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February 17th, 2009 | Audio Stuff, EarthBound, Rumors, Uncommon Knowledge

A lot of people seem to be confused about the recent no EarthBound on Virtual Console thing. That, or they don’t understand the full story, so I’m going to try to clarify some things as best as I can here.

A lot of people are seeing this page that compares a few EarthBound songs to real-life stuff, but that page wasn’t meant to show off legal issues or anything. I made that post last week as a kind of neat trivia thing, that’s all. But I’ll go into more detail here now.

Tons of songs and info and stuff ahead. Get yourself a sandwich or something first 😛

You can read the original post about no EarthBound on Virtual Console here.

Legal stuff clarification

First, it’s important to understand that Nintendo is bombarded with lawsuits all the time. Being a big, profitable company helps this, especially in our lawsuit-happy society. I don’t follow game news very often, but I do recall these recent examples.

Whether you win or lose a case in court, you’re going to pay a LOT of money defending yourself. Of course, if you lose, you’ll lose a lot more, but just having to go to court will cost a whole lot of money.

To avoid crap lawsuits, Nintendo has a team of legal people who have to go through everything Nintendo plans to release and look for anything that can cause potential lawsuits. Then these things are fixed if necessary.

The point is: they’re trying to avoid lawsuits in the first place. It doesn’t matter if they could clearly successfully win lawsuits brought against them; they’d still lose money in the process. Having this team of legal people is cheaper than putting up with every lawsuit that every crazy money-hungry company hits them with.

This is an important point that I think many people don’t understand. The point is to stay out of court altogther. If the legal team feels uneasy with anything – even the tiniest thing – then they won’t give their approval.

I don’t play many Virtual Console games, but one easy example I do know about is StarTropics. The legal team didn’t allow it to get released until every instance of “Yo-Yo” was changed (it got changed to “Star”, incidentally). This seems ridiculous to us, but the legal folks obviously did their homework, because in Canada a company owns a trademark for that term.

Which reminds me, EarthBound has its share of yo-yos too. I bet they would’ve been changed, too. I bet a lot of little things like that would’ve been changed. I do know that Salvador Dali’s estate is extremely protective of how his name and works are used, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the Dali’s Clock enemy would’ve been changed in some way, name-wise and/or graphics-wise. I’m not a lawyer, but if I can find this stuff out, paid expert professionals can probably find 100x more.

Why is this stuff a problem now?

Another common question is, “Why is this a problem now? They released EarthBound like 15 years ago and this stuff wasn’t a problem.”

In fact, Nintendo DID have a problem with a lot of stuff in EarthBound back in 1995. A lot of changes had to be made before the 1995 legal squad then gave its approval:

The Runaway Five were too similar to the Blues Brothers so their suits had to be changed

Red hospital crosses had to be removed, because it’s a trademark of the Red Cross organization and they’re very anal about its use. A recent example is here

And they didn’t half-ass their legal combing. They even noticed and changed things like the nurses’ hospital hats.

Grateful Dead Valley had to be changed to Peaceful Rest Valley

Dr. Andonuts’ flying machine, the Sky Walker, was changed to the Sky Runner for obvious Star Wars reasons

Trucks that had a vague Coca-Cola logo lookalike were changed to something else

There are also things like default names, which had a set of Beatles names that was cut from EarthBound. There are probably many more things that I’ve forgotten or that have escaped my notice. My incomplete site chronicling EB’s censorship, legal-related changes, mistranslations, good translations, and other stuff can be seen here.

So the question is, why didn’t the legal people in 1995 change all this other stuff that’s a problem now? Intellectual property law hasn’t changed very much since then, right?

What’s changed is the Internet. Back in 1995, we didn’t have Google, or Wikipedia, or YouTube, or fansites. The legal people obviously went through the game as best as they could, but some of this other stuff IS pretty obscure. Nowadays, one search on Google and a check on Wikipedia and YouTube can get you all kinds of information about this sort of stuff.

Then of course is the fact that the recording industry is a lot more sue-happy than it used to be. RIAA and all that, I’m sure I don’t need to say anymore.

It also doesn’t help that the musicians and producers have gone on record in interviews stating that they used specific movies and songs for inspiration for stuff in the game. Though luckily most of it hasn’t been translated yet (someday! 😉 ) so that probably wasn’t a very big factor. I should mention quickly though that the game’s musicians LOVE music, so their use of samples and other stuff from other songs wasn’t meant to be cheap, but to pay homage to musicians who inspired them. They even used some of their own songs in the game, the bicycle song wasn’t meant for EarthBound originally, and Dalaam’s music was something else originally. The musicians borrowed from everywhere, which is why EarthBound has so much music and so much varied music. No harm was intended, but times change.

A Closer Look

Let’s do a little experiment. Let’s pretend we’re on the team of NOA’s legal guys, and let’s try to imagine what we would do when we were told to look through EarthBound for a possible Virtual Console release.

I think the first thing we’d do is look at any notes the legal people from 1995 might’ve made about the game. Those guys were thorough, so there were probably pages of things listed. Many of them probably weren’t deemed a problem back then, but might be a problem now, now that the Internet is commonplace and companies (especially record companies) love to make money from lawsuits more than ever. So that alone will probably give us a couple pages of stuff that needs to be fixed for the VC release.

Next, to learn more about the game, we’d do some online searches. Google is useful, as is Wikipedia. For a long time, the EarthBound article on Wikipedia had a long list of pop-culture references and similarities. It was taken down a while back by Wikipedia’s editors (I guess it broke some mundane rule or something), but here’s a lot of what was on it. Let’s assess each thing individually.

In the Japanese version of EarthBound, Mother 2, many of the extra alternate names for characters and such are that of Beatles band members. Among them are John (Ness), Yoko (Paula), Paul (Jeff), George (Poo), and Ringo (King). In this particular set, the main character’s favorite food is “Honey Pie”, and his favorite thing is “Love”.
Already taken care of by 1995 legal team

A question is asked by a townsperson in Onett that relates to the Beatles’ song “Yesterday”.
This was actually added IN by the localizers, so it shouldn’t be a problem.

The yellow submarine in the game is obviously a nod to the Beatles song and animated movie, Yellow Submarine. (A sign near the submarine says “The yellow color is a coincidence.”)
Probably nothing to worry about

A member of a band in the game called the Runaway Five references a song which The Beatles covered called “Money (That’s What I Want)”, originally by Barrett Strong.
If it’s just meant to pay tribute to the Beatles, it’s probably fine

The song played while the Dungeon Man is in your party contains a sample from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) (MP3 download).
Yeah, this is probably near uh-oh territory…

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After you have been to the Tenda Village and progressed to The Lost Underworld, the Tenda Elder will bid you farewell by saying, “So long. I say goodbye”, a possible reference to the Beatles songs “Kansas City” and “Hello, Goodbye”.
Seems like another coincidence and/or stretch, probably nothing to worry about

The first few measures of the song played when you wake up at a hotel closely resembles a slowed down version of the melody from The Beatles song “Good Morning Good Morning.” (MP3 Download)
This is definitely true, but it’s probably an acceptable homage. Even so, it might not be wise to mess with whoever owns the rights to Beatles stuff…

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When entering Giygas’s lair via the Lost Underworld, a song reminiscent of the prelude to “All You Need Is Love” (the trumpets performing the Marseillaise) is played. (MP3 Download)
This is true, but it’s just a short sample played at a slower speed, and it’s technically from the French national anthem. But knowing the musicians’ love for the Beatles, the sample probably did come from this song…

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(the above is a half-speed clip from the Beatles song)

The four main characters talk to someone who looks like Mr. T. Fans almost exclusively refer to him as such.
This is very true. Whether or not it was based on him is unknown, but it might be best to change him…

The music played when starting a new game and naming the characters contains a short musical sample from the theme song for the show Monty Python’s Flying Circus, John Philip Sousa’s Liberty Bell March.
The march song is probably free to use, but the sample used does sound like it’s from the Monty Python intro…

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In Jackie’s Cafe, the music contains a sample from the theme song for the Our Gang film series. Also heard in the background are the first four bars of The Star-Spangled Banner.
The Star Spangled Banner thing is probably fine, but the Little Rascals “Our Gang” song might need changing…

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The background music for Moonside has a sample from the Ric Ocasek song, “Keep On Laughin”. (MP3 Download)
Definitely true. Probably isn’t too bad of a problem, but look into it more.

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One of the weapons Ness can equip is called the Casey Bat. While it increases his Offense more than any other weapon he can equip, it misses three times out of four (all his other bats miss one time out of sixteen). Appropriate, since the bat’s name is a reference to Casey at the Bat, the baseball poem by Ernest Thayer about a revered batter, the “mighty” Casey, who strikes out.
Probably nothing to worry about, especially since the 1995 localizers gave it this name.

One battle music track features music similar to the intro from “Johnny B. Goode” and several other Chuck Berry songs. (MP3 Download)
This is probably pretty bad. It’s not the same song of course, but a little too similar in too many ways to feel comfortable legal-wise…

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(note: this song is in EarthBound Zero/MOTHER 1 too. It was also planned to be used in Smash Bros. Brawl but was cut out of all versions of the game.)

The Runaway Five sharply resemble the Blues Brothers (especially the two lead singers). The original Japanese version had the band wearing black suits instead of the colored clothes of the American release, and were called the “Tonzura Brothers”.
The 1995 legal team had them fix this, but look into it more possibly

An NPC in the Onett arcade calls Ness “a real Rambo type”.
Nothing to worry about.

Giant Step and Lilliput Steps are references to Gulliver’s Travels.
Nothing to worry about.

Two enemies in the game share the names of famous David Bowie songs: “Starman” (the trademark Starmen enemies appear throughout the game) and “Diamond Dogs” (Diamond Dog is one of the major bosses in the game). The veiny machine from his “Ashes to Ashes” video also resembles the final boss of the game, Giygas.
Possibly just coincidence, but nothing to worry about.

The Starmen characters appear to be based on the alien from the classic sci-fi film The Day the Earth Stood Still.
Possibly, but probably nothing to worry about.

During the battle with the Slimy Little Pile (one of Master Belch’s minions) one can hear a sample of the Super Mario Bros. theme.
Can’t tell if this is true or not, but it’s not a problem either way.

Aloysius Minch, Pokey’s father, is a clever opposite to Atticus Finch from the book To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
This was added in by the localizers, and it shouldn’t be a problem.

In the Japanese release of EarthBound (Mother 2), there is a set of default names for the characters and items related to the Mario series. Ness, Paula, Jeff, and Poo become Mario, Peach, Luigi, and Toad, respectivly. The dog (King) becomes Yoshi, the player’s favorite food becomes “mushroom”, and the player’s favorite thing becomes “goal”.
Not a problem.

The arcade in Onett contains a couple of Donkey Kong arcade machines. There are no real titles on the machines, but the tell-tale red girder pattern of the first level shows on the first machine in front row, and on the second-to-last machine in the back row. Also, the main stage theme for Xevious can be heard in the background noise.
Not a problem.

One of the battle themes resembles the song Tequila by The Champs. (MP3 Download)
Yeah, this is strikingly similar. It might need to be changed…

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A character in Onett will play a melody from Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, movement 2 on trumpet upon being spoken to. (MP3 Download)
This is true, but this music is in the public domain, so no worries here.

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Shigesato Itoi has revealed in interviews that Giygas’ dialogue was inspired by a traumatic childhood experience wherein he mistakenly walked into an adult movie theatre playing a rape scene.
Strange, but poses no legal problems.
BTW, you can read more about this and see the video clip here

The Mr. Saturn’s font is inspired by Shigesato Itoi’s daughter’s handwriting.
Okay, no problem. The English font was made by the localizers anyway.

There is a boss fight with a fire-breathing, snake-like sea monster called the Kraken. This is a reference to the sea-creature of legend.
Nothing to worry about.

The second song played by the Runaway Five in the Chaos Theater strongly resembles the song The Changeling by The Doors. (MP3 Download)
Yeah, this is somewhat similar enough to be uncomfortable…

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The second-weakest hat for Ness is the “Mr. Baseball Cap”. This is a reference to the Tom Selleck movie Mr. Baseball about an American baseball player who played on a Japanese baseball team.
A pretty vague reference, but it should be okay.

The Peaceful Rest Valley was known as the Grateful Dead Valley in the original Japanese Mother 2.
1995 legal team already had that fixed.

You can find a joke story about a man making excuses to a police officer after being pulled over on the New Jersey Turnpike if you search near the desk of the purchasable house in Onett.
This shouldn’t be a problem. The localizers added in the Jersey Turnpike reference anyway.

Mother 2 makes a Star Wars reference with a ship called “Sky Walker” (translated as “Sky Runner”).
The 1995 legal team had this fixed, so it should be fine now.

The theme played while in the Sky Runner sounds similar to the synthesized introduction of The Who song, Won’t Get Fooled Again. (MP3 Download)
Yeah, this is extremely similar, it might need to be changed…

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The man who pops in periodically and takes your photo bears a striking resemblance to Dr. Demento.
Coincidence, no problem.

In the original Japanese version, the hospitals all had red crosses somewhere on the building. They were removed from the English version, presumably because of possible copyright conflicts with the Red Cross.
1995 legal team already took care of this, no problem.

The drugstore song sounds a lot like a song called the Dallas Rag.
This is true. The song is really old, but its status should be checked out just in case

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The music in Belch’s factory sounds a lot like the beginning to Pink Floyd’s “Welcome to the Machine”. (MP3 Download)
It does. It may be coincidence, but it’s still uncomfortable.

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The hotel music sounds a lot like a famous song called “El Bimbo” (MP3 Download)
Yes, this is quite similar…

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NOTE: Like I mentioned, this is just what I would’ve said had I been in charge of looking for potential lawsuit issues so Nintendo could avoid them. It also only took me like 10 minutes to find all this information on Google and Wikipedia and check it out on YouTube and Google Images. Someone paid big bucks to do this would probably have found a lot more stuff than what’s here.

When you add up all these issues and all the other text issues we probably don’t know much about, I bet it all spans many, many pages in some NOA lawyer’s files. It’s probably why NCL was like, “Geez, what’s the problem?” when changes were asked to be made.

Why not a problem in Japan?

Another question I’m seeing often is, “Why is this a problem with EarthBound, but not with the MOTHER games in Japan? Especially with MOTHER 1+2 from a few years back…”

I’m not a lawyer, and I won’t even pretend to know how Japanese law works. But from personal and professional experience, I have noticed that Japanese media companies don’t seem to care very much. Turn to any channel of Japanese TV and within 10 minutes you’ll probably hear foreign music that you know wasn’t legally licensed for use. It’s crazy how much it happens. So it’s not surprising (to me, at least) that these legal issues with EarthBound never really mattered. I get the feeling that’s the reason for NCL’s stance of, “Why do we need to make changes?” It might explain why there’s still a lack of MOTHER 2 on the Japanese Virtual console a year after Smash Bros. Brawl was released.

But isn’t MOTHER 2 on Japanese VC?

No. It was available as a demo in the Japanese version of Smash Bros. Brawl (all other versions had the EarthBound demo removed), but it’s still not on the Virtual Console. For some reason I wouldn’t be surprised if it was finally released unmodified on the Japanese VC though.

Can’t NOA just license the music?

I really, really doubt this will happen. It’s a big hassle: rights holders vary from region to region and ownership can change hands often, sometimes there are multiple rights holders too. The costs would also probably outweigh the benefit for Nintendo, and then what if someone says no? Then they’re stuck in the same situation as now, or maybe even worse off. I work in the game and anime localization industry and licensing issues come up all the time, and it is NOT pretty. And very often, things just don’t work out. So my gut feeling says that there is a .0001% chance of this happening.

Why now?

A common question I see is, “Why reveal this VC news now?” There’s no special reason really. The topic of EarthBound on the Virtual Console comes up all the time on the Starmen.Net forums, but each time it just turns into a bunch of the same uninformed arguments and misinformation that goes in circles forever. I happened to check out one such thread a few days ago and was like, “Man, this is lame. I wish we could say SOMETHING after all this time.” So I e-mailed reid about it, he consulted his contacts, and then wrote it up.

As for why it wasn’t revealed sooner, that was at the request of reid’s contacts. Stuff like this can put people’s jobs on the line. But they gave the OK the other day, on the condition that some specifics be left out.

What about EB Zero and MOTHER 3?

I don’t know. But the hippie song from EarthBound is in EarthBound Zero/MOTHER 1, so that may be an issue there too. MOTHER 3 has a lot of musical issues too, though. I don’t have the time or know-how to list them all, but here are just a few. Mr. Batty’s song intro is totally taken from the old Batman theme song, for example 😛

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Why is EB still on the ESRB site?

Dunno. I don’t keep up with gaming news much, but I have heard that the ESRB site is pretty weird, with whole bunches of games suddenly disappearing sometimes, only to reappear some other times. But I don’t know. Maybe it’s just a case of someone (at Nintendo or the ESRB) not caring.


So there you have it. Hopefully this helped clarify things a little more. I’m not a lawyer and I’m not directly involved in this stuff, but this is probably what a lot of the problem with EarthBound on the Virtual Console is. If I’ve forgotten anything or an actual copyright lawyer has anything to comment about, please let me know!


Other Related Posts:


308 Comments to EarthBound & Legal Issues

Poe said on Feb. 17, 2009

Good read, but I’m having problems getting the music player to work. It worked for the first few songs, but then got stuck in the “buffering…” phase for the rest. Is this a problem on my end or are other people having trouble too?

DragonKazooie89 said on Feb. 17, 2009

I don’t see the Mario references as a problem either. It’s all Nintendo so it’s good. Also, there is all ready a Starman in Mario (item) and Kirby (enemy) so that’s not problem either.

Yeah, the music is the biggest problem.

If Mother 3 had music issues too, then why was Mother 3i and Mother 3+ available on iTunes in the United States?

Aurilliux said on Feb. 17, 2009

O.o When you add all that up, it’s not very surprising why EB wouldn’t get released on the Virtual Console.

Mato said on Feb. 17, 2009

Poe: I have no problems with the audio

DragonKazooie89: I don’t know how the iTunes albums work. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t done through NOA though.

Satsy said on Feb. 17, 2009

😉 heh, it’s nice to see this information up.

I made another post, but it got eaten. 🙁 Apparently I post too much (one post is plenty apparently).

Poe said on Feb. 17, 2009

Yeah, I had to restart my browser a few times and then fight with it. I eventually got it to work.

