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Tips for Buying EarthBound

March 27th, 2009 | Images, Merchandise, MOTHER 3

It’s been a lot of work, but at long last the MOTHER 3 Handbook has been made, printed, packed, and shipped, and have started to arrive in people’s mailboxes! To mark the occasion, I thought it’d be cool to take a little look into the project so you can see how much (insane) love was put into this guide 😀

But first, here are some sample pics I took from some pre-final PDFs:

Click to enlarge

I forget the length of the book, it’s somewhere around 240 pages. Those who preordered also got a special dust jacket that was also made to be a really nice poster, and those who preordered early enough also got a very high-quality “Courage Badge” keychain.

If you didn’t preorder, don’t fret! They printed a bunch of extras, so you can order one anytime here for $20! There will also be a lower-res version of the guide online for free. I’ve seen some pics of the online version and it looks nice indeed.

Now let’s take a look at behind-the-scenes stuff. I promise it won’t disappoint 😀

Jon and I had first discussed the idea of a guide to complement the MOTHER 3 Fan Translation sometime in 2007. Being a professional designer, he lives for this kind of stuff, and he was very eager to do it. After many weeks of delving into law books and contacting a whole bunch of people, Reid start the guide project started in June 2008, and the hope was that the guide would be ready when the translation patch was released. The patch’s progress kept speeding up, though, and the guide folks couldn’t keep up. Of course, it would’ve been stupid to hold back the patch, so the guide was delayed and the guide people were able to catch their breath and put a lot more awesomeness into the book.

The strategy guide that came with EarthBound was such a huge part of the game’s experience back in the day, so the goal for this guide was to try to achieve the same thing for MOTHER 3. I even pushed and pushed for scratch-n-sniff cards and we even did some research into it, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be. But hopefully the goal has been achieved and this guide will be one of those things that players will fondly talk about for years to come 😀

The guide was written by just a few people, and edited by Reid so that the writing sounded consistent. Emilio provided probably several hundred really nice illustrations, Sebastian illustrated all 256 or so items, and Camille made clay models of all the game’s bosses and other interesting things. One of the coolest things about the EarthBound guide were the clay model pictures, and her creations for this handbook are just as amazing.

Camille’s clay models and other works

The writing process was pretty intense, and in the end, I’d say more than half of everything that was written was cut out, partly because at first it wasn’t clear how the book’s design would be. Plus, 240-ish full-color pages isn’t cheap to print, so double that would probably put the book beyond a reasonable price. Also, the writers and editors did such a good job that they even found out little tricks and things that I never knew about, and I lived in the game’s code for a year and a half!

The guide was sent to the printers a few weeks ago, and what came back was literally 2.5 tons of books. To avoid the crazy shipping costs for that, Reid chose a semi-local printing company (Ben Franklin Press, in Tempe, Arizona) and did several commutes back and forth between Tempe and Tucson in the “EBus”. Also, because packing many thousands of books would cause insanity, a bunch of people flew down to Tucson for a “Packy Party”, which was basically two days of sitting in a hotel conference room, packing stuff, drawing unique little things on each individual packing slip, and other such packy tasks.

Also, I think Reid took so many of the free packing envelopes from his local post offices that they were calling each other and saying to look out for him 😯

Anyway, that’s the very quick history of the MOTHER 3 Handbook. Rather than continue to babble on, please enjoy the following images! Click the “PicLens” link to see everything in a handy-dandy slideshow format.

Also, I recommend this song while you check out the images/slideshow below 😀

(gallery removed 🙁 )

Oh yeah, apparently Jon spent so much time in his chair while working on the guide for the past few months that the chair is now stained blue from his jeans. Yet, even after that, he and Reid are already talking about doing another guide. These people are clearly insane cultists.


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53 Comments to MOTHER 3 Handbooks Are Go!

Phil L said on Mar. 27, 2009


fedcvgr said on Mar. 27, 2009

Awesome! If I had the money, I would buy it.

BottleRocket said on Mar. 27, 2009

All this for $20 is amazing! Can’t wait for it to ship to here in Michigan.

Burt said on Mar. 27, 2009

So exciting! 😀
The tracker still says mine hasn’t shipped yet… ;~;

IWontGetOvertheDam said on Mar. 27, 2009

I got mine today. First I was like :O then I was like 😀 and then I was like :3.

I seriously love the handbook. I put my Courage Badge on my car keys.

hey said on Mar. 27, 2009

I live in Tempe. Cool.

