Tips for Buying EarthBound

February 23rd, 2009 | EarthBound 64, Videos

As far as I know, there are only two videos out there of EarthBound 64 in action. Every once in a while I look at them again and each time I have a different feeling. Like “man this would’ve sucked as a 3D game” or “it could’ve been the best RPG on the N64” or “thank god it was released for the GBA instead” or “Man, I wonder what the story would’ve been like in this version.”

The first video was shown at Spaceworld ’99, almost 10 years ago now. Man, were we ever excited. Before then, all we had to go on were crappy screenshots and horrible April Fools rumors about “Smell Paks” that the game would use.

This second video isn’t quite as well-known, but it’s also only like 1 second long normally. I had to slow it down so that it would even make sense. I believe it comes from a Spaceworld ’97 video previewing a whole bunch of N64 games that were in development, like Yoshi’s Story, Zelda 64, F-Zero X, etc.

What do you think? Is it good that the game was cancelled and remade for the GBA? Or would it have been better if it had been released on the N64? I think that it probably would’ve gotten an English release had it been finished on the N64, and the series probably would’ve had more life outside of Japan after that, maybe even resulting in a localized MOTHER 1+2. That’s just fantasy though, but I could see it happening if we built a time machine 😉


POLL: Which would you rather have had, the Nintendo 64 or the GameBoy Advance version of MOTHER 3?

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72 Comments to EarthBound 64 Videos


Simon said on Feb. 23, 2009

The GBA version certainly looks nicer and probably plays a little better too, but the game’s small, intimate world really makes it feel like it was meant to be played on a Nintendo 64. It’s easy to picture Link running around a polygonal Tazmily.

Teal said on Feb. 23, 2009

Hmm…I agree that if the N64 version was released there would have been an English release. I was one of those people who were excited to see a sequel and they further teased us by including Ness in Super Smash Bros.

Erik said on Feb. 23, 2009

The GBA version is more for me. The N64 version had me excited before, but after playing it on GBA, I wouldn’t be able to switch to that.

Millhouse said on Feb. 23, 2009

The GBA version just looks more polished and nice, even to N64 standarts, the N64 version looked a bit choppy.
Also, Boney looked like he ought to be shot and left for dead.

Perosn said on Feb. 23, 2009

N64 looks like it had a cooler plot but it would be impossible for a fan translation

Ali said on Feb. 23, 2009

I have to admit the 64 version looks really stupid and the GBA version looks alot better but I would like it to be on the 64 because it would probably have an english translation making MOTHER more popular outside of Japan, that way MOTHER 1+2 would have had a translation.
You know what? It should have had a translation in the first place because nintendo had time to translate it.

IWontGetOvertheDam said on Feb. 23, 2009

The N64 version looks crappy. I know it was in early development stages, but it looks pretty bad, even for an N64 game. I’m glad it became the GBA masterpiece it is today.

Big A2 said on Feb. 23, 2009

If it was released on the Nintendo 64 in Japan (probably around 2000-2001) it would then take a year to get translated and localised. By then, Nintendo would be wanting to get on with the GameCube, and EB64 would suffer the same fate as Mother.

Jeeves said on Feb. 23, 2009

I’m not sure I’d have given the game a chance if it was the N64 version. That’s just really not at all inviting.

Olias said on Feb. 23, 2009

I really find blocky N64 and psx graphics to be appealing. I would have liked the old mother 3 just as much, probably. The sound quality is so shitty in the gba game. It would have been less compressed on the n64. That’s one part of the game that is definitely lacking compared to the original.

ZombiePaul said on Feb. 23, 2009

I remember the wait for EB64 like it was yesterday. I have never anticipated a game, movie or novel like I did with that game so I’d have to say that I would have really preferred it on the N64 at the time. After playing the GBA version I’d have to say that I think I’m glad it turned out this way, however I’d love to have seen what the N64 version would have been like. Graphics have not ever been the top priority for me so they didn’t bother me in the least.

MotherFTW said on Feb. 23, 2009

I’m happy its on the GBA,but the music in the first trailer was awesome,so that game probably would have better music

Darien said on Feb. 23, 2009

The best RPG on the N64? You mean you really think it would have been better than both Quest 64 AND Paper Mario? Just sayin’. The N64 wasn’t exactly rich in RPGs. 😉

Jokes aside, I’d have to say I like the GBA version better. I’ve always found RPGs in full 3D to be somewhat irritating, probably because I’m not very strong at visual comprehension, and the limited viewport makes it easy for me to get disoriented. Also, on the N64 they’d have been more likely to puff up the game with cutscenes, which I was perfectly happy that Mother 3 had a relative paucity of.

