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March 1st, 2009 | Hacking, MOTHER 1+2

I’m insanely busy as usual, but I’ve been putting in 5 minutes here, 3 minutes there on the script for the MOTHER 1 part of the 1+2 GBA compilation. It’s hard to say exactly how far along I am, but I’d wager somewhere around 20% of the first script draft done. Right now I’m starting on a lot of Magicant-related text.

As much as it pains me to admit it, the last time I really played EarthBound Zero was around February or March of 1999. My memories of the later stuff in the game are kind of fuzzy, so I’m definitely going to have to do a second draft of the script to get things in context. Plus I think I can make the script flow nicer than what I have now once I see everything in action.

I don’t have a set release date in mind. But this July does mark the game’s 20th anniversary in Japan, so I’m wondering if Nintendo might do something with the game in Japan this summer. If so, there’s a super-slight chance Nintendo could do something with it outside of Japan too. That’s just me fantasizing though. If an official release does happen, I’ll immediately stop my work on this project; I don’t want to hurt official sales or anything like that. I doubt it’ll happen, but I’m mentioning it just in case.

There’s nothing much more to report for now. The general process for this project will look something like this:

  • Do some initial hacking (already done)
  • Do translation draft 1 (currently doing, ~20%)
  • Play game with draft 1 in, work on draft 2
  • Finish any remaining hacking
  • Do any extra stuff if we decide to (example)
  • Test then release

I’ve been taking the project slow because I’ve been focusing on starting EarthBound Central these past two months. The process won’t take nearly as long as MOTHER 3 did, though.

Also, just to let newcomers know, you can find all the MOTHER 1+2 translation updates on this handy page. It even has a small FAQ page and a to-do list, much like what the MOTHER 3 blog had back in the day.

If you’re one of those people who feel slimy and weird playing a ROM but not having an actual cart, you can still find MOTHER 1+2 pretty cheap at Play-Asia and on eBay.

POLL: When was the last time you played all the way through EarthBound Zero / MOTHER 1?

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65 Comments to MOTHER 1+2 Translation Update 3

Deiphobus said on Mar. 1, 2009

this sounds SO much easier than mother 3

bagofsnakes said on Mar. 2, 2009

I never played m1 before due to the fact that it requires so much level grinding and I don’t like playing games with a keyboard. So I got a question for you Mato, any chance that m1 can be hacked with the option of using your easy patch?

santiagoff said on Mar. 2, 2009

Good luck mato , you’ll need it! ;D

rayefrenzy said on Mar. 2, 2009

i played mother 1 all the way through for the first time just before the mother 3 english patch came out. I needed something to occupy my time. I had already gone through mother 2 the billionth time and mother 3 wasn’t going fast enough :> I’m glad I played it though, its a stellar game with an incredible soundtrack.

ZombiePaul said on Mar. 2, 2009

Bagofsnakes: He is including an item called the “easy ring” that will make the game’s difficulty mellow out a bit. I can’t remember the details but I’m sure someone can inform you 🙂

kurowoofwoof111 said on Mar. 2, 2009

bagofsnakes: Mato made an easy mode patch for M1, you can just use that if you don’t wanna wait for the translation.

Darien said on Mar. 2, 2009

Yeah, I’ve also never finished Earthbound Zero due to the grind. I’ve started it many, many times but I just can’t make it through. I’d play it with the easy patch, but I think I’d sooner wait for the new translation and then get the full experience. 😉

Gendreavus said on Mar. 2, 2009

Where’s the option for “I’m playing Mother 1 for the first time right now”?

Trying to level up so the stinking desert monsters won’t kill me when I try to get to the stinking airplane guy so he can get me the stinking tank…And yet I refuse to use the easy patch. I will play this game right!

Tokoro said on Mar. 2, 2009

Man, you guys are so awesome. This is gonna be so cool, even if Mother 2 never gets done.

