Tips for Buying EarthBound

January 21st, 2009 | EarthBound, Images, Videos

I plan to do a detailed analysis of EarthBound’s marketing and market circumstances and all that in a few months, but for now I thought I’d post a bunch of the things that were used to market the game back in 1995. A lot of people talk about these things but then have trouble finding a good place to link people. So if you see someone talking about EB’s weird marketing, send ‘em here ;)

Anyway, a lot of the ads featured scratch-n-sniff stuff. In general, it sounds like people weren’t fond of them, though I thought they were pretty cool. Except maybe the gross smells. They definitely did stink up whatever magazines they were included in. I know Nintendo had some in Nintendo Power and I think EGM or some other major magazine. They also mailed some ads to NP subscribers and probably people who had sent in their warranty cards for Nintendo products.

Nintendo basically decided to go for the “gross-out” angle with EarthBound. And reverse psychology and the “boys love smelly gross stuff” idea. Above are a few scans of the ads. It’s probably not all of them, so if anyone has any others, please let me know!

And here is the promo video they played in stores like Toy R Us and K-Mart. If anyone remembers seeing this in other stores, let me know that too! People often claim this was a television commercial, but it wasn’t. It was only shown in stores. They could’ve put a little more work into it though…


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119 Comments to EarthBound’s Marketing Campaign


Unlimited Lumpia said on Jan. 21, 2009

Heh.

I find it interesting that they didn’t showcase anything from Earthbound’s battle system in that video. I must admit, I was initially unimpressed with how battles played out (since I played Chrono Trigger before Earthbound) so I can see why Nintendo’s advertising people may not have wanted to place the clips of battles in the video, especially since other games at the time had much “better” ones.

Still, after finishing all the Mother games (and fighting the final bosses.. all of which were extremely emotionally charged despite the “simple” battle system), I can’t imagine playing through battles any other way. :)

Thomas Bazaar said on Jan. 21, 2009

The marketing campaign was incredibly slick, much like the seat of a public toilet an hour after Borat Obama’s first inauguration speech (GO BAMA!)

Unfortunately it didn’t sell, much like Wario… but in our heads and hearts they will always rule in their foul, unrepentant grossness.

To me EarthBound isn’t some philosophical journey, it’s about a bunch of kids eating food they found in the trash, hanging out with deadbeat dads in brokendown cafes and getting really, really smoked on illegal substances that are even more illegal because they’re children.

ZombiePaul said on Jan. 21, 2009

I remember how much they were pumping it up in Nintendo Power. I wasn’t relly pulled in by the marketing. I just saw screenshots and I think the fact that it just looked so unique compared to other RPGs. I wasn’t even into RPGs too much at the time, but this one looked so different I felt I had to give it a shot. I rode my bike down to Blockbuster (back when they were cool) and rented it. I remember playing it for about 3 hours then buying it the next day. I beat it, picked a new save file and started again.

I’m 27 now and everything afterward is kind of a blur.

:)

ZombiePaul said on Jan. 21, 2009

Please excuse my piss-poor grammar/spelling in my previous post. My brain shuts down on my days off.

madammina said on Jan. 21, 2009

I don’t know if it would have drawn me in when I was 6. But now… definetly not.

I do like them saying “This games Stinks” it’s different, but you could have talked some more about what ELSE makes the game unique. Like the writing.

beams said on Jan. 21, 2009

Big boxes = better video games.

mitch said on Jan. 21, 2009

Wow. You know, I first started playing this game because of how absurd the advertisement for the game was back when this ran. If you guys know a little bit of my history, I was pretty young when I first got into the game – the target audience, I guess.

I think any of you old guys from Starmen.net / Eb.net can attest to the fact that I was every bit of the type of kid they went after. :P

But looking back at this after having very fond memories of Earthbound, I have to facepalm. It’s really like Nintendo sat down, decided what the game was about, and went in the complete OPPOSITE direction.

Pango.PD said on Jan. 21, 2009

I always asked myself who’s the person(or maybe, group of advertising, dunno) that created this.

I wonder how long it took them to see that this marketing campaign wasn’t going to work.

Poe said on Jan. 21, 2009

There’s so much more to EarthBound than a few smelly enemies. :( I wish they’d talked about all the different places around the world that you were going to visit and the new friends that you were going to make. “It’s like living in your gym shoes” does not accurately describe the game AT ALL. :(

Covarr said on Jan. 21, 2009

I find it particularly horrid the way they layered the commercial’s music right over the game’s music. So dissonant!

