Earthbound was likely the first RPG many played that took place in a seemingly mundane modern-day setting. It certainly was your first RPG on a console that took place in the present time.
In Earthbound you play as a seemingly normal boy buy one night you are woken up by a meteorite crashing into you quiet neighborhood and before you know it, animals are acting up and you’ve got weird psychic powers and somehow gotten roped into stopping a malevolent alien force that spreads hatred across the globe! Quite a tall order for someone who isn’t even in Junior High!
You’ll gather friends to help you, fight a wide variety of enemies including plenty of regular humans, and travel to creatively named cities such as Twoson, Threed, and Fourside.
Earthbound remains one of the weirdest RPGs of all time, which might only be possible due to its modern-day setting. There’s just a bunch of weird stuff going on constantly in seemingly otherwise normal areas that could be Anytown, USA. It’s not even in an alternate dimension hidden to the normal eye like in Persona or The World Ends With You.
It’s also a very hard game, possibly one of the hardest RPGs from the Super Nintendo era. It’s got enough charm and some great music that if you haven’t checked it out, is probably still worth a go (though it’s currently only available on older Nintendo consoles).