I’ve beat it recently using the already done patch of Mother 1+2. It was alright, but it felt kinda dry. Yours is looking so amazing though, definitely gonna play through it again whenever you’re done^^

nekoaitsu said on Mar. 2, 2009

I am really looking forward to this, whenever it happens to get done. I actually haven’t played through Mother 1 yet, and since I leaned of this, I decided to wait. I really want to see all of the references that you keep. Plus, if you add any of the features that you suggested (perhaps even making it 16 bit someday), it will be even MORE awesome.

So, thanks for all of your work, Mato. I am watching this just like the Mother 3 Translation. 😀

madammina said on Mar. 2, 2009

Looks interesting. I’ll keep watching it.


Sorry. The irony would be if today is the day Nintendo releases it on the VC.

Millhouse said on Mar. 2, 2009

“Back in the day”. My grandkids will marvel at the thought that I lived in the same epoch as the great Mato. You’re awesome.

_oMeGa_ said on Mar. 2, 2009

Actually, the first time I played all the way through it was in December.
Also, I couldn’t believe the part about how you haven’t played it for about ten years. I thought you played through the entire series daily.

Jimi said on Mar. 2, 2009

“back in the day”

I need to admit, it was always neat, checking the blog every day, anxiously awaiting any updates. And now, enough, I check this site every day for updates.

pooppoop said on Mar. 2, 2009

drop $12 on a usb game controller and you won’t have to play on a keyboard

Teal said on Mar. 2, 2009

Looking forward to playing this version of the game, your easy exp ring patch was awesome in EB0. The grinding drove me crazy when I played without knowing about the patch. XP

LeonardoGolden said on Mar. 2, 2009

@pooppoop Or you can get a flash cart 😉 That way you can also play Mother 3 in english on your GBA/DS!

PriestessPaula said on Mar. 2, 2009

I’ve never gotten past podunk.
well, Saved pippi, as I’ve gotten the canary chick melody.

Pishi said on Mar. 2, 2009

I never even touched the game… But now I’m looking forward to play it.
Mato, you’re a folk hero!

Briianz said on Mar. 2, 2009

Cant wait 😀

NovaMan XP said on Mar. 2, 2009

I played EB0 once on my PSP for a while, I beat the Zoo part and then my PSP was stolen… now I’m waiting for this M1+2 translation to be finished before starting again.

Same thing happened to me with EarthBound, lost my PSP with my save on it… but now I’ve started over on my Wii.

Jupiter-x said on Mar. 2, 2009

I’ve played a very slight amount, not even up through the graveyard. BUT, I have watched a Let’s Play on Youtube, so I know the plot progression and such fairly well. (I also did that with Chrono Trigger, and Half-Life 2 + epi. 1&2. Don’t tell anyone!)

Old West said on Mar. 3, 2009

Are you really not going to keep it “I am the cat who swims in the ground”? As nonsensical as that line was, I always thought it was oddly delightful that way.

Mato said on Mar. 3, 2009

Pretty sure that’s a different cat in Magicant you’re thinking of.

Snakerope DX said on Mar. 3, 2009

Really excited to have this one translated along with #3 for the GBA. Any news from jeffman (I think that’s who you said was in charge…) on the MOTHER 2 part?

TBird said on Mar. 3, 2009

I wish I could say I’m excited about this, but I’ve played Earthbound Zero twice and have pirated then owned Earthbound for almost ten years. I’ll check it out if the EB0 graphics update happens.

Mother said on Mar. 3, 2009

If Itoi’s team tested the game for balance issues except towards the end, then why does everyone complain about the early zoo areas being too hard? Maybe they’re meant to be that way.

Mother said on Mar. 3, 2009

Also, when you’re done with the script would you be ok with people using it in like hacks of the NES rom? I’ve been playing some of Earthbound Zero and it does seem kinda… I dunno, boring? The script I mean. There’s been some funny stuff but most of the dialogue feels really awkward and slow, and I doubt it’s meant to be that way.

