pippi Longstocking? Itoi said his ideal image of a parent might be someone who just watches from afar and makes sure things are okay. Itoi also said that one reason there will be no more Mother games from him is because his child is all grown up. Call me crazy, but when I played through this short segment as Lucas, I felt weirdly watched. I don’t mean it in a creepy way, but more like an intended way, on the writing level. You can just sense that Lucas is going to be a special character, and this scene is the beginning of his adventure. You can also put yourself in the scene with him so easily.

Who hasn’t woken up in their PJs, to an empty house, and felt profoundly alone?

Again, in the way I’m writing this, you might think I’m trying to hammer home some effect on you, but I’m not. I’m just trying to describe how Mother games manage to make me feel like this, and I can’t quite grasp it this morning. If I can offer one more thought on this sublime relation to Lucas I’m feeling on this quiet morning, I would say:

Sometimes it’s enough that Mother games make the effort to be different. I’m not saying new games, or any games, don’t have emotional centers. Over the past few weeks, I’ve watched my roommate play Red Dead Redemption 2, and while I personally thought the voice acting sounded like a cheesy historical recreation I might see on the History Channel, my roommate would always enthusiastically tell me what was happening, who was involved, and what the stakes were. And when a certain character died, I admit that I felt a sadness somewhere inside too, even though I’d only watched the game in passing. My roommate, on the other hand, had been significantly effected, and he played through the game’s extended epilogue with, at times, a somber disposition. I’m bringing this up to emphasize I’m aware that Mother 3 isn’t the only game to ever have a beating heart.

But, for me, that sadness felt like a movie’s sadness–the sadness I feel knowing that Boromir is always going to die when I watch The Fellowship of the Ring. Because the Mother series is so good at communicating emotions to the player, the sadness I feel in this scene with Lucas feels heavier. Like I said, it makes me think of my grandpa, of grief, of the unexpected emptiness of waking up alone. Whether through the music, of just the scene’s simplicity, somehow Itoi has done it. I’m right there with Lucas in this scene, sharing in his sadness, and also some of my own. Without having played this through this scene, I don’t think I would have continued to process the grief of my own loss.

Okay, okay. I think that’s enough somber reflection with Lucas. There will be more than enough time for that as the game progresses. I think we need to get out of this house before the sadness washes over us. Let’s get outside! Outside! We need the sun!

Ahh, that’s much better. It’s been a while since I’ve seen this lovely Tazmilian grass, though I do notice right off the bat that Hinawa’s favorite flower, the Tazmilian gerbera, is no longer planted outside the home. Whose decisions was that, I wonder? Flint’s? Lucas’s? Or just the hands of time?

Well, at least the scene outside Lucas’s house is lively, if not a bit alarming. It seems there has been an explosion or a fire of some kind, as Flint’s sheep wander around in a daze. Some of them are scorched black, while others seem okay for now. In their midst, Boney runs and plays, perhaps keeping up the sheep’s morale despite their grim appearance. Why did I never put it together that Boney would be the family’s sheep dog? They are sheep farmers, after all.

Oh, Boney! It’s so good to see him again! And by extension, it’s good to see my old dog again ❤

(As I proofread this post and pass it over once again, I can report that I had a dream last night with Cole in it, the dog after whom I’ve named Boney. If dreams are the only after-life we get, then I’ll take it for now. It felt so good to see my old dog.)

Isn’t it nice to see so much color? I’ll always understand when someone isn’t impressed by the Mother series’ presentation, but, one of the most consistent experiences I have playing this game day after day, frog after frog, is that I just love the colors. Seeing Boney run through the light green grass brings me a simple joy that makes this quiet morning a little brighter.

Speaking of Boney, he gets such a wonderful moment of characterization–one of the few he will get throughout the game’s story. It’s a little line of dialogue, but one I’ve always loved. When you first approach Boney as Lucas, the dog will say, “(I can take you for a walk if you’d like, Lucas.)”

My heart!!!

The companionship of Lucas and Boney, of a boy and his dog, is, to me, one of the most overlooked aspects of Mother 3, at least in terms of the development of its main cast. To start, I love how the line isn’t, “Would you like to go for a walk?” or, “Can you take me for a walk?” but, “I can you for a walk if you’d like, Lucas.” I know I have a penchant for over-analyzing things (being overly analytical is perhaps the linchpin of this entire blog), but I love this line and I think it tells us a lot about how the last three years have been for Lucas.

Where was Lucas when Duster was running around in the dark of night? Where was Lucas the next day, as a sad monkey and his master came into town? Where was Lucas when his father and grandfather ran off into the mountains? He was standing next to Boney’s doghouse, with his four-legged friend at his side. I would wager that over the last three years, Boney has been the only family Lucas has really had. The loyal dog has been taking care of the boy so much that the inquiry is not for the boy to walk the dog, but the other way around. Boney and Lucas are family, now. Who knows what has become of Flint.