That said, I’m still wondering about that mine cart sequence. When I played Mother 3, I was always looking out for that, since it was the main thing I remembered about the old EB64 advertising, but it never happened; presumably, the mine cart ride explains how Lucas and Claus ended up in the river while Flint is out searching for them.

MaskedMan said on Feb. 23, 2009

The N64 version looks cool but the gba version is better. Also in the beggining of the spaceworld trailer is that claus in the mine cart with lucas? And It would be cool if Mr.Itoi Decided to make 3-D version of Mother 3 on the Wii.Yeah so gba version wins my vote. But sometimes I still wish Mother 3 was released on the N64.

Mr. Munchlax said on Feb. 23, 2009

I don’t know. The 64 version seems to focus a lot more on Flint. But I just love the GBA version so much I’m perfectly content with the released version. Though you do have a point that the 64 version probably would have been translated. The 64 game probably would have given the Mother series a better reputation outside of Japan.

Jason said on Feb. 23, 2009

I felt like a lot of the story, character development, and things like that were cut out of Mother 3 only to be explained by Leder, or similar circumstances. We weren’t given time to get to know Claus, nor details about the finer things we might normally be told in the standard RPG.

So, I feel like I would’ve preferred the intended content of EB64. Seeing that mine-car ride, as well as how dramatic the version makes every scene seem, that would have been exciting. That said, of what had transferred, it all transferred very well. I suppose what I’m saying is regardless of the medium, I enjoyed the content, but would have preferred a bit more of it for a full story.

santiagoff said on Feb. 23, 2009

I prefer GBA version. And even if the 64 would have had an english release , I don’t think it’d have been translated as well as the mother3.fobby’s translation. REALLY!

Legotrekker said on Feb. 23, 2009

Did no one else notice the runaway five?

Also, it appears that you would have played as Clause in the n64 version.

TheFlint said on Feb. 23, 2009

I’m glad that they made the gba version instead of the 64… As some of you said, it probably would not be marketted outside of Japan. Then, it would probably has a weird mood. I mean, when watching the video…I doesn’t has that Earthbounish feeling. It is actually kind of creepy O_O . M3 for gba was very cool in my opinion. “Shitty music”…what do you mean…? It is the best that I have listened in a GBA..

By the other hand, they say that the game was supposed to have like 12 chapters with a main character in each. That would be cool. The video was focused on Flint maybe ‘cuz it was one of the firts chapters, or so…who know… Ness actually seemed to form part of the story, so a closer conection between M2 and M3 was supposed to exist…or he was just a testing character..who knows…

Well, enough Blah, blah, blah… Let’s just pray… Maybe Itoi changes of mind…and develop a mother 4…(yes, it is like a golden dream…but)

Mend said on Feb. 23, 2009

I love the cute GBA graphics because that’s just part of the series for me. So yeah, I’m really glads that we have the GBA as opposed to the N64 version. It still would have been awesome though….

HAK2 said on Feb. 23, 2009

I like the GBA one because it keeps the original style of the mother series.

But if they somehow released lots of unreleased games and the N64 one was included, i would love to play it.

shadowdeku said on Feb. 23, 2009

Hey Mato, I’ve always wondered this, but what does that guy say in the first trailer? (You know, the short fat guy that looks like Wallace Shawn)

The N64 version looked promising, but obviously since it got scrapped we’ll really never know what it was like. The only people who do are the development team, because I think they did a final playthrough the day they decided to cancel it.

Grant Walmer said on Feb. 23, 2009

I think it would be interesting to try to make a 3d version of Mother 3. Maybe some people could make a 3d map of the whole Mother 3 world, in the same vain that cswavely http://www.youtube.com/user/cswavely has 3d-ized different towns, like Onett, Threed, and Fourside. Then maybe someone with programming skills could take that map and make a game from it, based on Mother 3 for the GBA.

TheReaper09 said on Feb. 23, 2009

Mato is it true that the N64 version of Mother 3 was only 90 something percent complete and only Itoi himself knows what would have been the ending.

Mato said on Feb. 23, 2009

That’s actually discussed here somewhat.

Shadowdeku: there are some translated screens here, I don’t remember but I think that has all the known text from the game translated.

Skull1984 said on Feb. 23, 2009

All about the N64, Its just me, but playing through the Mother 3 on GBA the first time in ’06, I never felt like I was playing a “Earthbound/Mother” game, more like a spin-off.

