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Tips for Buying EarthBound

November 30th, 2008 | Hacking, MOTHER 1+2, Videos

A couple weeks ago I still had the itch to do some light GBA ROM hacking, so I gave the MOTHER 1 part of MOTHER 1+2 a look. It’s been a breeze to hack, and I got most of the hacking done in a few days. I plan to do a retranslation of the game from scratch, plus a few other improvements, some of which are already seen in these screens and video.

Some of the things you can expect from this retranslation:

  • A retranslated script. The EB0 ROM has a good number of changes and mistakes/issues with plot details. The EB0 script is also very dry, because of limited resources. This retranslation can allow for a lot more text, and censoring/changes won’t need to be done.
  • Expanded text boxes, allowing for more dialog text at one time, meaning the text will be nicer and easier to read.
  • Expanded battle text boxes, allowing for more text than before. I still need to actually edit the text to use the new space though.
  • I added an “Easy Ring” to Ninten’s basement, for those who don’t like to grind for experience and money. The item, when equipped, doubles the exp and money you get from enemies. It makes the game much less of a chore.
  • Things like the status screen are a little fancier and more verbose.
  • You can use the L Button in this game much like you can in EarthBound. It makes talking to things/checking things a little quicker.
  • I plan to make a few changes with the font and the window borders to be more like EarthBound.
  • Many of the little EarthBound / MOTHER 3 connections will be left intact in this translation, so fans of the series will surely enjoy that. The EB0 translation changed a lot of things, which broke some of these connections.
  • Translations into other languages will be incredibly easy to do.

If anyone has other recommendations that aren’t too crazy (I can’t make enemies appear on the overworld, I can’t make rolling HP), let me know and I’ll think about it.

Like I mentioned before, most of the hacking work is already done. It’s a zillion times nicer to hack than MOTHER 3 was. The majority of what’s left to do is just simply translating all the text, and I could probably do that in a matter of days or weeks if I had nothing else to do. But I’m gonna take my time with this, so probably sometime early next year if all goes well. Next year is MOTHER’s 20th anniversary, too.

As for the MOTHER 2 portion of MOTHER 1+2, that’s up to Jeffman. I don’t have the time and energy to work on a project that enormous. You can see some of his early test work on it here, though.

POLL: Which game is your favorite?

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98 Comments to MOTHER 1+2 Translation

Leirin said on Jan. 12, 2009

Dayng. I like Mother 1. But I’m too far into the game to download a new translation. Still, I’m rooting for you, as you are a better translator than the guys at Nintendo of America 😛

No votes for Mother/EB Zero? Retarded.

Millhouse said on Jan. 12, 2009

come on, EB0 wasn’t that good. Classic 8-bit gaming flaws: you have no idea what to do, there’s far too many random battles, you need to do too much grinding, saving your game is a mess, etc, etc.

Overall, MOTHER 3 is just the best game, if you looks upon it objectively. I’m sure the people who voted for EB only did so because of nostalgia.

gBev said on Jan. 12, 2009

EarthBound Zero was amazing for its time, but now it isn’t always so great compared to newer games on more powerful systems.

Dave said on Jan. 13, 2009

Maybe u should check the rate of random battles and change the value, ive heard people saying the rate of battles is to high in Earthbound, but then again you did put the easy ring so that might make it better.

skyrunner14 said on Jan. 13, 2009

There. Now MOTHER has my vote. It’s the best in the series, IMO.

Sean said on Jan. 14, 2009

This is awesome. Please complete this project and convince jeffman to help out and do mother 2. I bought this import when it was new, and I would love to see a fully translated patch available.

Leirin said on Jan. 14, 2009

I don’t know why, but maybe I would have liked Earthbound/Mother 2 better if it were faster. Like, had running or something, like Mother 1 and Mother 3. Mother 3 was extremely touching and artistic so it’s my personal favorite, but Mother 1 also had a lot of elements I liked. And not just for its time do I like it, I think it’s a great game overall.

