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Tips for Buying EarthBound

August 4th, 2009 | Images, MOTHER 3

I saw a while back that someone said that MOTHER 3 was never mentioned in Nintendo Power. So here’s an article from a recent-ish issue of Nintendo Power that does mention MOTHER 3 and why it would never come out in English 😛

click to enlarge

“Unfortunately, the dialogue would take ages to translate into English, making the game’s chances of one day releasing here even more slim.”

If you count the first draft and subsequent drafts, it took me only 4 or 5 months to translate the script, and that was just on the side for free while I juggled a full-time job, relationship, sleep, other projects, etc. Surely it would’ve taken Nintendo much less than that to translate the text. The game also doesn’t have any more text than your average modern console RPG – in fact, it’s probably not a whole lot larger than EarthBound’s script was. Hard to say for sure because the EB script is so full of insane control codes and a full, clean EarthBound script dump has yet to be produced, but it’s somewhere in the same ballpark. So that’s a bunch of nonsense.

My offer still stands though – if Nintendo ever wants to use my translated text for whatever it wants, they’re more than free to have it at no cost. Some people at Nintendo know me and know how to contact me, so they can take up the offer whenever, whether it’s to use it as a basis for an official release or even just to print the script on company toilet paper.


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71 Comments to MOTHER 3 in Nintendo Power

sticktendo said on Aug. 4, 2009

Even if they DID use the translation patch, they would want to edit it to make it “kid-friendly” and “E for all” probably.

Chimera said on Aug. 4, 2009

I agree, Nintendo would ruin the entire game. Point in case: Magypsies.

Mato said on Aug. 4, 2009

sticktendo: I’m referring to the script, not the patch. No sane company would use the buggy hacks we had to implement, they would reprogram the game themselves using the actual source code.

Miles Vialpando (PK ELECTION) said on Aug. 4, 2009

And what about those fabulous Magypsies?

Kumatora’s spicy mouth?

The labor at the clayman factory?

Gotta love US’s censorship.

Chimera said on Aug. 4, 2009

Mato: remember, you said SANE company.

Spitball Sparky said on Aug. 4, 2009

Censorship isn’t that strict anymore, people. The Magypsies and such would be fine.

When I really think about it, I think I would prefer the patch over an official version anymore. The patch comes without a box and an instruction booklet and all of that, but the patch takes into consideration small nuances from EarthBound, and that is worth a lot more than a cardboard box, ya know?

And besides, the patch has the awesome memo menu! I don’t know how canon we can consider that, but I think it really clarifies a lot of things and sort of doubles as an instruction booklet.

Also worth nothing, Nintendo Power is no longer made by Nintendo, which is a big reason of why that magazine is no longer worth reading. Nintendo of America releases things like the Paper Mario series, and each of those probably has more text than Mother 3. It’s nice that this magazine mentions Mother 3 and tries to give some sort of explanation, but anybody who knows anything about video games knows that a bunch of text is not the reason that this game did not get an English release.

Things worked out okay. 🙂

Wil said on Aug. 4, 2009

Waaaah! It would take ages.. my ass. I think Nintendo just doesn’t want another EarthBound to happen. Earthbound did pretty bad when it released, right?

P.S. That’s very noble of you Mato to give it up for free. Nintendo would be foolish to not accept.

kamuikurou said on Aug. 4, 2009

LOL he named Lucas “Peach”.

Anyway, Rhythm Tengoku made its sequel Rhythm Tengoku 2 into EU market. As for Mother 3… well, Mother 2 already had its way here… 🙁

slovaksiren said on Aug. 4, 2009

At least they acknowledged the existence of Mother 3, with that in the magazine, I’m sure that got some people to look into it more and then finding the patch.

Yeah, I’m sort of glad they didn’t screw it up, yet part of me wishes there was an official translation to get new fans into the series, though that is kind of being taken care of with Super Smash Bros.

Someone Else said on Aug. 4, 2009

@kamuikurou: I think it’s Hinawa who’s been named Peach. Looks like it from the screenshot.

I like how both screenshots are from the very very beginning of the game. They didn’t play too much of it.