Saturnome said on Feb. 23, 2009

How weird, I always thought there was a bit more footage than that, maybe battle action. It’s true that the internet of the last millenium was a totally different one.

If Itoi expressed wishes that the game should never be seen, and that Starmen.net would somehow get the possibility to get prototypes and so get the ROM, would they do it?

a said on Feb. 23, 2009

“I felt like a lot of the story, character development, and things like that were cut out of Mother 3 only to be explained by Leder, or similar circumstances. We weren’t given time to get to know Claus, nor details about the finer things we might normally be told in the standard RPG.

So, I feel like I would’ve preferred the intended content of EB64. Seeing that mine-car ride, as well as how dramatic the version makes every scene seem, that would have been exciting. That said, of what had transferred, it all transferred very well. I suppose what I’m saying is regardless of the medium, I enjoyed the content, but would have preferred a bit more of it for a full story.”

agreed

Steve said on Feb. 24, 2009

u guys gotta realize that this wasnt a final release… it was just the early stages of development so dont be judging it like that was going to be the final release…

Lothis said on Feb. 24, 2009

I am torn on this subject. I mean for one thing I did always think the graphics were horrendous and was glad when I saw the GBA graphics were more akin to EarthBound.

However, I can tell just by looking at the videos and screen shots that the basic game itself remained the same, but there were a lot of key differences.

A few things I am really curious about are
The mine cart ride with Lucas and Claus, though I suspect the theory about it explaining how they ended up in the river is probably spot on.
Flint riding the Drago. What’s the deal with that?
Ness’ appearances, why was he there? Was he just a place holder or was he meant to have a role?
And last but not least, the one scene where you see the ruins of a city burning and a sign that clearly reads “ONETT.” I would like to know the meaning of this ominous scene.

TBird said on Feb. 24, 2009

I can’t imagine what it must have been like to have to pull the plug on such an anticipated game. I’ve always wondered why Mother 3 didn’t have a development team more competent in 3D graphics.

It wasn’t just the developers fault though. Nintendo promised the 64DD and failed to support it until it was too late. They did the same crap with numerous other add-on gear (SNES CD, GameCube Network adaptor, DS slot-2 gear).

EBP said on Feb. 24, 2009

The 64 version had New Age Retro hippy…

satsy said on Feb. 24, 2009

Huh. I think I’m like you, Tomato. I can think “Uh. Yeah.” at one point, but at another be thinking “Oh, that would have been awesome!”

I suppose when it comes to the graphics… Would people have been so accepting of OoT if it had been postponed and released for either the Gamecube or GBA instead? The characters in that were well rounded, as were the ones in the first video here.

I will agree that it could have been better, but for the limitations of the time, I don’t think it was too bad off. I quite like how they were planning on doing the battle system, and I think they would have benefitted better if they’d removed the floor’s polygons (or made them invisible), and same with the walls, and just used a flat tile that displayed the trippy stuff (something that could pan with the camera without smacking the characters around — very possible).

Seeing the World in 3D would have been quite cool, although we got the story, and it was amazing. I’d have loved to see more, and if BrownieBrown really did remake Mother 3 for the DS… I wonder if it’d include those missing chapters…

… I tell you, though, it always makes me wonder if things were missing from Mother 1, or Mother 2. And if so, what?

AlexB said on Feb. 24, 2009

Man. I am glad it wasn’t released to the N64. The released version of Mother 3 will age much more gracefully than the N64 version would have, just as Earthbound has aged better than, say, Ocarina of Time.

That said, if there WERE to be a Mother 4, however unlikely, I hope they either A) make the jump to 3D or B) stick with the same style of 2D, but make them high-res sprites with fluid hand drawn animation. Sort of like the newest Wario game for the Wii. I would be happy either way. That isn’t to say if it was 3D I would want it to be super realistic, just something like how Ness and Lucas look like in Smash Bros. Brawl. The highly stylized world should be the same as ever.

BSX said on Feb. 24, 2009

EB 64 looks so epix.

But I do like the GBA one a lot.

Feykie said on Feb. 24, 2009

The 64 version is terribly ugly. It’s just an eyesore. I don’t remember thinking that the characters in Smash Bros, Stadium, or Mario 64 were ugly (though I always noted the blockiness). The characters are way, way, way more charming in the GBA, that’s for sure.

It’d be neat if Mr. Itoi would release some videos or maybe a plot synopsis about this game, but it’s not on my “MUST HAVE” list.

