SpeedGamers EarthBound Marathon
Okay! It’s time for the latest Q&A update, hurray!
You said that you maybe see Mother 3 being released in the next 10 years or so. Why? Wouldn’t the likeliness of it being released be smaller as time goes on?
At this point it’s very, very clear a GBA version of MOTHER 3 isn’t going to be released. But I can see a re-release or a port happening many years from now – similar to how MOTHER 1+2 was released 14 years after MOTHER 1’s release and 9 years after MOTHER 2’s release. Many other Nintendo games have had ports, re-releases, or upgraded versions years later. This is the only way I can see MOTHER 3 possibly getting released in English at this point, but I figure it’s mostly hopeful thinking at this point.
I’m not into RPGs as much but the Mother series has really been my all time favorite. What are other RPGs that you recommend that have similar gameplay or settings, if any?
With the Wii being faded with the upcoming Wii U, would you rather see a virtual console release of Earthbound and Mother 3 on the Wii U/3DS or a disc/cartridge releas separate for each game?
It’s not quite like EarthBound, but back when Star Ocean 2 was released I found it to be a lot of fun with a lot of EarthBound-esque elements – lots of items with crazy names/uses, a world-hopping adventure, and more. I wouldn’t go into it expecting anything like EarthBound, though, so it might not be your cup of tea. I personally love the Star Ocean games, and it all started thanks to SO2.
Some people recommend Contact for the DS, but my personal opinion is that that connection only exists because the countdown that everyone thought was EarthBound-related turned out to be for Contact. That connection persisted and so now everyone compares the two :/
Let’s see, I already mentioned the Tengai Makyou series. I did have a lot of fun with the first two Disgaea games – they’re a completely different type of game but there’s a lot of humor there, nifty items and attacks, and tons and tons of gameplay. In fact, if I was on a desert island and could only have one game I’d probably choose a Disgaea game (but not the DS version, I’m very disappointed with it 🙁 ) There’s always the Lunar games and the Wild Arms games too.
You might also want to take a look at Gokinjo Boukentai for the Super Famicom – I don’t know if this has a translation patch yet or not (I briefly considered it myself) but it’s basically a bunch of little kids running around town saving the day:
I’d also suggest Moon: Remix RPG Adventure, which DOES have a translation patch on the way! See here!
Oh, and StarTropics for the NES! Yes! America/the West never got MOTHER 1, but Japan never got StarTropics, so we’re even I guess 😛 StarTropics is probably my best recommendation I can give.
If anyone has any other suggestions, feel free to chime in in the comments!
You’ve mentioned watching Mother 3 LPs, but do any stand out in your mind? I mean everybody’s seen a little of Chuggaaconroy or NCS, but do you have any real opinions on them/other ones?
Also, unrelated question, but what would you say is your least favorite thing about the Mother series (mainly 2 and 3; if I recall correctly you said you were never a big fan of the first anyway)?
I haven’t watched too many LPs of MOTHER 3 – and in fact I’ve only seen bits and pieces of many different ones. I’ve watched portions of chuggaaconroy’s and NCS’s a while back but only partway into the game. People often send LP video links to me too, so I’ve seen tiny bits of those too. I also recently watched a bunch of the Starmen.Net/Fangamer MOTHER 3 Funfest a few months back. I don’t really have much to say on them – I did like how Chuggaconroy added a lot of interesting content into his videos though. Actually, I did help him out with some Okamiden stuff recently, translating some unused content from the Japanese version – he really goes all out with trying to add in content.
Mostly right now though I’ve been watching a bunch of LPs of Square games played by HCBailly. Once I get my stuff back maybe I’ll watch some of those MOTHER 3 LPs all the way through and give my thoughts. I’ve actually been considering doing some LPs of the games myself, but I’m still a bit camera/audio shy so who knows.
As for my least favorite thing about the MOTHER series… I’d have to say the whole deal about the Dark Dragon stuff in MOTHER 3. I couldn’t help but feel it took a trip back into ordinary, cliche RPG territory with that. “There’s a big magic dragon and now you have to collect all (insert arbitrary number) (insert random noun) to wake it up and save the day!” I think that might’ve been the biggest disappointment in the series for me.
