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In the Beginning...

I assume that since you're playing this game, and you're seeking an English-based resource, you're a dirty, stinking pirate playing the ROM of the unreleased American version of the game. But that's cool. If this is the case, the first thing you need to do is stare intently at the title screen. No, I'm not jerking your chain. See that little "zero" below the title-screen? That's how you can tell that your ROM has been properly hacked. If it is missing, the game will probably freeze up at a very inopportune time, giving you a message reminding you of your pirateatude. So, if it's missing the "zero" in the title, you're SOL.
The next hurdle you need to concern yourself with is the naming of the characters. I know this can be a stressful time for RPGers, so here are the official names for the characters. If you fear change, feel free to name everybody with their SNES names (Ness, Paula and Jeff). If you like potty humor, feel free to name the favorite food after human excrement or certain parts of the female anatomy.
Ha! Turns out that the fabled prequel for Earthbound is actually a text adventure! But unlike Radical Dreamers, this one has no pretty pictures to stare at to fool you into thinking you're playing a video game! Either that, or the game just has a wordy introduction. Whichever.
The game starts out, like most video games, with a poltergeist haunting the main character's house. For the less-informed among us, this basically means a ghost is haunting household items, causing them to float around and do ghostly things. Fun. Try to leave Ninten's room, and he'll be attacked by a lamp. As is tradition in RPGs, the first battle can be won merely by attacking constantly.
You'll now have a choice as to where to go. You can enter Minnie's room, nearest Ninten's room, Mimmie's room, or go downstairs. Go downstairs if you're a coward and need to save, enter Minnie's room if you want to fight another Lamp for no reason, or enter Mimmie's room. In Mimmie's room is a Doll. Now THAT sounds like something fun to fight. Pick a fight with it and take it out.
After defeating the Doll, the poltergeist will die down. Go and CHECK the doll and you'll find that somebody set the switch to "Evil" instead of "Good"! Er... you'll hear a tune play and memorize it. This will become important later in the game.
Also, if you go and talk to Minnie after the poltergeist dies down, she'll hook you up with some OrangeJuice. Feel free to talk to her as many times as you want to get as much OrangeJuice as you want. Take advantage of this now, though, since she won't do it later in the game.
Might as well head downstairs and talk to your mother now. She's blocking the door, which is a universal RPG cliche meaning that something must be done before you leave your house. Talk to her and the phone will ring. Go ahead and answer it with the TALK command.
Talk to your workaholic father, and he'll give you some storyline type information. He'll also remind you of his primary function in the game... he can save your progress. Be sure to save often.
Well, you're now free to leave the house and look for that blasted BasementKey. Shouldn't be too hard. In fact, all you have to do is CHECK that creepy dog of yours to find it.
When you go back inside, you'll see that Minnie has come downstairs. Go ahead and talk to her, and she'll act as an inventory bank for you. If you have anything to store, talk to her and she'll be happy to do it for you.
You can also talk to your mother whenever you want, and she'll cook your favorite food for you, which will restore your HP and PP. Looking at this screenshot, you can see how the potty-mouths can have a field day with the favorite food in this game. Don't try to deny it. We all do it sometimes.
Might as well go into that basement. To get it, simply walk up to the door and USE the BasementKey in your inventory, and the door will swing right open.
The place is filled with easily defeated rats, as well as three treasures: A Plastic Bat, Bread, and your Great-Grandfather's Diary. Get everything and head out.
You can have Minnie store the BasementKey, since you won't really need it now. Equip the Plastic Bat by USEing it in the item menu. Now, step outside and start building your strength. You're very vulnerable now, so don't hesitate to run crying to your mommy and have her fill up your HP and PP when you need it. You should level up to about Level 4... be sure to give yourself the chance to learn LifeUp . Although, honestly, since stat-raising is rather random in this game, you may be able to advance at a higher/lower level. When you're ready, march bravely into the next chapter.

Item Checklist

First Melody (CHECK Doll after Poltergeist)
OrangeJuice(s) (From Minnie after Poltergeist)
BasementKey (CHECK Ninten's Dog)
GGF's Diary (Ninten's Basement)
Plastic Bat (Ninten's Basement)
Bread (Ninten's Basement)

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