Covarr said on Jan. 24, 2009

Is VWF a possibility? Fixed-width is hard on the eyes and slows down the game because of all the extra text-scrolling that it necessitates.

Mato said on Jan. 24, 2009

No, I’d have to redesign probably half of the game’s programming from scratch. Might as well make my own game if I’m going that far 😉

That’s why I opted to expand the text boxes and change the font to make it more readable. That plus a better flowing translation should make it a little more bearable at least.

Ryan said on Jan. 29, 2009

Ever since I played Mother 3, I’ve been hooked on the Mother seires. I’m already playing EarthBound for the SNES, but I really, reallly, want you to finish the Mother 1 part of the game Mother 1+2 and then post it so I can do it in English. It drives me crazy when I don’t know what to do next. It SUCKS!

Ryan said on Jan. 29, 2009

P.S. SUCKS soooo much.

nastra said on Feb. 1, 2009

where can i download your mother 1+2 version ?

Mato said on Feb. 2, 2009

It’s not done yet, so nowhere.

Ryan said on Feb. 3, 2009

Can you post another video to see how far you got? Thanks!

Mato said on Feb. 3, 2009

The game’s script is in absolute random order, so there isn’t much point to making new videos until most of the text is finished. That’s partly why the current video has some stuff in Japanese and other stuff in English: the script is crazy random order.

Ryan said on Feb. 3, 2009

O.K. Keep trying! ^_^

Manaphy Fan said on Feb. 10, 2009

I hope the articles(a, an, the) are added where they are missing.

captain potato said on Feb. 10, 2009

could you posibly put one or two of the party members at a higher level or at least higher stat once you get them in your party if not its ok

Fanboy said on Feb. 14, 2009

I can’t wait for the mother 1 translation!! Thanks so much for your effort on it, I recently started playing mother 3 and after a drought of good rpgs, I’m so impressed and addicted by the bizarre yet moving tale and I now want to follow the first two games. Fantastic series, 10 out of 10.

The Alex said on Feb. 19, 2009

Mato, you code in your sleep. Please allow yourself to be watered & fed once a day. Place yourself near light as not to wilt. Great job btw, please keep us updated.

wantslatioslots said on Feb. 23, 2009

I’ve wanted to play Mother, but I really can’t deal with the translation job it’s had in the past. I trust you Tomato, I’m sure you’ll do it justice. Plus, now I can get EB and EB0 in one convenient package!

Edgar said on Feb. 28, 2009

<3 I would love to have this translation on my cart. I’m psyched.

CaptainKeeeta said on Mar. 1, 2009

Mother 1 was my favourite game in the series, because it had the darkest plot. Mother 2 had a bit of an erratic plot and Mother 3 was just too sad.

I have a few questions.

You know in Mother 1 where “running” was just the game being sped up? Well, are you going to fix it so that Ninten is the only one doing the running, and not the other people in town?

In the GBA version, was the american ending included?

And lastly, are you going to make a menu translation like you did in Mother 3? I played through Mother 3 with just the menu translation and I’d like to see something like that again.

Mato said on Mar. 1, 2009

Fixing that thing would probably require a full rewrite of the game. I don’t know if they fixed it in the M1+2 port or not. If not, I wouldn’t expect it to be fixed in the translation 😛

Yes, the American ending was in M1+2.

I think you might be behind the times a bit, see here: http://earthboundcentral.com/mother12

There already exist full patches for the Mother 1 portion of the game which will work much better for you than a menu patch.

Ryan said on Mar. 3, 2009

Do you think you could add more pepole so you know what to do next?

Bobbyjkl said on Mar. 10, 2009

Mato. Finish this.
I might have to force you.
That’s how good Mother 3 was.

Claus said on Mar. 11, 2009

Why wasn’t this released on the NES years ago?

Claus said on Mar. 11, 2009

As EarthBound

Claus said on Mar. 11, 2009

Are there going to be any more updates?

kurowoofwoof111 said on Mar. 12, 2009


SamWibatt said on Mar. 14, 2009

I look forward to your translation. I hope you’re having a good time putting it together.

