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Tips for Buying EarthBound

March 12th, 2010 | EarthBound, Images, Itoi, Uncommon Knowledge

Yesterday we took a look at the big EarthBound preview Nintendo Power had in issue #70. Today we check out issue #73, which has the REAL EarthBound article. I’m hesitant to call it a review since it’s like a lot of Nintendo Power stuff was back then – mostly meant to showcase stuff to consumers.

Like I mentioned before, the preview in issue #70 is what convinced me to buy the game, but it was this huge feature that doubly cemented that decision.

The quality of these scans is nice, but I’d love to have better ones, especially ones that don’t have the problems on the edges. Would anyone be willing to make better scans of this stuff for posterity? Fellow EarthBound fans will love you for it 😛

In the same issue, in the Now Playing section, is a little blurb about EarthBound:

It’s a shame I don’t have any of my old NPs anymore, this stuff is really cool. I don’t think you can order issues this old from Nintendo Power anymore either, so probably places like eBay and Amazon are the best place to find them now.

Anyway, it’s neat to see some of the last-minute changes they made between the time this issue was put together and the game’s release. The pencil statue was still an octopus until the very last minute it seems. Threek was Threed by now, and given that it was Threek in other magazines’ previews, the change must’ve happened in the first few months of 1995.

You can also see a slight text bug in one of Paula’s lines where a line break was missing, the big moles still call themselves “owners” instead of “masters” of the cave in the desert. And Dr. Andonuts’ lab still says “LABO” as it does in MOTHER 2.

I’m sure I’ve missed a bunch of changes, though. What other stuff can you spot?


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40 Comments to EarthBound in Nintendo Power #73

Poe said on Mar. 12, 2010

Why do they use the same screenshot twice at the bottom of the second page?

Carl said on Mar. 12, 2010

The Octo-Eraser is an obvious translation leftover. I think it’s especially interesting to see how they handled that particular item before switching it to the Pencil Eraser. I think they made the right choice to change to item to retain the joke rather than stick with a literal translation.

Roo said on Mar. 12, 2010

Funny that Itoi’s favorite foods are listed as “strawberry, tofu”. I guess we now know the origin of strawberry tofu in the Mother series.

BTW Mato, I have scans of this article that are slightly smaller resolution, but don’t have the edge effects and are a little more color neutral (not as yellow). I’ll see if I can send those over now.

pooppoop said on Mar. 12, 2010

i can never relate to when people say “i saw this game in a magazine way before it came out and decided i must play it.” i never got new games when i was a kid. i always had to wait a few months/years for the prices to come down

pooppoop said on Mar. 12, 2010

also in terms of last minutes changes – pk turing into psi. pk does seem nicer. rolls of the tongue better. (i mean, how do you pronounce psi? sy? p.s.i.?)

pooppoop said on Mar. 12, 2010

hmm spamming here…
looking over the pictures it seems like they changed pk to psi while they were doing the play throughs for these screenshots. one shot from early in the game says pk power then a shot from later in the game says psi fire.

Portal-Kombat said on Mar. 12, 2010

Well in one of the pictures of Tessie, it is called “Tassy.”

sg_06 said on Mar. 12, 2010

Page 5: Ness riding Tessie. I’m pretty sure that’s supposed to be Jeff.

Sora444 said on Mar. 12, 2010

I love how they still call it Labo. xD

SkyRocket said on Mar. 12, 2010

sg_06: There’s one point where you have to go to Dr. Andronuts lab again after visiting the tenda’s, that’s where the picture is from.

Anon said on Mar. 12, 2010

“Poorly designed inventory system limits how many items you can carry.”

Wait, doesn’t almost every inventory system in the history of forever do that?
Or maybe they just wanted to add more text for the heck of it.

BewareTheFangirl said on Mar. 12, 2010

…Dude. I have that from my cousin. I HAVE THAT NINTENDO POWER. WHUT.