Faux said on Aug. 4, 2009

You should send in a letter to Nintendo Power about their oversight! I think it would get published.

Poe said on Aug. 4, 2009

Weird. I remember someone at Nintendo using that excuse a long time ago, like maybe 3 years ago. How recent was this issue of NP?

Saturnome said on Aug. 4, 2009

and two screens from the first five minutes, two!

Xi said on Aug. 4, 2009

Yeah, I’ve been thinking of canceling my subscription to Nintendo Power as well. All of the old sections we used to know and love are gone… the magazine pretty much resembles if you took the old “Pak Watch” section and turned it into an entire magazine. I kept the subscription in the off-chance that I’d get a cool poster, but they don’t even include posters anymore! Terrible. I miss the good ol’ days when we’d get those VHS tapes in the mail…

@Mato I’m shivering with antici….pation! WTB Summers update for M2vEB! Paying top dollar! =D

NeonSquid said on Aug. 4, 2009

I wouldn’t mind having Mother 3 toilet paper….

Mato said on Aug. 4, 2009

Xi: Yeah, I probably won’t do any M2EB stuff until M1+2 (the M1 side anyway) is done. So busy with work and life that my projects haven’t had any time the last few months. After M1+2 I want to speed through M2EB (but knowing me, it’ll stall again) and then finish the M1 novel.

LightningLuigi said on Aug. 4, 2009

I think people aren’t looking at all the facts when they consider the reasons for Mother 3 not being localized. Mother 3 was released in Spring 2006 in Japan. By that time, the Game Boy Advance had nearly completely faded out of mainstream and the DS was dominating Nintendo’s marketing attention. Its been cited Mother 3’s late release affected it’s sales, but the series’ popularaty in Japan saved it. But big name RPGs like the Mother series don’t tend to do well without a lot of marketing focus, and why release a sequel to a game next-to no ones heard of, much less are actually vagaly familiar with, on a dying system when they could focus on marketing games for their new console. Low budget games can slip through the cracks, but text heavy games like Mother 3 just aren’t worth Nintendo’s time or money. That what they mean when they say the game had too much text, it just wasn’t worth putting all the effort and time in translating when it wasn’t going to sell.

SorryGuise said on Aug. 4, 2009

Well, the GBA can now be considered a “dead console,” even after they tried to bleed life into it with the GB Micro. So, we’d have to wait and see if it was a DS release, which probably won’t happen. Porting an original Nintendo release to another console is something Nintendo is not in the habit of doing, just to accommodate one demographic of gamers.

Also, Nintendo would never condescend to use a fan translation. It’s just not professional, and it looks better to stockholders to just ignore the crazies and continue making a steady flow of money.

NoA’s time of taking risks is over. Just buy your Wii and wait to die.

Komaru said on Aug. 4, 2009

At Faux:
I already did, a few months back.
Yeah, it never got published.

Anonymous said on Aug. 4, 2009

people who say that nintendo would censor mother 3 are starting to get on my nerves. this isn’t 1992 anymore, it would probably just be rated E10 or T. nobody would complain about the magypsies either

Gurp said on Aug. 4, 2009

To be honest, looking back on all the Mother trophies in Brawl really gets on my nerves, seeing as it doesn’t look like enough stuff to get people interested in looking up the game.

Mato said on Aug. 4, 2009

SorryGuise: It’s not Nintendo, but I know there IS a precedent for fan translations being used in official releases. I think some Micky or Donald game of some sort had this happen to it.

I *am* a professional translator though, so Nintendo could just say they paid me $1 for my services to translate the script or something. Will never happen, but it’s a nice dream I guess 😛

zedrein said on Aug. 4, 2009

Nintendo could have at one time gotten away with the “It would take too long!” excuse, but thank God we have people like Mato who basically called their bluff.

LightningLuigi said on Aug. 4, 2009

Gurp: It doesn’t take a lot to get people interested in Japan-only games. Starfy only got one AT, two trophies, and some stickers, and later, Starfy 5 (which had already been out in Japan for almost a year) was announced for localization. The EarthBound series got way more than that. If an EarthBound related release were to happen right now, I’d bet almost everything I have it wouuld be localized.