B oE AN said on Mar. 27, 2009

when can we expect this “free online version”

Deiphobus said on Mar. 27, 2009

Mato, you’re seriously in no position to call them cultists >.> you lived in the game’s code for one and a half years, sacrificed much sleep, and you’re doing mother1+2 now (albeit jeffman might be working on the mother 2 part).

Mato said on Mar. 27, 2009

B oE AN: I don’t know, I know it’s being worked on as we speak though. Probably sometime soon.

Deiphobus: But being king of the cultists makes me all the more qualified to make that assertion 😉

gBev said on Mar. 27, 2009

That slideshow brings back memories. I should’ve pre-ordered the handbook back when it first came out, but I’ll still be checking out the free version online. Great job, guys.

Chant said on Mar. 27, 2009

Mato so what your saying you can still purchase one?! Because after seeing those two blog entrys about this I’M so insane about these now!!!

PKNuMan said on Mar. 27, 2009


JB2448 said on Mar. 27, 2009

The content of this guide looks amazing! Great job, to those that worked on it. You just made my upcoming birthday month!

PKNuMan said on Mar. 27, 2009

I haven’t finished Mother 3 yet so this will be a great experience!

I hope its as fun as the Earthbound Guide!

dd said on Mar. 27, 2009

Got it in the mail today, the quality of this guide is stunning. It’s instantly become one of my most treasured game publications. The love oozes from this thing (in a good way.)

Sconner said on Mar. 27, 2009

I bought one (well asked for it for christmas) because I felt sorry for you guys because of your hard work and I followed you for almost the entire time. I beat the game with every item and every form of every enemy in Japanese, but hope to do so in English one day. I wanted to understand the story of what I beat beyond the actions.
BUT this looks GREAT! I’m glad I’m getting it 😀
In fact I’m going to drown all your goldfish if you don’t give it to me before I go crazy 😛

TheJorsh said on Mar. 27, 2009

I want those figurines so bad!

Harley H. said on Mar. 27, 2009

This looks awesome. I will be ordering it (If I can convince my wife to let me use her checking account). It’s almost funny how talented some of the Mother fans are. Or it would be funny, if it wasn’t sad that the only way for us to play any iteration other then Earthbound involves hacking. 🙁 Thanks for the hard work, you guys deserve a luxury banana or something.

Deiphobus said on Mar. 27, 2009

can we buy the figurines?

sg_06 said on Mar. 27, 2009

Wait, this was 100% fan made?
I haven’t been following it much…from what I had seen, I thought it was OFFICIAL and you were just translating it. Slowly. Or something.


That’s too awesome to exist, yet here it is. My brain just died of shock…I need some time to sort this out…

Pimpshi said on Mar. 27, 2009

Oh man, that looks beautiful. I’m so dang tempted to whip out the wallet and start ordering one of these — you guys did a ridiculously great job in making it look official. Those clay models are so freakin’ cool!

Spitball Sparky said on Mar. 27, 2009

This is a very well-composed book, very professional. Kudos to all involved.

I especially like the keychain, as I have been wanting a nice keychain for years and I now have one. I think it would be appropriate if I gave it to my future child someday.

Oh, but back to the book. I adore the page after the final battle. I imagine somebody fallowing this guide when playing the first time through will smile when they get to the end and see a place to…well, everybody can figure it out for themselves, huh?

Tansunn said on Mar. 27, 2009

…ANOTHER guide!? For what!?

Necrosaroiii said on Mar. 27, 2009

Probably Mother 1, or UrfBund

Phil L said on Mar. 27, 2009

That Porky figure is made of epic win! Hell, they ALL are!

James said on Mar. 28, 2009

I can’t wait to get mine! I hope it comes tomorrow so I can finally stop worrying about getting hit by lightning.

And I really hope to see those clay figures end up on ebay. I’d set aside $100 and see how many I could get.

Difegue said on Mar. 28, 2009

Oh god @ Porky-related figurines *drools*

Hejiru said on Mar. 28, 2009

“Franklen” Press? Tee hee. What a coincidence. 😀

Millhouse said on Mar. 28, 2009

Oh my god. That thing is so incredibly beautiful. I’m staggered at the amount of love that has been put into this. The clay figurines look AMAZING. The complete design of the book. Every page has perfect layout, design, and customized stuff like those beautiful pix, the font changes, the fake P-KORP ads. Heck, you even created a custom Copyright sign just for products of P-KORP.

I think I’ll buy one. Also, I wish I had the materials and the time (most of all, the talent) to make clay figures such as those.

Go Go EBus! Ridin’ thru the land!

TheOverlord#2 said on Mar. 28, 2009

So the guides got packed in Two—Tucson, and printed at Franklin Ba—Press…?