Difegue said on Jan. 21, 2009

Actually I love the EB campaign.
It’s so reversed that it becames more attractive.
At least to the friendly stalker geek that I am. :p

Paige said on Jan. 21, 2009

I never actually saw the advertising for this game when my parents got Earthbound for my brother (I do believe he was receiving Nintendo Power magazines at the time). I believe he found out through a friend about the game.

The EB campaign looks so ridiculous (and smells rather bad.) It really wouldn’t have worked with me if I was my brother’s age at the time (I’d say he was 11 or 12.) This is because I’d take this “THIS GAME STINKS” thing seriously. ):

ahh

do you think that some people really took this seriously and this caused earthbound to ultimately end up as a failure and at the same time, garnered up such a fanbase to be considered a “cult classic”?
the campaign really demonstrates how quirky EB is all and all
or thats what i think
hmm

Darien said on Jan. 21, 2009

Personally, I was completely put off by the game’s advertising. I probably never would have played it were it not for the rental place having pretty much nothing else in stock one day. :-o

rayefrenzy said on Jan. 21, 2009

Oh man, nostalgia.

Admittedly, the marketing campaign worked on me (10 year old me was apparently the right demographic), but in retrospect, this is a severe “wtf”.

I wish I was at my mom’s so I could scour through the old NPs I saved and find the adverts. I know there were more than those…

Smash Bass said on Jan. 21, 2009

I don’t know if that would have worked with me, but I personally don’t like smelly things. :|

But the campaign could have been a lot better.

EB is a quirky game in many aspects, but the full part of this includes more than Hamburgers in trash cans and living vomit, and other smelly/gross stuff.

AbstractedThought said on Jan. 21, 2009

I remember reading two EarthBound articles in Nintendo Power. The first one was kinda dry, basically describing how EarthBound was different than most RPGs at the time. The other was a lot more fun to read, having the look and feel of a newspaper report warning people not to play this game or risk contracting the “EarthBound Sickness” (or something like that). Symptoms include:

– Attacking inanimate objects
– Eating out of garbage cans
– Regularly calling your mother

I thought it was pretty funny and entertaining, although that wasn’t what convinced me to buy EarthBound, so I can’t say if it was great marketing or not.

JoeWuzHere said on Jan. 21, 2009

is it just me, or the box look different? the background looks more blue.

Mato said on Jan. 21, 2009

Yeah, it’s slightly different than what the actual retail version was. I guess it was an early design or something. It’d be so cool if there was a bunch of boxes with early designs on them somewhere in someone’s office or closet or something.

Darien said on Jan. 21, 2009

Since I just saw an empty Earthbound box going for $150 on eBay yesterday, I don’t even want to think about how much variant early boxes would cost. Yikes!

Teal said on Jan. 21, 2009

Looking at that last image with “This book stinks, too”…Especially the last two sentences. That right there made me worry about what parents thought. Sure the ads showed how quiky and “different” the game was but I think the campaign focused a little too much on smells. The game wasn’t all about smells.

I remember once when I played through the part where Buzz Buzz joins you and it just looks like a fly buzzing around Ness. My friend saw that part and said: “So….this game is about some stinky kid?”

Izumi said on Jan. 22, 2009

I was a 14-year-old girl, had I seen these ads, I probably would never have bought this game. >.>; We picked it up based on the box…

hollow leviathan said on Jan. 22, 2009

I have no sense of smell! I had to make other people do scratch and sniffs for me. I probably would have been suckered in as a kid when they were tricked by all the unexpectedly unpleasant ones.

Aqy said on Jan. 22, 2009

The best EB Preview video is still the one that was shown on a cruise or whatever, with the guy raving about how you can play the game with one hand while eating pizza. Cracks me up everytime, wish the rest of that videos audio didn’t cut out.

I recall smelling the ads and the cards when I was younger, I really don’t think I’ve smelt anything like them since, in my life. I wasn’t horrified by the smell or anything, or repulsed, but then I didn’t really relish the smells either. lol.

ShadowX said on Jan. 22, 2009

The Nintendo Power preview is what made me buy this game. It made EarthBound look fun and unique. But the rest of the ad campaign seemed half-assed. The scratch & sniff thing was a good idea, but was poorly executed. Saying that your game stinks is never a good idea. And that video? It’s like they play the first 15 minutes of the game and threw in the most boring clips.

But all that aside, you can tell that NoA did want EarthBound to succeed. They tried those coupons to get people interested. The box was huge and came with a Player’s Guide, which was a first. But this ended up making the game cost more and actually kept it off most store shelves due to its size. And most games during the SNES era did not get any kind of advertisement that had something special to it, like the scratch & sniff. And lets not forget the Mach Pizza Air Fresheners mail in prize, even though they arrived almost a year after sending your card in.

