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Tips for Buying EarthBound

March 26th, 2009 | EarthBound 64, Images, Uncommon Knowledge

In the summer of 1999, a playable demo of the Nintendo 64 version of MOTHER 3 (henceforth EarthBound 64) was shown to the public at Nintendo Spaceworld ’99. The Internet was still young back then, and we were all naive chaps, so looking back now, it was incredibly lucky for us that one of the very few Japanese fans we were in contact at the time with attended the event, took pictures, and wrote about his experience. That fellow’s name was EXCELSIOR!, and he no longer runs a site or anything, but his legacy lives on with this information!

And now that MOTHER 3 has actually been released on the GameBoy Advance and we know all kinds of details, we can look at this old EarthBound 64 stuff with a new perspective. So let’s have a look!

Here’s a sign that says that the current approximate wait to get your turn to play the demo is 30 minutes, and you get 10 minutes to play. That’s a lot shorter than the wait at other lines. The Donkey Kong 64 line was like an hour and a half. Incidentally, EXCELSIOR! (EX for short from now on) played the demo twice.

Also, it’s not very important, but there are some other tiny pics of the MOTHER 3 demo area here.

Here’s a picture from the Nintendo Spaceworld Guidebook that everyone who attended got. It has the 3D versions of Lucas, Claus, Flint, and Boney. I saw this same image used for in-store advertisements when the game went up for preorder in 2000, and you can see it all in nicer detail here.

Here we see the title screens – I’m not 100% sure, but I believe you were able to interact with them somehow. Also on the far left we see a shot of Tazmily Village. But the real point of interest here isn’t on the screens, it’s further below: the games are running on Nintendo 64s with giant cartridges with white labels. And they’re all covered in cases. Darn. Anyway, apparently, giant N64 carts like these ones are flash carts. I’m not an expert, but that’s what I’ve heard many people say. If that’s the case, then it’s likely that these carts no longer have the game data on them, so the chance of this demo ever leaking out is slim 🙁

Here, you can see Flint talking to the equivalent of Mayor Pusher in the GBA version. On the right, we see a battle scene with some trippy colors. It’s too small to read any of the text, but it at least looks kind of fun.

Here we see two battle screens. The one on the left looks a lot like an old screenshot in which you’re battling a simple boar enemy, so that’s probably what this is. The battle on the right looks pretty awesome, but there’s not much to see.

In the upper right corner of the left screen is a tiny text box asking “What will you do?”, which is a prompt asking the player to choose a battle command. According to other information, the kinds of battle actions available throughout the game are:

  • Fight
  • Speak
  • Magic (yeah, not PSI)
  • Call (Lucas only)
  • Defend
  • Check
  • Goods
  • Strength

These commands are found on the brown menu thing on the left. The pink thing on the bottom is the status box that tells you your HP and all that.

On the right we see a big item screen being accessed during a battle. Although you could see what items you had in your inventory, you couldn’t use them in the demo. You couldn’t use the Magic, Speak, or Call battle commands in the demo, either.

On the left screen, we see Flint running around.

On the left we see that a player has been defeated in battle. On the right we see some more Tazmily.

Here we see a player who’s won a battle. Sometimes, after battle, it would say, “You learned (something)!” or “You mastered (something)!”

Here we see a battle with a Pigmask. It looks like this was from the video promo, but it also looks like there’s a guy here, playing the game, so maybe this enemy was in the demo. Anyway, you were supposed to be able to hit really hard if you tapped the buttons at the right time, but it was apparently pretty hard.

Another battle. Apparently, if you snuck up on an enemy, the battle would be slightly tilted at first. Pretty odd, but maybe it made more sense if you actually saw it in action. On the right, we see Flint wandering around in what seems to be a desert-ish, cave-ish area.

“You defeated the Flying Rat!” The Japanese name of this enemy is just a little different than the GBA version, which made the name into a silly little Japanese comedy reference. I guess Itoi hit upon that idea later on at some point. EX also mentions enemies called Poison Worms.

Here’s a battle with a giant Pig Thing Z. Whatever this thing is, it’s appeared in the promo video and screenshots, too. Anyway, while fighting this, EX managed to hit the attack button at just the right time in the music, so the enemy was hit five times in a row.

This is Flint riding in a Pork Bean in the desert. The two existing EarthBound 64 videos show this off a lot, and there were also many screenshots of this desert + Pork Bean stuff in magazines and such, so this must’ve been a major part of the game.

Flint converses with a villager in Tazmily Village. The demo becomes playable after this point.