Yoyoenix91 said on Mar. 19, 2009

I have a question. I’m a little confused, but didn’t EarthBound Zero have an extra few cutscenes during the ending credits? Will this release include that?

Mato said on Mar. 19, 2009

You’re correct that EB0 had an extended ending. But the M1 in M1+2 was based on EB0, so it has the extended ending too.

Claus said on Mar. 20, 2009

Will you somehow be able to change everything back to the way it was in MOTHER?

Ryan said on Mar. 21, 2009

Will you?

Mato said on Mar. 21, 2009

I don’t know what that question is asking.

Claus said on Mar. 24, 2009

You know, how EBO changed the ending, the crosses in the cemetery, that kind of stuff.

kathy said on Apr. 4, 2009

can’t wait to play mother 2, pls finish the translation.. thanks a lot!

Claus said on Apr. 5, 2009

Yeah, I’m excited for MOTHER 2 especially.

(Any Updates?)

EB2 said on Apr. 10, 2009

I hated Mother 3’s ending, he kills himself.

Brihutch2021 said on Apr. 11, 2009

I can’t wait to find a flash cart and get all 3 on GBA. Mother 1 looks much better then I expected it to be, but EarthBound still takes the cake for me.

Claus said on Apr. 11, 2009

EarthBound cannot be written to a GBA flash cart. I’ve tried before on one and I don’t think it’ll work on any other.

Diosoth said on Apr. 15, 2009

I’d like to see this translation project finished simply because I can NOT get a copy of the SNES Earthbound ROM to run properly. ZSNES has this bug where the game will simply halt at the black transition screen when entering a building. It’s random but always happens eventually. Since all the other emulator options are rather lame, it leaves the game rather unplayable. I do, however, own a proper GBA flash cart that can run Mother 3 with no problem.

Yes, vintage SNES copies are an option, but not for me. I won’t pay more than $20 for a video game on my current budget, no exceptions. Not that Nintendo would see a cent off that used game sale anyway- then again, I support the used game market and couldn’t give a flip of the developer sees a dime. They made their money off that copy already! They don’t get paid multiple times PER COPY! If Nintendo wanted money off SNES Earthbound they can port it and sell it.

However, I don’t see why the games need re-translations. Not that I ever played Mother, but the script for Earthbound was fine. Just because it’s not a literal translation of the original Japanese script doesnt mean it’s bad. Square Enix did this for Chrono Trigger DS and it just seemed unnecessary.

EarthBoundFan2 said on Apr. 20, 2009

Hey Tomato, can you make an item that halves all damage in a fight?

Mato said on Apr. 20, 2009

Would be too much work, since damage comes in many different forms. The Easy Ring is already good at making the game playable.

Claus said on Apr. 28, 2009

DS flash carts have an SNES emulator right?

Bernhard said on May. 1, 2009

Yes, but the sound on them are WAY messed up.
I prefer an emulator on PC. But if you’re going somewhere, then an SNES emulator on the DS is a pretty good thing to have. It’s up to you.

Claus said on May. 1, 2009

Thanks. I don’t know if I’m going to get one, but I just don’t like how all the music and everything is changed in the MOTHER 2 portion of MOTHER 1+2.

Claus said on May. 1, 2009

And my computer’s speakers don’t work.

mother said on May. 9, 2009

hey eb2 thanx for ruining the end jackass!!!!

MarioFan3 said on May. 10, 2009

Even though i’ve played through Mother3 (only ever using the English patch), it doesn’t mean everyone else has!

Not to sound harsh eb2 but don’t ruin it for people who haven’t beaten the game!

Mother3 is the only game that’s exceeded my expectations and ruining the ending is the last thing people need!

MarioFan3 said on May. 10, 2009

…sorry if that sounded a bit mean but i needed to get my point across.

Kamuki said on May. 15, 2009

The Mother 3 ending was ruined for me. I want to cry. 🙁

HazyShadows said on May. 31, 2009

Oh man. This is like choosing between which one of my children I like more..
Uhh.. I guess..
Mother 3.