So I think you can chalk up EB’s failing to how poorly its release was handled even though it did receive more treatment then most SNES games of that time. It’s no wonder why NoA still dislikes the game. They sunk all that money into making it their next smaaaaaash hit, and it blew up in their faces.

Also, removing commas from poorly written sentences is fun. “Save the plant in EarthBound from Nintendo”

Leirin said on Jan. 22, 2009

Hey Tomato, the disembeded YouTube file isn’t displaying on my computer, can you give a link? ;)

I did think that the Earthbound marketing scheme seemed… poor. They just kept talking about how the game stinks, smell-wise. But other people could’ve even taken this the wrong way, like the publishers/developers themselves saying the game stunk in the negative way. Being goofy and weird isn’t the only thing that goes into the magic of Earthbound. =) So I think the sales would have been better if they advertised it in a less… er, grotesque way. (laugh)

XX Stone said on Jan. 22, 2009

What the heck was wrong with Nintendo?! It’s like they didn’t want you to buy it!

Leirin said on Jan. 22, 2009

Yeah. And oh wow, those ads are repulsive. It’s not even that I think they’re really bad, but… ehh.

If Nintendo plans to localize Mother 3, what would the slogan for THAT game be? Obviously if they used something like “This game stinks even more” it wouldn’t be too fitting…

But if they advertised it with the Japanese slogan, the hardcore American gamers would be like, “lol sissy game” >:(

Teal said on Jan. 22, 2009

I remember when I was a kid and played through the part where Buzz Buzz joins you. My dad saw that and said: “So…this game is about some stinky kid?”

SoreThumb said on Jan. 22, 2009

I think this Ad Campaign stinks.
There must’ve been other ways to sell the game.. T_T

So crummy.

Thanks for the great post, Tomato :D

captain_falcon said on Jan. 23, 2009

Why couldn’t the advertising in magazines be more like the video?

Seriously…Master Belch was just a small tiny part of the game anyways.

And why would ANYBODY like gross smelly stuff? Lock a school of kids in a room full of cow crap and I bet they all throw up and cover their noses.

Tansunn said on Jan. 23, 2009

I was interested in the game because of the Nintendo Power reviews, not the ads. In all of the ads combined, there are only 3 shots of the game, none of them particularly good.

Back then, the ads just made me think “Meh, whatever.” But now I can’t think that whoever wrote them was even remotely close to sane. “Your nose will be offended, your friends will keep you out of their homes, and your dog will probably eat the book. Ask yourself, is it really worth it?” And they say this trying to sell the game. Brains, ad guy. Turn them on and use them.

nintendo_1111 said on Jan. 24, 2009

The marketing campaign was just crazy but innovitive.

captainzhao said on Jan. 27, 2009

The scratch and sniff pizza actually smelled like poultry seasoning. Crack open a vial in the grocery store and see what I mean.

Poopskin said on Jan. 29, 2009

i personally like the idea they were going for, even if the actual execution was a bit jacked up.

22hunter said on Jan. 30, 2009

They made it seem like the entire game was based on Belch

GoldenEevee said on Feb. 1, 2009

All I can say is:

WHAT THE PFARGTL WAS NINTENDO THINKING WHEN THEY SOLD THIS GAME!!!!!!!!!!!! Wonder why It sold so poorly back then, but I bet a remake, or better yet, an official translation of Mother 3, would sell millions in one week, due to all the EB fans now. Back then, when EB was still selling at stores, Nintendo made it sound like it was all about Belch, not Ness and freinds, gosh, the japaneese campaining slogan “Kids, Grownups, and even young women” was over 9000 times better than “This game stinks”, just what the heck were they smoking when they advertise this!?

Blueman15324 said on Feb. 4, 2009

Heh, NessA. Someone rushed this.

888chilly said on Feb. 5, 2009

i like the fact they keep saying this game stinks thats a laugh but the promo stinks(not literally) GUY GAS?????

[...] in North America, which involved several mediums, all revolved around a common theme and slogan: “This game stinks!” Apparently the marketing gurus fell in love with a particular semi-recurring villain in the game [...]

The Pickle said on Feb. 19, 2009

What the hell were they thinking? I mean, Earthbound in no way is something that completely revolves around funny stuff. They should’ve focused on the stuff it’s known for today. First off, being in a time zone that people can at least relate to, general quirkiness and that lighthearted feeling that’s usually only at the beginning of games, but entirely present throughout EarthBound, and the innovative aspects such as the rolling HP meter battle system, and the auto-win. Not “LOL dis gaem smellz so bd.”