As for EarthBound Zero, I actually didn’t like it very much when it came out but I partially chalked that up to having to play it on emulators at the time and the fact that playing the superior sequel set me up for disappointment. That’s why I even tried to persuade Nintendo to port the game to the Game Boy Color – so we could try playing the game in a more authentic way. Over the following years I tried to improve the game in various ways to try to appreciate the game more. Eventually I figured out that going into the game with the right mindset was the key – see my tips about this here. After playing the game this way, I’ve come to genuinely enjoy the game a lot more.
Do you feel Amber is a better name for Hinawa, or did you make the right choice by keeping it?
It’s hard to answer something like this. The best I can do is imagine that English-speaking fans never played the game beforehand and that Brawl had never come out. In this scenario, I’d have had no attachment to the “Hinawa” name (which even I feel is pretty weird, but then again it’s definitely NOT a normal Japanese name) and would’ve likely localized her name. I know NOA would have under such circumstances too.
“Amber” would’ve been a good choice for sure. I think there might’ve been a few other options we came up with too.
But whether it’s “better” one way or another is hard to answer. I mean, I already got a good amount of criticism for the Yokuba/Fassad change, I can’t imagine how something like this would’ve been received.
The nice thing is that this name (and Kumatora’s name) is only optional – the player can change it to whatever they want. That’s not a normal luxury I have as a translator. All in all, it was a weird, weird situation.
Ice Sage asks:
A (very wordy) MOTHER 1 question: what are your thoughts on the naming convention (as in which one is more correct) for Loid/Lloyd and Ana/Anna?
From what I’ve been able to tell over the years, the first variants fell into common use somehow despite the fact that they seem kind of Engrishy. “Loid” seems like a pretty clear-cut Engrishy spelling for “Lloyd,” at least, and not a real name.
I’m less clear on Ana/Anna, since they’re both real names, but research into the two spelling variants indicates that the “Ana” spelling is mainly limited to Spanish, Portugese, and a few Eastern European languages, while “Anna” is much more widely used, particularly in English and Dutch. Since she’s blond and blue-eyed – stereotypical traits for someone with Northern European ancestry, and the MOTHER series plays with stereotypes a lot – wouldn’t “Anna” make more sense? (It’s also spelled this way on her official figurine.)
“Loid” was actually my fault, I’m sorry! I started this way back when and ever since it refuses to die, however hard I try. I much prefer the “Lloyd” name, and now that I can point to Brawl and its spelling of “Lloyd” I use it whenever I can. Of course, there’s a chance Brawl is wrong and that Itoi intended something else. Right now “Lloyd” is my spelling of choice though.
For “Ana”, it’s hard to say. I’ve actually translated a show where it uses the two “n”s where you would’ve expected only one based on the Japanese. This sort of thing is common and it pretty much comes down to what the creator says. I’ve seen it with two “n”s in some guidebooks and on the figures, but in my experience these are almost never reliable sources for English spellings – only the creator him/herself has the ultimate say… and even THEN it’s common for them to be wrong! I actually cover this topic quite a bit in my Final Fantasy IV localization analysis.
So basically, my stance is to simply go with normal translation procedure (which means only one “n”) for now, until someone can ask Itoi personally or he says something about the matter himself. I can’t really see either happening, except in an awkward “On the Itchy and Scratchy CD ROM…” type of thing.
Actually, did she have a sticker in Brawl? If so, how was her name spelled? I can’t check because my Brawl disc doesn’t work and I don’t have it with me anyway.
Hey, Mato. I’ve bought a Mother 3 cartridge to justify my playing the game on an emulator. I’ve been thinking of replaying the game for the first time in a year and a half, but I don’t want to sit in front of a computer just to play it in English. Is there any way to make my cartridge English? I know how free translations work, so needless to say if I get it in English I won’t try to make a profit from it in any way.
