A Detailed Analysis of MOTHER 3
A video game collector recently found a complete, like-new copy of EarthBound at a swap meet. The discovery was a nice surprise – it wasn’t immediately visible and was in a box of a bunch of unrelated junk. In the end, he only paid $10 for what sometimes sells for $1000 or more on eBay. (For more EarthBound price info see here)
Also of particular interest to me is the Best Buy sticker on the box. It says the game was $5.99, so this particular copy was likely from the game’s “bargain bin” era during the latter 1990s.
Man, it’s still hard to believe that it (or any Nintendo game) ever got that cheap 😯
While H.S and other fans have been working on an EarthBound ROM hack that remakes the first MOTHER game, vince94 has been composing a lot of music for the project. vince94 recently uploaded a sample video of the current title screen music:
This project keeps looking and sounding better every time I take a peek at it!
For the last two years, Hobonichi has released MOTHER-themed planner covers and related merchandise, including an Onett cover and a Saturn Valley cover. It looks like another set is planned for 2017, based on this teaser announcement. The announcement includes three small, cropped images:
So it seems like there’ll be at least a Winters cover and a Magicant cover. Of course, the Magicant cover might seem unusual or confusing to some fans – that’s because Ness wears clothes in EarthBound Magicant, but not in MOTHER 2.
Larger, more formal announcements are slated for later this month, so we should know more about the MOTHER 2 lineup then.
MOTHER 3 was released on the Japanese Wii U Virtual Console last year but no one really knew if it had undergone any changes from its original Game Boy Advance release. That changed last month, when some of the EarthBound hacker guys and I finally got to dig into the new game’s data!
In all, it appears that three small changes were made. The programming code that makes these changes work were manually added tot he end of the game’s data, much like the hacking work we did with the fan translation. Here’s a run-down of what these changes involve:
Change 1: Lightning Flashes
A few scenes in the game feature flashing screens meant to seem like lightning. These flashes were changed, but the difference is so subtle that it’s almost imperceptible. In fact, none of us noticed it during our playthrough last year! I was only able to notice it when I put some of the scenes side-by-side, but even then it’s so slight. Here’s an example:
It’s assumed that this was changed to adhere to the company’s guidelines for avoiding epileptic seizures.
Change 2: Lightning Graphic
Looking at another change with Jeffman’s graphic viewer shows that a lightning bolt image was given some added color for some reason:
And here it is in action:
I’m not sure why this change was made. All I can guess is that it’s similar to the reasoning for the other lightning change.
Change 3: Battle Background
The third and final change made involves one of the battle background image layers. It affects battles with the Top Dogfish and the blue mushroom enemies on the crazy island.
The difference is clear using Jeffman’s editor, but in-game it’s almost imperceptible. This particular battle background slowly changes brightness over time, and the Wii U version reaches a higher brightness than the GBA version:
(GBA on left, Wii U on right)
Again, implementing this change required a decent amount of effort, so it must’ve been made for some good reason.
So, if you’ve ever wondered if the Japanese re-release of MOTHER 3 was different from the original release, now you know!
A new Kirby game was recently released, and one of Kirby’s powers involves ESP. Kirby’s appearance and the ability’s description clearly refer to Ness:
This isn’t the first time Kirby and EarthBound have teamed up, here’s an old video I made years ago:
Thanks to everyone who sent in info about this new connection!
A Japanese game music fan by the name of keN Matsu recently hooked up a MIDI keyboard to a Super Famicom and showed off what it can do. He uses it to play a bunch of different music samples from Super Famicom/Super NES games, including Super Mario World, Final Fantasy IV, MOTHER 2, and more:
After showing off the samples, he then re-creates actual songs from the game by playing multiple recordings at the same time! For quick reference the MOTHER 2 sounds start at 3:05, and the full MOTHER 2 song is at 5:41.
A possible EarthBound prototype sold on eBay UK yesterday for £200, which is about $350 in US dollars at the moment.
And here are the photos that were included:
This isn’t the first time something like this has popped up – another one also sold on eBay UK in 2009 for $584. I’m not sure if this is the same one or not, but the one in 2009 had EEPROM stickers while yesterday’s doesn’t.
Luckily a very personable Japanese collector bought this most recent EarthBound oddity and is hoping to check to see if the game is any different from the final retail version of EarthBound. He goes by RetroGameTV on Twitter and you can follow him here.
Here’s hoping we discover some mid-localization content on this mysterious artifact!
The guys at Fangamer recently flew to Japan for a company trip, and many Fangamer friends went along too, including good ol’ Stephen Georg (aka xfis). During the trip they visited the office of Shigesato Itoi’s company, Hobonichi. And, just as they were leaving, they encountered the man himself!
Itoi posted about the encounter on Twitter too:
Man, that Mr. Saturn…
The Smashified series recently updated with a video about Salsa from MOTHER 3! If you’re not familiar with the series, it’s about creating 3D Super Smash Bros-style trophies. The process of creating the 3D models is shown in fast-forward with a relevant audio discussion or interview plays. Anyway, here’s the Salsa trophy!
Other MOTHER-themed Smashified episodes include:
I’m always impressed with the quality of Smashified’s models and can’t wait to see more!
Featured Item on eBay:
Game Boy Micro System Mother 3 Deluxe Box Nintendo Japan NEW
- Leeaux: Hey I just saw this! Really interesting watch to. Lots of little fun facts.
- Mary: The “behind the scenes” video on how the Ness animation was made is great too. The animators channel is A + Start.
- NecrosaroIII: Itoi setting up his retirement
- Kamrom: My Recipe For Earthbound Rock Candy: 1. Get rock candy 2. Pour sugar on it 3. Watch as the sugar falls off 4. Eat the rock candy, clean up...
- Nessential: The stock is still pending listing, but you can find it on Bloomberg here: https://www.bloomberg.com/quot e/3560:JP I might buy some of...