Mr. Nosy said on Feb. 25, 2009

All of that reads like an Encyclopedia Dramatica article (only less risqué and sweary). No wonder this game flopped. Had they emphasised “Kids, grownups, and even young women,” a lot of parents would have BOUGHT the game for their kids (deeming Mother 2 family-oriented) instead of KEEPING them AWAY. (That sounds ironic for a game that is also called MOTHER 2…)

I wonder what would have happened if Persona 3 emphasised the “shoot yourself in the head” mechanic and had the tagline: “If you play this game, you’ll shoot yourself.”

NessRules said on Feb. 28, 2009

“The evil alien guygas vs. NessA in a battle of stinkyness! Who will win?”

Hejiru said on Mar. 2, 2009

“Venture through eight mysterious levels”
WTF??

toxicofthetoad said on Mar. 2, 2009

@ Hejiru: They problably meant the 8 sancuaries (ignore my god awful spelling). If they are going to make a video advertising some video game, at least hire some guy that knows about the game to write it!

I don’t know what the heck they were thinking when they thought, “Hey guys, let’s make up a crazy slogan that will make parents not want to buy this game! It’s the PERFECT idea! It will sell millions!” Gross stuff is GROSS Nintendo! Before I lose my mind, I should problably stop writing the comment.

TBird said on Mar. 3, 2009

I should see if I have my old issue of Gamepro around somewhere. I hated Gamepro, it’s the only one I had. It has a terrible review of Earthbound.

PSI Supernova said on Mar. 25, 2009

Oh my dear lord.

They make it seem like EarthBound is completely obsessed with smells. This is not an advertisement, it’s like they’re trying to make you NOT want to play the game.

EmeraldWinf said on Mar. 30, 2009

If Earthbound’s slogan was “This game stinks.” and causes you to think of the semi-recurring Belch.

Mother 3 had Fassad as semi-recurring…
He had horns…
So Mother 3’s ad campaign is born: “This game blows!”

They could have internet adds that love like presents and when you click on them: cue Saxaphone solo!

Hyperstar96 said on Mar. 31, 2009

Yeah, and why did they name him NessA? I mean seriously, what was the point of that?

EarthBoundRules said on Apr. 8, 2009

^ It makes just as much sense as using “this game stinks” as a marketing campain for a video game.

spoildaj said on Apr. 19, 2009

NoA loves Belch WAY too much.
Throw in a Mr. Saturn, and people would rush to buy the game!
Show a picture of Giygas, and even more sells!

mobile-513 said on May. 3, 2009

I was 10 or 11 when Nintendo Power started running their features in RPG Corner, or whatever it was called, and that’s what got me hooked. First, I found the self-aware, kooky send up of Americana really funny. I was both just getting into Mad Magazine, and was interested in all things “retro”, the goofy clothes people use to wear, the movies, the lingo, and I loved 60s music, especially the Beatles, I was really excited about seeing all that in a game. Second, it starred a boy my age from a little American town with a Dad that was always working, so I identified with the character, that was a big pull. It also seemed really colorful, I wanted to see more of this world.

I had never played a turn based RPG, and still don’t like them much, but I was immediately sold on this game. I checked every month for updates, and I remember waiting for Earthbound 64 updates too, looking at the future releases section where it was listed under “release date: unknown” every month and the wistful sadness that always accompanied it. Even as a kid, I knew something was up with it. I never imagine it would actually get finished, or that I’d be a grown adult by the time I got to play it.

Oh, I also remember the scratch and sniff stuff, I saved it all, but my mom tossed it in a move. I thought it was pretty weird, which I liked of course. I remember showing it to her, telling her it smelt like roses and to give it a whiff (hey, I was 11, that was funny). At that point I was pretty “in” on the game, and was totally getting it, so I can’t really say the affect it had.

As for the campaign, I think it was part of their attempt to be “edgy” and “alternative”, much like Coca Cola’s OK Cola, which had already failed by the time Earthbound dropped. They also should have learned from Stinkor, the He-Man figure, which clogged toy shelves due to mothers not wanting to buy a toy that smells.

Shamu said on May. 4, 2009

Well, since I haven’t lived long as these people in the comments, I didn’t get to know the advertisement and stuff.
I’ve met MOTHER 2 by the super smash bros series.
When I saw the MOTHER 2 trophy stuff, I just thought it would be a scary 3-D sci-fi game.
Oh god what were I thinking.

Claus said on May. 13, 2009

WTF?!!!!!!

Joshua Johnson said on May. 14, 2009

Oh god nintendo, what were you thinking calling such a great game “Repulsive” and “Stinks”? Thats why I didnt like earthbound as a kid, I thought nintendo power was being serious..XD

SeanPeden said on May. 17, 2009

I get the joke, but the game rarely relies on gross-out humor, besides Master Belch. It’s kind of…really unfunny, particularly in contrast with the game itself.