Mister Spook said on Feb. 17, 2009

My God, just reading up on those lawsuits that have been levied against Nintendo are a real eye opener. Stupid patent sitters and idiots who can’t hold onto their Wiimotes…

cj said on Feb. 17, 2009

“on the condition that some specifics be left out.”

Way to spike the curiosity. Man, I’m going to loose sleep over that line.

But man, that does really cement it. Phooey.

emilio said on Feb. 17, 2009

Excellent and exhaustive post. I wonder if Earthbound is the only game with such issues, or if there are other titles we won’t see ever again.

DragonKazooie89 said on Feb. 17, 2009

@ emilio: Well, the Banjo-Kazooie games have no chance to be on the Virtual Console since Rare now belongs to Microsoft and Banjo-Kazooie has all ready been released on XBLA.

Simon said on Feb. 17, 2009

For the record, Starman is probably a coincidence and the Ashes to Ashes thing definitely is, but I would be shocked if the Diamond Dog isn’t a reference to David Bowie. That’s a very famous song and album – it’s like saying that they just happened to independently come up with including a submarine that’s yellow.

That would definitely make any list of potentially-actionable Earthbound things.

Saturnome said on Feb. 17, 2009

emilio: Well I doubt, for example, we’ll ever see anything which was licenced at some point, such as the Disey/Capcom NES games (Ducktales, Mouscapade, Chip ‘n Dale…)

I can’t say why, but the Dungeon Man theme is so weird I’m sure there’s hidden stuff in it.

Satsy said on Feb. 17, 2009

Poe: I may revert to my notepad method if it’s a persistant dealy. 😉

One thing this does make me wonder is how strict these would be held to in Europe. We do tend to be a little more lax in some regards, although we do have our own fair share of problems (the GBA rumble pack games for instance, and games like Warioware Twisted not meeting EU regulations). But I wonder if we’d be more willing to let up on certain issues?

I mean it’s no more likely to happen (less so, more likely) but hey, it’s something to think about, now and again. :3

Tonchiki said on Feb. 17, 2009

Wow, I’m surprised to see that no one’s mentioned that the very beginning of Porky’s Theme in Mother 3 is extremely close to the beginning of Godzilla’s theme…



Thought that might be interesting to note.

Mato said on Feb. 17, 2009

Yeah, that’s not really an EB thing though, which is why I haven’t mentioned it. I was reminded slightly of it too when I first heard it in M3.

Deiphobus said on Feb. 17, 2009

stupid sue-happy americans….

Emily said on Feb. 17, 2009

The reason the copyright issues don’t matter much in Japan, or what I can remember from a class I took 3 semesters ago in college, is because American copyright laws have no jurisdiction in foreign countries. Some may oblige out of respect, or if they have a reciprocal agreement, but they can just ignore the laws. No one really has worldly control (not even the U.N.).

AbstractedThought said on Feb. 17, 2009

Sheesh, people can get sued for ANYTHING nowadays. What has the world come to?

Zaxtur said on Feb. 17, 2009

This must have taken forever to write.

Starwolf_UK said on Feb. 17, 2009

I’m only going to point a few things out. Firstly, well done on this list.

Regarding the Yo-yo. As someone else pointed out elsewhere:
“How would “yo-yo” be a legal issue in StarTropics but the “Yo-Yo” power in Kirby Super Star Ultra be completely fine?”
My only conclusions are different legal person handling that game who didn’t see it as a problem or it was a known problem but too much work to fix.

Reharding the Drugstore music. It is worth noting that tune was remixed for Super Smash Bros Brawl. True it doesn’t add anything.

“(the GBA rumble pack games for instance, and games like Warioware Twisted not meeting EU regulations)”
What EU regulations would these be? If it is anything about liquid mercury the fact is Pizoelectric gyroscopes don’t use liquid mercury. The most likely thing is the parts went out of production since NOE took so long.

Mato said on Feb. 17, 2009

I should mention that the drugstore music similarty was only discovered like last week or something, or at least that’s when most people found out about it.

nintenerd542 said on Feb. 17, 2009

I find it strange that Rockin’ K.K. from the Animal Crossing games gets to be free. When I compare Rockin’ K.K. with the original song, It sounds much more similar with it than the Hippie battle theme.

KaoruArika said on Feb. 17, 2009

Wow, I’m impressed about all this article. It’s a shame, though, this stuff happens, but well… the laws are different to all the world, I can assume and think… even if the Japanese think something that they might think it is right (speaking of laws)to have (all these pop-cultural references)this little stuff… the Northamericans can think this would be a problem if this gets here. And seeing this article, I see how much difficult was the try of NOA to be getting EB in the VC in an outside-Japan release.

KaoruArika said on Feb. 17, 2009

@nintenerd: I was asking myself the same thing about that of Rockin’ K.K. … and still it is on both AC & ACWW (I ignore if AC:CF has it… I don’t have that game in my hands).

Anonymous said on Feb. 17, 2009

AbstractedThought:Basically anything.

Satsy said on Feb. 17, 2009

Starwolf_UK: Lord knows. All I know is that it’s because of EU regulations that we never got the games. They never passed through Europe, thus they never reached UK. I was never particularly interested in looking up the issue — it didn’t much affect me (only Xmas shopping one year).

Jimi said on Feb. 17, 2009

Nice to have it all cleared up. It’s a shame Nintendo turns such a blind eye towards us. I’m pretty sure there are fans out there who would simple remix the songs or redo them, but make them feel the same, just for the pure purpose of getting it out here. Requesting only an addition to the credits.

But it’s as your comic says. *om nom nom*

Also, I never knew that about the drugstore song. Dallas Rag is really catchy as well.

HAK2 said on Feb. 17, 2009

i always felt like a touch screen should be public domain. it just feels so universal…

also, i don’t think nintendo should be sued because of the straps. the buyers should know that the straps don’t substitute thumbs.

and analog sticks? come on now, really? I say the design of those analog sticks were based off the N64 stick: a control stick with a circular top that had circles on it. nintendo had no fault in that one in my opinion.

and once again, i know i might sound like an idiot, but hey, I’m just stating what I think and know.

HossTehMaster said on Feb. 17, 2009

Ha, I was just about to say what nintenerd542 said. Rockin K.K. does sound alot like Johnny B.Goode and Animal Crossing is a bigger more in the media game. I mean what are you gonna notice more? A console game or a puny VC release of game that didn’t get recieved well
like 14 years ago? I just don’t get it…

Satsy said on Feb. 17, 2009

There’s a difference between a similarity and direct rips. If something’s changed enough it’s fine, or if it’s simply alluded to, it’s fine. But I’m pretty sure that’s not the case for the Hippie music.

Kirby Phelps (PK) said on Feb. 17, 2009

Aw man this sucks, a lot of the songs that need to be changed are my favorites. If they changed them, I know I would NOT be a happy camper. I guess we’re stuck… :'(

Beastard said on Feb. 17, 2009

In reality, I don’t really see many songs that might be a problem. Sure, there are sounds that SOUND similar, but not similar enough to warrant some more investigation. I think this thing is overblown. Hopefully, for some, this might still be able to get a re-release in any case.

Mrs. Saturn said on Feb. 17, 2009

Thank you, this was fascinating to read, though I’m saddened by what these legal issues mean for EarthBound’s chances of getting on the VC.

Mato said on Feb. 17, 2009

Beastard: Yeah, I agree with the fact that most probably aren’t a problem. But from the viewpoint of a super-picky, super-paranoid lawyer paid to analyze this stuff, even one thing is too many. And if NCL doesn’t want to fix the few things NOA wants, then chances for a re-release are slimmer.

rocker said on Feb. 17, 2009

earth bound do not suck put earth bound on the console sneak and do it. I will be waiting for the game to come out on the virtual console. Or the wii but this december I will get a super nintendo and geting earth bound instead of a wii. the super nintendo will be hard to find.I might get a wii. and people go to you tube and look at chuggaaconroy’s mother3,mother,earth bound vid’s. THANK YOU!

Bigot said on Feb. 17, 2009

All of these lawsuits that basically say “ZOMG! J00 Y00ZD MAH STUFF, IMMA SUE J00!” makes me want to say one thing to these sue-happy companies…

“Please, Please PLEEEEEASE get a life!”

Darien said on Feb. 17, 2009

I guess I’m pretty much alone in thinking that it would not in fact be unreasonable for a company to file suit over unauthourised, uncredited, uncompensated use of its IP. It’s pretty simple, really: you want to use somebody else’s stuff, you need to get permission first. If Nintendo didn’t do that, then that’s clearly something Nintendo did wrong, and it makes sense that there would be legal consequences.

If I were a songwriter, and I made my livelihood licencing my songs for use in other media, I wouldn’t be particularly pleased if other people just elected to skip the part where they ask me for permission, pay me for my work, and give me credit for my contributions. I don’t see why we should expect other people to turn a blind eye to that sort of thing either.

IWontGetOvertheDam said on Feb. 17, 2009

I still don’t understand the Yo-Yo thing. It’s a yo-yo. How can you trademark a yo-yo?

Keiji Dragon said on Feb. 17, 2009

Very interesting, Mato. I’m glad someone took the opportunity to flesh this whole legal trouble mess out.

Come to think of it, the fact that Itoi and Suzuki took so much inspiration in MOTHER 1 & 2’s music from British music artists, that NoE was probably like “oh hell no way” when they decided to pass over localizing the games in Europe and probably why even Nintendo of Europe didn’t give European gamers a taste of MOTHER, ever.

Crowne said on Feb. 17, 2009

Fucking law suit bullshit

Greedy people ruin everything

Keiji Dragon said on Feb. 17, 2009

If I could elaborate that statement more, I guess that if EarthBound was ever released in European territories, the European (specifically British) audiences there would be more likely to spot, say, the Beatles songs in the game then us Americans. Which would probably then bring the attention of the said music artists, thus probably exposing Nintendo to (more) major lawsuits :P. I hope you can see where I’m going with this.

Acedio said on Feb. 17, 2009

I’ll never be able to listen to the Name This Boy song the same ever again! I totally didn’t hear the horn in that sample at all until this post!

Keiji Dragon said on Feb. 17, 2009

Also, You should probably read about this if you haven’t Tomato, if you haven’t:


Cliff-notes version: Did you know that EarthBound is registered under twelve names?
They are:
Miura, Akihiko
Oyama, Kouichi
Yamada, Kouichi
Kataoka, Makio
Sakiyama, Hiroyuki
Ueno, Toshiyuki
Nintendo of America, Inc.
Nintendo Company, Ltd.
HAL Laboratory, Inc.
APE, Inc.
Moon Riders Office
Coverdy, Ltd.

Deiphobus said on Feb. 18, 2009

It’s not “Fucking law suit bullshit”, some people work hard to make things and would like to keep their money. On the other hand, I do partially agree, some people are ridiculous with lawsuits.

Blak Playg said on Feb. 18, 2009

I always thought the drugstore theme sounded a lot like The Beatles’ “When I’m Sixty-Four”. I’d never heard of “Dallas Rag” before, but all three sound similar to me now that I’ve listened to it.

SherriAnn said on Feb. 18, 2009

Thanks for this documentary. I knew about the subtle references, but apparently, they aren’t subtle enough.

Belasted said on Feb. 18, 2009

There are many rock/blues songs from the 50s with similar intros to the Hippy/Frank song. Robo’s theme from Chrono Trigger sounds like Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up.” One of the stage themes from Mega Man 7 is an exact midi copy of a Guns n Roses song (can’t remember which). Of all the things mentioned in this article, I think only the songs that were actually sampled from the original recordings would cause a problem.

Zip Code Ness said on Feb. 18, 2009

I don’t see a problem at all with anything really. A lot of music sounds like other music. There are only 12 notes on the keyboard and so many instruments and so many music styles.

These little coincidences are so stupid.

But they are interesting coincidences.

Tansunn said on Feb. 18, 2009

@Belasted – I agree about the music. I find it strange that Tomato said a sample ripped directly from an existing song “Probably isn’t too bad of a problem” whereas a MIDI song that is obviously different and only has a slight resemblance to an existing song “is probably pretty bad” and “a little too similar in too many ways to feel comfortable legal-wise…”

Satsy said on Feb. 18, 2009

A quick question, but I know NCL isn’t willing to budge on changing things for VC, and that’s understandable because it would mean changing the game, which is entirely not the point of VC. The VC is there to preserve the retro love.

… Why would it stop a re-release altogether? 😉

I do imagine the issue does cover both the game for VC and a re-release of the game, but that’s assuming talks about that have even come up.

Mato said on Feb. 18, 2009

Tansunn: You know I’m not a lawyer 😉 I was under the impression that samples or clips under like 5 seconds in length constituted fair use, but I really have no idea. I tried to read copyright law about music earlier and you need to know legalese to make any sense of anything (also about 2 bottles of aspirin)

My experiment thing there might not be exactly what the real legal people thought or said, but I’m pretty sure they’d feel uneasy with sampled music AND with stuff that sounds especially similar, at least from a “we need to avoid court altogether” viewpoint.

I’m really hoping someone with actual experience with music copyright law will be able to give more information with examples and citings from actual laws. This stuff interests me but I’m definitely not a law-talking guy.

Diosoth said on Feb. 18, 2009

Doom and Doom II had a lot of “not quite” song ripoffs for the music, mainly copied from metal bands and such. They STILL sell both games on Steam and Xbox Live. Unaltered. Bobby prince even knew he was ripping off the songs when he composed the soundtracks.

Given Nintendo’s unwillingness to even consider Mother 3 for the US, I think they’re looking for any excuse to keep the series out of our hands.

Mister Spook said on Feb. 18, 2009

They’re not looking for excuses, Diosoth. It’s no exaggeration that Nintendo has already been inundated with lawsuits from patent sitters, moral crusaders, and attorneys representing idiots who can’t hold onto their Wiimotes. Given those facts, who could blame them for being paranoid? I sure as hell don’t. And that counts equally for NCL’s refusal to allow the changes to take place. I sure wouldn’t want those songs to be changed. It just. . . wouldn’t feel right, you know?

Make no mistake, both NOA and NCL really want to release EB on the VC, but this is a sue-happy culture, and even if the prospect of being sued from sampling copyrighted songs is slim, Nintendo would much rather not play Russian Roulette. I know it hurts, but it does no good for any of us to play the victims here.

tkywa said on Feb. 18, 2009

Dallas Rag looks like it was recorded in the late 1920s, but I don’t know if it was that guy’s original work. Either way, it puts it just as hair away from “free for all” public domain (about mid 1920s now) and it’s likely that it wasn’t renewed and is probably public domain anyway.

Vile said on Feb. 18, 2009

Here’s another little reference, the Kraken’s Song (Kraken of the Sea) Is incredibly similar to a Frank Zappa Guitar Solo called Ship Ahoy (On Shut Up and Play Yer Guitar)
(Sorry, no link to the actual piece)

Vile said on Feb. 18, 2009

Furthermore, I believe the first live recording of the song Ship Ahoy was at the Kosei Nenkin Kaikan Concert in Japan… It could all be random circumstance but perhaps Kraken~Kaikan is some subtle reference that most of us would never see…

Vile said on Feb. 18, 2009

What happened to my original comment? Youtube links not allowed? Anyways… Here’s another little reference, the Kraken’s Song (Kraken of the Sea) is incredibly similar to a Frank Zappa guitar solo called Ship Ahoy (On Shut Up and Play Yer Guitar.)

damool said on Feb. 18, 2009

The “Dali’s clock” enemy is named after Dali’s “Persistence of Time” painting of which its copyright laws have changed since the 90’s.

PS said on Feb. 18, 2009

This is just incredibly old news.

For future reference the Dungeon Man theme has the intro from the drum solo in “The End” on The Beatles “Abbey Road” album.

This game will never see the light of day again.

Wouldn't U like to know? said on Feb. 18, 2009

Nintendo jumped through hoops to scrub out the Kawaski banners in Wave Race 64, but a couple of songs in EB are too much for them?

I really think this is some kind of screwy corporate vendetta, not unlike that of Disney and Song of the South.

P.F. said on Feb. 18, 2009

Songs are kind of a lot harder than changing some textures in a 64 game. Either they’d effing butcher the game (music is a like a half of what Earthbound -is-) or they’d have to call in an actual musician to take the time to come up with similar but legal songs that don’t change the mood of the game…too much?

Not to mention Iwata would never jam with major changes to the experience, considering how protective he supposedly is.

Is that true by the way? Anybody who’s up to speed know if Iwata would flip if NoA tried to make large changes to the game?

TheBatFax said on Feb. 18, 2009

So THAT’S where the hotel music comes from! No one would ever mention it with all the other musical references and stuff, but the first time I ever played the game I recognized it, but could never place what it was. Now I’ll just need to find out where I had heard it originally in the first place…

Wouldn't U like to know? said on Feb. 18, 2009

I sincerely doubt that every track in EB is so close to a 60’s song that it becomes legally problematic. The Retro Hippie song, for example. Nintendo could easily go in and replace it with one of the other battle themes that ISN’T legally problematic. Likewise, some of the sampling could be removed with a little snipping and looping.

DarkLink9393 said on Feb. 18, 2009

“Yo-Yo” was changed (it got changed to “Star”, incidentally). This seems ridiculous to us, but the legal folks obviously did their homework, because in Canada a company owns a trademark for that term.

So you’re saying that Nintendo can get sued because of Brawl, seeing as how Ness still uses a Yo-yo as one of his A moves?

DarkLink9393 said on Feb. 18, 2009

And if it’s a problem in America, then how the hell is it not a problem in Japan?

Mato said on Feb. 18, 2009

The TERM “Yo-Yo” is what’s trademarked in Canada. The actual item isn’t. I don’t know if they use the word in Brawl or not. If it is, then there’s gotta be some reason for the inconsistency in stances, your guess being as good as mine.

DarkLink9393 said on Feb. 18, 2009

Johnny B. Goode is pretty bad, but there’s something to point out here. Every single Animal Crossing game has had a song called “Rockin’ K.K.” (from the “Rockin'” part of the title, I’m pretty sure that this is a reference to Ness’s special PSI attack) that sounds MUCH more like Johnny B. Goode’s song than the Earthbound version and Rockin’ K.K. has been in EVERY Animal Crossing game (I don’t know about the N64 version though because it never got released in America and it seemed A LOT like the Gamecube version, so I didn’t even bother playing it). I really don’t get how Animal Crossing can get away with this when Earthbound can’t.