PSInesslove93 said on Feb. 24, 2009

the gba version is my choice for mother 3. i think that the storyline fits better and the graphics are better, and overall i think it’s more powerful that way than the nintendo 64 [from the way i see it.]
i just think the graphics, characters, etc. are UGLY [lucas looks a lot like ness…] and i just don’t think i would’ve liked it as much through the n64 way… don’t get me wrong, i love mother 3 but i just feel it’s better as a gba than a n64 game 😛

pooppoop said on Feb. 24, 2009

tons of interesting games stories and game concepts were ruined by terrible game play on the n64. i was worried about this fact as soon as i heard of the possibility of an n64 sequel to earthbound.

it must have been very difficult to program games on the n64, since of all the games i played for that system only a tiny percentage actually had decent game play. i’d rather have a playable version with less content than a game with a full story that was painful to get through

EBM said on Feb. 25, 2009

I really don’t like the graphical style, but… if MOTHER was about graphics, it would ALL suck.
No, MOTHER is about story and fun.
Since Claus was my favorite character (I named him after me and Lucas after my brother) I wanted more from him. There was a whole planned mine cart scene!? Just looking at this video, I can tell there was a LOT more planned for MOTHER 3 than what we got. Honestly, I don’t think you can even compare them. They seem like two completely different games, and I would REALLY like to play both versions.
Uh… by the by, what happened with the whole blue disk saga? Did it just go away, or…?
Anyways, I also prefer 64 Flint’s style. He looks cooler.
Doesn’t have much to do with anything, but… y’know…
He looks kickin’.

Adam said on Feb. 25, 2009

Why does the poll not have an SNES option? 😀

I remember Itoi supposedly saying as a joke (or maybe seriously) that he wished he could do a limited run of the GBA version on a Super Famicom cart. That would be the perfect version for me.

I love how it turned out on GBA. I unconditionally prefer 2D over 3D, and Mother 3 has some gorgeous grahpics, but I don’t like playing on handhelds, especially not epic games like Mother.

I still go back and forth on if I think EB64 looked good. I think I would have liked it, but not nearly as much. All it had going for it was that it was on a console instead of handheld.

Crav said on Feb. 25, 2009

I like the GBA version better. It seems to suite the series better. That said, if the N64 version would have actually made it out of Japan, sign me up.

captain_falcon said on Feb. 26, 2009

While I do prefer the GBA Graphics over the N64 style ( why did they think about going all realistic on us? That’s the exact opposite of what Wind Waker did… )
I think it would have been really interesting to see it on the N64. I know there would have been a lot of cut material. And the N64 really didn’t have that many RPGs that I can think of. While I can’t say I’m not curious, I am glad we got the GBA version, that is more true to the other two Mother games.

PFlute said on Feb. 26, 2009

So will I get crap thrown at me if I say I think it would’ve gotten an NA release if it had been finiOh already said that in the post!

Honestly if it would have meant a domestic release, I might have preferred a 64 release. Also, it would have made another big cemented mark from Itoi in my development as a person if I’d played Mother 3 in my early teens.

I don’t honestly think I can make a decision on which would’ve been ‘better’ though.

NewAgeRetroGamer said on Mar. 3, 2009

I think it is better the way it turned out on the GBA, personally it didn’t look too “Earthboundy” on the 64. I can’t believe I’m saying this but I’m glad it got canned.

16_Bit said on Mar. 6, 2009

I’m sure if this were released, we would all be laughing at the idea of a GBA version.

Gooeyheat said on Mar. 10, 2009

I would like the N64 version if not for 1 thing.
One of those translated screenshots of a battle says “Magic”. WHY THE *censored* WOULD IT SAY MAGIC? Seriously, the whole point of this series was to be different from other RPGs, hence Nintendo using PSI instead of magic.

Gooeyheat said on Mar. 10, 2009

And by “Nintendo using PSI instead of magic”, I mean that the creators didn’t use conventional RPG stuffs, not that a character named Nintendo used PSI abilities. XD

Hejiru said on Mar. 12, 2009

…what is that crawling out of the river at 0:18? I don’t recognize from in the GBA version.

A random person said on Mar. 18, 2009

Honesetly, Legend of Zelda on N64 has the exact same graphics. And everbody loved that. But nobody gives this a chance. Too bad, so sad.

=D said on Mar. 22, 2009

The N64 version looks nice from those trailers, but I’m sure it was canceled for a reason.