SeanPeden said on May. 17, 2009

Also, more reason for me to hate NOA with a passion. Belch was a minor character. It’s like symbolizing all of star wars with Jabba the Hutt, except Belch is even less recurring and important than Jabba.

bluedude3 said on May. 26, 2009

it makes me sad, if they worked on there advertising europe could of had earthbound….

nintenerd said on Jun. 8, 2009

you made the we are warning you.. this game stinks? like seriously! you wonder why mother 3 is not in north america!

nintenerd said on Jun. 8, 2009

who made the we are warning you.. this game stinks? like seriously! you wonder why mother 3 is not in north america!

sorry for big error

pdRydia said on Jun. 12, 2009

Honestly, my brothers and I got this because we rented it and loved it…and we rented it because it was in a huge box that dwarfed all the other games at Blockbuster.

After buying it, I got to see some of the scratch ‘n sniff cards in the manual, and thought they were hilarious. I still think they are. Kinda worthless as far as “advertisement” goes, though.

adam said on Jun. 15, 2009

I TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOU !!!!!!! I GUESS Nintendo thought “kids are dumb so we shod use reverse psicoligey to get kids to play it!” well WE ARE NOT DUMB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Piggy Guy said on Jun. 22, 2009

Uh, Adam, you aren’t helping the arguement that kids aren’t dumb with that post. Anyway, the marketing was probably trying to rope in kids who love gross stuff, particularly boys from 8-13 years old. Sadly, that is not a particularly large demographic, and that is part of why the game fell flat on its face. There IS also the fact that the magazine ads and stuff said that the game stunk… and beat you over the head with the games stinkyness. /:(

Koyuki said on Jul. 1, 2009

Personally, when I see a game like this marketed as… well, like a garbage pail kid card, it makes me die a little inside. This game is so much better than that! It’s wacky, wild, fun and scary, with an awesome soundtrack! They should have gone with that for marketing rather than the gross factor.

[...] America advertised the game. You can find an awesome little display of some of the ads for the game here. I really don’t know what Nintendo was thinking. Here is one of the ads in question, courtesy [...]

TehMooTrain said on Jul. 11, 2009

I was around 11 at the time and I loved the marketing for EB. I remember the scratch and sniff cards from the players guide giving me a feeling of actually being in the game with Ness and the crew.

I still remember… Ness’ FLASH scratch n sniff smelled like an old hockey puck lol…

I don’t see how so many people hate the stink tactics yet loved the game. It all fit together so well I almost wet my pants.

Gurp said on Jul. 13, 2009

Actually, until I saw this commercial I had no idea Giygas was pronounced ‘Guy-gas’, I always said it ‘Gig-as’.

Caligo said on Jul. 23, 2009

Wow, what a crappy commercial. Basically all they show is Ness walking around. And it makes it look like you can just go up to any enemy and – ta-dah! You win! They could have done much better.

Anonymous said on Jul. 25, 2009

Heh, heh, well, my cousin did get Nintendo Power eventually, but the one thing that sold him was the box and the starman on it. Why? He thought it was a space shooter or something that took place in space. Of course, he was utterly suprised when he played the game, but he was just like “Oh, we’ll be in space before you know it, we are fighting an evil alien aren’t we?” of course, it never happened, but by the time he was going to give up on the whole space thing, he was like “Wow, this game is awesome!”

earthbounding said on Jul. 28, 2009

oh god if i watched that with out have playing earthbound i never would have bought it

Hamtaro126 said on Jul. 31, 2009

Wow! Earthbound has it down that even some of the absolute best games has a wierd scheme. This time, The advertising just blows away all hope of selling almost ANY Earthbound cartridges and guides, Especially that last advertisement!

Mr. Crosser said on Sep. 21, 2009

No! No no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no NO! When I heard about the marketing ads, I thought it was just one “This game stinks” Thing, but it’s far WORSE than I thought it would be. As funny as the ads sound, and as much as I LIKE old nintendo power (Before they got bought by future magazine) This is the WORST thing they have done! When I played EB (I never heard anything about it, I played it on an emulator) I thought it was THE best game I ever played. If I was a 12-14 year old back in the year 199X, I probably would have avoided this game.

Thanks a lot nintendo power. We would have MOTHER 3 right now, and EB0 on the VC if it wasn’t for this >_>.

Then again, how much better would have the game done if it wasn’t for, the slogan, crap-tacular commercials, ads, lack of screenshots, and other things? And what would have happened if Earth Bound zer0 was released here first? Would of EB0 done better? Would we have MOTHER 2 be EarthBound 2: Giegue/Giygas strikes back? Would we have EarthBound 3: Porky’s revenge?