Darien said on Feb. 18, 2009

Mister Spook and P.F. are on-track here. Nintendo doesn’t have any “vendetta” against the series, but the legal ramifications of releasing it unchanged are unacceptable, and making the changes is probably economically non-viable ($7 virtual console releases operate on a razor-thin margin as it is, so it’s not like there’s a whole lot of budget available for rescoring them) even if it wouldn’t piss off the game’s creator AND the game’s fans. It’s just a complete no-go.

Mato: To my understanding, the doctrine of “fair use” does allow short clips or samples, but only if used for review or educational purposes. If you’re including them in your own composition for commercial release, then you’re not covered. Also of note is the fact that fair use is a concept that pretty much only exists in the United States; other countries (most notably including Canada, which is in the same market as the US and very likely can’t be released to seperately) have no such allowances.

DarkLink9393 said on Feb. 18, 2009

And the Hippie song was actually put in SSBB, it’s just not Earthbound’s version. It’s Animal Crossing again. They used Rockin’ K.K. for Smashville. Now, you can’t select this song regularly, of course. What you have to do is wait until Saturday at 8:00 PM, choose the stage and hope you get lucky. It still sounds like Johnny B. Goode and it still sounds much more like Johnny B. Goode than the Earthbound version did.

Sconner said on Feb. 18, 2009

Some people are really just jerks. They should be happy to make a cameo appearance in a game, especially a great game, the best game…

motherfan said on Feb. 18, 2009

Wow. Now I think I understand why…

Olias said on Feb. 18, 2009

“The music in Belch’s factory” was also in mother.

Olias said on Feb. 18, 2009

also it is probably easier to list the songs from mother that aren’t referenced in mother 2 or 3 in some way shape or form as opposed to finding all the similarities. I haven’t been able to find the tank song or a few of the battle themes in any of the sequels.

Crav said on Feb. 18, 2009

I don’t know, I’d have a hard time believeing any of these music peices would be a problem, even for a paranoid laywer. Fact is, even if they’re references, there’s nothing illegal about that. They’re all still unique music peices. Hell, I see commercials and stuff that use musical peices far more similar to their respective originals to avoid licensing all the time. Unless the source has said for a fact that it’s the music, it seems like you’re really reaching…

Cafechan said on Feb. 18, 2009

I don’t really have anything to add to the discussion, but I just wanted to thank you for typing all of this up. It was a very interesting read. 🙂

SmaMan said on Feb. 19, 2009

A lot of these sound legally different to me. Don’t know what I mean? Watch an episode of Robot Chicken. They use a lot of other people’s music but change up the notes enough so it’s legally different. They haven’t gotten sued yet!

So I don’t see how the Sky Runner Theme and Won’t Get Fooled Again is “extremely similar, it might need to be changed…” You forget that lawsuits like these DID happen in the mid 90s for songs that were far, far similar than these two, and many of the other examples you have posted.

Now as far as songs that use direct samples, that IS a problem. For those of you still confused, check out this video:
It’s the history of the “Amen Break,” a 6-second drum loop that you’ve heard in songs, commercials, and pretty much everything nowadays. It also explains why it’s so hard for them to release this game today because of it’s sample use, as opposed to back in the mid 90s when copyright laws were a lot more lax. But I’m getting ahead of it, just hear for yourself.

Eric said on Feb. 19, 2009

Interesting stuff. The sad thing (and I’m sure that this isn’t lost on Nintendo) is that they probably couldn’t change all of the questionable music in the game without really changing some of the most recognizable audio from the game. It’s almost kind of shocking that the game got as far as it did in this condition, but I LOVE that it did.

All I can say is, cover your ears, shout “LA LA LA FAIR USE LA LA LA I’M NOT LISTENING” and hope that we all wake up one unlikely Monday morning to a helluva game.

Mister Spook said on Feb. 19, 2009

Mato and DarkLink: About the yo-yo thing, it’s odd because it wasn’t changed for Kirby Super Star Ultra.

nexus said on Feb. 19, 2009

Hi, I work for musi label in Japan and just wanted to comment about your comment below:

Turn to any channel of Japanese TV and within 10 minutes you’ll probably hear foreign music that you know wasn’t legally licensed for use.

Actually these use of music is legally licensed through label or licensing company. Please don’t get this wrong, Japan is quite strict with airplays on TV or radio.

theflyingorc said on Feb. 19, 2009

All of these seem less obvious than freaking John William’s blatant stealing of the imperial march.

And in none of these circumstances are any of these songs doing anything but making homages. That’s really stupid. Art should be able to reference other art.

RPJesus said on Feb. 19, 2009

I say they should try to get permission for as much as they can and put out ads for the rest of it. Something along the lines of “Group X are being dicks, who wants free marketing?”

engineer said on Feb. 19, 2009

I’m surprised no one has brought Doom as a counter-argument to the music issue.

MW said on Feb. 19, 2009

There’s still something I don’t understand. The way it sounds, this makes things impossible to have anything with pop-culture references *at all*. Even the use of Bland-Name Products sounds illegal with this.

engineer said on Feb. 19, 2009

…..And what I mean by that is: Bobby Prince used LOTS of copyrighted songs as bases for the music in Doom/Doom II. E1M1 is a slightly edited sample of Metallica’s “No Remorse”, E3M1 is a direct rip of Pantera’s “Mouth For War”, uh, MAP07 uses a 1:1 rip of a Slayer song’s drum track, among other things that I can’t rattle off from the top of my head right now.

I’ll post even more if anyone’s actually interested in hearing my “weak” counter-argument.

DarkLink9393 said on Feb. 19, 2009

It’s kind of funny how no one can answer why it’s illegal to have a Johnny B. Goode remix in Earthbound, but yet it’s perfectly fine to have a remix of it in EVERY Animal Crossing game that sounds MUCH more like the original (the song’s name is Rockin’ K.K.). This proves that Nintendo can’t really argue with the fact that song is in there. Well, scratch one song. Only 100 more to go -_-.

Franko! said on Feb. 20, 2009

Obviously Earthbound is a game full of comedy. I see movies coming out like Meet The Spartans and scary movie, why the hell cant Nintendo take the “parody” way out. I mean, look at Conker’s bad fur day.

Loid said on Feb. 20, 2009

definitely the law sistem does not works is a very anal dhiarrea shit!

down with the law sistem it suck booooo!!!

Leirin said on Feb. 21, 2009

The law is an…

Anyway, Tomato, you are really devoted for doing all this research. I can’t believe all this little, subtle references. And we thought the only reason was that Nintendo hated the EB fans’ guts…

Hiroshi Mishima said on Feb. 21, 2009

You know what really bothers me about all this? How convenient it is, and just how much counter-productive it has become.

I mean, blatently stealing the entirity of someone’s work I can understand, but a little sampling or something “similar but different” shouldn’t be a problem. I think the way we define “copyright”, “fair use” and “stealing music/property” needs to either change or be updated. As ol’ Mato said, the internet has brought about a lot of changes within the various industries. The music industry and patent industry especially, it would seem. However, I would argue that all we have accomplished in this is to further limit what people can make or release.

I strongly feel this is part of what is hurting the music and video game industries, as well as the movie and entertainment indurties. We run into copyright bullshit, run-around excuses of what falls under fair use, and plain old hard-headed indignation and ignorance.. will-ful or otherwise.

I mean, knowing about all this now (and a huge thanks to Tomato for gathering all this together and letting us in on it) I have to say that I actually quite agree with NCL. Why would I want to make something like that and then later be told “I’m sorry, but someone else has already done something similar, you need to change it.” I know the first thought in my head would be: “To hell with you, it’s called creativity and you’re stiffling it.” Of course, it probably shouldn’t be the first WORDS that come out of my mouth, but that doesn’t change the fact that I would not want to have to go through and make all those changes.

Tributes, covers, reinterpretations, inspirations, etc… a lot of this is CREATIVITY. Something that I’ve been seeing surprisingly little of in the last 10 years. Perhaps that is because of the slow evolution that the relevent laws have been undergoing, perhaps it is something more sinister. All I know, personally, is that I see a lot of these lawsuits or proposed lawsuits, and I can’t help but think that everyone has become a bit too greedy for their own good… and maybe a little too defensive in trying to cover absolutely every single one of their “bases” at the expense of everyone who wants their stuff.

The law may be what it is.. but I’m saying that the law is wrong and needs to change. If it doesn’t… I see the stagnation we’re in continuing until it eventually comes crashing down around their heads, and then we’ll have to pick up the pieces.. those of us who aren’t crushed under it, that is.

Flint said on Feb. 21, 2009

Pretty sad, but I understand Nintendo, Now I will redirect my hate to the lawsuit happy music industry .

MPCozmo said on Feb. 22, 2009

About the whole thing why they left all the stuff in the Japanese version… let’s say that for no particular reason, a guy named Hitoshi develops and releases a doujinshi danmaku shooting game in Japan to a small circle of fans. In this game, he uses a character from, say, Touhou. ZUN (Creator of the Touhou games.) sees the game and that it used one of his characters. Now, you’d think that he’d get ticked and barrage Hitoshi with a cease and desist order for using Alice Margatroid in his doujinshi game, but instead, ZUN actually gets satisfied, for such occurences are seen as fandom and such, and the creators of the material are like, “Hey, people like -blank- enough to make a fan game about it, people must really like it.”
Of course, since a lot of material was inspired by non-Japanese, they’ll think differently, but I thought I’d bring it up. Also, the Japanese are known for “recycling” known works and tweaking it to their own needs for use, thus a lot of this music inspiration stuff.

Difegue said on Feb. 22, 2009

Very awesome article. And very coherent too. Well, let’s hope this will put a hold to the “REGGIE U SUCK” thing

GooeyHeat said on Feb. 24, 2009

Less Virtual Console = More remake. If a remake was in the works, then NCL might be more likely to allow changes. It might just not be cost effective to make all of these changes to a VC game.

SHYKOOPA said on Feb. 24, 2009

Mato, I got a question. This was so well made, that I want to do a video with comparisons of music and upload it to YouTube.

Do you think my account can be in danger by doing that?

Please answer, I would truly appreciate it (if I make the video, you will get credit for the info of course)

Mato said on Feb. 24, 2009

Actually, yeah, I do think it’d be a problem. YouTube has some new audio-detecting thing that automatically tells if you’re using certain copyrighted songs. They’ve been going crazy with removing and preventing videos with them these past 2 or 3 weeks. I had contemplated making a video of my own for it, but opted to stick to this article version instead. Kind of funny how relevant all that has to do with this situation in fact 😉

SHYKOOPA said on Feb. 24, 2009

Oh, I see. Now that I think it. So many copyrighted songs would cause serious problem to anybody who does something like that, specially with YouTube politics.

I just feel like this kind of information should be known by more people

Belasted said on Feb. 26, 2009

Hah, this just came to me. Is there any chance that Pokey/Porky and his Pig people are a reference to the song “Piggies” from the Beatles White Album? This has nothing to do with copyrights, but it would be yet another interesting reference.

Belasted said on Feb. 26, 2009

Oh, and what about the fact that they totally ripped off the Dragon Quest series’ menu/battle/etc. syestem?

Miles Vialpando said on Feb. 27, 2009

So many references I didn’t even recognize. Thanks for pointing them out. I don’t see sampling their music as stealing in any way. This is a very odd legal situation indeed.

RedSonicX said on Mar. 3, 2009

I could agree with the using of someones work and not asking permission, but going crazy over a sampling of a 5 second clip? that’s just dumb.

Neo ness34 said on Mar. 6, 2009

The US thinks everything in an RPG is a boring and Fantasy but Earthbound has Humor that’s what makes it different

Monkalrus said on Mar. 7, 2009

Reminds me why I hate the human nature. Greedy swiveling pigs trying to pull every last cent out of you just to reach the next step of the ladder. Fat businessmen with all the money in the world but it somehow posses them to attack things that have no sinister intent whatsoever. Because of something sounds like something or it looks like something, they must sue. Bastards.

some guy said on Mar. 8, 2009

1.) A lot of people are jumping to certain conclusions, though a better turn of phrase would be a “leap of faith.” NOA must be “on guard”, because such a situation no matter how small “might” occur. The chances of such an event happening however are marginal to slim at best but precautions must be taken regardless. I see no reason for people to become hot and bothered over possible sue-happy people when NOAs “suspected” reactions to licensed materials are based on precautionary threats rather than most assured ones.

2.) Of the evidence levied against EB being too overwrought with possible IP infringing materials, a vast majority of said material is discrepancies over songs. This seems hardly worth worrying about, as the creation of new songs, either by NOA or NCL is not that hard a feat to overcome. It ultimately comes down to resources and it is not in the realm of impossibility to believe that such action could be accomplished. I doubt you couldn’t get Suzuki even to remaster some tracks, possibly Tanaka. And this is only if you don’t decide to go with a different composer anyway.
2a.) On this subject, many Earthbound fans might get sour if you changed a lot of songs, however if EB fans are as well-informed and mature as they seem to make themselves appear then they should understand the reasoning behind such changes and respect NOAs position.

Given the evidence I see no reason why EB is not on the VC because of possible legal trouble. The capital Nintendo stands to gain from such an endeavor far outweighs capital lost. It also cannot be the fear of low sales as fish tail economics seems almost incredibly created for such an IP as Earthbound.

I do not know why EB is not on VC, nor do I care very much. However I feel your article, while eye raising and containing some hard hitting facts and information, is too speculative and circumstantial, while ignoring some key issues to be taken in the realm of quasi-possibility.

Mato said on Mar. 8, 2009

I believe you’re confused. This article isn’t meant to prove or claim anything, it’s only meant to show. The claim you’d want to argue is here. This article only speculates about what might be the problem. We’ve heard that NCL *doesn’t* want to bother making changes, and that’s that. Fancy words and pointless arguing isn’t going to change that. I guess there could be the issue of believing us or not, but that’s a personal issue I can’t help.

lol said on Mar. 10, 2009

i liek hao ness maekz dat fase @ da judj

Any-monous said on Mar. 11, 2009

I didn’t actually read everything, but Michael Jackson owns the rights to the Beatles music.
Look it up ^^
So not even the Beatles themselves could do anything about it. Michael Jackson would have to. And seeing how he is going on tour soon and is in a lot of financial trouble, anything that he could catch wind of he’d try to make money off in a second.

Hejiru said on Mar. 18, 2009

So why can’t NOA just make the changes?

FuzzyPicklez said on Mar. 20, 2009

The most ironic thing about it is that while the New Age Retro Hippie theme is one of the main reasons there is no EB for VC (which wasn’t a problem before), every game in Animal Crossing, a series that is newer than the Internet and that sold MUCH, MUCH better than Earthbound, has a song that sounds MUCH more like Johnny B. Goode than this one. And even in this culture where people jump at the chance to sue over even trivial things, no one has ever complained. And guess what-while NARH didn’t make it into Brawl, Rockin’ K.K. did. I’m sorry, but I can’t help but laugh at that. That’s just the most ironic thing in the world.

A person said on Mar. 21, 2009

Nintendo could probably rerelease this when the economy gets better. They cant’ do it know because they can’t afford another mistake in a time like this. If they did, they would be like Circuit City.

A person said on Mar. 21, 2009

And NoA can’t release the game with changes because they need permission from the original creator of the game. And they don’t want the changes to be made. But what does NCL stand for?

Sohei Fox said on Mar. 21, 2009

I think you people take this way out of proportion and misunderstand the depth of the problems here. Rockin’ K.K. is one song that’s similar. Does that one song in earhtbound sound like it as well? Yes. Do you know why it’s not a big deal? Because Animal Crossing does not have HUNDREDS of these things. Earthbound is absolutely filled with the things, and at some point it stops being “tribute” and starts being “unoriginal” bordering on “intellectual theft”. A few things here and there is reference. However, when a significant part of a body of work is thus without crediting the originals specifically, you actually edge into some VERY ugly legal ground. Again, it seems clever on it’s own, but you can’t go 5 minutes playing Earthbound without tripping over one of these things.

Nintendo won’t risk it because if anyone DOES choose to sue, at some point a judge and jury gets involved. And they are NOT going to be happy when the plaintiff is able to bring dozens of other examples. The Mother series at large is a legal mess, and always has been. If the copyright laws weren’t so hideously lax in Japan, the games never would have come out as they were.

Look at it form a business standpoint: it’s not worth the risk for a game that, factually, was only a blip in sales in Japan, sold at a loss everywhere else, and had to be localized and legally sanitized on a MUCH greater level then games that sold FAR better. This is an Earthbound fan page: do NOT mistake this arena for anything representative of what kind of sales it would actually make in the world at large.

Thenumber1yoshi said on Mar. 22, 2009

I once read somewhere that someone asked why if copyrights were a problem that Nintendo couldn’t just simply take the parody way out, and then they went on to point out Conker’s Bad Fur Day, and I have to agree with that, are music and movie parodies different when it comes to legal issues? And besides the original N64 Bad Fur Day used music from A Clockwork Orange in its beginning and ending. Unless copyrights have changed since then but it really hasn’t been that long since Bad Fur Day was released, (though I think live and reloaded might have changed the Clockwork Orange music) but still would there be a problem if they just took the music and other stuff and took the parody way out? Because that would kind of give Nintendo of Japan and Nintendo of America their ways.

But I’m not too sure so don’t mind Me I’m not too much aware of how copyright works, (I still don’t know how Conker got away with its parodies and using music from A Clockwork Orange though).

Thenumber1yoshi said on Mar. 22, 2009

Though I guess I can understand why Nintendo doesn’t want to risk another lawsuit, they’ve actually been losing them (due to stupid judges supporting stupid people) like this one person who sued them because he said they ripped off his controller idea for the GNC Wavebird and whatever else he said they ripped off, the guy actually beat Nintendo in that lawsuit, or this one woman who sued because her child had a seizure while playing one of their games despite Nintendo’s warnings in their instruction booklets, she also came out on top over Nintendo in that lawsuit.

Nintendo knows it can lose badly (especially for the stupidest of reasons, really if they can lose lawsuits just because people were being stupid they wouldn’t want to risk something they’re aware they can get sued for) though if theres one thing I don’t get its why lawsuits over these things haven’t happened already.

You think that with Youtube and people down at Starmen.net and all the let’s plays and basically all the information about Earthbound being spread far and wider than ever before, that they would have noticed this stuff they can sue Nintendo for because its in the game already.

Heck its never too late to be able to Virtual Console title or not, besides I know if I thought like them and was a sue-happy lawsuit slapper I would have gone after Nintendo for that stuff being in Earthbound a long time ago, I mean whats stopping them from doing it now?

I mean the game already saw one U.S. release and since you can already go on the internet and look at all the playthroughs, Let’s Plays, music uploads, and stuff I say the people who want to sue are pretty stupid and ignorant for not taking the chance to sue already.