And about the censoring thing, I agree. The Magypsies probably wouldn’t cause much of a stir, but among other things, the game would probably get a E10+ after the usual censoring (launguage, alcohaul references, ect.), but I think that would better fit the game’s demograph, since the general theme of the game is a bit more mature than most games Nintendo publishes.

Supakitsune said on Aug. 5, 2009

LightingLuigi: But here’s the thing. Starfy is easy to market; “hey look at this cute thing and his pals they’re going on a cute adventure in this cute platforming game! also these are the bad guys but they’re also kind of cute looking since they’re bunny things!”
Mother 3 is a lot deeper, and a lot more involved, plus it’s an RPG, which means “oh what a bore these guys are going to run around in a world and fight monsters and more monsters to level up and then hopefully the game will be interesting YAWN i’ll pass” to the typical Joe Gamer.

Puppyduck said on Aug. 5, 2009

Rhythm Tengoku is the shizzles.

EarthBoundRules said on Aug. 5, 2009

I have this issue. It was pretty cool when I read this for the first time.

Mr. Disguised Saturn said on Aug. 5, 2009

Just wondering. What issue is it?

rawpower7 said on Aug. 5, 2009

Well, Tomato tore right through their BS. Hmm. Well, what’s stopping them from releasing all three onto one DS cart? Oh yeah the legal issues…hmmm there doesn’t seem to be any problems regarding Mother 3 though, and Nintendo doesn’t seem to give very much info at all on it, other than the fact that Reggie said he likes it. The fact that they’re staying so silent right now could mean that they really are planning a huge surprise, OR, they’re working on it but don’t really know for sure if it will ever happen. Or I suppose they could be total dicks but whatever.

LightningLuigi said on Aug. 5, 2009

Supakitsune: You do bring up a good point, but its not like Nintendo has stoped releasing deeply involved games. Didn’t Nintendo recently release Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon? And the EarthBound series is a much lighter and simplier series than most RPGs. I still think Nintendo would release an EarthBound game if they ever got the chance.

rawpower7: Its up to Nintendo Corprite Limited (NCL) to make decisions on which games to produce, NOA only decides which games NCL produces are published in North America.

random guy said on Aug. 5, 2009

Why dont we just tell every earthbound fan out there to send an email to NOA. That should get there attension

Pyroguy42 said on Aug. 5, 2009

….. that plan has been tried and failed many times.

metroidman said on Aug. 5, 2009

@random guy: Apparently you don’t remember or know of the PK Siege or the PK Call’n. These were deliberate call outs to every fan of EarthBound to call or send something into NOA to get our voice out there. It fell on deaf ears tho. Starmen.net planned the whole thing and it was a great idea but Nintendo just looked the other way. Oh well, at least we got the fan translation which they could of stomped on if they wanted to but they let it slide.

Userofdoom said on Aug. 5, 2009

LOL All three games have been translated, so why not fit them onto a DS cart and off we go! The DS isn’t a dead console. NINTENDO HATES AMERICAN FANS D:

Jimmy said on Aug. 5, 2009

They could try making a DS collection in the same manner as Super Mario All-Stars and then add some sort of special thanks to Mato.

Mistermister said on Aug. 5, 2009

@LightningLuigi: Uh, excuse me, but did you just call Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon a “deeply involved” game? Have you ever played it? It’s the same generic/cliche story recycled from 1990.

And yeah, saying the game has too much text is ridiculous. There are like, a ton of Nintendo games that have way more text than Mother 3, like Animal Crossing or any of the Pokemon games. I always felt EarthBound had more dialogue than Mother 3.

kaemmerite said on Aug. 5, 2009

I normally don’t comment here, but I can’t pass this up…

“Porting an original Nintendo release to another console is something Nintendo is not in the habit of doing, just to accommodate one demographic of gamers.”

Yeah, Nintendo would never do things like the Super Mario Advance games! Oh wait…

At first I thought this comment was sarcasm, but when I read the rest of the post I believe it was meant genuinely.