[...] En EarthBound Central recopilaron los anuncios del juego; merece la pena echarles un ojo. [Suscribete a los comentarios] Comentar | Trackback |   [...]

LightningLuigi said on Oct. 18, 2009

EarthBound’s campain vaquely reminds me of the early Nickalodian cartoons I grew up with. I don’t think it would have convinced me to buy it, though. My family had an Super NES I loved to death. The three promanint games I played were Super Mario World, Kirby’s Avalanch, and a game called Hook (it was about Peter Pan, I remember it being fun). We probably had a couple other no-name games, but that’s all I remember. Since I had other interests, I wouldn’t ask for a game unless I really wanted it. I think if I gave it a chance, I might have liked EarthBound, but with a campain like that, I don’t think I would have.

Elaborating on what the person above me brought up, what would things had been like if NES EarthBound had been released. I don’t think it would have done particually well, since it would have been so late in the NES era, but its marketing probably would have revolved around the “Earth’s in crisis, aliens are attacking” thing (stark contrast to EarthBound’s). But how would it have affected EarthBound (or should I say EarthBound 2: Giegue Strikes Back!). Would NES EarthBound’s release itself helped? Would the campain have been different? Would Mother 1+2 (EarthBound 1+2) have been released? EarthBound 3?

Kyosuke said on Dec. 17, 2009

For some reason, I LOVED the ad campaign. And that video? When I saw it in the store I was like “MUST HAVE THIS GAME!” Even though it didn’t show much, it was enough to get me super interested. And I loved the scratch and sniff cards. I would sniff them every day and started thinking I was smelling them even when I wasn’t. I was hooked on that ad campaign.

Cheeseball701 said on Feb. 7, 2010

I met someone once who had a subscription to Nintendo Power. While reading a particular issue, he at multiple spots felt compelled to sniff the spine of the magazine. Perplexed, until he eventually found the Earthbound ad. And yes, he did buy and like the game.

Ness said on Mar. 6, 2010

If it wasn’t for this (To say it Mother 3 Like) Moron, MORON MORON! Caimpaign. We would have Mother 3! And maybe even Earthbound Zer0 on Wii Ware(It may work. SMB2 The lost levels wasn’t realeased in America but it was on wii ware.) It maybe could happpen.

Johnwalt said on Mar. 11, 2010

The “This game stinks” thing ruined the marketing -_-
You MORONS noa!

Johnwalt said on Mar. 11, 2010

(Sorry for double post)
That last ad is practicly telling you NOT to buy the game. Geez what were they thinking?

Mr. Saturn said on Apr. 13, 2010

You know they called him NessA? Well it’s better than what Official Nintendo Magazine said. They called him Tess. TESS!

Anonymous said on Jun. 3, 2010

I was wondering why the slogan was, “This Game Stinks” I guess they were taking the Ren and Stimpy approch?

Lucius said on Jul. 27, 2010

SMB2 the lost levels? was that based off the original games with the side-scroller and you could play as Mario or Luigi but not Peach? If that’s the one you’re talking about, then it was released in Super Mario All-Stars for the SNES. If it’s a special release for the one with the throwing flowers and Peach, then I guess you’re right.

Bryan said on Aug. 17, 2010

The promo vid is atrocious, but not part of any official marketing campaign (I hope). It seems like something the shop’s company put together, but correct me if I’m wrong.

Otherwise, I thought Nintendo’s ad strategy was pretty good. It was professional, slick and interest-piquing. Remember, this was the ’90s — the “extreme” decade. It was the age of Creepy Crawlers, Gak, Beavis and Butthead, fart jokes, Double Dare, slime slime slime, Aaah! Real Monsters and like a poster said above, Ren & Stimpy. Anything “gross” was in. Honestly, if anything was a turn-off, it was probably the graphics, as gamers were very visuals-focused back then, since we were teetering on the verge of 3D. Not to mention the fact that RPGs in general were not mainstream in America yet. We have Final Fantasy VII and Pokemon to thank for that.

CalmingS said on Oct. 7, 2010

How dare they say that “This game stinks”! They should’ve talked about the unique things about Earthbound! Not the downsides!

CyniC- said on Oct. 23, 2010

I smelled it back in 1995 and I still remember the smell to this day. I’ve never owned the cartridge though. So marketing fail? :)

iwata kicks you know what said on Jan. 3, 2011

And NOA wonders why the game didn’t do well, and then abandoned it because they thought the audience didn’t like it.
Compare mottos:
JAPAN: “Kids, grownups, and even young women.”
USA: “This game stinks.”
Why do you think the game did well in Japan?