Mato said on Mar. 22, 2009

Thenumber1yoshi: I assume there’s a statute of limitations for this sort of thing, which is why nobody’s done anything. I’m not a lawyer, but I’d assume it’d the s.o.l. would’ve lasted only a few years, and it’s been nearly 15 years since EB was released.

1983parrothead said on Mar. 27, 2009

Let’s not forget about the sounds of Pokey and Picky being spanked by their father, and let’s not forget about Nintendo of America turning naked Ness into pajama Ness.

Thenumber1yoshi said on Mar. 27, 2009

1983parrothead: those were all censored and edited out so I’m pretty sure they would use those edits to censor those things again, though one thing that could be a problem are the Happy Happyists who are constantly referred to as a cult meaning the game trudged into a religious territory and a bad one at that, in this day and age even though the Klu Klux Clan-like look was edited people want no religious anything whatsoever in an E-Rated game especially not a cult because thats serious business, in fact I’ve seen less of that in the action shows of today (though by todays standards everything offends parents and people so a lot of cartoon especially action shows have been dumbed down to a point where only a mindless little kid could enjoy it, Avatar the Last Airbender just got lucky. In fact i’m surprised it got away with a lot of the stuff it did on the air considering it was on Nickelodeon) no one wants to see religious anything in E-rated games or on certain networks, fake or not and they would really get upset considering the Happy Happyists are a cult (one of the religions people look at as the worse kind)in fact I don’t even know how Nintendo got away with it back then considering it would never fly now.

Also the word crap was in the game but Crap isn’t really isn’t a swear word and can easily be edited to say it’s less offending counterpart word “crud”.

Also Mato would there be any way Nintendo could just pay all these people for their works? Or at least try and compromise with them? Anything, I would think Nintendo would have the money to considering all their success in the past with only the Virtual Boy failing, do they really have so much in there that they can’t pay off all these people to use their stuff? Or all these people so stubborn that they can’t compromise with Nintendo? I would think that it shouldn’t matter if they get money from Nintendo either way, or is there really so much stuff that is on the verge of infringement that Nintendo can’t find it all or really doesn’t have enough money to pay every one of those people? I know I wouldn’t care if either way I got money from them it wouldn’t matter to Me if I got it from suing them or not. I know Nintendo is not as big a company as Disney who has enough money to buy themselves out of just about anything, but is it really true Nintendo just doesn’t have enough for all the people they have to pay off to get Earthbound released on Virtual Console with everything when it was released the first time here intact. If they don’t thats sad, maybe if they would sell and create better games than Wii Music and start catering to the hardcore gamer as well as the casual one they might be able to one day.

Thenumber1yoshi said on Mar. 27, 2009

Also I think Mother 3 wouldn’t be too much of an issue in the U.S. only the people who played the fan translation would have the nostalgia for the music, but Nintendo of Japan would really need to drop the we can’t let you change this and that attitude for Mother 3 at least, Theres only a few nostalgia stuff in it other than the Mr. T sprite in Mother 3, I can’t recall too much music in it that would be a problem because it was changed, I mean for most people it would be their first time playing Mother 3 (with the exception of the Fan Translation players) so its really not ruining the music’s nostalgia if it’s the first time it was released in the U.S. (I can’t recall other nostalgia music that might make Nintendo of Japan say “No you can’t change that” to Nintendo of America but they really should let it go considering the game has a whole *spoilers for Mother 3* room that has nothing but a nostalgia feeling I mean riding down a boat in a room filled with nothing but items from the previous game while Pollyanna plays should be enough to satisfy the whole nostalgia factor Nintendo of Japan should really let go of their attitude towards Nintendo of America making changes to the game at least if it would be an issue for Mother 3 the Time Room should be enough nostalgia to satisfy anybody and considering theres a statue that they can make into a pencil statue and tool they can rename pencil eraser that should be even more nostalgia to satisfy people, I understand how they feel with Earthbound/Mother 2 and I agree with them but if they have the same issue with Mother 3 I say they should at least let that go and allow the American branch to make the changes)

if it’s the first time it’s released in the U.S. they’re really is no nostalgia factor for some of the music (and theres enough nostalgia factor in that room I mentioned already)

Though there would be stuff that they would censor(the Magypsies for obvious reason (changing their sprites to look different because let’s face it Vivian of Mario Thousand Year door was a guy acting like a girl and they changed the gender to a girl completely and despite the fact they have no gender they’re way too much in the same territory that Vivian was in in the original Japanese Thousand Year door if not past it), Lucas and other being nude at hot springs and other part of the game I haven’t gotten to yet,the way the 02 machines give you more air(they could either change the sprites or have the pink irazoom (I have no idea how to spell it but it’s the circle they use in cartoons and such to zoom in and out rather than fading the picture, if anyone can tell Me how it’s really spelled I’d appreciate it because Google has been no help at all in correcting the spelling of that word) or have the pink irazoom come a whole lot sooner than normal and remove the blush from the characters faces that they get afterwards.

Also all the words we consider as swears here in the U.S. would be removed unlike the Fan translation where it was a direct translation keeping those words in. I know the word bastard would probably be replaced with something like scumbag (I actually have no problem with the censoring so long as stuff like Hinawa’s death isn’t censored but Nintendo is pretty good about keeping the concept of death intact unlike 4kids who pretends death doesn’t exist and removes all ties to a character being killed completely (seriously how are children supposed to learn that death is just a part of life when people try to remove it out of stuff if someone dies or is killed in their life they won’t know that those things happen every day and can see some examples of how to deal with it or at least learn from someone they can talk to I mean characters were even killed on Avatar and the creators admitted it) but I don’t think Nintendo would remove Hinawa’s death because they don’t remove important parts like death from their games)

Though I read this one article that Nintendo didn’t like the serious plot with a cartoony look and thats one of the reasons they never brought Mother 3 over here the first time around didn’t click with them (the article I read said the source was reliable but for the sake of Mother fans I’m praying it was someone who had no idea what they were talking about or is someone who is just saying is reliable but actually isn’t. Like this one source that said he was with Sega and Sonic Team and said Sonic wasn’t going to be in Brawl but the source just turned out to be a Microsoft fanboy who hated Nintendo) though besides Conker’s Bad Fur Day had a serious ending (one of the most serious I’ve seen) and I didn’t see Nintendo stop Rare from making Conker despite the fact Mother 3 isn’t as bloody and violent while Conker went against all things that Nintendo’s family friendly image stood for and the game ended with ending almost just as serious as Mother 3’s plot.

Anyways I think Nintendo is in serious denial, like someone covering their ears trying to pretend that the Mother series and franchise and fans in the U.S. are nonexistent, I bet you they hated the fact that Ness was Melee (not sure about the first N64 original because they might have been more than willing to release the N64 version of Mother 3/Earthbound 64 back then, they even had it up on their website explaining some stuff about the game)and that both him and Lucas with all of their Mother stuff were in Brawl I bet you they would have removed all things related to the Mother series from Smash Bros. a long time ago if it wasn’t impossible for them to and would cause a major uproar, why else do you think Earthbound/Mother 2’s demo was removed from the U.S. version of Brawl, (it would have only lasted a few minutes so there wouldn’t have been enough time to scope out or reach the stuff that they could have seen as infringement on copyrights especially considering it’s an RPG and we all know how much time it takes to get through those, theres just not enough time to get through it all to see the whole game so copyright infringement issues would never be found in a measly few minute demo in Brawl) Nintendo just doesn’t like this series for some reason (I mean I understand the problems with Earthbound/Mother 2, but there should be no issues with Mother 3 Brownie Brown (one of the people who had a hand in creating the game) themselves have said they’re willing to create a DS version (and hopefully a one for the most current DS) of the game specifically for fans outside of Japan to play,

And they must be blind to not see that the fan translation (the illegal way to play the game) is getting tons of downloads each day even from non-Mother fans, and be even more dense to think it would not sell. Like I said unless someone sells the translation illegally and tries to make a profit off it or something drastic involve someone other than them making money off of it they aren’t going to care or do anything.

*Wheh* I’m done just needed to vent.

FuzzyPicklez said on Mar. 28, 2009

Sohei Fox: I agree. That makes much sense. But that doesn’t stop people from suing for it, does it? People have sued for other similarly unwarranted reasons. Why not sue for this? And for that same reason the Hippie theme could have made it into Brawl instead of Rockin K.K. Perhaps they were going to use it, but they preferred Rockin K.K. And it would definitely be a problem if they put both in.

I basically agree with you, Thenumber1yoshi. But there is really no way they could pay/compromise with all those companies. What kind of a world do we live in where crazy parents who just happen to be rich just sue everyone just because they think that something needs to be censored/or because of a very avoidable incident that’s even been warned against, just because they’re afraid of how their child will turn out in life? Seriously, if you express the attitude to pretend death, violence, famine, pain, sadness, and everything else negative doesn’t exist, then your child will turn out bad. Speaking of 4Kids, I’ll quote something that they actually said on one of their dubs: “Just forgetting things doesn’t change the fact that they happened.” And what kind of world do we live in where people can get away with being stupid, and purposely ignoring everything that might do them good? Where people can claim an idea, something whose very nature is to be shared and spread, and prevent anyone else from having it, no matter how vague it is? Where inspiration, homage, and tribute, as well as enlightenment, seemingly harmless intentions, can also be interpreted as plagiarism if there’s too much of them? That, at least, has SOME principle to it. It DOES make sense that this game is a big legal mess when it comes to it. (Remember how Brick Road credited himself for the Dungeon Man music?) But it goes into unprincipled territory, for me at least, when it means that even a little tune can be interpreted as plagiarism. It makes me wonder…Isn’t saying that John Lennon was an inspiration to the series technically a form of credit?

Porky would be happy to live in such a world. And by “live in,” I mean “rule.”

Let’s just hope that if they decide to make a Mother 1+2+3, then they will replace the most offensive music with BETTER, more suitable, and non-offensive music. Really, there’s not much else they can do if they plan to make one.

Thenumber1yoshi said on Mar. 29, 2009

Well I’m still clueless to one thing, I mean I don’t get how Konami and Neversoft and Activison can manage to pay off tons of artists to be able to use the actual music tracks in each Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero games that continue to come out yet Nintendo who is probably the most well known name in the gaming industry (who are probably as well know in the gaming industry as Disney is in the animation one) can’t afford to pay off all these people just for music that just sounds similar and are not even the actual music tracks, I just don’t get how Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero manage to be able to pay off artists to add their actual tracks to their games when the creators aren’t even as well known as Nintendo and yet Nintendo is unable to pay off all of them just for a few tracks that are just SNES music that sounds similar and some of them are not even imatating the songs in full.

I find it royally screwed up Konami and Neversoft/Activision can manage to pay the artists for the actual tracks to be used in their games yet Nintendo can’t for the music that isn’t even the true tracks to be used in one of their games (especially considering Nintendo is more of a major video game giant than them).

But I guess someone here has an explaination for why Konami and Activison/Neversoft is able to be able to pay off those artists to use their actual tracks in their games and why Nintendo can’t just for music that uses similar tunes, doesn’t change the fact that its still royally messed up that those games get to use the actual tracks because those companies can pay off them yet Nintendo (who’s more well known) can’t use or pay off to be able to use tracks that only sound similar (seriously these people are boarderline greedy if they get upset over a few music tracks in a video game especially if it only sounds similar for a few seconds, them and their lawyers along with with anyone else they have who they’ll use to sue are just as bad as the Pig Army themselves).

Thenumber1yoshi said on Mar. 29, 2009

Oh yeah this is sort of out of the blue but I just felt the need to say it, concerning everyone who’s worried about Mother 3 getting rated T by ERSB and that being one reason why Nintendo wouldn’t allow it in the U.S. Didn’t a Fire Emblem game get a T rating? Also wasn’t that the case for Smash Bros. Melee and Brawl? Those Smash Bros. games looked cartoony a lot at some points and they got a T rating and were released here. I don’t get why it would be so bad if the game got a T rating if the Smash Bros. series had two games with some cartoony look got a T rating (and considering that the Mother series was represented a whole lot more in Melee and Brawl which were T rated and had cartoony looks at some points well what’s the problem? I mean I would say the people who would be against it for the T rating while having a cartoon pretty hypocritcal if they also played the two Smash Bros. game with the same rating and had no problem with it despite the fact the games had cartoony looks a lot at times).

legalstudent said on Mar. 29, 2009

I’ll admit, I haven’t read all the comments…

But, as a student, specializing in entertainment law no less, I have to think that virtually all of the points brought up in the original article were, frankly, silly. Other than the Ocasek sample, none of the other samples were anywhere close to being enough for proof of damages. The vast majority of theme were only thematically similar, of the same style but not of sufficient similarity to even suggest they are the SAME SONG. The most flagrant example in my mind was the “Berry-esque” one – it is certainly a song in the recognizable style of Chuck Berry, but not identical in melody (and lacking in words) to any. You can’t sue someone for copying a STYLE or GENRE; it would be thrown out on summary judgment, anyway, if anyone even attempted to pursue it (a minor legal cost to a company with attorneys on retainer).

Let me repeat; NONE of those samples, of the songs outside the public domain (such as La Marseillaise or Dvorak’s 9th), would hold up. The Sgt. Pepper one is just a drum beat, no melody, and not exact at that – remember that the copyright holder has to be willing to pay to sue as well, and without melody they would be ripped to pieces. The “Old Gang” one is not similar enough, and is probably in the public domain anyway. The “Floyd” one is a joke – the original song used a sample as well, so they’ve sampled a sample, and good luck proving source. The “Doors-ish” one is vaguely similar, but with a vastly different bassline. Plus, the samples that are actually digitized sound are shorter than the accepted limit for use – despite what someone said, there is a point where a sample becomes “too much”. The “Bittersweet Symphony” sample was about the shortest actually litigated, and was around 13 seconds. Anything under 5 – which all of these would be – especially degraded by the primitive synthesis of the SNES/SF – is simply too short to be worth it to the copyright holder. Once again, remember that they have to pay for the suit, too.

By the way, even the things they changed in the ’95 release, other than the crosses (which COULD have caused a problem, being a registered trademark in Canada and all – though I have to wonder how much money the Red Cross rakes in through minor settlements on that matter…) were changed mostly out of paranoia, not real culpability. Unlike in music, where there are 15+ years of precedent that pretty rigidly defines what constitutes “too much” sampling, visual stuff is a but more nebulous (despite the obviously more lenghty history of visual trademarks)…
[enough ranting]

I don’t believe for a second that these legal issues are what’s holding Nintendo back from reissuing the game, on VC or anything else. I think that they have come to the conclusion that it simply wouldn’t be profitable. It is probably borderline profitable in Japan, but brings in a subset of gamers that might otherwise scorn Big N’s systems. Mother/Earthbound is like what record companies see as “prestige” artists; like Tom Waits (I know, he went indie, but you see my point), artists that don’t really sell enough albums to make it worth the company’s while, but bring them respect. While I don’t see much in the way of legal issues, I also kind of agree with NOA that it might not be worth the risk – How many gamers do you think would buy a Wii JUST for Earthbound or Mother 1? How many would buy a DSi (I doubt sincerely that it would be adapted for Wii) just for Mother 3?

It should be noted that I am still praying that they are going to surprise us with all three; that they are just waiting for the DSi to release them all at once. Wishful thinking, I know, but one can hope…

Mato said on Mar. 29, 2009

My guess is that the current legal team is doing exactly what the last legal team did, as you said: be super-paranoid and require unnecessary changes to be made. Makes sense, since their job description is probably “keep us out of court please”.

What’s actually keeping EB from the VC is NCL, though.

I don’t agree with the “it wouldn’t be profitable idea”, though. DK Jr. Math = massive profit, but EarthBound doesn’t? It’s been the most requested game time after time, and was even used by Iwata as an example when first pitching the VC idea at the GDC. It can’t be that hard to make money by putting a ROM online.

Unless you’re referring to the fact that it’d cost time and money for NCL to make changes, which is probably where the holdup is.

Thenumber1yoshi said on Mar. 29, 2009

Personally seeing how greedy all these people are to the point where they’d sue over a game with just music that sounds similar for just a few seconds has made Me think, *once again spoilers for Mother 3* maybe the people who first landed on Nowhere Islands were right in erasing their memories and ridding the world of everything they did especially currencey getting rid of money and all the greed it caused. In fact I think to myself whoever invented currency was kind of stupid because look at what its caused. Its all those people who want to sue care about

Thenumber1yoshi said on Mar. 30, 2009

Hey just out of curiosity would NCL have a problem with the changes to the game if say it was not reintroduced as a Virtual Console game but rather as a Wiiware title instead (I know its kind of pointless because Wiiware is for new games but technically if it was remade as a Wiiware game its not really a Virtual Console title but still would be Earthbound and Wiiware titles aren’t really for the whole nostalgia thing) of course this is just if Wiiware can handle porting a game like Earthbound.

I would hope it could considering the Game Boy Advance which came before the Wii and is probably less powerful can handle ports of SNES games and could also handle porting both Mother 1 and Mother 2 with the changes they made to both games stateside at some points (such as Mother 1’s stateside ending that was in Earthbound 0 that supposed to be used when they were planning to use in the U.S. but they decdided not to and taking away the glitch in Earthbound’s ending concerning the enemies) I wouldn’t know what the heck would be wrong with Nintendo if Wiiware was less powerful than a Game Boy Advance and couldn’t port Earthbound, it would be ludicrous if Wiiware (something part of a console) couldn’t handle a port yet the Game Boy Advance (a handheld system thats practically dead) could.

Anyways I would think there would be no issues with changes if it was ported as Wiiware, I mean technically its not Virtual Console and it’s still on the Wii, plus Nintendo would really have nothing to lose with a Wiiware port release (that is if NCL is accepting of changes to a Wiiware port which I think they should be seeing as technically thats not Virtual Console) because I’m not sure how much companies who create Wiiware games even make profit off of it but they still have people who pay for Wii Points Cards and buy points with credit, I mean I don’t see a problem, I mean most developers on Wiiware don’t really have anything to lose as far as I’ve read into. Same thing with Mother 3 and Wiiware(though I don’t know if Wiiware could port a Game Boy Advance Game), about the only thing would be translation and if they need to they could always look at the Fan translation and see what needs editing (to make it more appropriate for the Western audiance) I mean I know theres content thats not exactly E-for everyone material but it’s not like its Conker’s Bad Fur Day, Resident Evil, or Grand Theft Auto bad content.