Super Mario Bros has been ported to the SNES, GBC, and GBA. Legend of Zelda has been ported to the GC and GBA. Let’s also not forget the Link to the Past GBA port. The Zelda Collection for Gamecube, Super Mario All-Stars, that “NES Classics” collection for GBA, the original Metroid being included on the first Metroid Prime game…

In fact I recall a gamer outcry because Nintendo was doing nothing BUT porting old games to their new systems, fans wanted something new, not just Legend of Zelda on yet another system.

So yes, Nintendo has always been in the business of porting old games to other consoles. In fact I’d say they rival Square-Enix in that department.

Claus said on Aug. 5, 2009

It’s not because of the translating, it’s because of Lighter’s and Kuma’s mouth, the sexual harrasment thing, Lucas’s ass, and the oxygen supply/the Navy SQEAL gay joke. Nintendo could censor these things, but I guess they just don’t want to do it. And after all, it would take some of the fun out of the game.

santiagoff said on Aug. 5, 2009

Nintendo just doesn’t want to make money out of this. It’s that simple…yet so frustrating.

jenge24 said on Aug. 5, 2009

No, the real reason is because Reggie is the one selling every copy of Earthbound on ebay. If it gets re-released they won’t sell for such ridiculous prices.

That One Guy said on Aug. 6, 2009

If they ever, in some amazing epiphany on their part, decide to release the game, I’d really hope that they make it rated Teen and keep everything intact.

Master of Ramen said on Aug. 6, 2009

“At least Lucas, the game’s main character, is playable in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.”

See, kids?! You can capture the witty dialogue, drama, and tear-jerking moments of Mother 3 by Lucas SIMPLY BEING IN THE GAME!!! Nintendo Power, it’s lies like these and you unwavering, almost possessive support that make me never want to subscribe to you again.

You didn’t review Wii Music not because you would give it bad scores like every other gaming magazine did, but because it’s not a conventional game? Bullsh*t!

L95 said on Aug. 6, 2009

Yeah, I have this issue, I honestly thjink theyre BSing about the text thing.

Revolver909/Linuxkirby2468 said on Aug. 22, 2009

I WANT thaat toilet paper. Mato? Is this your NEW PROJECT????

MrJusticeTurtle said on Aug. 28, 2009

Mato, could you put M3’s text on an eraser or banana peel for us? :O

3minutepizza said on Aug. 31, 2009

Chimera, yeah, that’s probably reason enough not to release the game here. The scene where Lucas learns PSI Love is suggestive enough to the point where NOA’s kid-friendly hands won’t touch it with a ten-foot pole.

Ice Sage said on Sep. 3, 2009

And let’s not forget about the music copyright issues in the game. I know some of it was public domain (i.e. Vivaldi’s Four Seasons) but there’s Mr. Batty Twist with the Batman Theme in it for a start. I don’t know all the musical references, but in sue-happy America it could cause a problem.

Lukas said on Oct. 1, 2009

I’ve been starting to see MOTHER enemys in IGN and stuff,Most recent was Rope.

Person said on Jan. 14, 2010

I wouldn’t mind much if they had to make the game Rated T in order to make it as good as the fan translation.

Ninji said on Feb. 4, 2010

IS THIS how you people treat us when your own loyal fans are asking for stuff?! I SAY BOYCOTT NO MORE BS FROM NoA!!!!!!!!

mr.t said on Mar. 8, 2010

hellO oxygen things kissing thier own genders

Johnwalt said on Mar. 11, 2010

ROFL! “It would take too long to translate”
Yeah right, we have a translation patch right here! >:(

Pkhypernova said on Apr. 4, 2010

Who cares about Lucas in SSBB! Me never [playing a mother game other than part of mother 3 Will never get to play it so JUST FREAKING RELEASE IT NINTENDO!

Pkhypernova said on Apr. 4, 2010

mr.t I don’t think that the O2 machines are male. I think their like the magypsies genderless.

