EarthBound Documentary in the Making!
It’s been a lot of work, but at long last the MOTHER 3 Handbook has been made, printed, packed, and shipped, and have started to arrive in people’s mailboxes! To mark the occasion, I thought it’d be cool to take a little look into the project so you can see how much (insane) love was put into this guide 😀
But first, here are some sample pics I took from some pre-final PDFs:
Click to enlarge
I forget the length of the book, it’s somewhere around 240 pages. Those who preordered also got a special dust jacket that was also made to be a really nice poster, and those who preordered early enough also got a very high-quality “Courage Badge” keychain.
If you didn’t preorder, don’t fret! They printed a bunch of extras, so you can order one anytime here for $20! There will also be a lower-res version of the guide online for free. I’ve seen some pics of the online version and it looks nice indeed.
Now let’s take a look at behind-the-scenes stuff. I promise it won’t disappoint 😀
Jon and I had first discussed the idea of a guide to complement the MOTHER 3 Fan Translation sometime in 2007. Being a professional designer, he lives for this kind of stuff, and he was very eager to do it. After many weeks of delving into law books and contacting a whole bunch of people, Reid start the guide project started in June 2008, and the hope was that the guide would be ready when the translation patch was released. The patch’s progress kept speeding up, though, and the guide folks couldn’t keep up. Of course, it would’ve been stupid to hold back the patch, so the guide was delayed and the guide people were able to catch their breath and put a lot more awesomeness into the book.
The strategy guide that came with EarthBound was such a huge part of the game’s experience back in the day, so the goal for this guide was to try to achieve the same thing for MOTHER 3. I even pushed and pushed for scratch-n-sniff cards and we even did some research into it, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be. But hopefully the goal has been achieved and this guide will be one of those things that players will fondly talk about for years to come 😀
The guide was written by just a few people, and edited by Reid so that the writing sounded consistent. Emilio provided probably several hundred really nice illustrations, Sebastian illustrated all 256 or so items, and Camille made clay models of all the game’s bosses and other interesting things. One of the coolest things about the EarthBound guide were the clay model pictures, and her creations for this handbook are just as amazing.
Camille’s clay models and other works
The writing process was pretty intense, and in the end, I’d say more than half of everything that was written was cut out, partly because at first it wasn’t clear how the book’s design would be. Plus, 240-ish full-color pages isn’t cheap to print, so double that would probably put the book beyond a reasonable price. Also, the writers and editors did such a good job that they even found out little tricks and things that I never knew about, and I lived in the game’s code for a year and a half!
The guide was sent to the printers a few weeks ago, and what came back was literally 2.5 tons of books. To avoid the crazy shipping costs for that, Reid chose a semi-local printing company (Ben Franklin Press, in Tempe, Arizona) and did several commutes back and forth between Tempe and Tucson in the “EBus”. Also, because packing many thousands of books would cause insanity, a bunch of people flew down to Tucson for a “Packy Party”, which was basically two days of sitting in a hotel conference room, packing stuff, drawing unique little things on each individual packing slip, and other such packy tasks.
Also, I think Reid took so many of the free packing envelopes from his local post offices that they were calling each other and saying to look out for him 😯
Anyway, that’s the very quick history of the MOTHER 3 Handbook. Rather than continue to babble on, please enjoy the following images! Click the “PicLens” link to see everything in a handy-dandy slideshow format.
Also, I recommend this song while you check out the images/slideshow below 😀
(gallery removed 🙁 )
Oh yeah, apparently Jon spent so much time in his chair while working on the guide for the past few months that the chair is now stained blue from his jeans. Yet, even after that, he and Reid are already talking about doing another guide. These people are clearly insane cultists.
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