Anyways I guess someone knows why they can’t take the Wiiware way out, but I do know even if changes were allowed there would still be upset people, I don’t think I’d be too upset I’d just be grateful that the game saw another stateside relase finally and that I could play it legally. I would be disappointed some tunes would be gone but then again I’ve never heard too much of the music that Itoi and his team were inspired by to create those tracks, though so long as a track just as awesome replaces it, I wouldn’t care.

Though I’m probably in the minority of these kind of people who wouldn’t mind the changes, I’m pretty sure there are more people who would be upset over the changes than there would be people who would just be thankful the game finally saw another stateside release despite the changes, kind of sad once you think about it.

Thenumber1yoshi said on Mar. 30, 2009

Oh yeah one reason I wouldn’t mind the removal of some tunes and pop culture reffernces is because I wasn’t really aware of what they were or at what points in the game they had them, heck I didn’t even know there was a Beatles song called Yesterday.

In fact I only know a few things about the Beatles through My Mother and that lame Powerpuff Girls episode that Cartoon Network overadvertised when it was going to premire (speaking of which if Earthbound has this much trouble with Beatles refferences in it I bet Cartoon Network, Craig Macraken, and the whole team of the Powerpuff Girls creators had to pay quite a pretty penny just to be able to make that episode(The Beat Alls) and get it on air).

Also I’m unaware of a lot of the music that sounds similar to other tunes, you see I was born in 1988 so I had either yet to come into the world or was too young to get to listen to these songs, besides My Mother and Father (and My father is no longer with us he died when I was barely starting High School) raised Me on music like “The Doors”.

And I was just unaware of all the music growing up, I was very little when we had our NES, and I got a Genesis instead of SNES back then (I went N64 afterwards) but even then I didn’t know of the existance of the songs that the Earthbound team was inspired by to create those tributes. Heck I still am not aware of all the pop culture refferences.

And things like the Skywalker had been changed to Skyrunner already so I had no clue about its Japanese name (in fact I also read Pokey’ message to Ness in the ending is more complex than the simple “Come and get Me loser!” and has more of a connection between Earthbound and Mother 3).

Despite this I still enjoyed the game very much even though I was unaware of all the music and pop culture refferences. I’m not saying throw them out, just rather stating that I enjoyed the game and was oblivious to all the similar sounding music and pop culture refferences.

All I’m saying is I’m just one of the few who wouldn’t mind the changes, but I am aware that there are people who would fall apart over them being taken out. And really I do believe the people who want to sue are greedy, I just wish there was something I, we, or anyone else could do but it seems like no one can, of course that really shouldn’t discourage anybody, after all those who are greedy end in greed. Anyways I just pray one day the game sees another stateside release(along with its brothers in the series and that I’m still alive to see and play them when or if they do).

Thenumber1yoshi said on Mar. 31, 2009

Yeah I’m going to have to agree with Mato on the wouldn’t be profitable thing, I mean Nintendo would have to be pretty moronic to think a crappy educational game would do better than a highly requested RPG and even though I hear RPG outside of Square-Enix aren’t faring so well I still have to say they have to be doing better than the likes of DK JR. Math.

Besides its not just old Earthbound/Mother fans from the past who played it back on the SNES making the requests to be able to play the game but people who have also played the Smash Bros. series who are dying to be able to play the game Ness came from (as well as Mother 3 for the people who played Brawl and want to know the roots of Lucas as well)they want to know what Earthbound was like because ever since the N64 Smash Bros. there have been people taking an interest in wanting to be able to play the Mother series and know more about Ness’s respective game, in fact I’m one who had to resort to emulating it (hey I pretty much figured something would prevent it from coming out because normally the games I was starting to play on emulators would either A). Come out on Virtual Console sucj as Mario RPG and Secret of Mana or B). Get remade on a system, mostly the DS like Kirby Super Star, the ones like Mario All-stars and Earthbound I knew some force out there wasn’t planning on having Me play the games legally when I would get further and beat some of the games (I definatly knew if I was playing Earthbound and it wasn’t released in some way or form during My playthrough it meant it might not happen or would happen very late be and considering I beat the game emulated I sort of figured it, but that doesn’t mean I still wouldn’t play it if Nintendo relased it legally or am not still praying for its release in the states)

anyways thanks to Smash there are tons of people who are curious about the series now and would love to experience the game firsthand rather than emulate or import or just watch playthroughs/walkthroughs/let’s plays on Youtube.

So as I’m saying its crazy to say it won’t profit too much because theres not just Earthbound/Mother fans from the original release but also curious Smash players who are also asking for the game just to be able to play the game Ness came from.

Also RPG’s still might not be doing as well as those mindless shooters, but I can tell you they have more of an audience than they did back when Earthbound was relased and I’ve seen so many people praising Earthbound even if they weren’t a part of the original release. It might not rake in tons of cash/downloads but I can tell you it would be faring better in this day and age than it did back when it was released and besides Nintendo should really know that it was their marketing team that was half of the cause of those poor sales, I mean what did they expect with a slogan that said “This game stinks!” half of the way it sold was their own fault they really have to blame themselves for some of the way it sold.

And am I the only one who was attracted to the cartoony look of Earthbound’s graphics rather than turned away from them? I liked that they weren’t trying to go for the sterotypical anime fantasy look thats probably one of the causes thats making all the western action shows imitate the look (and other than Avatar (which I like because it didn’t turn out a disaster like the others do) they usually wind up falling flat on their face) I also like that they used modern day setting and it just brings a smile to My face when I hear that they were making a game they were trying to give an American feeling to it, it just makes Me think that they probably think of the U.S. over here as a place they’d like to visit as much as we would like to see over there, and anyways it still wouldn’t ruin the whole American feeling they were trying to give the game for Me even with the stuff removed, but anyways I guess I also liked the cartoony graphics and feeling because I’m also a fan of the two Paper Mario RPGs (mostly Thousand Year Door as I haven’t finished the first one)which also are different from the normal fantasy RPG world and have cartoony looks.

But anyways I do think that in this day and age there are people who want to play Earthbound more than ever, and the thing that makes Me sad is that there are still people out there who to play the game Ness came from and are still waiting for it on Virtual Console or for something to come out, but are unaware of these problems and until its resolved some way it almost seems like their hopelessly waiting without even being aware of why it hasn’t come out. All I know is something should be done but its out of our hands I wish it wasn’t because the only opition left is pray for something to happen so it gets released here, but I’ll just try to remain positive (even though I’m mostly a negative person) despite all this.

Thenumber1yoshi said on Mar. 31, 2009

*Sigh* What happend to the days when people weren’t so refusing to let others use their stuff or would at least all work together and work something out, when legal nightmares weren’t always getting in the way, like every studio participated and contributed to Who Framed Roger Rabbit without getting as greedy as trying to get as much money as they possibly wanted and if thats a bad example why can’t we be more like the people in Japan who all allowed their work to be used in the Jump Superstars/Ultimate Stars games without having a fit over the fact their property is being used in the game along with another person’s who had nothing to do with their series, I mean the people in Japan who made that series hardly have any problem with their stuff being used in things like the Jump Stars series and don’t try to milk as much money as they can out of the people who wanted to use their stuff, why is it whenever thats the case here in the West it makes people selfish and greedy with their stuff to the point where they have to get as much as they want out of the person who wants to use it. Heck the Stickerbrush Symphony Brawl remix has a part that sounds kind of like Youhana’s Houki Boshi (The 3rd ending to the Bleach anime) and I don’t see them attacking Nintendo for the similarity. I don’t get why we all can’t see these things as tributes like the people in Japan do.

By the way something I’m pretty sure I heard in this one class that was teaching the 7 habbits of highly effective teens or it could have been church, but anyways even though they say he who dies with the most toys wins, He who dies with the most toys still dies meaning their taking nothing they earn from the lawsuits with them in the end including the money. In the end their earnings don’t follow them into the ground. And if they’re as selfish as I think they are they’ll probably have no one to leave it to.

Still things have become over the years concerning copyrights and all things involving money has really disgusted Me, I mean I hated that it was already affecting Youtube severly but also seeing it hit the gaming industry I just feel its just wrong, all the people who would go after Nintendo for just a few songs on a game on Virtual Console that comes from the SNES which only sounds similar they all make Me sick.

Thenumber1yoshi said on Apr. 2, 2009

Sorry if I’m having outbursts but I guess I wouldn’t have too much of a problem if I hadn’t witnessed how bad copyright laws are getting on Youtube before, like the whole Viacom situation (especially considering I like Avatar and all of its videos including music videos related to it were taken down along with anything else they claimed they owned, also I get really tired of people complaining on Youtube about there not being any real Aang V.S. Ozai or Zuko V.S. Azula fights because they can’t post those unless they want their account taken down. Also I really hate they said the music for Avatar is not to be posted or used anywhere when they won’t even release a soundtrack but I digress) and a whole bunch of others taking down videos

Even My Darkspine Sonic Whispers in the Dark video suffered a take down due to copyrights and if it wasn’t bad enough they’re removing tracks to the videos people made with just the footage playing.

So I’m just upset because being a member of Youtube I’ve been a victim of the stupid copyright laws involving music before.

But anyways any of you who say they don’t want a remake and the same game instead, well I understand wanting to experience the same thing that was back on the SNES well I have to say you’re being rather ungrateful (I’m talking to you people who are posting in the Starmen.net Virtual Console topic) I mean kind of like spoiled brats who are whining because they didn’t get the thing they wanted when you still got the next best thing, I mean Nintendo didn’t have to bring any of the games back at all but they still did in handheld remakes

Besides if they brought back the Mother series in a remake wouldn’t that mean you accomplished getting the Mother series to the states again in some way or form? I mean isn’t that what most of you were trying to do? Why should it matter how it was revived? I mean even if they brought the series back as a remake its still not enough for you? You should be grateful if they even brought it back considering the only time it was even released was one game back in the 90s.

Heck I was thankful when Yoshi’s Island was even revived on the GameBoy Advance and I had no problem that Yoshi had the same sound effects he had from Yoshi’s Story (and the ones that Smash Bros. added he didn’t gain all those sound effects from the Yoshi’s Story game, there have been ones added to him over the years like I noticed one of the Mario Party’s for the Gamecube had one I had never heard before) or that some of Kamek’s dialouge had been changed. I was just happy that the game had been brought back so I could play it. And besides remakes on systems can have more of an effect on future games (if Yoshi’s Island was on Virtual Console rather than Game Boy advance none of the Yoshi’s Island themed stuff and games would be here in the games we’d still be stuck with the same story book theme they kept using since the N64, and there wouldn’t have been a DS sequel (I don’t care what anyone says I enjoyed Yoshi’s Island DS the only problems I found with it were the music and the final boss wasn’t as epic as the Giant Baby Bowser in the original, but if you let stuff like that ruin the entire game for you thats sad, and if you get upset because of its difficulty thats even sadder, isn’t the whole point of video games in the first place to make them challenging and besides shouldn’t a game thats difficult appeal to the more hardcore crowd? I know the graphics don’t scream hardcore but the gameplay should matter more to people but I digress again).

Heck I’m actually glad Kirby Super Star Ultra is a remake and not on Virtual Console because I can take it anywhere before I had been wanting to play some of the games I had on My SNES emulator for some time on the road with Me so I was pretty happy when I heard news about Super Star Ultra and since remakes have more impact on returning things than Virtual Console releases it might mean some of the Kirby abilities that have not been seen since that game could be revived in a newer Kirby game (such as Mirror which I’m praying comes back after the remake at some point) and I could really care less that I’m not seeing the actual SNES Revenge of Meta Knight dialouge. I do wish I could play with another person as my helper since I don’t know another person with the game and it lacks online co-op but I can forgive that because the gameplay is good and I’m thankful for the handheld remake.

Also for people who don’t want to play the game on a little handheld and prefer big game screens I must say you act pretty spoiled or have always been a single child, an example is I always want to play Mother 3 on the living room computer but have the same game in My room, and guess what when My Mom sends Me to My room and I argue to be able to get out to play it she threatens to give My computer to My sisters who lack a computer because I hardly ever use it meaning shes saying I don’t deserve it because I’m taking it for granted I know what I’m talking about as this has happened more than once to Me. You’re being ungrateful if you can play the same game on a handheld. Even if you don’t feel like playing it on the go, go to another room and play it, if you still have a problem with it maybe you don’t deserve that Gameboy Advance or Nintendo DS you have, maybe it should be given away to someone who will be thankful they can play a video game even if it is handheld and not on a big screen and will play it more often than you, because there are a lot more people than you who would be happy to even have those handhelds and video games than you would be (especially in this economic struggle we’ve been going through some people don’t even have the money to spend on an old Gameboy Advance because of this struggling economy let alone a brand new Nintendo DS, and I live in California where its one of the most expensive places to live and considering My county is a tourist place I should know in fact My Christmas money could only afford a Conker Plush and Sonic Vinly (Spl?) statue off of eBay and My Mother had to pitch in her own money to buy those two things).

So if you really have a problem with playing a video game just because its not on a big screen with your Gameboy Player or on the PC screen and simply don’t want to play it on your Gameboy Advance or Nintendo DS just because it isn’t a big screen and you don’t feel like playing RPGs on your handheld (well I can understand some of it because I hate getting stuck in RPGs on the road and not having an online guide with a computer sitting in front of Me yet not wanting to buy a big book when there are so many free ones online down at places like GameFAQs (I don’t approve the message board’s behaviors I just go there for guides and to occasionally laugh at them for being idiots on those boards) already) but still I never complained about it why should anyone else) if you really have a problem with the game being on a handheld rather than big screen you probably don’t deserve the handheld in the first place and it should be taken away and given away to someone who will actually appreciate that handheld and all the good games that come with it.

Anyways I would be thankful even if they had to remake the game on the DS, I would feel we at least accomplished something after all weren’t you all trying to get the Mother series across shores for years why should it matter how Nintendo brings it to you? i mean if they try to give it to you through a remake and brought it over here its still not enough? I just have to say if they ever do and you still complain that its not a virtual console relase to stop acting like spoiled brats! Geeze there isn’t any way to please any of you they would be trying to give you the next best thing after Virtual Console and still you ask more of them. Well I’m going to just be thankful if a handheld remake is ever made and brought here. Sure some nostalgia might be gone but so long as the game is good and if its even brought over here I’ll just be thankful it was and pick it up play it and not care.

fortenium said on Apr. 3, 2009

You know what is one thing that I find is absolutely funny about all this? Two of these similar tunes were my ringtones!!!

1. Johnny B. Goode

2. Won’t Get Fooled Again


fortenium said on Apr. 3, 2009

ON TOPIC: Yes, this is too bad that this insane country is filled with lawyers ready to jump on anyone who uses anything similar to their things…..

Thenumber1yoshi said on Apr. 3, 2009

I’m just going to ask this out of plain curiousty. Why did the Japanese Nintendo branch have no problems with the American Nintendo branch making certain changes to the game all the way back in the 90s when the game was first released in the states but have a problem with changes being made now? I mean they weren’t upset with the stuff they changed for the first release why would they be upset for a second relase needing changes? I mean they should have never let them make any kind of changes in the first place (other than stuff like censoring nude Ness and swearing) involving bands and stuff and had just kept the series in Japan if they have a problem with changes.

It’s probably because its a Virtual Console release I’m guessing, but I don’t understand the sudden unwilling to let them add changes if they never had a probelm with it back then with the already censored stuff. Though I guess if its more than just music like ruining the Giygas fight I’d understand where they were coming from. I do know some people would rather have the same music and stuff kept the same but as someone who never noticed any similarity, hardly knows the Beatles history, and doesn’t really care about if they make changes or not so long as the replacement music is awesome I’ll probably never understand where some of you are coming from,

Now the only things I would care about are: 1.)Drastic alterations to the story

2.) Scenes being drasticly different (I don’t mind if some music to them is different but if the scene is a completely different thing it might get to Me)

3.) All of the NPCs dialouge are changed drasticaly (I wouldn’t mind if they absolutly needed to change some but if all were changed unessacarily that would kind of irk Me a little)

4.) This one is more of a maybe since I did find some of the game too much for Me at points but if they dumbed down the difficulty level for the game so that anyone could get through it easily it would either make Me upset or relived depending on what parts were made eaiser but most likely upset since if even I can beat the game I bet that would irk Me.

5.) Changing the Giygas final fight due to its rumor or to make it less freaky, lets face it if they changed that part of the game dialouge or background its pretty much ruining the fight against one of the most evil final bosses in video gaming and the experience that comes with it, I would be pretty upset if they tried to censor the awesomeness and rush that the fight gives you.

6.) Changing the go anywhere in the world after you beat Giygas ending, I know this most unlikely and probably wouldn’t happen but Me and a lot of others would be pretty upset if they did do that.

So I’m pretty sure I have more but they’re nothing that would be involving music changes here. Most of the stuff listed on the page involving the legal issues were parts of the game I have no problem with them changing due to the fact I didn’t even get any of the music or pop culture refferences and still enjoyed the game, so those are things I could forgive so long as they’re replaced with something just as awesome.

But I do understand there are so few of people like Me who enjoyed the game or would enjoy it with changed music, but the question is what will become of the game now? There is no official planned Mother 4 and it seems like the series will stay in stateside relase limbo for quite a while.

I just hate feeling unable to do anything, but even with as many of us as there are we’d need an army before anything could really happen, and that would take very long and most people don’t have the time to waste on trying to get a game relased stateside once again. Still I’ll try to be positive no one should just lose all hope and faith. Its pretty much all we have at this point (well that and old SNES carts and systems and Emulators and ROMS).

Mato said on Apr. 3, 2009

Thenumber1yoshi: How are you able to write giant essays about the same specific topic for weeks in a row? 😯

Thenumber1yoshi said on Apr. 4, 2009

I’m sick right now, plus I’m not in any kind of school at the moment. But I’m just trying to get answers and make people understand that I’ve had to deal with forced changes as well, like when My father died when I was first barely starting High School, or when we moved to the condos next door to us, I mean I’m just trying to say I’m upset but not trying to show that I’m banging My head up against a wall. Typing here just helps calm Me down and helps Me forget about it, though seeing stuff like people not wanting a remake is making Me see these fans as rather ungrateful people. As I said if it was sent over here in the form of a remake I say it shouldn’t matter since getting the game over here was the whole point in the first place and shouldn’t matter how it got here.

And as for the whole I’m not aware of Pop Culture refferences or music sound alikes. I’m just hoping that I’ll run into or that there are more people like Me who just enjoyed the game without being aware of all the refferences and sound alike music and wouldn’t care if some music was replaced as long as something awesome as the old music replaced it.

