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History of Earthbound, part 1

In 1989 a famous Japanese copywriter Shigesato Itoi with the help of Shigeru Miyamoto, released a game on Nintendo Famicom, called Mother.  There was even this epic commercial https://youtu.be/yQUN7QAnMp0.

Although the game was sold in just 400000 copies, it was one of the most highly rated game on the platform. Nintendo of America wanted to localize the game and change the title to “Earth Bound”. Actually the game was fully translated. But the brand new console, called Super Nintendo, was coming. Because of that, “Earth Bound” didn’t make its way to America.

A few years later, in 1994, Mother 2 was released in Japan. This time, Nintendo published the game in the USA, under the name “Earthbound” (without space in the middle). The amount of commercials to promote the game in the USA, was insane. But… the game didn’t sell well. Why? For some reason, the marketing was focused on things that don’t smell good.  For example: the advertising slogan was “This game stinks!”. And the TV commercial. Ohhhhh, it was terrible: https://youtu.be/60_WWLq3srE

So, Earthbound didn’t sell well (but only in the US), Nintendo didn’t even try to bring it to Europe. Is this an end? NO! In 1999 Nintendo released a game on Nintendo 64, called Super Smash Bros. The game featured most known Nintendo characters fighting each other. Actually, I’m waiting for the newest game in the series, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate! But, let’s return to the original. One of the characters in the game, was Ness, the main protagonist of Mother 2.  And people were like “Where did this guy come from?”.

They did some research and this is when Mother series began to grow its insanely big fan base. This was also the period when the site, for fans of Earthbound, starmen.net was born. Now it’s time for a time travel! One year before Smash release, a video game collector bought original “Earth Bound” prototype cartridge. A Video Game translator known as Tomato got interested in it. He took a rom of the prototype, added “Zero” in the title screen, and shared it on the Internet as “Earthbound Zero”. It was the very first time fans met the original Mother. However, if they wanted to get the game from Big N’s hands, then they needed to wait until 2015! (EB0 has been released on Wii U Virtual Console as “Earthbound Beginnings”.) So we know the origin of first two games, how was the fandom born, and why the second title in the series failed in the US. But what with the third Mother? And its development? You will see next time!

Oskar V.

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