Joe said on Jan. 7, 2011

I do remember the scratch-n-sniff ads, but the reason I bought the game was a write up in nintendo power hyping the game as “Nintendo’s first RPG since Zelda”. At the time, it had been four long years since Link to the Past and that was all I needed to hear.

The enormous box and strategy guide didn’t hurt either.

Bigjake52 said on Jan. 9, 2011

I personaly think they could of did better in the american release. This game stinks… yeah no.. I rahter the jap sloglan,

PSI rockin' said on Feb. 28, 2011

Kill me for this, I LIKED the This game stinks motto, I thought it was funny, and that’s what you’d want, a funny game, you’d play it for a laugh, and fall in love with it.

Envirotech said on Mar. 13, 2011

How stupid can you BE Nintendo!?!?!?!
That’s not the way you reverse-psychology someone!!
*facepalm*

DBlue said on Mar. 28, 2011

THIS was targeted towards teenagers and young adults?

I don’t remember the 90s being THAT weird!

Yonderfork said on May. 8, 2011

The sad thing is that I saw an Amazon.com ad for Earthbound on this page that still used that strategy. *Super facepalm*

Mato said on May. 8, 2011

We have a lot of parody/goofy ads on this site just for fun :P

massing ness said on May. 9, 2011

If I saw this back then I would laugh my ass off and think this was a really bad game but if i played at the time i would regret evrything.

whydidthesmellmademewrite? said on May. 30, 2011

Seriously, I remember the game when it came out like, at the same time I was getting into Final fantasy 3 usa, and when I saw EB , I was kinda …dissapointed, don’t know why, but really, REALLY these Ads, oMg!!!! Unacceptable!!
maybe I did’nt play it as a kid*(Im a french Canadian, so as a kid, I didnt understood english, as of today :) because it looked boring as hell, and I actually saw my friends playing it, and was like, ITS NOT CHRONO? lol

BUT !!! Today , Im 28 and !!! because of all the fuss there is about earthbound, today, and especially the super smash bros series, I, NOW , want to play this little masterpiece! :P Not to say that, before playing I already watched a PLAYTROUGH of earthbound snes! ;)
Well, for the ads…I didn’t understand any of those english words….maybe…like…the word ‘Game’ was allright, lol :) but to say that the game Stinks, is like telling not to buy the !$#@!$ game ! OH and dont forget that ‘ITS LIKE LIVING IN YOUR GYM SHOES’…….?WTF who wrote this??? who decided to make it like you might LIKE living in your gym shoes?
why so much bad advertisement? why?….
why did the smell made me wrote this???
Oh and before I wrote my whole life a as human being,
this is the worst shit that ever happened in video game history!!! telling you the game STINKS or sucks, whatever! even as a joke!! NEVER

note:while im playing smash melee against NESS and listening to earthbound music!

Zoom! said on Jul. 21, 2011

NessA!

Learvok said on Aug. 1, 2011

I never gotto play this game as a kid, and the add campains skipped past me (I was probably like 7 at the oldest when the game came out) so I didn’t really notice the campain. I did, however, see the box at my local Movie rental store when I was around 10, up until I was around 12, maybe 13. However,I admit, I passed it up over Metroid and Legend of Zelda. I guess it just wasnt ment to be. Well, probably for the better because I woudln’t of had the ability to appreciate it until years later after I was able to Beat Mario RPG (the first RPG I beat ever…took me like 6 years to beat. I am not kidding).

That said, I look at the advertising and think…this does the game no justice. EarthBound is a great game and all the ads do is point out some stupid gross our humor that I never really liked to begin with. And besides, the people I knew who liked this humor, Ironically thought gaems were for little kids (I guess thy forgot somewhere that they were kids as well.)

Zoom! said on Aug. 7, 2011

The 2nd ad seems to have some beta boxart….

Zoom! said on Aug. 7, 2011

Yeah its totally beta box art.

Zoom! said on Aug. 7, 2011

The beta box art(I’m saying that too much)is also on the 3rd and 6th ads as well.

Matteomax said on Aug. 12, 2011

Is.. is that really a $10.00 off coupon for EarthBound?!? O_O

Mato said on Aug. 12, 2011

Yep, games got really expensive in the mid-90s, which is why Nintendo decided to make a fancy guide and package it with the game. Then they sent out coupons hoping to entice even more people to get it. I remember that the store my mom bought it from nearly refused to accept the coupon, for whatever reason.

dylan said on Aug. 21, 2011

two days ago i found that ad with the coupon in it inside an old copy of nintendo power i got at a thrift store i was going to submit it but i see you guys have already seen it

Zoom! said on Aug. 21, 2011

I bee I am

RadicOmega said on Sep. 20, 2011

You wounder why Earthbound didn’t do too well in America! “This game stinks”? The Japenese slogan is a slogan that will make a game sell well. “Kids, grownups, even young women!”