I mean, the last thing any of us would want is a Mother 3 that doesn’t live up to our expectations, and you won’t find anyone saying that about the GBA version.

FuzzyPicklez said on Mar. 28, 2009

I think that the troubled transition to 3D stemmed from the quality of the demos/videos.

Anyway, Itoi said that this version was much darker. Feel free to interpret that any way you want. Remember that Porky death sprite, Masked Man death sprite, and that weird Claus demon face enemy background thing? I think that those things may have been in store for the original version. Perhaps it ended with the Masked Man dying, and Lucas ending the world.

UltimaLink said on Apr. 5, 2009

I want the N64 version for the story.

Shamu said on Jul. 1, 2009

I wanted to go for both, since maybe for the 64, there might have been some freaky-ass boss like Mad Jack in DK64.
^lolfan
But still, the GBA version is amazing too.

PKSTARMAN said on Jul. 15, 2009

i know you think that was crappy but it was a beta, at least there was a beta but a think if they could finished the game before cancelled it would be better and there would be a M4 for GBA.

adam said on Aug. 29, 2009

you giys are missing the point

Beanjavert said on Sep. 7, 2009

I’m bummed we only have screenshots from the alpha build (if even that); compared to finished n64 games Mother 3 looks like it would have had pretty poor graphics. I mean, look at OoT, or F-Zero–both of them have plenty more detail. I would’ve loved to have Mother 3 as a finished game for the N64, but like this I just have to go with the gba version.

Smashcooper said on Dec. 4, 2009

In the second video it reminded me of earthbound because Lucas kind of looked like ness(I already know it was beta lucas)and the band reminded me of the runaway five.

Anonymous said on Jan. 3, 2010

think about it if it came out mother 4 would have been released here

Kyoo said on Mar. 9, 2010

I’m glad that it came out for the GBA but I only wish there was some way to get my hands on the sound track. I mean. with the N64 sound settings. it sounds pretty neat.

DJ said on Mar. 9, 2010

It would look cool if I could play as ness in mother 3 because I bet if anyone played earthbound 64 for real u would say:@#!@ mother 3

domo arigato mr roboto said on Apr. 13, 2010

we all need to band together and get this version completed, rehashed and released on ds, in full 3d

Anoymous said on Apr. 23, 2010

I think that if Mother 1 and kept Mother 3 on N64 we would have Mother 4 and 5 maybe Mother 6!

Ryan said on May. 17, 2010

I think it would actually be kinda cool if they could finish the 64 version for the ds. kinda like how they redid the mario 64 for the ds.

The Amateur said on Sep. 11, 2010

The reason I prefer GBA is because N64 has such low-quality. For the GameCube maybe, but not N64.

Lucas said on Oct. 9, 2010

The developers were not used to working with 3D graphics so they should have forgot about making it for the N64 and tried making it for the gamecube or wii.This is the same thing that happend to kirby wii.

Zoom! said on Sep. 22, 2011

Mato can you remove those spam links in that post by Suififesy? Not that anyone would click them but still.

Mato said on Sep. 22, 2011

Done, thanks for pointing it out.

BigDream said on Dec. 29, 2011

I say THIS is the devloper’s punishment. Since they took other people’s songs and put it into earthbound thats the exact reason why it’s not coming to VC, EB64’s cancellation probably in my opinion was thier punishment. Anyone agree?

joe said on Nov. 1, 2012

i have no idea of the exact limits of consoles, but i can say that the graphics of this game is at the N64s limits of somewhere near. it should have been on the GBA and N64, and as for mother 1+2, it should have been called “earthbound advance” and the ads should say “with never before seen earthbound zero!” or whatever they would call it. i think the title screen should have been changed on mother 1 to make it look more like earthbounds title, but keep the awesome globe.

Douche Mcallister said on Jun. 14, 2013

@ =D
Way old I know but so what.
I was disappointed with the GBA version because I feel that the 2D graphics held it back from being the emotionally stirring game it was meant to be. The 2D was done beautifully, but it can’t capture angles and emotions like 3D can like in REAL art.
And that is what Itoi wanted to make with this game originally, ART.

misterdigi said on Jul. 17, 2013

I wholeheartedly agree with you Douche Mcallister. Would have much preferred to see them see this thing through on the 64. I feel like we missed out on a really special game when it was cancelled. Something that would have been given the notoriety of Zelda 64 Oot.

Masked Man said on Nov. 27, 2013

I like the 64 version better it would’ve pushed the series forward to a 3D era if they are ever any new Mother/Earthbound games.


 
 

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