On the left we see the mine cart sequence of the promo video is playing. I have no idea what’s on the right screen, though. Looks like a cave maybe.

On the left, we see the DCMC keyboardist doing his thing. This was probably from the promo video, too. On the right, Flint is encountering a Flying Rat while walking around. He’s snuck up on it.

The famous scene from the mine cart sequence in the promo video. On the right we see a funky battle.

More of the mine cart sequence. Too bad this never made it into the GBA version. Anyway, after this part of the demo, we supposedly see Boney looking for something.

Here we see some creature climbing out of the pond, as seen in the video promo. On the bottom, we see that Flint is about to enter battle with a Poison Worm. Everyone called these snakes, so I guess this is what they were actually referring to. Maybe these eventually became the Mighty-Bitey Snakes of the GBA version?

Lastly, we see a shot from the promo video of the Drago running alongside some kind of vehicle, probably a train.

Also, don’t forget these two EarthBound 64 videos!

Anyway, someday we shall form a secret ninja spy society to go and steal the EarthBound 64 demo code. It is our destiny!


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87 Comments to Playing the EarthBound 64 Demo

Meteorite said on Mar. 26, 2009

Hah, awesome. I would have really preferred EB64 more than Mother 3, to be quite honest.

mitch said on Mar. 26, 2009

I’d always wondered what it’d be like if this thing ever got out to the Internet at large. I imagine it’d be some guy wandering around NoJ’s HQ and happening upon a large library stack with old carts – and peeing himself as he stuffs blue disks into his shirt.

rayefrenzy said on Mar. 26, 2009

ups on being a ninja!

IWontGetOvertheDam said on Mar. 26, 2009

I know I’ll probably get flack for this, but god, these screenshots are ugly. Seems to me that Mother is meant to be played with pixels that age well rather than 3D models that don’t.

Sir Ilpalazzo said on Mar. 26, 2009

Wasn’t there evidence of the “Call” command being planned for the GBA version?

santiagoff said on Mar. 26, 2009

I am really slow. I just realizes that the cart scene is inspired by E.T. =_=

SillyStell said on Mar. 26, 2009

Apart of me is glad that Mother 3 came out on GBA but a part of me is kinda sadden by it. I mean maybe if the Disk System for the N64 was released there could of been more of a chance of a Mother game being released in Europe for the sake of showing off the hardware’s capabilities… that again maybe not…

Ether way I would love to play the demo! I really want to know the differences and plot changes that were made. Till such a miracle happens all I can do is imagine.

JoeWuzHere said on Mar. 26, 2009

The project was made into a normal cartridge before it was cancelled. See those oddly shaped cartridges in the n64?

Chant said on Mar. 26, 2009

There still a high chance that there exist a Cartridge of Mother 3

fredmcnanner said on Mar. 26, 2009

Though I still prefer the 2D look that Mother 3 got, I always find things like concept art and beta versions of games interesting. I wish Itoi would relase some more of what Mother 3 used to look like.

CapBlackard said on Mar. 26, 2009

“Here we see some creature climbing out of the pond, as seen in the video promo.”

Seems like that might be the EB64 version of a Clayman.

Jimi said on Mar. 26, 2009

You know, if you were to form a ninja society to steal Mother 3, we’d technically be pirating it.

So would we be Ninja’s pirating it, or would we be pirates ninjaing i*head explodes*

PKNuMan said on Mar. 26, 2009

Not really up for being a ninja. I like pirates better, lol

But anyway. That thing coming out of the water looks like the Clayman who had the egg in him…

Millhouse said on Mar. 26, 2009

Yarrrrrr desu!
Let’s enter NoJ and fill our scurvy infested ninja-pirate ancestors with pride.

SamWibatt said on Mar. 26, 2009

I know I’ll probably get flack for this, but god, these screenshots are ugly.

Flack? Not from me – I totally agree. The EVERYTHING MUST BE 3D craze of the 90s was a big distraction for the whole videogame industry.

Greenzsx87 said on Mar. 26, 2009

heh the holy grail of the N64. I absolutely LOVE when new info comes out about this still, like most of us. It fills that hollow void within me from when I was waiting for it. yay.

SamWibatt said on Mar. 26, 2009

I’m glad it was shipped 2D and looking a lot like Earthbound …though I will say that I would have bought and treasured the N64 game if it had shipped.

PSInesslove93 said on Mar. 26, 2009

gahh i wish i went to this event… though i personally prefer the gba version over the n64 version.