Pkhypernova said on Apr. 4, 2010

Also in Tales of Symphonia dawn of a new world. Emile Swears, Marta swears, everyone else swears. Yet NOT CENSORED! What the heck Nintendo?

email dan said on May. 10, 2010

“Also worth nothing, Nintendo Power is no longer made by Nintendo, which is a big reason of why that magazine is no longer worth reading. Nintendo of America releases things like the Paper Mario series, and each of those probably has more text than Mother 3. It’s nice that this magazine mentions Mother 3 and tries to give some sort of explanation, but anybody who knows anything about video games knows that a bunch of text is not the reason that this game did not get an English release.” -Spitball Sparky

I disagree. I think NP is still worth reading. Of course, that’s just my opinion(did I spell that right?).

MT said on Mar. 30, 2011


Nintendofan146 said on Jul. 8, 2011

Hey, AT LEAST they considered releasing it out here! That’s better than what some games get!

Also, I think it would have taken too long to translate. There’s so many text changes they would have to make that it could take a while. From what I could tell, the patch was a mostly accurate and direct translation. Kumatora and Lighter’s dialouge would need to be completely changed, and a fair amount of Wess’ would possibly, as well. They also would need to change “Bon Voyage, Amigo’s” lyrics to something that would fit the notes AND make it clear that it is not referring to a monotheistic religion, or making up a “Nowhere Islandism.” Not only that, but the ending would make it too hard to rate; definitely boosts it ABOVE E, but the rest of the content would put it BELOW E10. So, I think it’s a fair reason to not release it.

Nintendofan146 said on Jul. 8, 2011

Oh… When people said Hinawa was named Peach, I thought that meant the text was in english… I didn’t check the picture yet…

Captain said on Jul. 8, 2011

@Johnwalt “ROFL! “It would take too long to translate”
Yeah right, we have a translation patch right here! >:(”

*facepalm* Wow. I have read some stupid comments in my time but this takes the cake.

By chance, do you remember how long it took Mato to MAKE that translation patch?



Mato said on Jul. 8, 2011

Before you get snarky, keep in mind that it was more like a year and a half, and it was basically two people in their spare time starting with no knowledge on how to reprogram GBA games. I think people working at a company that specializes in localizing its own games (full-time and for pay) would have finished much sooner.

Zoom! said on Jul. 8, 2011

Besides,all the hard work to translate the game paid off in the end.

Ninten3274 said on Aug. 1, 2011

Like many say if Nintendo didnt edit the swears (crap, damn) or the Maypsies. I’d say it would be rated T which is fine by me since im 14

Mother Fanatic said on Aug. 19, 2011

Ah yes, two AMAZING GBA games released close to the end of the GBA life….

RadicOmega said on Oct. 22, 2011

Mato: YOU already translated MOTHER 3, did you ever tell Nintendo that they can burrow your screen and chip it to a DS? Or do you not want them to get your work.

Mato said on Oct. 22, 2011

I don’t know what burrowing my screen would do, much less chip it to a DS. I must be in some crazy dimension with new lingo I never heard of 😯

RadicOmega said on Oct. 22, 2011

@Mato, what I mean is let them borrow the translation and use it to emulate the game to function on a DS. And in the article it says they couldn’t translate it becasue they are to lazy. Well you and fobby.net aren’t to lazy.

Mato said on Oct. 22, 2011

I have a standing offer to let them using my script translation free of charge if they want to, but I really doubt they’ll ever agree to it. If Nintendo wanted to release an English version of Mother 3, they’d probably do it themselves.

Nobody5000 said on Oct. 22, 2011

@Mato that’s utter bull. You are nice enough to give a paid a lot company that you spent translating breaking the11th culture unbreakable bearier FOR FREE AND THEY DENIE IT!!! I know own tr M3 translation and it is amazing. I know some japenese but not enough To play it I japanease. Thank you a ton of wasting 2 years of your life breaking that bearer. You’d make an amazing Nintendo president Mato. (P.S. This is RadicOmega

Cody baio said on Oct. 26, 2011

@ Xi: I caught your rocky horror reference XD on a side note…

AltoMaximus said on Jan. 8, 2012

Spit Ball Sparky:
“That Damn Basturd”
“I got my foot stuck in a stupid ass trap”
“Damn can’t let my guard down for even a minuet”
REAL kid friendly! 😉


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