There are, of course, other interpretations you can put into this line, relating to Lucas’s character. You can infer, perhaps, that Lucas has bad anxiety and does not typically walk through the town, or anywhere, alone. You can infer that, without Boney’s enthusiasm, Lucas may never get out of the house, or off the property, without his dog. Now, I’m not sure of all the leaps we can make about Lucas’s mental health, but my favorite thing about the line has always been the calm, caring way it is written and translated. So much about these two characters’ bond is contained in one line. And seeing as Boney remains a party member until the game’s final acts, I don’t think it is any coincidence, and I don’t think he is “just” a dog: these are the only true members left of a family that once lived here. They are the foundation of a “found family” that Lucas will assemble throughout his travels. And don’t forget Boney’s protest to Flint when you deny him in Chapter 1: “I am a member of this family to, you know.”

What can I say? I love dogs, and I believe in the power of pets as family members. To me, Lucas and Boney forming a strong familial bond makes total sense. It’s beautiful to me that Lucas’s sole companion has been his dog. Of course, it’s incredibly sad, too, given that Lucas is a young boy who should be having fun and making friends and enjoying his life. But when you’ve got a dog as loyal and as brave as Boney, you’re still in good paws.

None of this is meant to speak poorly of Flint, but we’ll talk more about him when he returns to relevance. For now, I’m happy to see Lucas and Boney united, and if I’m not mistaken, I hear something more than dog paws and sheep hooves in the distance… something like the hopping of a frog.

Or was it the oinking of a pig? As if we didn’t have enough to talk about today, there is a Pigmask Soldier just outside Lucas’s house, standing next to a blonde-haired person that I don’t believe we have met before. What’s going on here? After Chapter 3’s victorious showdown in the Sunshine Forest, you’d think our heroes would have bought themselves some time, or at least a bit of a reprieve, from the Pigmask takeover, but it appears as though everything was for naught.

There’s not just a railway in our village, but an army.

Oh yeah. And the pen that the Flint’s sheep used to live in has been completely destroyed by… something. I guess I forgot to mention that. Something tells me, though, that the Pigmasks are involved…

But it’s nothing we can figure out for today. I think it is disturbing that a Pigmask now stands where once Hinawa might have, but there isn’t anything I can do about it. If anything, the placement of this Pigmask tells us everything we need to know about the state of Tazmily, in a way. Even a boy who is still grieving a mother and a brother has no break from the army’s influence. Step outside, greet the day, see a soldier down the road. It’s like a total occupation of the city that everyone except Lucas just blindly accepts.

But I guess we’ll learn more as we go.

Anyway, a little bit ago I thought I’d heard a frog hopping, but I was wrong: It’s talking! As you walk down the hill from Lucas’s house, a voice calls: “Hey! You there! Boy! I realize this is a bit of a bother, but please come talk to me.” Looking back, I wish I had tried to pass the frog without talking to it, because I’m sure it would have led to some good dialogue, but I ended up talking to it right away. Hey, I’m rusty, okay? I need to get back into a play-oriented mindset. But this is just my first frog back! Give me some time, and I’ll give you some frogs.

This is a frog we’ve seen before, a frog outside our own front door. This is now our fourth meeting with this frog, and something tells me it wont be our last. He’s more talkative than any of the frogs have been in a while, saying things like, “Time flies, doesn’t it?” He has new information this time around involving Dragon Power, the unfortunately abbreviated DP which acts as the game’s currency. Personally, I’ve always found this to be a little silly, especially when it could just be normal money. The frogs already act as save points, so I have no problem with them beings ATMs, but I’ve always felt like there was more potential here. Given that Mother 3 has so much to say about money and capital and the societal changes these things allow, I’ve always been confused why they went this direction. Why not just real ATMs? Alec could have given Lucas his first debit card, or something. The frogs could also still keep track of your earnings just like Dad did in Mother and EarthBound.

And that’s where the day leaves us, folks. The frog adds, “You’re holding out on saving, but I hope you’re not holding out on using the bathroom, too” which again leads me to believe that this frog has had nothing to do for three years, and so has a lot to say to Lucas. He’s been waiting so, so long for the story of Mother 3 to continue so that he can save someone’s game!

But hey, I have no problem with talkative frogs. I’d love it if each frog in the game had unique lines of dialogue; it would serve my blog pretty well, anyway. This frog definitely feels like he’s channeling his inner Itoi, though.

Well, I think that’s everything! It feels good to be back! Now let’s just hope it doesn’t take me two months to get one of these written again.

*hop*

(Hey, if you’ve made it this far, I’ll just plug once again that I’ve started creating video versions of these posts on my YouTube channel. If you like to listen more than read, that’s the place for you)

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