EarthBound Letter in Nintendo Power
Here’s another part of the interesting Shigesato Itoi interview. The very first part can be seen here, then after that are 8 other parts. Part 7 can be read here, where he talks about Giygas and the infamous story behind all that stuff. I decided to start from the beginning, so here’s part 1. There’s nothing too interesting here, but it gets better and better as it goes from one part to the next, as you can tell 😉
So here you go! Read it and weep! Also, here’s the article I wrote on the subject in late 2000 early 2001. Well, yeah, it was about MOTHER 3, but still 😉 We had already tried to get MOTHER 1 on the GameBoy Color a year or two before though.
Asking questions about this mysterious game up close and personal
“The mere fact of it being released would make me happy. Plus, I’ve been wanting to play it myself.”
(note: the text in red is the interviewer talking)
Itoi: (While listening to MOTHER’s main theme playing from the work-in-progress sample ROM) Wow, this is good.
— It really is.
Itoi: Well, let’s begin, shall we?
— Right. Concerning MOTHER 1+2… it was something that people had been really asking for, right?
Itoi: Yes. I was very grateful about it, too. They’re quite old games now, yet people still remember them after all this time.
— Were the requests there even before the plan to port the games over?
Itoi: The idea had been looked into a little bit before then. Like when the GameBoy Advance came out, people would say, “We can fully recreate them at that size!” Outside software houses would also say, “Please let us work on the games!” But I had no time for any of that stuff at the time; even after announcing MOTHER 3’s cancellation, my head was full of so many things. So I was being honest when I would say, “I can’t think about porting them right now.”
— So you weren’t against the idea of porting the games.
Itoi: That’s right. Every time the topic would come up, I would always say, “I would be very happy if ports were released.” But then I would specifically say, “But I can’t think about it.” Just that one short phrase.
— What sort of change happened inside you to make you “able to think about it”?
Itoi: First, there was the feeling that it was strange that you couldn’t play those games nowadays. I don’t have a Famicom in my home anymore. Or a Super Famicom, for that matter. That’s probably the case for most regular people, too. In other words, you can’t play the games because the consoles aren’t there anymore. In this situation, someone who liked MOTHER would have to resort to playing on old or used hardware — which I would be very grateful for, but that still leaves me with the feeling that I’d be forcing people do weird things to play the games.
— I see.
Itoi: When I started to feel that way, Mr. Miyamoto asked me, “If there were to be a GBA version of MOTHER, what would it need to be like for you to be satisfied?” I replied with, “It wouldn’t need to be like anything, just the mere fact of it being released would make me happy. Plus, I’ve been wanting to play it myself.”
But more than anything, I had this strong feeling that I’d really enjoy those games if I played them now. By which I mean, when I was making the games back then, I wasn’t fully immersed in gaming. So that sense of “distance” seemed like it would fit well with today, where games have permeated into normal entertainment.
— Then there was a well-timed examination into the idea of porting them?
Itoi: Yes. By then, I was like, “No, I’m all for it now.” But best of all, 1 and 2 could be put in one package that could be played on a portable device. A very reliable team could be put in charge of the port work too, so I felt pretty much like, “Please, by all means!”
— So your position was that of a supervisor?
Itoi: Yes. They would show me their progress every so often.
— Did you have any requests for changing things in the games?
Itoi: Oh, not really. I actually asked them to just keep things as they were. For example, in the game, there’s a library book you’re asked to return in 2001 (note: MOTHER 1+2 was released in 2003). To make things fit, somebody asked me, “What should we do with this part?” and I replied for whatever reason with, “Okay, let’s change only the dates.” But someone on the staff suggested the opposite with, “But like you mentioned before, this was an old game released a long time ago, so maybe we can just leave it as-is?” Upon thinking about it, I felt it really would be better to keep that stuff that seems “out of place now” just as it was. Though, in places where it was absolutely necessary, a few small things were fixed, but for the most part it’s a straight port.
— I think there will be many people who play MOTHER for the first time, not just people who played it back in the day…
Itoi: That would make me very happy. I think there are even people who don’t know I worked on games in the past. The fact such people can play the games now makes me incredibly happy.
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