Nintendo & EarthBound: What If?
EarthBound was announced for the Wii U Virtual Console outside of Japan yesterday, and there was much rejoicing!
I’ve gotten a lot of tweets, e-mails, messages, and questions elsewhere that I thought might be good to share here, so I’ll post a few of them today and maybe some more later on when I have more time. So let’s get to it!
A lot of people have been asking if this means EarthBound prices will go down significantly now on eBay and elsewhere. I honestly have no idea – a lot of people point to Chrono Trigger, which has had multiple re-releases, and say, “The original SNES version can still cost a lot of money.” It’s strange, because other people point at Chrono Trigger and say, “The original SNES version has really dropped in price.” So I don’t really know WHAT to think.
I think there’ve always been three groups vying for EarthBound cartridges these past few years – genuine fans who want to play the game or get into the game, game collectors in general who want to improve their collections, and people who hunt for copies of the game to sell to the other two groups. A Virtual Console release will mean there will still be a competitive market for physical copies of EarthBound, the question is how badly will collectors still want those physical copies?
If anyone has more insight on the topic, please share in the comments or e-mail me! I don’t follow game prices much, mostly just EarthBound, so there might be vantage points I’m completely overlooking here.
Another common question I’ve been seeing/getting is, “What’s the big deal? EarthBound’s free to play on emulators already.”
The answer to this could probably last for pages and pages. But the important things are:
- We don’t have to resort to illegal means now that an affordable, legal way to play the game is available.
- People who don’t know much about computers, emulators, or anything else can experience the game now.
- This is the first time Nintendo has seriously acknowledged the series’ existence in a marked way outside of Japan in 18 years.
- For 14+ years now I and many other fans have been trying to get Nintendo to do something – ANYTHING – with the series outside of Japan. Petitions, letter campaigns, phone campaigns, all sorts of wacky projects to get attention from Nintendo and Itoi… This is the first time anything’s come from it all. So for many fans this announcement speaks to all that hard work and fan enthusiasm over the years.
- Copies of the game currently go for at LEAST $150 on eBay, just for the cartridge alone. Complete copies regularly go for over $1000. Finally, people who are interested in the game can play it with ease and without spending tons of money.
- This is the first time in 18 years to actually, genuinely support the game/series and the companies behind it. Before, there wasn’t much we could do besides import Japanese games most people couldn’t understand. Now it’s possible to really show Nintendo how much love the game has.
- This is also a chance to actually give money to the people who made the game possible. I would be shocked if Itoi doesn’t eventually get royalty checks for copies of the game that get sold, for example.
- It’s a nice game.
I’m sure there’s plenty more to say, but those are just a few reasons I can think of off the top of my head.
A lot of people are saying this is just a cash grab by Nintendo to increase sales of a failing system.
Yes, that’s exactly why Nintendo is releasing it – to sell more systems. When they re-released MOTHER 2 in Japan last month for like 30 cents, they advertised it at train stations. They didn’t do it to advertise the game – they did it so people would buy the system to play the game.
That’s exactly what’s happening here – the goal of the company is to sell more systems, and releasing games people want is how to do that.
Some people have asked/said, “So the legal issues thing doesn’t matter/was BS to begin with?”
To that I’ll say that I’ll gladly, GLADLY accept being wrong!
We don’t know if there will be any content changes to the game (other than the small things we found here) or not, but my hunch is that since MOTHER 2 was essentially unchanged, so will the English version. It’s possible the guys at Nintendo were recently like, “Holy crap, look at all these people wanting the game! Screw the legal worries, just put the game out!”
In any case, if you’re unaware of what I’m talking about, Reid had been told back in 2007 or so that there were three specific legal hurdles preventing EarthBound from being released on the Wii Virtual Console. Or, more technically, NOA wanted to have three things changed but the parent company in Japan didn’t want to or didn’t think it was worth the time. It’s also believed this is why EarthBound was specifically removed from Smash Bros. Brawl outside of Japan.
Nintendo World Report
This isn’t really a question or anything, but the other day a fellow from Nintendo World Report asked for a quick snippet for an upcoming article about EarthBound. The article went up yesterday here. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I guess they knew this announcement was coming all along!
MOTHER 3 Stuff
So with Earthbound coming to the WiiU virtual console, have you considered asking Nintendo if they would like to use your ROM hack of Mother 3 as the basis for an English translation of Mother 3 on the VC?
I’ve mentioned it many times before, but if Nintendo wants to translate/localize MOTHER 3 I’ll gladly let them used my translated text files for free. I’d edit them as needed for free too. If that’s no good, I’d even retranslate from scratch for free. Whatever it takes to get the game officially released.
Nintendo isn’t just some booth you can walk up to and talk to face-to-face with, though. There’s no way to really open up a dialogue about this, aside from maybe making public statements like this or maybe knowing some people really high up, like Iwata or something. So I’m making the offer again – if anyone can relay the message to someone in Nintendo who can make things happen, please do!
Whew, that’s all for those questions – but now I have questions for YOU!
- Are you going to get the Wii U version of EarthBound? If so, are you going to buy a Wii U because of this announcement, do you already have a Wii U, or are you going to skip this release unless you happen to get a Wii U for something else?
- Do you think this means anything for future releases outside of Japan?
- Will this be your first time actually owning EarthBound?
Share your answers and thoughts in the comments!
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