I’m just trying to see if theres any others who are more like Me who don’t have as much of a problem with it.

And that and I still haven’t gotten any answers to some stuff I posted yet. All that and because I’ve also said I’ve been a victim of copyright issues before being a member of Youtube and all, I don’t know maybe I just do it because I can’t really do anything or make much difference. I mean as a fan of this series and now understanding where everyone is coming from its like seeing one of your closest friends be abused and neglected and not being able to help them. But I’ll stop this before this message gets any longer.

DragonKazooie89 said on Apr. 4, 2009

This topic was actually brought up in gamesradar.com’s podcast, beginning at about 1 hour, 17 minutes and throughout the episode EarthBound music is played in the background as well as a few other things like the audio version of EarthBound’s commercial. However, there is language in it so be warned.


Thenumber1yoshi said on Apr. 4, 2009

Well there is one last reason I keep posting here, its because I’m kind of sad that people might not ever get the chance to experience Earthbound, I feel that people who play Smash Bros. who either main Ness, or just take a liking to him or just hear of the game in some way or take a liking to Ness in any way Smash Bros. or not, well I feel its important to get to know the roots of the character you know play the game themselves and get to experience and better know the origins of Ness and know what kind of game Earthbound was(or is because I refuse to believe its just died considering how many fans are out there), you know familairize themselves with the game Ness came from.

I would hope that no one would get upset just because someone decided to play the game because of Smash Bros. besides I think we can all agree that a fan who decided to play the game after seeing Ness or Lucas in Smash is much better than the ones who see Ness in Smash and just declare themselves fans without even bothering to see Ness’s origins. And I can tell you a lot of fans wouldn’t be here today if they hadn’t taken time to discover the origins and roots of Ness (and Lucas as well considering the fan translation and people just dying to see where Lucas came from as well).

I just think its good to get to know the origins of a character you main or take a liking to, it makes you feel a whole lot closer to them for some reason (well at least in My case, but I just main Yoshi and Sonic and since I know their roots I just feel kind of close to them, but since I also played as Ness in the original N64 version a couple times (almost as much as Yoshi) I feel closer to the character and have a better understanding of him, of course if the game was bad it may be a different case but seeing as how Earthbound is an awesome RPG and we all agree on that I guess it means people who bother to get to know Ness’s roots might have these feelings after doing so)

Its just I’m sad some people will never get to know about the Mother series and about Ness and Lucas’s roots because its just disappointing there will be people taking a liking to the characters and having no way to see their respective games and see their origins.

Anyways despite the whole point of us doing what we do is to spread the word about the game, thats still not as nearly enough to get people to know more about it as much as a remake or vitual console title would attract, but what are you going to do? Anyways I’ll shut up now, sorry for talking too long yet again.

Thenumber1yoshi said on Apr. 4, 2009

Oh and DragonKazooie89 I understand language for everyone else, but that probably won’t bother Me, seeing as how My Dad used swear words up until his death when I was barely starting high school (I got cussed at a lot by him along with My two younger sisters which we’re all close in age) and even My Mother swears at Me and My sisters for stuff these days, heck My sisters used to swear like crazy (I think they probably still do) and anyways the Mother 3 Fan Translation didn’t bother to censor anything that was considered a swear here in the U.S. so it probably won’t bother Me (and if that wasn’t enough I listened to SegaSonic Radio’s Turbo Drive Live for a long time and that guy swears a lot and I also watch the N64 version of Conker’s Bad Fur Day videos on Youtube).

But anyways do they think the situation looks as grim as we think it does? And are they upset at all or could care less? Or are they just looking at us like fools? By the way in case I can’t listen to it what specific music did they use from the game and what were their views on the whole situation? Or are they just a group of idiots who just swear a bunch and rub salt in wounds by teasing people about their misfourtunes or just like making people upset (kind of like the guys down at the Sonic Cult message boards/fourms, I swear I’ve seen the people down at that message board/fourm and I have to say I’ve seen episodes of South Park that have more maturity than they do).

Anyways I’ll just have to see if I can take a listen though just in case I can’t could you tell Me how the podcast went and everything they did relating to this topic in it and what was talked about when they reached that point please? You don’t have to though i won’t force you to do anything. Your choice.

Thenumber1yoshi said on Apr. 4, 2009

Also I know this is late to say but FuzzyPicklez the only form of credit people care about nowadays is the kind that can make their wallet fatter.

Anyways just asking this out of the blue but I did mention a Powerpuff Girls episode that had nothing but Beatles referrences (I’m a guy, its just I was raised in the era of classic Cartoon Network originals and I wouldn’t have been able to avoid watching it anyways as My Mother watched it for herself due to Cartoon Network overatvertising the episode in magazines and stuff) called the Beat Alls and I’m just wondering how much that must have costed the creators of the show and Cartoon Network, considering it was a parody on how the band broke up and just about nearly every line in that episode was a part of lyrics from some of their songs.

Sorry but its just bugging Me how the Powerpuff Girls creators and Cartoon Network managed to afford making that episode considering how hard a time Earthbound is having with allowing its Beatles referrences. I mean I wonder how they still managed to hold it together finacially after making an episode like that.

Jon said on Apr. 9, 2009

Despite all the niggling legal issues, despite all the musical similarities or outright samples, it doesn’t matter one goddamn bit. Know why?

Every instance of potential copyright infringement in this game falls under the Fair Use agreement, specifically the section on parody. EarthBound is clearly not meant to be taken seriously. Yeah, I can understand the whole point of corporate lawyers is to prevent any sort of legal issues at all, but this is ridiculous.

Hell, even that shitty movie about intelligent design got away with using a Beatles song because they claimed it as a parody. Same thing.

Ness and Sonic said on Apr. 9, 2009

Legal issues might be holding other games back, too. Zombies Ate My Neighbors for example. ZAMN referenced a number of horror movies. Child’s Play and Tremors just to name two. Personally, the way copyrights and patents “should” work is “use it or lose it.” If those rights are only being used for lawsuits, then those rights should be taken away. Too bad it does not work that way here.

Tbarnacl said on Apr. 13, 2009

I hope the Nintendo doesn’t see this list..Then they’ll never release this game.

Mato said on Apr. 13, 2009

Like I mentioned, I snagged the list off of Wikipedia, so this list isn’t anything new 😉

Thenumber1yoshi said on Apr. 29, 2009

Actually the Money (That’s What I want) is totally fine and (if this is correct) can be one of the easiest things to put in since so many other bands have covered the song from both past and present (not just the Beatles) so I’m guessing a lot of Movies have used the song, so Nintendo could easily get around that one, and even if they have to pay they probably could seeing how much its been used and how many different artists have covered the song.

Jason said on May. 4, 2009

Of course the music that goes along with the battle with Frank is going to sound like a number of popular songs… it’s more or less uses the 12-bar blues structure that is the foundation of countless hits (see Wikipedia articled linked to my name).

Thenumber1yoshi said on May. 22, 2009

Still I don’t know how that Powerpuff Girls episode got away with an episode that was dedicated to nothing but The Beatles and used the lyrics out of a lot of their songs for the script of the episode, I mean I’m unsure if Earthbound input lyrics from The Beatles’ songs for the game’s scrpit but since this isn’t even the full list of refferences to Music that Earthbound used I wouldn’t put it past Itoi to have put some Beatles song lyrics for the game’s script and for the translation team to have let some slide by.

But then again I’m unaware of all the Beatles refferences in the game as I don’t know too much about the band My Mother knows more though I only can remember bits from that lame Powerpuff Girls episode,

My question is how did the creators of the show get away with making such an episode of that show, and if they paied royalties to make it, then how much didm Craig Mcraken, the entire Powerpuff Girls team and Cartoon Network itself have to pay just to get the rights to air the thing, I mean if Nintendo can’t pay it off, does that mean Cartoon Network and the entire Powerpuff Girls team have more money to be able to pay off the royalties than Nintendo?
Because thats just sad, and I’m pretty sure there are some lyrics from Beatles songs input in the game somewhere I just don’t know where, Mato himself said this isn’t even half the copyrights. So I’m willing to bet there are some hidden Lyrics from Beatles songs somewhere like with certain NPCs and maybe events I didn’t catch and if not in the American version there has to be in the Japanese version.

Angela said on May. 24, 2009

thenumber1yoshi: You know parody is protected by law, and Cartoon Network didn’t pay a penny right?

Thenumber1yoshi said on May. 29, 2009

I know but isn’t the music being used in Earthbound basically parody too, parody is a kind of tribute, and a lot of Earthbound’s stuff are not the actual song, besides I think a lot of Earthbound’s music could pass as parody, besides even so, in the Japanese version the Runaway Five were a parody of the Blues Brothers (shown right here) and it was still changed, heck I know a few parody videos on Youtube that got taken down due to copyrights (and not just ones that use actual footage too)

Anyways I’m thinking the Japanese branch of Nintendo has changed their views on things maybe due to people leaving and new people coming since Earthbound’s first release back when it was first released they had no problem with the changes that were first made even small ones, we see them here occasionally too, like the Tofu changed to Yogurt, or the many NPC’s speeches like the bodygaurd’s speaking like they still have their jobs, or even crucial ones such as Pokey/Porky’s real message to Ness (though I heard this through a Youtube comment so I’m not sure how legit it is) in the Japanese version it isn’t just a simple “Come and Get Me Loser!” its more complicated the guy didn’t give specifics but he did say the real message has more apparent connections to Mother 3.

My question is if the Japanese branch didn’t mind these changes then whats a few more? Why do they have a problem with them now?

Thenumber1yoshi said on May. 30, 2009

Though you know what the sad part is, since so much keeps Earthbound from ever being released on Virtual Console and I’ve played it through on an Emulator at least three times that I’ve kind of grown used to playing it on a ROM and Emulator and can’t imagine any other way of playing it than sitting down at a computer screen and playing the game right there,

Though still if Nintendo doesn’t really care if people pirate this series (proven by their supporting of the fan translation of Mother 3 rather than doing something or working something out despite the fact they were aware of it) and also won’t re-release it in any way or form, then I pretty much think Emulators and ROMs being used as a means to play the game are justified since its overpriced on eBay and Nintendo hasn’t made a means to play it since the release all those years ago, I won’t show people where to get the ROM but I’ll say its justified until Nintendo gives a means to play the game in another way or form that isn’t the original cartridge thats overpriced, I did the same thing with Super Mario RPG, I swore that if Nintendo ever released Super Mario RPG, Tetris Attack (Yoshi’s Island themed one), or Earthbound on Virtual Console, that I would stop playing them on emulators and download them and play them the right way,

Of course I kept My word with Super Mario RPG, but since Nintendo has yet to release Earthbound or the Yoshi’s Island themed Tetris Attack (which originated as Panel de pon with a fairy girl theme and the only other version they’ve released is the Pokemon Puzzle Leauge which I don’t want as I would prefer the Yoshi theme as I’m a Yoshi fan as well as a Mother one) I continue to play them emulated until they’re released (don’t know what their excuse for Tetris Attack is, since if they don’t think they should release Pokemon Puzzle Leauge and Tetris Attackbecause they’re the same game then they shouldn’t have both Kirby’s Avalanche and Dr. Robotnick’s Mean Bean Machine both up for download).

Chris said on May. 31, 2009

Great article, mato. Very in depth and lots of fascinating stuff that I now feel dumb for not noticing for years, especially being a big Ric Ocasek fan and not realizing that the moonside music i love so much was a sample.

The longer (approx 85 pages) article on this page by number1yoshi could use some trimming though.

Mysterygirl56 said on Jun. 10, 2009

A friend pointed out to me that the Drugstore theme sounded like an instermental part of Weird Al Yankovic’s song “The checks in the mail” at one point.

Thenumber1yoshi said on Jun. 16, 2009

Sorry about that Chris, once I get talking I can’t seem to stop, in fact its gotten Me some major backlash on a Let’s Play Banjo-Tooie down at Youtube. Its sort of a habit I need to work on. Anyways check out Mato’s info. of why Nintendo won’t even take the Parody way out on one of the Earthbound winning the NP VC polls.

conn3r said on Jun. 29, 2009

oh wow mr.itoi’s daughters handwritting for the mr.saturn dialog text is just mean

Thenumber1yoshi said on Jun. 30, 2009

I still have to say what’s preventing the game from being released is seriously messed up. As I said back on Starmen.net’s forum, It is just wrong that a ton of fans love for one of their favorite video game showing their undying love and support for it and trying to get it release is overpowered by greedy people (even if they are famous) and its just I can’t stop stating or feeling sorry for the people who are curious about Ness and Lucas’s roots because of Smash Bros. or another reason and keep wondering why it never comes out while still expecting it to. I just feel sorry for those people.

I wish I could introduce them to the series, but since it’s illegal to show them ROMs and Emulators and since an actual copy of Earthbound is really expensive I have no other way to except for telling them to find them the piracy way and find the Emulators and ROM on their own (since I’m not a rich person so I can’t give them money to buy an actual copy and I don’t know any other way, especially since a lot of people don’t know Japanese and won’t be able to understand how the storyline is playing out in an imported Mother 1+2 or Mother 3, I just can’t stop feeling sorry for the people who will never play the games in English since I can’t really do anything to truly show them how to).

Super Smash Bros. Fan said on Jun. 30, 2009

This may sound crazy, but we need to let Nintendo of America know about this. They’ll be able to change the sound of the music that could generate legal troubles. They are trying, but they need to realize that this game could decided on the Virtual Console faith and if we’re ever getting licensed games. I’m dead serious. Sue me if you wish, but I care about the Virtual Console and I don’t want it ruined even more then it has to be.

Stewie said on Jul. 1, 2009

Ever since I learned ’bout Ness through the awesomeness that is Super Smash Bros. Melee, I’ve wanted to learn everything I could about EarthBound. I’ve never actually played it, but I’ve read everything I could find on the internet about it and then some, and from what I’ve seen, this game just seems to have a magical aura about it. I’ve been frequenting garage sales for quite a while now trying to find one (to no avail of course), but I always kept hoping for EB on the VC. Now I see why it’s been so long since it’s been “ESRB”‘ed and still hasn’t surfaced. Yikes.
I just wish the good-intentioned people at Nintendo could get some help from fans with finding the problems, and get EarthBound out on the VC so people like me (and other people who’ve played it and love it) can actually play it and love it like the awesomeness it probably is. If they fix the problems and finally release it, EarthBound would fly off the shelves… figuratively.

Guy said on Jul. 6, 2009

I didn’t see any problems there. Things like a submarine that’s yellow and using the words “Sky Walker” cannot be trademarked or copyrighted.

Moupi said on Jul. 10, 2009

What a nice pack of bullshit! EarthBound will be released on the virtual console and so will MOTHER eventually. There has been -NO- official confirmation from Nintendo, and there probably never will.

Nintendo getting sued is likely to only happen if the game is very popular and let’s face it – EarthBound being popular is just a joke. 😉

Sir Ilpalazzo said on Jul. 17, 2009

But if they release the game, the possibility of them being sued exists (or goes up). Nintendo, being a business, would never do something that would leave them vulnerable like that.

And Guy, did you go through all of the examples?

Blk_Mage_Ctype said on Jul. 28, 2009

Hopefully they’ll at least release MOTHER on the VC, even if they can find no way around all the Red Tape that these possible legal issues present.

RchUncleSkeleton said on Aug. 9, 2009

Most of these references shouldn’t be a problem at all as they are spoofs and parodies and the law clearly states that copyrights don’t concern parody material, plus most of the references aren’t blatantly obvious. As far as the music, there are hundreds of songs that sound disgustingly similar to each other, but no one’s getting sued over that, I’m always wondering what band did a certain song because there are 4 or 5 different bands that have a song that sounds almost identical. Plus the fact that a good majority of the songs aren’t noticeable unless pointed out. I don’t really care if it comes out on VC or not, I’ll always have my SNES and my emulators, but to have it not come out over these minor things is just ridiculous.

Pknintendo said on Aug. 20, 2009

After reading all of that, it just feels rather depressing.

Qwaffleboy said on Aug. 21, 2009

its pretty crazy how alot of the songs sound similar to real life songs its kind of sad to see this in such a great game

MarkNES said on Sep. 5, 2009

Is it me or is Earthbound’s censorship much bigger than
Mother 1/Earthbound Zero’s? Even Pokemon has a
censorship for it’s show, but the games? O_O?

Anonymous said on Sep. 5, 2009

people who r stopin earth bound from on vc can go eat a dick

Monsuco said on Sep. 16, 2009

Wow, that is a lot, but still, parodies are everywhere. If you watch any episode of the Simpsons, South Park, King of the Hill, or Family Guy you’ll see plenty of parodies. I just watched the South Park episode “Wacky Molestation Adventure” and I caught at least 5 references in the show. The kids get their parents arrested by claiming they were molestered. After their parents are gone Kyle dances in his underwear listening to “Old Time Rock and Roll”, just like Risky Business, a man visiting the now child run town finds out that the kids sacrifice each other in a manor similar to Children of the Corn. The sacrifices have strict and brutal rules that might be referencing Logan’s Run. They end up falling into two warring factions, one of civilized brutes another of noble savages in a manor that references Lord of the Flies. The kids also do a quasi-religious story scene explaining what happened in a manor that references Mad Max 3. I am just using ONE episode of ONE show, and with several shows (particularly animated sitcoms targeting teens and young adults) you will have every episode being something like this. Songs are frequently used too or are parodied. How is it OK for South Park or Family Guy to do this, but not for EarthBound. South Park is also a show you know doesn’t ask for permission since they are:
A. They occasionally will insult the things they parody, such as the movie The Day After Tomorrow in ways the author would not have approved of.
B. Most episodes are done in about 6 days from start to finish (they even did the election one in less than a day)
How do they get to do parodies on shows like this, but EarthBound doesn’t, it simply does not add up.

pidgezero_one said on Sep. 18, 2009

“The theme played while in the Sky Runner sounds similar to the synthesized introduction of The Who song, Won’t Get Fooled Again. (MP3 Download)”

Wow, that’s one of my favourite The Who songs, and I didn’t even catch that until I read this O_O

huge osos said on Sep. 25, 2009

The difference between Earthbound and Simpsons/Family Guy/South Park is the amount of money they bring in. Simpsons can afford the lawsuit, cos they’re a network juggernaut.

But yes, Anonymous, those people can eat several dicks.