That One Guy said on Mar. 26, 2009

Ah, imagine a world in which instead of being a failure, the N64DD was a resounding success.

santiagoff said on Mar. 26, 2009

Does anyone notice lack of Magypsies? o-o

DragonKazooie89 said on Mar. 26, 2009

Nice information you got. It still would have been neat to have a Mother game in 3D.

Kris said on Mar. 26, 2009

I think I’m gonna write an alternative-history novel in which MOTHER 3 and Duke Nukem Forever are both released on-schedule in 2000 and inadvertently spark World War III.

ozwalled said on Mar. 27, 2009

Please do, Kris. 🙂

Anyway, as great as the GBA version is, I still so, so, SO wish I could have somehow played this. While the 3D stuff is pretty poor by today’s standards, to me anyway, from the videos at least, it looked about on par with stuff like Ocarina of Time, albeit perhaps not as refine. I’ve no doubt this game would have been fantastic.

Dadalama said on Mar. 28, 2009

am I the only one still disappointing that Shigesato Itoi wasn’t still trying to “betray” us?

DoseiSan said on Mar. 28, 2009

In all honesty, I liked the N64 version better from what I’ve seen. The 3D was actually pretty good for the time and the whole style has this strange, mysterious atmosphere that good great with the game. I’m likely the only person you’ll ever find who thinks this, though XD

MrKlorox said on Mar. 29, 2009

@JoeWuzHere: Yeah, the oddly shaped carts are probably flash carts, like the article mentioned. Reflashable memory was pretty hefty 10 years ago, hence the larger size of the N64 carts.

Shamu said on May. 30, 2009

Looks pretty cool.

conn3r said on Jun. 13, 2009

earthbound 64 was a unreleased masterpeice, i would giv a kidney to play the demo, if it was released would it be released in usa/europe?

OShC said on Jul. 7, 2009

AAAARRRGGGHH! I really want to play that!

PKSTARMAN said on Jul. 14, 2009

Damn! i want to play that thing1 Why Lord? Why?!

avernales12 said on Aug. 21, 2009

i bet the guy that made mother three he smashed the cartridge wit a pk hammer

Double C said on Aug. 31, 2009

I bet Itoi has a copy… And my school does have a ninja team…

Alek said on Oct. 11, 2009

i think it turned out better as a GBA game.:P

ninten ness lucas said on Oct. 16, 2009

it has some advantages on 64 but the gba version is better even though im still stuck on jealous bass so cleaned my flash cart and added mario party advance and rhythm tengoku becuase for some reason mother 3 doesnt work with other roms on their besides i just want EARTHBOUND even though this game rocked.

Steve! said on Oct. 18, 2009

If only someone could invent a real phase distorter then I could go back in time and play the demo, probably not going to happen but I can still hope.

Pyroguy42 said on Oct. 22, 2009

I’m curious if there was any 3D shots of the Masked Man or was even created yet ?

Mick1up said on Nov. 22, 2009

well I am looking there is a rom when i was younger i found it and had it on a flash drive but my house burned down and it was lost ever since i have been looking.

Commander said on Apr. 17, 2010

Didn’t someone get one, and there was a piece missing, which was being sold on Ebay?

Mato said on Apr. 17, 2010
Garrett223 said on Sep. 15, 2010

Let’s all face it. If mother 3 wasn’t on GBA, Mother games would not have a style. An 8 Bit game can not have the same style as a 16 bit one, so it would’ve just been graphic enhances.

Pacalakin said on Oct. 31, 2010

god, imagine how different the series might be now if they had succeeded with the N64 version…

darkashura1000 said on Jun. 21, 2011

hey guys i have some pretty amazing news i’ve been to nintendo and asked them about the earthbound 64 cartridges. they told me that there are no cartrides of the game but they still have the source code to the game. When they showed it to me i literally started cring with tears of joy. They asked me if i was ok and i told them that i was just really happy that the game still existed. After that i asked them so they called ltoi and he said sure as long asi treat the game with respect.

darkashura1000 said on Jun. 21, 2011

Sorry my comment stopped it wouldn’t let put more words any way i got earthbound 64’s game code but i don’t know how to do it. (sigh) you think a 23 year old man would know this but i don’t which is really sad (sigh) so any way do you want to do are do you want me to give you the code.

Rock said on Jun. 21, 2011

@darkashura: Yeah. Sure. Proof, or it didn’t happen, man. That’s how things on the internet work.

Jungyin said on Jun. 21, 2011

Just because your classmates act like they believe you doesn’t mean you’re actually good at fooling people.

