Oh, the first project is one of two big ones I want to make someday. They will not be going anywhere, I am going to get to them. =)
The others are build-up, as I keep over-complicating everything and then I realize I can't actually do this right now.
Even the Mario clone is proving a bit much because I had to go and make big sprites and now it's taking too long to make them - and as mentioned they are too big. Resizing and figuring out the proper size for collision is proving a pain in my butt. ><
I have not seen any of those games, and they look pretty neat. I'll look into them. My main inspiration for Oh, Brother is Zelda and Metroid though (for gameplay/exploration). Fortune Summoners has greatly inspired the visuals and tone, as it's one of few side-scrolling RPGs I've found that has real towns to explore (and stars little girls).
My issues are mainly that I do not have the skills to make it yet. I have the story, most of the quests, items/upgrades/enemies, etc. worked out and written down. A bit of concept art is done too (including menu mock-ups), but I can't really get into making it as it's just too big for me right now.
I did make a small demo in RMXP, for when I was going to try it as a turn-based RPG. It's outdated now, but the story and dialogue are still fairly accurate. As are the number of side-quests and how much the townsfolk have to say. Everyone has a name and personality and they know Nini as it's her hometown (and her parents are the leaders of it). Ramble,ramble, sorry. >< The link for it is still in the main post of this thread if you want to check it out.
To show how much Nini is always in my head - I keep redesigning her, but these are likely to stick.
Her costumes -
<img src="http://25.media.tumblr.com/1fd3b37f82fc06a243701690342fedf6/tumblr_mmpw4uGnc71ru8d6io1_r3_500h.jpg" border="0" />
And a prettied up one of her main costume -
<img src="http://24.media.tumblr.com/596bc351fa73ef320da0384e2f6efbd1/tumblr_mn1ekdpaZn1ru8d6io1_500.png" border="0" />