Mato said on Mar. 3, 2009

I don’t know if it’d be possible, the new script will be a lot bigger. It will also be formatted for the new text boxes, so even if it somehow fit back into the NES ROM, it’d be a pain to work with.

Mother said on Mar. 3, 2009

Eh, I haven’t done a lot of romhacking but wouldn’t it be possible to expand the rom beyond the NES’s capabilities, since people would only be playing it on emulators anyway?

Near said on Mar. 4, 2009

I still don’t understand what’s wrong with the other translations, but whatever I’m all for, I guess.

I have never played it before, nor will I unless it gets a graphical boost to look like Earthbound, but good luck with this project, at least there’s no pressure this time around.

NessNomar said on Mar. 6, 2009

keep it up

Claus said on Mar. 11, 2009

I’m gonna use my elink to play this on my DS when it gets out.

captain potato said on Mar. 14, 2009

we are supporting you mato

Ochitsuke said on Mar. 25, 2009

Wow. I just found this site and was really suprised. I thought this was a dropped project since long ago.

Way to go Mato!

Brent said on Mar. 26, 2009

Man oh man is this exciting

8BitWalugi said on Mar. 27, 2009

Would it be possible to insert the Earthbound ROM into the game, but with a few changes (title screen etc.)

Claus said on Mar. 29, 2009

Are you going to give us any more updates? Please…?

G.Wicks said on Apr. 5, 2009

MOTHER 1 is still one of my favorites in the series. I check this site often for updates on your translation.

Claus said on Apr. 5, 2009

But Mato hasn’t posted any updates yet.

Isaiah said on Apr. 6, 2009

Give the guy time. He’ll post an update probably either when he hits a breakthrough in the patch, when Jeffman decides to work on the Mother 2 portion, or when he gets more text done…

Claus said on Apr. 6, 2009

Sorry, I’m just so excited.

Sam said on Apr. 7, 2009

Please keep up the amazing work. I’m so excited for this and thank you so much! God Bless!

AJ said on Apr. 10, 2009

hey mato! work hard! i’m exited to see this happening. if you need help with translating or typing, i’d be glad to help out; i’m an independent translator 😛

email me if you’re interested (walilkoa at gmail)

Poochy said on Apr. 19, 2009

The last time you played Mother 1 was in 1999?! What the heck? And what’s with all the people who’ve never even played through the game?

Man, EB Zero just doesn’t get any respect in America. People think that you can just skip it entirely and go to Mother 2, but they’re wrong. EB Zero has a darker story than Mother 2, and it’s pretty freaking deep once you get into it, as anyone who has gotten as far as Mt. Itoi can attest to.

Claus said on Apr. 21, 2009

There’s a lot of people who have never played all the way through the game because it’s so hard.

MarioFan3 said on Apr. 23, 2009

Mother….. hard?
C’mon, Mother was a NES game, expect it to be that way!
I mean sheesh, i didn’t find it that hard, just annoying that you die every so often.
Seriously tough, if you have patience (i know it’s repetitive but) you’ll eventually get through.

If you really want a game that’s hard, then look at SMB2: the lost levels….
ahh… good times,
My point is, is that in comparison to other NES games, it’s not a hard game.

Also, what gives with people starting over? Force yourself to beat the game, even if it means a painful experience!
You need to be a dedicated person, otherwise people like the great Mato wouldn’t exist.

MarioFan3 said on Apr. 23, 2009

I check this for updates every coupla days btw.
As for this translation, it’s awesome, if i was in Mato’s place, i guess i wouldn’t even be 10% through a translation.
I don’t know how you do it Mato, but you have our support!
This translation is going faster than i expected,

Claus said on May. 1, 2009

I’m just saying, maybe that’s why most people didn’t finish it.

MarioFan3 said on May. 1, 2009


I must admit, it’s not something everyone can go through.