? said on Jun. 21, 2011

@darkashura1000 THE CODE, THE CODE, I NEED THE CODE! *opens sweaty shaking palms

Also Nintendo told me i’m the best one ever, sorry guys…

darkashura1000 said on Jun. 22, 2011

fine if you don’t believe me tell me how to turn the games code into a rom.

darkashura1000 said on Jun. 22, 2011

and wait what do you mean classmates im just know getting out of college. i not tring to fool anyone either i just don’t know how to turn codes into roms.

darkashura1000 said on Jun. 22, 2011

you can make fun of me and call me a lier all you want, i mean cut me some slack here what could possibly gain for making up stuff. this web wanted the code as do all other fans so i thought why not try and get i mean did any of you even try if you did you have my respects?

PKNINTENMAN said on Jun. 22, 2011

well fine we will see if this isn’t just some lie. sooooooooo do any of you guys know how to turn codes into roms.

Carl said on Jun. 22, 2011

Just go into Nintendo’s offices and *ask* them for source code! Why didn’t *I* think of that?

Jungyin said on Jun. 22, 2011

Kid, you might as well give up, we’re not the same gullible and easily impressed people you’ve dealt with before. Try the GameFAQs forums, you can get the people on the boards for the less mainstream games to believe almost anything, that should give you the ego boost you’re looking for.

6you7me said on Jun. 22, 2011

@Jungyin oh shut up. just give him a chance. this story does sound unbeleivanle, but having the source code to a game could be valuble! If we just give him a chance, and it is true, then great! and if not, then oh well!

Miche said on Jun. 22, 2011

@darkashura1000 If you really do believe you have the source code, then you might want to send it to Mato. He would probably know how to get it up and running, or at least know someone who would. While I don’t really believe your story, there is a chance (however slim) that you’re telling the truth.

Rock said on Jun. 22, 2011

I think we should go to 4chan, ask Anonymous to hack into Brownie Brown servers, and steal the game for us.

Jungyin said on Jun. 23, 2011

Come on you two. A guy having been to “Nintendo”, asking about a decade old unreleased game, actually being shown the source code, and then GIVEN it, then receiving an OK from Itoi? You’re seriously thinking those poorly written posts have any grain of truth to them? If it were that simple wouldn’t someone from Starmen.net have done it a long time ago? There’s a difference between hope and delusion.

Mattimus said on Jun. 23, 2011

Guys I no this sounds unbeleievable but yesterday I also have of the went to Nintendo and got more codes!!

Does someone know how to compil them into a game pak for home computer console? This is serious.

Miche said on Jun. 23, 2011

@Jungyin That’s why I told him to send the code to Mato. Mato would be able to tell if it’s a fake, or know someone who would, if darkashura would even send him a code in the first place.

Of course, I don’t believe darkashura either, but I want to see how this plays out.

Schlupi said on Jun. 23, 2011

Didn’t the guy from the team (can’t recall his name, the one White guy on the MOTHER 3 team, who did testing) say that Earthbound 64 was ACTUALLY on a cartridge in that interview?

Yeah, He did in fact say there was a room with the game set up and he played it. So where did the cart go…
I guess we are all pretty stupid; Mato, you have obviously wasted a lot of time, why didn’t YOU ask Nintendo for MOTHER 3’s source code? While you’re at it get Pokemon’s source so we can make new Pokemon games too.

Miche said on Jun. 23, 2011

@Schlupi Yes, that guy on the MOTHER 3 team did say that Brownie Brown still had a cartridge with most of Chapter 1 and some cutscenes from EB64 on it. It’s anyone’s guess as to whether they still have it and haven’t thrown it away or overwrote it by now, though.

I, too, wonder if Mato ever asked Nintendo for the source code. It is very unlikely that they’d willingly give it out, though.

Heh, these rumors about random schmoes stopping by and picking up the source code amuse me. Honestly, I don’t believe rumors like that, but anything related to EB64 interests me.

superjeffHPsucker said on Jun. 23, 2011

hey guys i have a question when a game has a source code what would it look like?

superjeffHPsucker said on Jun. 23, 2011

oh wait guys i was wondering do anyone of you even know how to hack into nintendo and and get the code?

darkashura10 said on Jun. 23, 2011

um guys im back and i came to tell you that the i given the source code to one of my friends on facebook because he said he has has experience with kind of stuff.

PKNINTENMAN said on Jun. 23, 2011

man you messed up all you all who agree say i

Rock said on Jun. 23, 2011


Yeah, seriously.
Well, you know, there’s a chance (a really, really slim chance) that this darkashura guy DOES have the source code for the game.
If you’re interested:

Oh, man, I can’t believe I said this… SOMEONE SET ME ON FIRE!!!