Darien said on Mar. 12, 2010

No, decent inventory systems don’t require the player to do a whole lot of inventory management nonsense. RPGs had been moving away from the old Dragon Warrior 2 standard for a very long time by the time Earthbound came out; its inventory was definitely legacy. And a pain in the ass.

Compare and contrast with the inventory systems in Final Fantasy 3 and Chrono Trigger, both of which predate Earthbound, or with Super Mario RPG, which came out on the other side. You’ll see items that stack (whereas in Earthbound every cookie you pick up uses another slot), you’ll see automatic sort and filter options, you’ll see no need for an offboard “vault” to keep items that won’t fit in your party’s item stores. Earthbound’s inventory system was archaic in comparison.

Darien said on Mar. 12, 2010

pooppoop: “Psi” is short for “psionic,” and is pronounced “sy.”

John said on Mar. 12, 2010

On the other side of that, the inventory made the game challenging. I mean, seriously, how many times have you bought a full stack of 99 potions/hi-potions/ethers in a Final Fantasy game? Did this not almost nullify the need for magic healing, and thus making any sort of limit for the game sort of arbitrary? (psh, only 25 mana? who cares, I’ll just sit here and slam the A button and heal my group…)

EarthBound would have been a much different game if you could buy 99 Brain Food Lunches. Or 99 Multi-Bottle Rockets. I always thought the inventory was part of the experience as opposed to any sort of throwback.

steinmitz said on Mar. 12, 2010

In that same Now Playing section ,later on when they give the ratings on individual aspects of the games reviewed and the seals of approval from some of the editors , it’s interesting that Dan Owsen ( didn’t he translate most of the game ? ) is the only editor to give his seal of approval for Earthbound .

Another Nintendo Power issue that has a little bit about Earthbound is the February 1995 issue ( mega man x 2 cover ) that briefly talks about the translation process . I’d scan it if I had a scanner , but unfortunately no dice . However , maybe someone else out there with that issue could make a scan , as it would seem very appropriate for this site , since you’re a translator and all , Tomato .

Saturnome said on Mar. 12, 2010

This article reminds me, is there any info on the net about Itoi’s gold mine treasure hunt ? I heard often about it and I’m getting curious.

Saturnome said on Mar. 12, 2010

Also, I love the Dusty Dunes Postcard, “Running low on money. Needs a million bucks. Love you, Ness” 😀

Mato said on Mar. 12, 2010

Satunome: There might be, but probably not a lot. A year or so ago I managed to find a Japanese TV show that summarized the entire thing, but it’s in low quality and in Japanese only. I’d like to subtitle it someday, but the likeliness of that ever happening is very low 🙁

Halloween said on Mar. 13, 2010

You know, I’m sure there is a retromags site out there with all the old Nintendo Power issues as .PDF and .CBR files… you know they’re high quality scans and include these Earthbound issues.

jeffy05 said on Mar. 13, 2010

epic. it’s weird to see the octopus statue with the english translation. instead of the iron pencil.

jeffy05 said on Mar. 13, 2010

exhibit 11 is very true. the first exhibit 11. they goofed up and put two of them.

Crav said on Mar. 13, 2010

If you’re looking for old video game magazine scans this site is the best I’ve ever seen:

Incidentally, did anyone else notice that this issue used the the updated American version of the clay models of the chosen 4 while issue 70 used the japanese versions>

Darien said on Mar. 13, 2010

It is true that the limited inventory increases the challenge of the game. One of the things we’ve learned in forty years of video game design, though, is that there is “fun” challenge and there is “frustrating” challenge. Inventory management metagaming is often found by players to be frustrating rather than fun; as can be seen from the wide variation among even modern games, we clearly haven’t found an ideal balance yet. Earthbound’s inventory system, however, is quite archaic — it doesn’t just have limited space, it also doesn’t feature any sort of modern (by the standards of 1995) interface or manipulation tools. As I say, there’s no sort or filtration available, there’s an extremely bare-bones amount of information available, and every inventory action has to be handled manually and singly — no multiple selection or item grouping is supported, either.