EB 95 said on May. 4, 2009

Top 5 reasons why this translation should be here!
1# Because the fans demand it!

2# If you want to play Mother 1+2 in english!

3# Itoi would would be psyched!

4# (With some EXTREME skill) You might be able to make tiny changes!

5# EB Central could get in some magazines!

motherfan said on May. 12, 2009

why have you not posted a new part yet? it has been over 2 months now…

Mato said on May. 12, 2009

I’ve been giving mini-updates in the weekly roundups.

motherfan said on May. 13, 2009

Sorry, I really don’t read those things.

motherfan said on May. 13, 2009

[ after reading the weekly round up ] Your already have 90% done!? Thanks Mato!

Earthboundfan 123123 said on May. 13, 2009

I really liked earthbound so I am really mad that they have not translated Mother 1 and 3 to english but now I’m happy about the translations please send more information. [soon]

from-Earthboundfan 123123

MarioFan3 said on May. 15, 2009

Hmmm, 90% eh? That news has gotten everyone hyped up!
But Mother fans, it’s not over!

The Great almighty Tomato has still got some work to do, a fine piece of work isn’t finished in a few months… dammit now I’m hyped up.
(stupid human emotion)
Ah, the news is all i need, so keep me posted on the 100% mark of the first draft.

jareth said on May. 16, 2009

Eh, Mother 3 was the important one. Take all the time you need :p

SeanPeden said on May. 17, 2009

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m so glad you did this. Why am I, when I can legitimately play Earthbound and Mother in english? I can’t stand the NOA english translations. Even the subtle, nitpicky minor nuance changes in the translations rob the game of so much power, let alone the fact that they’ve cut out anything even close to being somewhat controversial, including Giygas’ gender. Nintendo of America really made it harder to take these games seriously. I have read your comparison between Mother 2 and Earthbound, and it helped me realize that there are some good things about the official localization. With you though, we can get the best of both worlds. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

MarioFan3 said on May. 19, 2009

Not only that, but Mato is making it possible for people like me to play an epic series, (in which none of the games was ever officially released) on a:
GBA (Flash cart)
DS (GBA add on flash cart)
Wii (Homebrew)
Computer (emulator)

Moulinoski said on May. 22, 2009

Someone said that people will only play this game on their computer through an emulator. No. I’d rather play it on my DS. Actually, I’m actually playing Mother 2 right now on my DS (M1+2 GBA) and will Mother 1 again with this patch on the DS (but I might play it in Japanese first). As great as emulators can be, there’s something about the physical console that makes games more enjoyable.

ninten said on Sep. 15, 2010

@Deiphobus mother 1 is the hardest of all 3 mothers with earthbound easiest and m3 in the middle

ninten said on Sep. 15, 2010

@madammina they can not do that due to a remix of johnny b good and due to bullshit copyright laws no eb on vc

Brad64 said on Mar. 1, 2011

Hey Tomato maybe I could help you test the patch. I own a copy of Mother 1+2 IRL. It’s been a pain in the butt not being able to understand the Japanese text (but I’ve made it to Twoson in M2).

Matthewtheman said on Oct. 16, 2012

I played EarthBound and beat it, then I tried playing Earth Bound and got up to the Duncan Factory before giving up and moving on to Mother 3. After I beat Mother 3 I played your fan translation of Mother 1 and found myself loving it. I may go back to playing Earth Bound later, but when I do it’ll be with the Easy Patch that I just found out about. The main reason i played your translation of Mother 1 was for the easy ring, but partially for the promised intact connections to EarthBound and Mother 3. The main thing I didn’t like about your Mother 1 translation was the poor sound quality, but that was probably an issue with the Japanese 1+2 as well. Do you think you could make a patch that patches your translation to an Earth Bound ROM(Not a Mother 1 ROM, because I like the added ending Earth Bound had) so that one could play your Mother 1 translation with good sound quality? I like it better than the unreleased official one, but the poor sound quality of the GBA version bugs me.


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