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Secret Of Evermore Was The Most Underrated '90s American Video Game

If Tim Burton and MTV designed a video game, it would be Secret of Evermore. This game deserves to be remembered.

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My uncle smuggled Secret of Evermore to Taiwan in 1995, as a Christmas gift to me and my sister. It was the first American game I'd ever played. It also turned out to be the only game Squaresoft's American studio ever designed. I was nine years old, illiterate in English, and depended on my sister to translate everything.

The mood was not lost to me, though. It's the cheekiest game among Square's hyper-earnest canon. The tropes were classic American sci-fi – time travel, new age colonies, utopian universes gone awry – and the whole game smelled of a musty Californian hobby shop. You start in a American suburb called Podunk (yes), and end up, through a machine, in four utopian worlds your geeky neighbors dreamed up.

The game got so many things right:

1. The moody sountrack

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"Secret of Evermore" was composer Jeremy Soule's first major project. He later made music for "Harry Potter" and "Elder Scrolls."


4. The script felt like it was written by a college film major who listened to a lot of Pavement.


Wry, meta, a ton of fun, even a bit overbearing. I'm glad Squaresoft America went all out on its only project.


6. The hero starts off pathologically addicted to pop cultural references, but he gradually lets go of that.

8. You could make witchy spells from the ingredients you find.

Your dog sniffs for bits of oil, bones, and brimstone. You pick them up to make potions and summon Enya, or something.

9. This was the best city to get lost in. You learned how to barter and bargain.

The market felt alive, lived in, messy. It's probably the most vibrant city created in any video game.

10. This skeleton gondola scam.

Don't give him the amulet. Don't.

The game was rife with people trying to scam you, give you an unfavorable exchange rate on your money, offering you bad trades.


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