Whether or not you like this sort of inventory aside, it was, by the time Earthbound came out, very dated.

Dlakii said on Mar. 13, 2010

I must say, I don’t think I’ve enjoyed any piece of gaming journalism quite as much; I find it keeps quite wonderfully consistent with the tone of the game itself.

Omnomnominous said on Mar. 13, 2010

I’m not entirely sure about this, but on the third scan, in the screenshot where Ness takes a hamburger from the trash, I don’t remember the ‘Here we go!!’ line being in the finished game. Maybe it’s just my imagination.

Flit said on Mar. 13, 2010

Following Crav’s lead (thanks!), here’s a link to the better scan of issue 73:


Poe said on Mar. 13, 2010

You’re right, omnomwhatever. It was something more like, “Well let’s see here.”

Kyoo said on Mar. 13, 2010

the message on top of 3rd scan, really hits my heart.
“How earthbound will destroy civilization as we know it”
I can’t think of a truer statement. it really has altered the perception of fans and fanaticism of fans. and how nerd rage with proper focus can actually accomplish things. that and the continual growth that grows with inside of all of us as fans. to destroy something is to create something new. and Earthbound has altered us, it destroyed us and made us into something new. something better.

Ninji said on Mar. 13, 2010

These previews are awesome, shame on you NoA for giving EB a bad name! >:(

LightningLuigi said on Mar. 13, 2010

I noticed when they mentioned the original Mother, they consider it another version of Mother 2. I always thought Nintendo would have considered it two versions of the same game, and I think if EarthBound Zero had been released at the same time as EarthBound, as it seems they once considered based on the existance of the protype cart dated 1994, both games would have been called EarthBound, as was many games released on the NES that had SNES counterparts.

Digamma said on Mar. 14, 2010

In page 2, in the picture where Ness opens a present, the game says “There is a Bread roll inside.”, instead of “Inside the present, there was a Bread roll.” like in the final game.

Tranzlater said on Mar. 14, 2010

In the now playing bit, there’s a picture of Ness Jeff and Paula in Dalaam without Poo… how did that happen?

Deraj626 said on Mar. 14, 2010

@ Tranzlater
Telaport to Dalaam after Poo leaves your party.

limbrooke said on Apr. 4, 2010

While this is a good article, I find it leaves little to be desired and hits the sarcasm meter quite high. I’m glad I never saw this until after I beat EarthBound otherwise this issue/article would’ve told me everything which I think is a letdown. Vol.70 is the better article for those interested in getting it, 73 is more like a brief overview passing the entire scope. I have both issues mind you and am glad to have both.

MooT Booxlé said on Apr. 22, 2010

I was an NP subscriber when the EarthBound issues came out. It was love at first sight. I’ve always loved quirky comic-like characters, so the marketing strategies hooked me right away. I was so excited about EB coming out that I tore out all the pages relating to EB, and looked at them over and over and over. I sure wish I could find them now…that was stupid of me to tear those out. Anyway, I got the game for my 12th birthday that year. I really wish I’d kept the box and all the paraphernalia. My friend’s little brother actually has my cart and guide. I let him borrow it about 10 years ago…he better still have it!!

PSI rockin' said on Jan. 28, 2011

“PS. She wore the dress.” I don’t understand THAT! Please tell me about the joke.

MOTHERMoondance-- said on Jan. 28, 2011

You can say, I rescued a girl in a dress.
It can mean you rescued ‘a girl in a dress’…
or that you rescued a girl ‘in a dress’.
The first of them meaning you rescued a girl who was wearing a dress…
and the second meaning you rescued a girl while wearing a dress.
He felt the need to specify.

PSI rockin' said on Jan. 28, 2011

Oh… thanks for that 🙂


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