Pkstarstorm1up said on Jun. 2, 2009

Mato I have three questions for you 1. when the dragon in mother 3 brings peace to the world do you think he brought Claus and Hinawa back to life? 2 Do you know why mother 1+2 sounds so different and weird while mother 3 sounds fantastic? and lastly and this is the one I hope you reply to but there are two characters in who were supposed to be in threed after the zombies left but were programmed wrong and did not appear do you think you could get them to appear please write back PkStarstorm1up

Pkstarstorm1up said on Jun. 2, 2009

In Threed sorry I left out where they appeared in in my last comment

Pkstarstorm1up said on Jun. 2, 2009

nevermind I did say where they were

ME said on Jun. 23, 2009

You could be able to see enemies

mariol90 said on Aug. 2, 2009

this is something small, but is it possible to make it so the ATM can be used by checking it instead of having to use the ATM/cash card every time?

SonicBlast190 said on Aug. 7, 2009

EarthBound by a mile.

PSI Poker € said on Aug. 20, 2009

I can’t wait for this patch to be finished.
But, it’s been taking a while. Jeffman must be having a bad time with the MOTHER 2 part.
Hope you guys can make it!

Required Name said on Aug. 31, 2009

I just hope this doesn’t take four years, too! Ha ha ha! But seriously, kudos. Keep up the good work if you can.

johnlenn said on Sep. 30, 2009

i like earthbound better

A fan said on Oct. 12, 2009


I can’t wait to play these 2 games. I enjoyed Mother 3 so much and it was such an amazing experience, so well told and unlike most RPGs it really was a humble experience, with absoloutely no pretention, self-gratuitousness and no attempt to try to be anything it was not – it was a real unique experience.

I never got chance to play Earthbound and I don’t particularly like playing on emulators on PCs so to be able to play these translations on PSP through gpSP is awesome, I’ve already bought my copy of Mother 1 + 2 in anticipation of the patch release.

Thanks for all your hard work. You are so awesome I think I might turn up at your house and take pictures of you while you sleep. Then I’ll cut the eyes and mouth out of the photos and wear them as masks so I can pretend to be you in the mirror, over webcams and when I go to the local shop to pick up bread, milk and some treacle to cover my body in (I like it when my dog licks it off my chest it feels good).

A fan said on Oct. 12, 2009

Hey ‘Pkstarstorm1up’ NICE ONE POSTING MOTHER 3 SPOILERS HERE YOU IDIOTIC MORON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Good God you’re stupid.

A fan said on Oct. 12, 2009

But I love you Pkstarstorm1up.

NintenNessLucas said on Dec. 28, 2009

Cool! I cant wait until it’s done! I just got Mother 1 + 2 and a how to read hiragana book from santa claus!

Wolfstar said on Jan. 18, 2010

My favorite is Mother 2. P.S: I’m new here.

Mr. Saturn said on Feb. 14, 2010

So, are you getting very far on this? It’d be great if you finished! Love The series

Atomix26 said on Feb. 27, 2010


sumguywithacamel said on Mar. 1, 2010

can’t wait for the translation to be finished.. I’m playing MOTHER 3 right now and it’s amazing.

Mr. Saturn said on Apr. 11, 2010


Gabo said on Jul. 17, 2010

I have a question.
In the translation, can you put the running option like in mother on earthbound?
I’m just saying.

Anon47 said on Jul. 19, 2010

OMG!!!! Shigasato Itoi!!!!!!!!!!

Gabo said on Jul. 27, 2010

Also, will you let the L button acess the ATM Machine in MOTHER like in earthbound?

Anonymous said on Aug. 30, 2010

I’m new here, too but most definitely NOT new to this series. Grew up on EarthBound, but for a while now I’ve been wanting to play Mother 1 so I hope the translation’s finished soon. I actually managed to make it through Mother 3 on my own using my previous Japanese experience…

Anyway… *crosses fingers* Good luck and God speed!

Peter said on Nov. 13, 2010

Will this even happen at all? Or should we all just lose hope and focus elsewhere?

