What is the literary equivalent of Earthbound? Quirky surreal and able to make someone as embittered as me feel childlike with wonder?
Good examples off the top of my head:
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy,
2001: A Space Odyssey
honestly, without belittling anything, I think that good video games are better at doing what you're describing than books are. unless you're willing to read good childrens' books. Adult authors rarely strike that chord you're talking about. Tons of POETS do it though, and the names of those who do are so obvious that I don't even have to list them.
Novelists take themselves too seriously. Poets sometimes do, but many want that wonder back.
Also writing novels is easier than writing good poetry
> the part I spoilered
actually I take that back, there's about 10 novels I've read that compare to my favorite poems. but it really really is rare to find a novel with as much to say as a well crafted sonnet or especially a few of shakespeare's best lines. midsummer night's dream fits what you're looking for in the OP, btw
They're both fantastic for different reasons. Earthbound goes for a more surrealist atmosphere full of quirky humor (barring the sections toward the end where it dives head first into nightmarish, surreal horror) and focuses on the wonderful simplicity and charm of childhood.
Mother 3 is less about children doing childish things and more about the dissolution of childhood innocence. Its tone is totally different from Earthbound, but I don't think one is better than the other. It's all down to preference really.
tl;dr - Both Earthbound and Mother 3 are good, well-made and well-written games that are totally different tonally.
read kurt vonnegut.
it won't give you that sense of quirkyness or childlike wonder.
but you'll find it similar to earthbound's humor, mainly because shigesato itoi took inspiration from "The Sirens of titan"
I always thought of Mother 3 as an actual coming of age story, where Lucas goes through all of these changes in his life, and you as the player see first hand how Lucas deals with them.
by the end you get a sort of sense that Lucas has grown so much, even his dad sort of hints at how much he's grown at the end