[...] we probably wouldn’t have much interest. After all, they brought over Earthbound with a terrible ad-campaign and a box so large that distributors didn’t want to carry it because it took up too much [...]

[...] ending. The game sold poorly in the US (and with the sort of brilliant marketing team that thought “This game stinks!” would be a good slogan, I wonder how that happened), but the people who liked it tended to really [...]

Minifig2401 said on Dec. 29, 2011

Wow japan had a good marketing scheme. i mean ” childern adults, and even young women”. that just means this game is for everyone. and plus japan used cute litte mr saturn as the symbol. “this game stinks” has a 5 or 6,7,8, feel.

ShineOnCrazyDiamond said on Mar. 7, 2012

NoA likes to blame consumers for the failure of EarthBound.

“Oh, you guys didn’t buy enough copies. Too bad so sad! We’ll never release the Mother series in it’s entirety because it was a financial failure”.

When truly, the failure of EarthBound can be summed up to a shoddy, terrible advertising campaign that turned OFF most consumers, not on.

NoA set themselves, and the series up for failure.

Imagine going into the grocery store, and seeing…”Don’t buy this cereal! It tastes TERRIBLE!” When really, the cereal tastes just fine?

“Don’t buy this milk! It will eventually go sour and STINK! Wooheeee!” When really, the milk will probably be completely consumed before such happens?

“Don’t buy this ham! It could have bacteria and make you sick! Blech, nasty, dirty ham!” When the odds of such are miniscule at best?

NoA, stop blaming consumers for the EarthBound failure. You fucked up. Bad. And you are too proud to admit it.

You could have shone the game in a POSITIVE light. Relied not on gross-out humor, and stinky smells. Maybe…I dunno? Talk about the games quirky humor positively?

EarthBound should have had a “More than meets the Eye” type of campaign. This game IS silly, this game IS quirky and weird…but it IS so, so much more, as well. This game asks you to THINK. This game will make you LAUGH. This game could make you SAD. This game has a colorful and interesting STORY. Varied and original MUSIC. This game, beneath it’s shiny, colorful graphics, has a HEART.

THINK
LAUGH
SAD
STORY
MUSIC
HEART

Much like…Strange, Funny, Heartrending.

This game can be played and enjoyed by those of all ages.

Much better than…”This game STINKS!”

Crystalwarrior said on Apr. 29, 2012

Hey guys.
How about… Another petition?
Maybe THIS time it will work, if we point out the commerical failures and give some suggestions/ideas/reccomendations…?
But that’s just a maybe…

Still, it won’t hurt to try, eh? :D

Jesus's cousin said on Apr. 29, 2012

Good luck getting the same ammount of people and MORE, many balls are in nintendo court atm. Unless a “kony 2012″ varitation was done there is not much that the mother fans can do except just wait for an official release outside of japan. Its gonna take alot to give nintendo the insentive to wanna do what we the fans want and its gonna be even harder to accumluate the same ammount of people who helped petition in the past. not trying to be negative just being realistic. never the less, maybe THIS time is a possible work out but i wouldn’t bet on it.

GieguesFoot said on May. 8, 2012

sigh…if they didn’t go for this complete ****-up of a marketing campaign I might be able to get my hands on a copy without having my parents basically drop their wallets. Oh well, Nintendo basically shot themselves in the foot with the whole Mother Series

Clockwork64 said on May. 19, 2012

Earthbound stinks more then a bucket full of diarea that set on the sun for weeks and filled with rotten eggs,Master puke,Dusters stinkey socks,Forth party member of eB,and Farts.

(I Love Earthbound very Much) sorry for the viewers of this comment threw up and Got indegestion

Joey said on Feb. 1, 2013

This game doesn’t stink, but the advertising sure does. And NoA wonders why it did so horribly.

[...] explains, “I even looked at some of the old marketing material which said things like ‘this game stinks.’ It’s one of the most brilliant ad campaigns I’ve ever seen and if it [...]

Daniel34552LP said on Jul. 19, 2013

First release on eShop in Europe

[…] vez um clássico um tanto injustiçado, inclusive pela publicidade muito mal pensada à época – quem diabos vende um game dizendo que ele FEDE? Isso graças ao meu Wii U que resolveu voltar a funcionar (não sem alguns truques antes, é claro) […]

[…] Seriously, what was up with this game’s marketing? […]

Anonymous said on Dec. 30, 2013

I actually would want to buy it.


 
 

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