Lamar Namou said on Oct. 7, 2009

The funny thing about the Beatles stuff is, I bet they would not give two fucks XD Honestly, Paul and Ringo are nice fellows. Anyhow, Michael Jackson use to own the rights to The Beatles, however… Yeah… “-_- R.I.P
Eherm… Anyhow, The Beatles thing should be one less issue out of everything. Skip it all completely and I bet if I met Paul or Ringo and showed them the references, they’d get a kick out of it if anything. Anyhow, like I said, ignore all the Beatles stuff and guys, just look at the other lawsuit issues.

Anjew said on Oct. 11, 2009

Nintendo of Japan is really annoying me, but it is not just their fault, the two sectors of nintendo really need to reach an agreement.

Der Jermeister said on Oct. 27, 2009

I can hear the resemblance between the Runaway Dog/Spiteful Crow battle theme and Tequila by The Champs, but I don’t think it’s *that* close as the article implies. Informative list, though.

Ness and Sonic said on Oct. 29, 2009

I think Giygas’ Lair resembles one of the stages from the first Splatterhouse game (The one on VC and TG16. Might not be an issue, but I am not sure.) Stage VI actually.

JudgeDeadd said on Nov. 11, 2009

I cannot really see a similarity between the factory theme and “Welcome to the Machine” but yes, the other pieces of music are pretty similar.

Maybe we just need to wait many, many years until all this music goes public domain and our granchildren will be finally able to play it. :/

Bryce said on Dec. 14, 2009

the rest of the Mr. Batty song is actually the theme from Sailor Moon!!!

Shadrio said on Dec. 27, 2009

Wow… nice, long post you got there. It surely makes sense why Mother has little existance outside of Japan… damn americans…

I guess the only way we can get Mother into America is to say that “It is the Terrorist’s plan to keep Mother out of America and the World. If we don’t allow Mother to leave Japan, the Terrorists will win!! Don’t give up on me now!”.

Thank you George Bush. (I notice this is a rip off of a certain comic’s joke, but it works well here, too)

PK-Lovin' said on Dec. 29, 2009

Ok, I can see why they won’t put EB on the VC, but why not EBZ, all you have to do is do something about the hippie song and your done, just dumb the ROM into the wii and boom you gto EBZ on VC.

Cecilgene said on Dec. 31, 2009

As of a few days ago, the Wiki on Virtual Console “future releases” shows EarthBound as a future release with an “unknown” release date.

Anyone know more about this?

Cecilgene said on Dec. 31, 2009

Here’s the link for the VC Wiki… forgot to add it.


MalixDexide said on Dec. 31, 2009


Anywhere else BUT wikipedia???

Niten Ness Lucas said on Jan. 1, 2010

geez this cleared up alot i had no idea about this you know what if you just want to pay earthbound for 8$ instead of 80$ then just put in in the 1+2 fan translation and it’ll be free.wow. p.s. i also got to put m3 on my elink and finally beat the jealousbassbut now im on chapter 7 on new fassad sweet! but im stuck on him… but i went to that pigmask and bought a bunch of bombs for boney and leveled up the folk in my party and ill try to beat it. you could just say im stalling becuase most of my time has been devoted to spirit tracks but i beat it. (also links rope snake is scary its probaly mad its not with duster.

Lukas said on Jan. 1, 2010

If they added an extra Back-Beat they could make the songs less sililar, that would’nt be so bad.

no name given said on Jan. 4, 2010

please don’t cancle earthbound again!

Anonymous P. Hancock said on Jan. 10, 2010

I’ve looked through this list, and I see nothing that would result in a successful lawsuit. Remember in America the burden of proof is on the person filing the claim. While your points may or may not be accurate, the fact is that reasonable doubt is present in all of them. The music issues doubly so.

Never forget that Nintendo still has issues with the Mother fanbase. We’re the red-headed stepchild that Nintendo loves to beat. If you think Nintendo’s refusal to put Earthbound on the VC is anything but sour grapes and that they’re not using so-called legal issues as a front, you’re naive.

Super Smash Bros. Fan said on Jan. 15, 2010

@Anonymous P. Hancock: Nintendo of America actually wanted the game to be on the Virtual Console. They were not using legal issues as an excuse, they were actually concern about music similarities.

Anonymous said on Jan. 18, 2010

The Red Cross are a bunch of idiots, they use our donation money to protect their own butts. Last time I checked, you could find a ‘red cross’ on almost anything concerning health or safety.

Nick said on Jan. 19, 2010

For the music stuff.
Queen+Bowie Underpressure vs. Ice Ice baby.
For everything else, I’m sure if Nintendo tried, because it’s an already released game, they could work to get some sort of rights to use some terms and such, even by means of distribution of royalties, if people just play the game, they’d understand how everything is just humorous and artistic. I Agree though, everyone is sue-happy. its ridiculous

SpikeHawk said on Jan. 21, 2010

I just looked up Earthbound on the ESRB site, and it said Earthbound on the Wii had an E rating. Also, if someone has already said this, I was too lazy to read all of the other comments.

P.S. It is impossible to post and exact link, but the ESRB website is:

TacoMan said on Jan. 21, 2010

Spike, I believe it’s been rated E for over a year. And I forget where, but i remember reading that the rating was a “mistake”.

TacoMan said on Jan. 21, 2010

Found the article.


It’s a good read.

Pkhypernova said on Jan. 27, 2010

They probably just based the music off other music to make the game more fresh and hip at that time. And in mother 3 Mr. batty twist wasn’t changed so I think Nintendo should just put Eb on VC!

Super Smash Bros. Fan said on Jan. 31, 2010

Here’s some (little) good news. “Dallas Rag” is public domain, so nothing to worry about there. Of course, that doesn’t help much.

Super Smash Bros. Fan said on Feb. 9, 2010

I think I might have something worthwhile to add. Prehaps Nintendo knew of this legal issues long before this article came out. I’m suspecting that they knew of this before E3 2005 and were determinded to fix legal issues for the game VC release without alternation being done. If they have started then, then they might have fixed it by now if we’re lucky and are ready to release it. Of course, this could be debunked because they asked to change the music on the game, but then again, we don’t know when they asked.

Mr. Nosy said on Feb. 12, 2010

I wonder if people actually downloaded, favourited (in other sites) or otherwise obtained the original sources after seeing the similarities with Mother 2? (I did that with Tequila.)

fergzilla said on Feb. 12, 2010

If this rumor with legal issues is really true, then Nintendo must be the biggest hypocrites ever, considering that Sonic the Hedgehog 3 was already released for the Virtual Console………THREE YEARS AGO!!!! That game contains samples from Michael Jackson’s songs in its soundtrack (especially the credits song, which is an exact copy of Stranger in Moscow), and I am 100% positive that the entire soundtrack of Sonic 3 was left intact in the VC rerelease.

In a nutshell, consider Nintendo of America hypocrites, since they refuse to rerelease EarthBound due to sampling, and Sonic 3 contains sampling.

neonix said on Feb. 12, 2010

@Mr. Nosy, I downloaded that song where the Moonside music was cut from. I’m sure people here and there have picked up a few of the ‘original’ songs as well.

Poe said on Feb. 12, 2010

fergzilla – The samples used in EB were used without permission. I’m not going to claim to be a Sonic expert, but I’m assuming MJ gave his permission to the Sonic team and allowed them to use samples from his songs. I’ve even heard a rumor that MJ composed those songs himself, but I don’t know if it’s true.

Darien said on Feb. 12, 2010

You’re correct, Poe; Michael Jackson was involved with the development of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (which he was not credited for for various reasons). Also, Fergzilla, you might want to check your data before you get your panties in such a twist — Sonic 3 came out fully two years before Stranger in Moscow. Jackson was actually “ripping off” the game, if you wish to phrase it like that; he took the earlier work that he had done for the Sonic 3 soundtrack and fleshed it out into Strangers in Moscow.

fergzilla said on Feb. 14, 2010

To the people saying MJ was indeed involved with Sonic 3: that’s very true, but Michael Jackson wasn’t credited in the FIRST PLACE!!! Plus, some interviews stated that if there was involvement that MJ had with Sonic 3, it was done without the knowledge of their excecutives/marketing staff. And guess what…MJ WAS involved with the final product of Sonic 3’s soundtrack. Betcha Nintendo didn’t know MJ was involved either…….

fergzilla said on Feb. 14, 2010

PS: Sonic 3 was released on the VC in 2007, and Michael Jackson’s involvement wasn’t indeed confirmed until 2 years later. Just something to point out.

Poe said on Feb. 14, 2010

The point still stands that Mike gave permission for his music to be used in Sonic 3, so no copyrights were ever infringed upon in the first place. That’s not the case with EB.

Darien said on Feb. 14, 2010

You seem to be thinking sort of backwards here. It doesn’t create any sort of rights issue if Michael Jackson did uncredited work for the game. Nintendo doesn’t need to know that he was involved with the game before they can release it; they just need an assurance from Sega that, yes, Sega owns all the relevant rights. So it doesn’t matter whether or not Nintendo is familiar with every composer involved.

This is different from Earthbound because Earthbound is a Nintendo property, and, yes, Nintendo is in fact the party responsible for checking out all the rights to every sample used in its own games. Just as Sega was responsible for checking the samples in Sonic 3, with which there was no problem, since it does not in fact sample the song you claim it samples. Really, the fact that the game came out two years earlier than the song should pretty much end the argument, don’t you think?

fergzilla said on Feb. 18, 2010

Man, that Sonic 3/Michael Jackson thing would’ve made a very persuasive argument had I pointed it out before December 2009…..



Nintendo is STILL hypocritical about not releasing a classic game due to sampling! You know why?

City Connection was already released on the Virtual Console……..TWO YEARS AGO!!! Whenever I play the first stage, the opening to Johnny B Goode is heard whenever I start it (coincidentally (and ironically), the Johnny B Goode theme in one of EarthBound’s songs is one of the reasons why EB isn’t released on VC). Also, in the tenth stage, the 1960s Batman theme is heard (also coincidentally and ironically, said theme in one of EB’s songs is one of the reasons why EB isn’t on VC). So, yeah, NoA’s the biggest hypocrite ever!!!

Don’t believe me? See for yourself by watching a video of City Connection. However, I don’t highly reccomend downloading the game from the VC, as that game was recieved very poorly.

Earthbound UK said on Mar. 23, 2010

Im so annoyed I know all you US fans are too but the fact that Europe (apart from me)have never heard of this masterpiece just annoys me.
you guys are lucky you got earthbound!
All we get is tingles rupee land!

Donkulous said on Mar. 24, 2010

As far as it goes, I’ve come to understand that most of the time, similarities like this are just homage to musicians and their work, take DooM for instance. So many old school rock and metal songs were re-done…regardless…unfortunately, companies and those that hold rights don’t see it this way…

Also, doesn’t the Dungeon Man theme (when he’s actually in your party) sound a little like the beginning drum beat from Don’t Bring Me Down by Electric Light Orchestra? Just singin’ about what I see.

Ryan said on Mar. 31, 2010

After looking at this a second time and seeing other comparisons of the same thing, I’ve just got to say that I think it’s all just paranoia when it comes to the music issues. I did the side by side comparisons and found some interesting things. First the Johnny B Goode track, the note goes down at the end of the intro and the Earthbound note goes up at the end. It’s also not a complex as the song by Chuck Berry so there’s an out right there.

The two Beetles songs with Dungeon Man, that is just a simple drum beat that could be used in any song not just the one mentioned so that’s out. As for Good Morning, It sounds like the lyrical section in the song which of course is Good Morning thee times in a row. not the melody. Since they aren’t actually using the lyrics it would have some protection that way. I know their job is to stay out of court but If I were Nintendo I wouldn’t worry about it so much since most of the tracks are only recognizable with side by side comparison.

I didn’t hear Johnny B Goode in the track when I first played Earthbound but I do now since I was told that’s what it sounds like. It seems that a lot of the problems come from hearing what you want or are told to hear. As for the tracks in Mother 3 the biggest being two track of obvious classical music most of those songs are public domain now and only come into problems if you record someone else preforming them.

I know this is a long post but here are some other games that have music in them that sound a hell of a lot like real songs yet have had no problems what so ever.

Mega Man(on the VC) Elecman stage = Faithful by Journey if not it sounds a hell of a lot like it.
Actraiser(on the VC) The end credits have the 20th Century Fox fanfare in them.

Chrono Trigger. Robos theme has a part that sounds a lot like Never going to give you up by Rick Astley and that game has been released a total of 3 times with no changes or legal challenges. So Nintendo has very few real excuses not to release Earthbound

matt said on Apr. 3, 2010

the hippie theme’s actually based on another less famous Chuck Berry song called House of Blue Lights

Gabo said on Apr. 7, 2010

Guess what, i put my complaint for earthbound on VC. I SAID THAT I DIDN’T CARE ABOUT LAWSUIT ISSUES AND ALL THAT CRAP! THAT’S ALL!
GiVe mE GoOd LuCk Zo0m!

Gabo said on Apr. 7, 2010

About the complaint, i sent it to Nintendo Of America!

Mr. Saturn said on Apr. 8, 2010

Do you know what annoys me? People could have sued nintendo when this came out!

Ryan said on Apr. 10, 2010

That’s very true Mr. Saturn and I agree. The lame excuse being used now is that the internet wasn’t around in 1995 in the state it’s in now.

Honestly I don’t think Nintendo even gives a damn about this game. On interesting note the Earthbound rating is still up on the ESRB website along with a second one for Super Nintendo along with the Wii. Oh and Gabo, if you’re going to send a complaint to NOA it’s got to be better then that.

Cameron said on Apr. 16, 2010

This is stupid with all this music and copyrighted stuff in EarthBound Nintendo can not re-release EarthBound one of the best clasic RPGs of all time Their was so many games that took copyrighted songs and remixed them and didnt get any legal Issues at all and just to say no one owns rights to the batman song plus if Reggie wants us EarthBound Fans to stop buging him about releseing EarthBound just put Mother 3 on the DSi Shop and they can hopefully fix all problems with EarthBound wile we all have Mother 3 for the time being.All they have to do on the EarthBound Zero game is take out the hippie song and that game can be released.The original EarthBound is the game that is going to take alot of pleaeding with Nintendo and is the game that will take the Most Work.Hopefully this will be passed and the series would be avalible in America Nintendo if you can hear our pleaed please release the EarthBound/Mother Triligy!!!

Mr. Saturn said on Apr. 16, 2010

I agree, Cameron. They should do a Mother Trilogy on DS. Or they could at least release Mother 3 in chapters on DSiWare.
Oh, and I’m glad you agree with me, Ryan.

Pkhypernova said on Apr. 16, 2010

Why doesn’t Nintendo listen to us. They’d make at least a thousand dollars or more off us mother fans!

PK Lovin Paul said on Apr. 24, 2010

Man oh man. I gotta admit, there are quite a few references/hattips after all. But of course, it was meant as more of a homage than a sinister parody. By the way, I honestly didn’t hear too much of a similarity between Belch’s Factory and “Welcome to the Machine” but then again, I only listened to that beginning clip, (wherein you said the similarity lay).

Well, someday I think, Earthbound may come along again legally, I know right now it seems, “notta chance!” as some may say, but perhaps the song references won’t be taken so hardly in the future.

Besides, that’s one great charm about Earthbound! That its a parody of American pop culture at the time.

John said on Apr. 30, 2010

Hit that bastard judge with your bat Ness! Teach him a lesson in “give america mother games”! >:3

yetikirby said on May. 8, 2010

wow I never noticed the welcome to the machine thing. Its too bad that earthbound proboly won’t be on the VC

Dustin said on May. 11, 2010


RIFD said on May. 24, 2010

Well for the Yo-Yo thing apparently Nintendo solutionated the problem (I downloaded Kirby Super Star and the Yo-yo ability remains unchanged, even the name).
Also if the ESRB rating was a mistake, why is still on the web (look for EarthBound and says for SNES and Wii)
I’m still hoping EarthBound for the VC

Michael Hargett said on May. 27, 2010

I just watched a TED talk yesterday about how the fashion industry doesn’t use copyright standards. The speaker then demonstrated the industries that had the most lenient copyright standards.

In short: If these video game companies would stop trying to “protect” and spent more money “innovating” they could be incredibly successful!

See my link for more info.

Starfeather said on May. 30, 2010

I still don’t get it on how some of Nintendo’s games have some references to things and get away with it and Earthbound doesn’t?! Thats a bunch of bull crap right there. And I agree with Thenumber1yoshi on how some fans get introduced to the seires from Smash Bros. and want to experence the game first hand instead of watching playthroughs and playing emulators of the game. When I first played Smash Bros. Brawl I was completly clueless on who Lucas and Ness were until I looked them up on Wikipedia on other sites and after that I wanted to play Earthbound (And I did) And the seires is awsome. A few months ago I toldmy mom about some of the problems stated in this and she said as long as they can go around it then they’d be fine,and I agreed with her. The only other way I can think of for playing Earthbound is to just hack a Wii and play the game on there (Only if you 1.Don’t have a SNES/or its broken and or missing parts. and 2. You can’t afford a copy of it online.) As for the pop culture thing whats wrong with that exactly?

Matthew said on May. 30, 2010

Well They just might be slow, not all NES and SNES games are on virtual console yet, in fact, Kirby Super Star was only recently released on Virtual console.

Wally said on Jul. 5, 2010

I don’t have the time to read all the comments so sorry if this is repeated. Couldn’t a solution to this be to state who “inspired” earthbound in the credits. Like a citation.

Kirby-Kid said on Jul. 6, 2010

Wow, that’s a storm of lawsuits just waiting to happen. No wonder Nintendo is afraid to release the Earthbound series on Nintendo…

Kirby-Kid said on Jul. 6, 2010

Oops, I mean Virtual Console!

Lorenzo The Comic said on Jul. 8, 2010

Is it difficult to edit the SPC’s and make up some music? This reminds me of Sonic & Knuckles Collection where songs that resemble Michael Jackson were replaced with original music.

James said on Jul. 13, 2010

I HATE all people sure hungary!

James said on Jul. 13, 2010

I HATE all people that are sue* hungry*!

Kyoo said on Jul. 13, 2010

@James, it’s okay this is only a fan made fabrication, you could also claim that the game isn’t coming out because giant pink lama’s from the planet Zeptar threaten the worlds destruction. sure one is more believable than the other one (won’t say what one I feel is more believable) this is just a fan made reason, since Nintendo refuses to give us any real reason. but considering how many other games have copy right infringement, I highly doubt this is even a blip on their radar. and if it is. it’s most likely because of this article. heck Nintendo might have been thinking hey lets make this game come out again, then they saw this article and said HOLY SHIT!

just a thought

blahblah said on Jul. 15, 2010

type in squaddalah in google…

noshi said on Jul. 19, 2010

What would be an interesting turn of events would be to replace all “questionable” music with music that is copyrighted in Japan and put lots of references to anime not licensed in the states or some other off-the-wall thing.

lalaica said on Jul. 19, 2010

When I visited my grandma, Tequila by The Champs was playing. ” This song sounds A LOT like Battle Against a Weak Foe.”