There’s no way to apply the English translation to an official Japanese cartridge. The reason computer ROM (as in the compter chips on the cartridge) is called ROM is because it stands for “read-only memory”. Meaning the game’s data can’t be altered. The only way to play the game in English on an actual GBA/DS is:
- Get a flash cart/card
- Use some sort of emulator on a handheld system (although emulators aren’t 100% accurate and have problems of their own)
Someone recently made some reproduction carts (although I can’t/don’t recommend it or link to it for various reasons) so there’s that option too.
I have a question. The Earthbound 64 picture that has someone who looks like Ness walking around in a grassy/forest like area. Do you know the story behind that picture? Is it a prototype hero character for the game or was Ness originally supposed to be in the game?
I don’t remember where I read it but I heard that was just a test model that they were using at the time. It sounds like Itoi had the ideas and characters for the games figured out WELL before development on the game even began, so I can’t really imagine it being Ness. It’s probably much like how there’s a lot of unused/dummy/test stuff in the GBA ROM that was in there only for the developers’ debugging purposes. For instance, there’s even a Dragon Quest-like slime that literally has a text bubble that says “Dummy”.
gwalms responds to my earlier response about the name “Leonita” for Kumatora:
“Leo=Lion, Nita = Choctaw word for bear” Saw someone online suggest it as a name for Kumatora and thought it was interesting. Just wondered your thoughts? I forgot Brawl mentioned her though.
It sounds cool, I guess. Figuring out a name for her was definitely super tough, so I’m secretly glad I didn’t have to worry about it anymore when Brawl came out 😛 And incidentally I’m part Choctaw myself. Random trivia!
I have another question if you do another Q&A. Do you think Itoi himself has anything to do with the lack of NA release of Mother 3? It seems like whenever a NoA employee is asked about it, they seem to give vague answers. Do you think it is possible Nintendo is willing but for whatever reason, Itoi isn’t?
I don’t think Itoi was the reason. I do know that NCL/NOA/whoever did briefly look into the idea of releasing the game but we know how that turned out. The GBA was being phased out and the costs were probably too high compared to the potential revenue it’d generate. It’d have taken away resources that could’ve been spent on something more profitable for the company.
I do think Itoi’s the reason for stall in activity with MOTHER 1 and MOTHER 2, though. I think Chewy mentioned something about this to me after she talked with him a few months ago, but I already forget the details and don’t have those old e-mails on this computer. I’ll have to look into this later I guess. But what I can remember is that it isn’t anything spiteful or anything like that – he’s just a really busy guy and the MOTHER stuff is just some super old side project stuff to him now.
(…) As long as I’m asking you how you got started with stuff, I recall that you’ve written a number of programs, too. What language(s) do you know, and how did you get started with that?
I made lots of crappy little games back in high school, probably the biggest/most complete ones being The Freak Farm and Tomato Boxes. Someday I hope to post all the little games I made on my site. More recently I’ve gotten back into game programming and it’s been a lot of fun. Here are some I’ve been posting about on my site:
As for programming languages, I mostly use C and C# now. I used to know C++ but it’s changed so much since I last used it that it’s all new to me now. I also did a lot of PHP work to build my Game Swag site a while back. I’ve also dabbled in BASIC as a kid, done some Java, and a bunch of other things.
As for how I got into it, when I was really little my parents got me an Atari 400. It had some cool games that I liked, but one day my dad came home with a cartridge that said “BASIC” on it. I was always excited to play a new game… and boy oh boy was I ever disappointed with this one. I guess he wanted me to get into computers at a young age. It wasn’t until around 6th grade that I really started to understand programming, and as soon as I figured it out I was hooked. If you don’t know how to program, I highly recommend it. Even knowing just a tiny bit of programming will open up so much to you and possibly even change the way you think about things. And you can use it to destroy invading alien motherships with a Mac.
That’s all for this time! If you got any questions you want to ask about EarthBound, EB Central, the meaning of shoes, or whatever else, post them in the comments and I’ll get to them in the next update, which will probably be in two days since I’ll be on a plane most of tomorrow.
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