Anonymous said on Nov. 27, 2010

I just finished Earthbound. Beat Mother 3 last year. I. Want. This. Translation. To. Happen.

Breakin' Benny said on Dec. 11, 2010

Gonna hope the translation is better than NOA’s translation, because some of the lines have typos

PK-VICTEr said on Dec. 16, 2010

MOTHER 3 #1 fav
MOTHER 2 #2 fav
MOTHER 4 #0 fav
MOTHER 5 planning on making it

Anonymous said on Jan. 13, 2011

i like mother 3 because its my favourite game the story is very intresting and good

Mr. Saturn's crazy cousin said on Feb. 9, 2011

I agree with you Millhouse and I don’t. I love Earthbound, but not just for nostalgia reasons, although that was included, but Earthbound, and kind of Mother, have a sort of feeling to them. I know this may sound lame, but just the music and the aura it gives you, I think that all Earthbound gamers alike can relate to what I am saying, and that’s why its my favorite.

Ninten said on Mar. 23, 2011

I know this might be off topic, but is there any cheats for Mother 1+2? It’s kinda hard for me.

Anonymous said on Mar. 23, 2011

@Ninten easy ring much?

Shep said on May. 3, 2011

The translation was released without a full translation of Mother 2? Blasphemy! D:

Seriously want the translation of Mother 2 so I can play it on my PSP.

Shep said on May. 3, 2011

Mother 3 = Best RPG ever made.

Mrstaplez said on May. 3, 2011

@Shep Buy Earthbound for SNES and use Snes9xtyl. If you want the gameboy version, learn how to and devote the 3 years it’ll probably take to complete yourself. Mato’s put so much blood and swet into this. Don’t be ungrateful and bug him for other stuff.

Karma said on May. 3, 2011

Shep, did you even take any attempt at reading how hard this would have been?

Mato plainly said that it would have been an incredible amount of ridiculous steady for for at least 2 years to decipher, re-hack, and pick apart the scripting code for the Mother 2 part of the game.

And that’s just not worth doing, when Earthbound already exists in the form it’s in.

If you want it that badly on your PSP (and i’m assuming you mean homebrew emulation), just play the SNES rom on your PSP.

At least try to read the other posts before saying something like this.

Mrstaplez said on May. 3, 2011

@Karma, Oh! Ninja’d 😉 =P

Shep said on May. 3, 2011

The SNES emulator for the PSP sucks arse…

Shep said on May. 3, 2011

I’m not bugging him to make it, for the love of god stop yelling at me. 😛

Mrstaplez said on May. 3, 2011

? the snes emulator for psp is great.

Aaron said on Jun. 8, 2011

I’ve been looking for earthbound gba roms but i never found one perfect one the one i have is japonise i spelled the word rong but it sucks

Aaron said on Jun. 8, 2011

NO LIE besides im 11 years old and i might come back to this site if i remember it so plz help me

Shaun said on Aug. 15, 2011

this looks good 🙂

RadicOmega said on Oct. 17, 2011

How come nobody likes Mother 1? Just becasue It’s 8-bit and bthe oldest doesn’t mean it sucks. It is my 3rd faviorite game. If it was reamde in 16-bit (Which it is right now) Or Mother 3 graphics it’ll be a better game. But I find it find as it is right know. The only way the 3DS will be good if MOTHER, MOTHER 2 or MOTHER 3 is relesed. I’m not buying it until Nintendo releses those games

Minifig2401 said on Feb. 7, 2012

I can not answer this poll tomato! each game is special in it’s own way. i love mother 1 for how good it is for an 8 bit rpg, and the scene where lloyd becomes friends with ninten. i love mother 2 for being the game that brought us in to earthbound. i love mother 3 for it’s touching story. and i love the whole series for being a fun, easy, yet hard rpg, and it’s soundtrack for being the same as mother 3, strange, funny, and heartrendering.

Anthony Jr. Singer said on Jun. 11, 2013

I think that the mother saga needs to come to the Wii Ü as a anniversary release next to the Playstation Network or the Xbox live market. Much love to the Mothrites


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