Matteomax said on Jun. 23, 2011

I want the source code for this game! (Heres an image for people who cant open links.)

Matteomax said on Jun. 23, 2011

oops, it didnt work…

Miche said on Jun. 23, 2011

Doesn’t look like darkashura sent the “code” to Mato, but rather to a mysterious “Facebook friend.” I think it’s pretty obvious now that he’s just joking about the code.

These joke posts make it seem like this is the situation at Nintendo, potential copyright issues resulting from releasing the source code to the public be damned:

Fan: “Good evening.” *bows* “I would like a copy of the source code for MOTHER 3 for Nintendo 64.”
Nintendo: “Just put 100 yen into that ending machine over there against the wall.”
*Fan goes over to vending machine and inserts 100 yen. A CD-R containing the source code pops out of the machine.*
Fan: “This is okay with Shigesato Itoi, right?”
Itoi: *gives fan the thumbs-up*
Fan: “Thank you very much! Goodbye!”
*Tears form in the Nintendo execs’ and Shigesato Itoi’s eyes as the fan leaves. A tear falls from Shigeru Miyamoto’s eye as he thinks of the heartwarming devotion of the MOTHER fanbase.*

Rock said on Jun. 23, 2011

*Takes coins out of his pocket* Damn… 99 yen… It seems there’s no source code for me…

MasterFygar said on Jun. 23, 2011

Darkashura, I’m pretty skilled when it comes to N64 matters, and I track down/work with unreleased games as a side hobby of mine. That being said, if you could send me the source code, I would be eternally grateful, as I am doubtful as to its authenticity. Fake roms/source codes for unreleased and prototype games are all too popular these days, and I would like to confirm that your code is the real deal. Please at least let me look through it to know whether this is really something to get excited over or another ‘Blue Discs’ incident. If you really do have the source code, please send it to me at thisremindsmeofapuzzle@gmail.com so I may see if I can get it running. I won’t spread it or share it with anyone without your consent, I just want to try my hand at making it playable. Thank you.

PKNINTENMAN said on Jun. 24, 2011

hey guys forget darkashura10. im going to get the game code myself by trying to hack into nintendo do anyone want it will be our little project. but first tell of the idea. I know you probaly think “dude what is wrong with you” but darkashura10 is a let so why not at try. if you think it is a good idea say PK. if think it is bad say PK NO WAY.

PKNINTENMAN said on Jun. 24, 2011

oh yeah i’d appreciate it if you answered.

PKNINTENMAN said on Jun. 24, 2011

oh one mare thing i just want to say think you you guys are the first people i’ve seen weren’t so stupid to fall for stuff like this.

Mato said on Jun. 24, 2011

Not that it’s not already obvious to most people here, but pretty much all the poorly-written comments here are the work of one kid. In general, it’s best not to pay such attention-seekers any notice, even if it’s obvious they’re idiots.

Zoom! said on Jul. 21, 2011

Get the proto cart from Nintendo….when pigs fly. 🙁

Zoom! said on Aug. 14, 2011

Too bad there’s no video.. 🙁 man the people who got to play this are lucky 🙂

Zoom! said on Aug. 26, 2011

And Project Homebound begins!

Pikachu said on Feb. 11, 2012

(In reply to Zoom!)
When pigs fly, eh? *looks up at sky and sees pigmask ship overhead*

Pikachu said on Feb. 11, 2012

(In reply to Zoom!)
When pigs fly, eh? *looks up at sky and sees pigmask ship overhead*

Kaede said on Mar. 26, 2012

I don’t know about this…

THEBLACKMIST said on Mar. 26, 2012

@darkashura1000 well is it real or not?

kurtis carignan said on Apr. 27, 2012

were did you get all those photos from!!!!!!

Genesis said on Aug. 9, 2012

OMG its still amazing on how people are still commenting on this topic. THIS IS FAKE EVERYONE! If this guy was telling the truth we would have had it by now but we don’t. So stop commenting you know its not true! I hate when people do stuff like this! 🙁

Youshie Sasaki-Ricchi said on Aug. 7, 2013

While I am glad we got the GBA version, I’m feelin’ a little down about the 64 one being canned 🙁

"Not the Real Skater24481" said on Jan. 14, 2014

photo 12, 14 and 16. 🙂

Lucas said on Feb. 7, 2014

I wonder to see rearranging MOTHER 3 HD comming up to Wii U and 2DS like Sonic Boom and SSB4.

Mr. Carpainter said on Feb. 10, 2014

@Zoom! What about the unused pig blimp sprite in the GBA version? 0_0


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