Shade said on Jul. 24, 2010

Actually, I consider none of that a problem. It’s videogame music, they made it on their own it just acts as a massive load of nods to famous musics.

Kayube said on Jul. 24, 2010

If NCL won’t change the original game’s music, and all this is true, the only recourse I think we have is to hope for a remake, since a remake would change the music to accommodate a more powerful system anyway.

Until then, I consider Earthbound abandonware in the US.

Dark Jaguar said on Jul. 31, 2010

Two words: The Simpsons

If they can get away with everything they parody on a weekly basis, so can Nintendo.

Dark Jaguar said on Aug. 2, 2010

Oooh, let’s add all the parodies on South Park, Family Guy, and so on.

Video games are no different. The King’s Quest game series has a lot of obvious “ripoffs” as well. KQ4 has the Jaws theme song when you get attacked by sharks in the ocean, and King’s Quest 2 has the Batmobile (Tim Burton version) combined with the Batman theme song (campy live action series version) as a comedic “cameo”, and that didn’t get removed to this day with the most recent “compilation” release.

Nintendo’s in the clear here. I don’t think they’d even have legal trouble if they didn’t change the Runaway Five/Brothers.

RKPK said on Aug. 2, 2010

As someone who only discovered Earthbound last year, heres what I have to say.

I was first introduced to Earthbound by a friend. All I knew about Earthbound was Ness thanks to Super Smash Bros. I still haven’t finished the game (I downloaded for my emulator) because I haven’t had the time. But I want to, because its a truly great game. It was way ahead of its time and I don’t understand why it wasn’t successful in the U.S. to begin with.

Now regarding whether or not it will hit VC:

I think Earthbound is bound to come to VC at some point (no pun intended). The legal thing is a pretty good argument, but it falls flat on its face when you see the tons of other pop culture references in everyday media. Whether be in games, movies, tv shows, books, you name it, its there. Yes, songs in the game sound very similar to the music of the Beatles. But just because a video game song is loosely based on part of an actual song, doesn’t mean they are really ripping off the artist. Also, who is gonna buy the Earthbound soundtrack to substitute the music of the Beatles? Don’t get me wrong, its good game music, but come on, no would buy the EB soundtrack’s brief homage to All You Need Is Love to substitute the actual song.

So why has Nintendo not released the game? There are only two reasons I can thing of.

One is that Nintendo is simply holding back on the release as a means of spacing out major VC releases. Lets be honest, they are a business. They need to keep revenue flowing, and if they released everything big at once, business would boom briefly, and then fail. I’m no business man, but this sounds reasonable to me. The other reason may be due to its initial reception in America. Sadly, the game was met with poor sales, so it probably discouraged Nintendo from trying to put another game in the series stateside. However, I don’t understand why it would be so difficult now. After all, Nintendo is willing in to import Japanese games from the past like Sin and Punishment. Also, who would honestly download DoReMi Fantasy over Earthbound in the U.S. (released here in the U.S. by the way)? Another point to argue in favor of its release is Smash Bros. Why is Ness continually included in the roster if they have no future plans with the series? Also, Breath of FIre was brought stateside as a result of Smash Bros., so Earthbound might experience a similar exposure/revival.

In the end, Nintendo is most likely sitting on Earthbound, waiting to release it at the right time (fingers crossed for Christmas). Yes, I have read the Starmen.net article, but lets consider a few things. Firstly, that article was written in February of 2009, so a lot could have changed in that time. Also, who was their contact at Nintendo? I’m not trying to rip on Starmen.net, and if that they have a reason for not releasing the contact’s name, I’ll understand most likely. But Starmen.net never revealed who their Nintendo contact was or what he/she did with the company. Also, the way the article was written, it seemed more speculative that fact based. However, if I’m wrong, someone let me know so I can be better informed.

So, heres to Earthbound on VC, don’t give up hope people, Wii still has a couple years ahead of it.

RKPK said on Aug. 2, 2010

Oh btw, “think of” is what I meant in the article, not “thing of”, sorry lol.

PSI mudkip said on Aug. 30, 2010

Better safe then sorry…. I guess….

Moroboshi Yuumei said on Sep. 13, 2010

The Japanese have a tendency to ignore direct references given their somewhat relaxed atittude towards homages and such. The author of the article also probably saw the metric ton of references and name-drops in other media, including TV spots, videos and manga.

Of course, manga and certain games can get away with the references scott free, while others “attempt” to censor the referenced work in a very half-assed way. A perfect example would be the first volume of Tenjou Tenge, where one character refers to a ki blast as a Kamehameha (written as KameOmeha, KaOhameha, KamehameO).

Of course, since copyright holders in other countries have no appreciation for homage (fan videos removed from youtube due to using certain songs come to mind), you’re not gonna see the type of stuff you find in Japan elsewhere. Shame that Earthbound has to suffer for the greediness and ego of others.

Nevertheless, good article.

WannaTradePants said on Sep. 27, 2010

It might be interesting to note that the Beastie Boys’ album, “Paul’s Boutique” got an anniversary re-release a year or two back–an album that’s music is composed of almost nothing but uncleared samples, many from big-name artists. These samples did not have to be cleared for the re-release (it would have cost a fortune). Coincidentally, this album contains the exact same “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)” sample that’s used in Earthbound’s “Dungeon Man” song. Just saying.

MarkVega said on Oct. 14, 2010

Holy crap.

I cannot unhear the monty python theme from the naming screen song now. Argl.

Ness and Sonic said on Oct. 15, 2010

My friend said the game was huge parody. I wonder if that could protect it from lawsuits. Parodies are protected under fair use if I’m not mistaken, and my friend said Earthbound had plenty of them.

Also, anyone remember the issue of NP with the article about games that take place in the future? Next to Earthbound was another game that had copyright infringement as its biggest threat. It turns out that game is on Virtual Console. Can anyone explain why it’s on VC and not Earthbound?

Ness and Sonic said on Oct. 19, 2010

Found that issue of Nintendo Power. It was No. 255. Look at Page 55 if you have it. Earthbound is listed, but the game next to it (the one I mentioned in my previous post), The Revenge of Shinobi, has plenty of potential lawsuits just waiting to happen according to Nintendo Power. Yet it is on Virtual Console.

stardood said on Oct. 20, 2010

Not sure if this has been mentioned but i always though the casey bat was an homege to the ninja turtles. there you had casey who wore a mask and used a cricket bat to attack enemies but missed alot since he attacked with rage.

RKPK said on Oct. 21, 2010

Thought this might be interesting. I sent out an email today asking about the status on Mother/Earthbound on VC in the US. It doesn’t say a whole lot, but I commented on the legal issues to them and what not. This was the response I got:


I can see why you want to see the Mother/Earthbound series released in the Americas. Your comments have been documented and made available for other departments here to use as they see fit.

In response to your comment that these games were announced years ago for the Virtual Console, I need to let you know that we’ve made no official announcements one way or the other about these games. If any new Mother/EarthBound games should be announced, or if the original game becomes available via the Wii’s Virtual Console feature, we’ll be sure to post the news to our website (www.nintendo.com), so please check back regularly.


Shane O’Neil
Nintendo of America Inc.

turd said on Nov. 8, 2010

this is basically the most psycho game ever and one of the best. least the creators had a good taste in music.

ness said on Nov. 11, 2010

frikin copy rights but you missed that a kid in onett bears a huge resemblance to a charlie brown character named pig pen

Nick97 said on Nov. 13, 2010

Ha ha! Red-cross might want to check out sweden’s flag sometime soon… >_> Good read. Keep it up!

motherman said on Nov. 19, 2010

I LIKE AN ILIGUL GAME?! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! sorry,a little to dramatic there. but i have an idea…maybe,nintendo can change the bad music into legal songs,then i can finally play a earthbound/MOTHER game! YAY!

motherman said on Nov. 19, 2010

oh! and by the way,dont bop ness like that,old man!

Anonymous said on Nov. 29, 2010

*sigh* After reading everything now I doubt Mother 1 and 3 will get released in America (Mother 1 samples Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry and Mother 3 samples Beat It by Michael Jackson).

RKPK said on Dec. 23, 2010

Thought it might be worth noting, Earthbound is listed under future releases for the Wii’s Virtual Console on wikipedia again. Not saying it means anything, but thought it might be worth noting (I’m such a loser for still holding out hope lol).

PK SPARTAAAAAA! said on Dec. 23, 2010

We can only hope that they give Earthbound the chance that it deserves, if Nintendo is reading this (which is highly unlikely) then get it on there so i can play it on wii!

raymaster 32 said on Jan. 2, 2011

i love this game to pieces, nothing wrong with it. as in the game. but 4 goin on the wii’s vc its gonna be hard.i want it on the wii’s vc. i guess an emulator will have to do though:( but i just need a snes controller to usb and have my laptop connected to my tv and play it like its on a console

got_liz said on Jan. 18, 2011

I understand, blah blah, legal junk. But look what SouthPark does, and movies like “Not Another Teen Movie”.
Can’t this game just be a ‘spoof’ or ‘parady’ (or whatever the best word is)? I really don’t want to call this game a spoof because it is amazing and original, but legally it should make rites-holders happy, right? Or during the credits just say “inspired by”. Can they legally get in trouble if they say where the idea came from?
I don’t expect a reply, just trying to make a point (be it right or totally wrong and dumb).

PSI rockin' said on Jan. 30, 2011

Honestly, why should copyright be so that you can’t use it ANYWAY? Real products enhance the exprience, If I had my way, copyright would be that you can use it in media, video games would have to give credit, and in books, you could have them, but they couldn’t claim the product or music listened to be their own idea, I think, that you SHOULD be able to use segments of music, but in the credits, put the name of the band of the orignal song in it.

MOTHERMoondance-- said on Jan. 30, 2011

That’s not how it works, nor how it should work in this money-run world (money makes the world go round).
Seriously, if you were a band, and your music was being used without you getting paid for it, you wouldn’t like that, would you?

NatrualKillerCyborg said on Feb. 3, 2011

Nintendo’s gonna have to chanege these things in order to rerelease them. I bet they will, eventually – the fanbase is huge, and they already have Ness and Lucas in SSBB, so i’m guessing they’l say “what the heck, let’s edit and rerelease it”.

Big Dream said on Feb. 12, 2011


Mrstaplez said on Feb. 21, 2011

You know, I’d love to see a commentary hack that shows these little tidbits of trivia off as you play the game. Valve has ingame commentarys that are pretty cool. When I heard the hippie song was a remix of Jonny B Good, I looked it up and loved it. I think its fun to see all these things that inspire the game. Super-sexy-awesome Mato, you think such a think would be possible?

Mato said on Feb. 21, 2011

I’ve thought about it, but implementing it would be really tough.

Mrstaplez said on Feb. 22, 2011

what were your thoughts about implementation, if you did do it? Like a pop up box describing stuff, or an actual voice over kind thing?

I know it’ll probablt never happen…but fun to think about! ;D

Mato said on Feb. 22, 2011

Not sure yet, but if I was gonna do it it’d probably be with a LUA script, here’s an example of LUA being used to enhance Metroid 1: http://www.neillcorlett.com/metroidlua/

Mario said on Mar. 8, 2011

I love Earthbound and the Mother series in general so anything like this is bound to interest me! I just wanted to show you something with the “Hotel Music” and “El Bimbo” music. They both do sound similar but there’s one that sounds even more similar to El Bimbo and has been released more recently on a Nintendo console! Listen to this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJeuLbjJjoQ&feature=channel_video_title It sounds much more similar but hasn’t run into any issues…So my question is: Does it really upset the legal teams that most of EB’s music sounds similar to other songs? Sure enough songs with samples in them I can understand but the songs that sounds similar surely don’t have a problem?

Dark Kirby said on Mar. 11, 2011

Um…. i do not get it.
so why was it not illegal in japan……..maybe
no one made anything like that in japan.

Pkrockinomega said on Mar. 27, 2011

Why on the ESRB site does it say that EarthBound is on the Wii? That I really don’t understand.

RKPK said on Mar. 27, 2011

Its supposedly a mistake, which sounds reasonable considering that the rating has been up since 2008. I hear Chrono Trigger and Mega Man X are being re-released in Japan on VC, 2 SNES classics. Perhaps EB will finally get the revival it deserves sometime this year. We can only hope.

Bagelthooven said on Apr. 10, 2011

Here’s one of my favorite samples:

Earthbound: The Place

Dierdre by The Beach Boys

The composers for this game were obviously really gifted. You can’t contain creativity with rules or it won’t flourish.

Anonymous said on May. 22, 2011

RKPK the whole reason why earthbound flunked was because it came out in a time when RPGs where not Popular in US and it was just to expensive for it to be commercially viable

RKPK said on May. 25, 2011

That and retarded advertising. Its no wonder why it didn’t sell well, that Wal-mart promo you can find on the website (I think its Wal-mart) is abysmal. It doesn’t even showcase a real in-game battle. Plus the whole, “This Game Stinks,” marketing idea was so stupid. Honestly, Nintendo hired some real marketing morons for Earthbound’s campaign. RPGs didn’t hit mainstream til Final Fantasy VII on PS1. Still, what I don’t get is why the Japanese Virtual Console doesn’t have Earthbound/Mother 2, or Mother for that matter, yet. Does anyone know if Shigesato Itoi has anything to do with the games being withheld? Or is it simply Nintendo? I feel that if Mother 2 got a VC release in Japan, then it would eventually come here. Though, I shouldn’t hold my breath. Nintendo’s next system is on the way and Wii is running out of time.

Mr. Lion said on Jun. 29, 2011

I know I’m a little late in the game but…I think this article exaggerates too much…It would’ve been an awesome article to find pop references in Earthbound but to say that they’re going to get sued for every little detail there is in the game is quite the exaggeration. Yes there are people out there sitting with their patents up their asses but in reality companies don’t have time to find this kind of stuff nor the energy and money to do so.

You think Nintendo is the only one who needs the energy and money to go through the lawsuits that might come in with this game? You guys don’t think that the parties that want to sue need the time, energy and money to do so? You might want to think again, its not free trying to sue someone, why do you think programs like Saturday Night Live, MADtv, haven’t been sued? You can’t just wake up the next morning and say “you know what? I’m going to sue Nintendo because they used 4 of my notes of my song to their songs” It doesn’t work that way.

In reality, there is no reason why Nintendo doesn’t want to do this…they haven’t given one…nor they plan to…they haven’t given reasons why Japan doesn’t even have Mother 1 and 2 on VC…Good article, wrong intention..

Heh. said on Jun. 30, 2011

There certainly is a reason, it’s stated in the article. Now it might not be a good reason to you, but I guess that’s why you’re commenting on the site and not an IP Lawyer, I suppose.

Mr. Lion said on Jul. 2, 2011

What I meant was a reason…OFFICIAL reason…from THEM…not a reason speculated by a fansite. I could say “well the reason was because it wouldn’t sell well” and its as valid as saying “well the reason was because of legal issues”.

As far as your smartass comment about me commenting on the site and not an IP lawyer, how about the author doing the same thing? He even says he’s not even a lawyer, he says he has no knowledge of any of the “legal issues” stated in the article other than having experience in licensing anime and video games but even then that experience isn’t even enough to understand why the Mother series isn’t in America. So I don’t understand the basis of your comment.

Tyler said on Jul. 12, 2011

I’m just wondering why people can’t let this beautiful game slide by, it is an amazing series and all the music does is pay homage to some of the greatest musicians of all time, millions want it. Come on Nintendo, put on the man pants and release the game!

BigDream said on Jul. 17, 2011

(This is coming from a guy who played earthBound for his first time on the computer. Viewer’s descrition is avised)
Nintendo’s just scrared that they will head straight for jail if that game see’s light.
For now,
Old cardriges and Roms are going to have to do it.
CURSE YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mato said on Jul. 19, 2011

Post-comment-weeding-out-note: Michael A.K.A Bluflap was just a troll and/or attention-seeker (if it wasn’t obvious); several posts by supposedly different people were all by the same guy. Don’t pay any attention to him or any other obviously dumb commenters.

MR. SATURN said on Jul. 21, 2011

Hey, uhh im michaels bro, im at his house for the day and needed to use his computer, so uhh dont mistake me for him.

MR. SATURN said on Jul. 21, 2011

seems like he got in ALOT of trouble, i told him but he wouldnt listen, though i felt bad for him when he cried a river because somebody wrote mean things to him on his website. Too bad i dont know who.

RKPK said on Jul. 22, 2011


Do you have any idea why Earthbound isn’t on the Japanese Virtual Console? Obviously no one has official details, but I was wondering if maybe you’d be able to shed a little light on the situation. Earthbound has been rereleased in Japan before and I don’t see why it hasn’t gotten a Japanese VC release yet. I feel if it got one over there, it may follow here in North America. I know it may be wishful thinking, but you never know. Any info would be great. Thanks!

Mato said on Jul. 23, 2011

I feel it’s probably for these same reasons, so I don’t think they’ll get a release either until things are fixed too. I think the only reason Mother 1+2 and the Mother 2 demo in Smash Bros. were released there was because they didn’t know about the legal stuff, but once NOA sent the request for changes they realized there were problems.

That’s only my conjecture, of course.

MR. SATURN said on Jul. 23, 2011

It probobly is mato, But my brother went crazy when they were in brawl. But, Ness or lucas arent coming back to ssb4. its the sad truth

Don said on Jul. 23, 2011

That’s an utterly ridiculous assumption, especially considering absolutely nothing has been confirmed about SSB4 aside from the fact that it will eventually exist. We’re not even close to hearing anything about who’s in it or not.

MR. SATURN said on Jul. 24, 2011

My dad gets news early, ness or lucas arent in it.

Anonymous said on Jul. 24, 2011

Well my Dad works at Nintendo, and you can put a Super Nintendo and Earthbound in the Wii U and it turns into a robot and fights crime with 3DS! And it comes with a remake of Final Fantasy 7 with Mother 3 characters.

MR. SATURN said on Jul. 24, 2011

uhh ok?

Rock said on Jul. 24, 2011

Mato, can you please disable comments on this post?

Mato said on Jul. 25, 2011

Yeah, it seems the annoying little kids are still out in force here.


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