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Tips for Buying EarthBound

April 23rd, 2009 | MOTHER 1, Uncommon Knowledge

A few years ago, Lost Levels did a very in-depth story about the history of EarthBound Zero, which even included interviews with people involved with it. I know it’s an old story, but just in case some people haven’t seen it, I thought I’d post about it here now. And for those who have already seen it, maybe it’ll help refresh things you had forgotten about it.

Just think, if this NES Earth Bound game had come out, it’s possible that we would’ve gotten the SNES version and the other games later on (1+2, 3). But for some reason, Itoi loves to take his time and release most of his games just as a new game console/handheld is about to come out 😛

To this day, I find the article above to be one of the most awesome things written about the EarthBound series, even though it technically wasn’t even really from the EarthBound community itself. If I had the time and drive, it’d be cool if EarthBound Central could do stuff like that too, but I’m not sure what kind of stuff could be explored in a similar fashion.


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21 Comments to The History of EarthBound Zero

LucasTizma199 said on Apr. 23, 2009

This truly is one of my favorite articles ever. EarthBound Zero/MOTHER remains one of my favorite games of all time, followed closely by EarthBound and then MOTHER 3. Something about M1 is very intriguing to me. 🙂

ILikePie0 said on Apr. 23, 2009

Very interesting. The thing that caught me off guard was that the “prototype” was only $125. Other than that, nice find.

KingDarian said on Apr. 23, 2009

While it would have been awesome to see Earth Bound released stateside, you have to wonder if it had sold poorly could it have detrimentally affected EarthBound’s chances of leaving Japan? The whole MOTHER fanbase would be completely different today.

Being a MOTHER fan brings out the devil’s advocate in me!

Spitball Sparky said on Apr. 23, 2009

I like that article, haven’t read it in awhile.

So much care was put into that little prototype. I can’t help but wonder how everybody involved felt. If I had worked on that project, I would certainly feel a bit heartbroken about it being unreleased.

Happy Happiest said on Apr. 23, 2009

That stuff was actually really interesting. Too bad Mother never actually was made, it seems like with all of the stuff for it, it could have been awesome.

santiagoff said on Apr. 23, 2009

Read that looooooooong ago.

Mato said on Apr. 23, 2009

Gooooooood for you.

Rob said on Apr. 23, 2009

This truly was great…I’d love to see a TV show based on stuff like this. And even though it was just some essay, I also like this: http://www.largeprimenumbers.com/article.php?sid=mother2

Frank said on Apr. 23, 2009

Yay, you like my website and I like yours too. Let’s be friends.

Zup said on Apr. 23, 2009

Tomato, I think you could easily write something like this, but you could do it for Starmen.net or the fan community in general, talking in depth about the fan community around earthbound and how it’s grown to where it is now.

Godaigamer said on Apr. 23, 2009

I have to agree with KingDarian. I’m kinda glad that Earthbound Zero was canceled because I doubt it would have sold well, which would have made Mother 2’s chances of coming here slim to none. I’m just happy to have what we have.

On the other hand, I wish I could see the manual and player’s guide…

Mato said on Apr. 23, 2009

Well, that’s why I said “probably” in my post. But I think if StarTropics (also released in 1991, when EB0 was planned to) did well enough to get a sequel on the NES well after the SNES era had begun, it’s not crazy to think that EB0 could’ve still done okay enough in 1991 too.

Someday I hope we can find a way to peek into alternate universes to see how things turned out there 😉

KingDarian said on Apr. 24, 2009

Earth Bound may have done quite well, had it been released, but I’m sure StarTropics being released at around the same time would have only hurt its chances of release. Why Nintendo didn’t release the localized MOTHER, we’ll probably never know.

My hunch is that StarTropics and its sequel got the go-ahead because they were more action-oriented than the traditional RPGs such as the Dragon Quest/Warrior games. Nintendo has always tried to appeal to the mass market with their games, and probably didn’t see a niche genre like traditional RPGs as a wise place to take a chance and release a game. If you’ll take a look at Nintendo’s library of titles, most of their role-playing games have action elements. I think Final Fantasy and the original Dragon Warrior are the only traditional RPG for the NES the big N ended up releasing in the west, and those were games developed by third parties.

Nintendo hasn’t budged too much on this viewpoint. Most of their RPGs have action elements, and those that don’t are few and far between: EarthBound and Pokémon are the only ones I can really think of right now. Even other Nintendo RPGs that lean toward the traditional like Golden Sun have action elements thrown into the mix.

I wonder though, if Earth Bound ended up as a popular title, would we have had more traditional RPG releases? Would we have had more MOTHER sequels? If Earth Bound had been popular enough and EarthBound ended up being a successful release, would there have been a greater push to fix the dying N64 MOTHER 3? Would that have given Itoi enough of a drive to create MOTHER 4? Would a myriad of MOTHER fans have caused Starmen.Net to never come into existence? What would the world be like today had MOTHER actually been released? Who knows? I’m with you, Mato. I’d like to take a peek into that same universe. Let’s fly a rocket into the nearest black hole and see what happens! 😀

KaoruArika said on Apr. 24, 2009

Agree with the part of the fancommunity of Mother/EB, it would be different… and Starmen.Net maybe wouldn’t exist as it is (maybe it wouldn’t exist or yeah… exists… but I don’t think it would have been the same as it ended being in reality until now).

Anyway. Read the article a long time ago, since it was one of the things that got me into EB in the first place, after SSBM and my failed try of playing a ROM of Mother/EB0… it is well written, and well researched. Wow. It really got me and put me the idea of why M1 didn’t come out outside Japan, and the existence of a translated prototype sold in internet…

pooppoop said on Apr. 24, 2009

the article that Rob posted was amazing
new games journalism, or whatever you want to call it, pulled off masterfully

Chasmang said on Apr. 24, 2009


Yeah, Rogers’ MOTHER articles are interesting to read, but they’re full of blatant lies. The guy makes up random “facts” and then misremembers actual facts just to attain the style of his writing.

EntropicLobo said on Apr. 26, 2009

Cheers for lostlevels :). Great site and friendly staff.

That article is particularly well done. Great read, even again.

ninten ness lucas said on Oct. 15, 2009

how do get cool pictures by your comments. also can somone explain who pokey, pickey and porky are what’s the diffrence also who is gigue. hope i didnt spell that wrong

Zoom! said on Aug. 23, 2011

I always loved that

Zoom! said on Sep. 18, 2011

@santiagoff Same here.

Just Call Me Daddy! said on Feb. 7, 2013

I bet if this was released in america when it was supossed to be, we’d have Mother 3 and Earthbound(the SNES one) wouldve sold better


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