Tonchiki said on Mar. 28, 2009

Extremely well done, guys. That looks amazing.
It’s just unbelievable. Mother fans really are insane.

mellow-osity said on Mar. 28, 2009

I got my guide in the mail yesterday! It is so absolutely beautiful and professional looking! I am so happy! It is so much like the first EB guide. I used to read that thing just for the fun on it! This is so exciting!

Poe said on Mar. 28, 2009

Deiphobus – re: buying the figurines; nope, they aren’t for sale. I’ve asked. :[

beams said on Mar. 28, 2009

*drools uncontrollably*

Leirin said on Mar. 28, 2009

This is AWESOME. And of course, some of the best artists ever got in on it. I’m just blown away. This look like it’d be nice to buy even if I’ve already beaten the game. Spectacular!! Great work Starmen.Net team!!

Nick said on Mar. 28, 2009

I got mine today! Absolutely amazing! Definitely do another guide! If it’s for Mother 1, Mother 2 / Earthbound, Chrono Trigger or Robotrek I will buy it immediately!!

Fangamer has talked of branching out with Chrono Trigger and I think that’s cool, but they really should take a look at Robotrek. Why? Robotrek is a modern, sci-fi RPG kind of like Earthbound and gets no respect! Play it, you might love it!

The Pig King said on Mar. 28, 2009

Does anyone know what this ( http://earthboundcentral.com/wp-content/gallery/m3-clay-models/3291143726_c254f6eb60_b.jpg ) is? I’ve played Mother 3, and I’m pretty sure I remember seeing it somewhere, but I can’t remember, and I couldn’t find it when looking through some sprite sheets and the Starmen.net walkthrough. In the video, I can tell it’s from Chapter 7, but not much else.

Mato said on Mar. 28, 2009

It’s right above the entrance to the Chimera Lab.

Not Wolf said on Mar. 28, 2009

Ok, I have to admit that “The Duster” jokes still make me laugh.

I’m so excited for mine to get here, haha.

Flint said on Mar. 29, 2009

IT looks amazing, I hope my copy will arrive soon. Just one thing to say, It broke my heart to be unable to help in this awesome project.

HossTehMaster said on Mar. 29, 2009

I am so getting this.

coron said on Mar. 30, 2009

I want one!

Lampdevil said on Mar. 31, 2009

This sold me on it. I thought it was nice when mentioned before, sure, but wasn’t sure I could spare the money… to heck with it. I’ve ordered one, and now I’m camping outside my mailbox!

It’s very nostalgic. I remember, as a kid, enthusiastically reading players guides from end to end, basking in the game and the illustrations and everything I could. Nowadays, who has time for that? …but I’ll be making the time when my Mother 3 guide arrives, oh yes.

FuzzyPicklez said on May. 19, 2009

Speaking of the Ultimate Chimera, the best way to go about it is deposit all your DP and save with the nearby Save Frog. That way, even if the Ultimate Chimera bites you, then you’re fine and don’t lose anything. Plus, if you’re worn out, you’ll be fully healed after Game Over.

FuzzyPicklez said on May. 19, 2009

This looks awesome. Yes, if Nintendo released MOTHER 3 (even if they did it on WiiWare) they would gain a huge profit. They’ll need it, seeing the state of the economy. And aspiring players might be able to save the world. (Including me.) And they would gain an even huger profit if they released a player’s guide with even HALF the awesomeness of this one. It’s just that they are unlikely to do either of these things.

Anyway, I hope that my mom will let me get this.
(She was OK with it once she found out I was using an emulator to play it, so I think that maybe I’ll have it soon.)

MotMot said on Jul. 8, 2009

So Mato… is this guide still available for purchase? If so, maybe I can convince my wife to let me pick up an extra copy. *thoughtful chin starch*

Mato said on Jul. 9, 2009

Yeah, just check out the site (link is in the main post), pretty sure there’s plenty of stock left. I’m not really involved in any of the Fangamer merchandise stuff though, so I might be wrong.

PSI rockin' said on Feb. 16, 2011


Matteomax said on May. 21, 2011

If those figures were in an auction, they would go for A LOT…. 🙁

Anon said on May. 30, 2011

Tuscon = Twoson

Schlupi said on Jun. 25, 2011

PLEASE reprint the MOTHER 3 Handbook, guys! I missed my chance for one and want one so bad. 🙁

schlupi said on Nov. 30, 2011

Yeeeesss! I am so happy fangamer is doing a reprint, I already preordered a hardcover. So looking forward to getting mine finally after all these years!


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