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March 13th, 2010 | EarthBound

Does this screenshot look familiar at all?

I’ve noticed this for a while, but this particular screenshot gets used all the time in articles and reviews (even in print media) and I’ve always wondered why. At first I figured it must be a screenshot that’s used on the Wikipedia article, but it doesn’t seem to be. Though the Summers picture on the Wikipedia article gets used a lot too. So if not Wikipedia, then why? Where did this screenshot originate from?

The screenshot’s not bad at all and I’m not complaining, I’m just curious as to how this started. Anybody else seen this screenshot a lot? Anybody know where it might’ve come from? I’d love to know.


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41 Comments to THE EarthBound Screenshot

BeezoWeldar said on Mar. 13, 2010

I actually used this same picture in a slide show at school lol
It was about video games and there was a little section about the MOTHER games so I tossed this in. It’s one of the first Google images pics that comes up if you search EarthBound, so that may be why it’s so often used

Linkzcap said on Mar. 13, 2010

Actually, when I saw that picture it reminded me of THIS site. So I’m too confused to understand where the origin might have come from

KingDarian said on Mar. 13, 2010

It’s result #1 if you google image search EarthBound SNES and #5 if you search for EarthBound.

Roo said on Mar. 13, 2010

Well, if you do a Google image search for “EarthBound”, that screenshot seems to pop up more than any other (mostly in articles about the top * RPGs), so at least that would explain why it’s propagated so much. I guess people find and use it since it encompasses EarthBound in one easy-to-understand image (all 4 characters, suburban setting with hotel in background). Unfortunately, that doesn’t tell us much about who first took the shot.

What print media have you seen it in, Mato? I noticed this shot isn’t in either of those NP articles you just posted, so I don’t think it goes back that far, at least.

Roo said on Mar. 13, 2010

And by “a lot” I mean it shows up 6 times in the first 7 pages.

Wafffo! said on Mar. 13, 2010

never seen it before

Kyoo said on Mar. 13, 2010

people are lazy and they borrow other peoples screen shots. my guess is. it’s the result of everybody copying one person. kind of like… if you have sex with a woman. you’ve had sex with every man she’s had sex with. this thing got passed around like an STD

Kidsta said on Mar. 13, 2010

I think I remember seeing it in a Nintendo Power issue. It looks very familiar.

neonix said on Mar. 13, 2010

I’m sure I’ve seen it in print media as well. But I can’t recall exactly where.

A good guess could be made if we knew all the print media that used it. As long as they are third party companies that aren’t directly associated with Nintendo, then it’s safe to say they all get it from search engines.

But once again, this doesn’t tell us where it originated from. It is a good shot to show what EarthBound is in essence. I’d take a guess that a high ranking site put it up way back and it caught onto search engines and it just caught on and spread from there.

Someone Else said on Mar. 13, 2010

October 2009 issue #40 of UK magazine NGamer has a section of “Hanabi Most Wanted” where they list their most wanted import games for the Virtual Console. This screenshot is used on that page.

Also, Mother and Bahamut Lagoon are on this list. Heh.

Ricardo said on Mar. 13, 2010

It’s not bad, but i’m sick of seeing it everywhere.

Paul Martin said on Mar. 13, 2010

This is a case of understanding how media works. With any company that produces video games, movies, music books, etc., really anything that they want promoted, they put together a press kit. That press kit will include pictures, artwork, and information that the studio or company behind the work has given permission to use. This image is likely one of the images, if not the only image, from the original EPK (Electronic Press Kit) for Earthbound. It was likely sent to everyone in Print Quality size.

PK Saturn said on Mar. 13, 2010

Never seen it before 😛

BroBuzz said on Mar. 13, 2010

I’ve used this pic on a youtube video about my top 10 fav SNES games(stupid youtube deleted it due to copyright bullcarp)

Barbossa said on Mar. 13, 2010

I think it is actually from either the intro waiting video, or from the movement clips at the end… I might be mistaken though…

SuperBlooper057 said on Mar. 13, 2010

Hold on, wasn’t there an edit of this as a “what’s wrong with this?” picture a couple of months ago? (Which I terribly miss by the way 🙁 )

Darien said on Mar. 13, 2010

Very likely Paul Martin is correct — this image is likely to be part of a press kit. Since Nintendo isn’t going to make separate press kits for every media outlet, everybody gets the same few screenshots.

As for its Google images appearances, I think we’re conflating cause and effect there. Chances are it appears so much in a Google image search because it’s used so often in media, and not the other way around.

KingDarian said on Mar. 13, 2010

Did they even have electronic press kits in 1995? I doubt Nintendo is the source of that image, unless they’ve been secretly marketing this game while we weren’t looking.

Saturnome said on Mar. 13, 2010

If it’s part of a press kit, then we could find evidence from around 1995. Or do they make new stuff for old games?

I doubt it’s some random ROM screencap because it features the whole party in Onett in a generic situation.
Though the moment the picture you have on your website shows up on Google Image’s first page, it’s suddenly everywhere.

EarthBoundRules said on Mar. 13, 2010

Strangly I don’t recall ever seeing this picture before.

Mato said on Mar. 13, 2010

I’m pretty sure it isn’t part of a press pack – it only started showing up in the past 2 or 3 years and it’s got the extra blank line at the bottom that Super NES emulator screenshots tend to have.

It’d be neat to have a list of a bunch of places it shows up. Some random ones I happen to recall are:

http://starmen.net/mother2/publications/other/gameinformer03.jpg (game informer issue #158, anyone got a date on that one?)

PKSTARMAN said on Mar. 14, 2010

Dunno… Maybe, uhhh… A group of real friends hanging out?

Mato said on Mar. 14, 2010

Crap, Roo, your list got lost to the spam filter. Could you try to repost it?

Gummidge said on Mar. 14, 2010

I see the image of Ness right outside his house in the dark a lot.

Kyoo said on Mar. 14, 2010

wow, after clicking on all Roo’s link. I get kind of scared. I don’t know why… its kind of like when I played a video game for a long time. the game no longer is a game to me. I can see the codes repeating codes that make the game. and manipulate the game to my likings. based off the codes.. I never experienced anything like this in real life. but yeah. freaky. it’s like finding a repeating code in real life.

Mr. Nosy said on Mar. 14, 2010

That picture looks like one from the intro demo of the Mother 2 game.

Flying Omelette said on Mar. 16, 2010

It’s mine. I snapped it from ZSNES way back for my original Earthbound review. It’s so old, my site was on Geocities back then. Unfortunately, it looks like archive.org doesn’t have the images stored, but this was the original review it came from:


It was the first picture there. Later the review was updated to this:


Where again it was the first screenshot.

The new review is here:


Where it’s still the first screenshot.

I have no idea why people like lifting it so much, but oh well…

PKSTARMAN said on Mar. 16, 2010

@Flying Omelette
Is it really yours?! Woah, I’m… confused.

Flying Omelette said on Mar. 16, 2010

Yes, I definitely took that screenshot many years ago (not that it would be difficult to duplicate it, but I’m pretty sure it’s the same one appearing everywhere.)

It probably makes some sense. My Geocities site back then was rather tiny and really only known by a few friends of mine online. But for some reason, after I put up that Earthbound review and the review for A Boy and His Blob, it started getting a lot more hits.

So people probably found it and thought, “Oh, this is just someone’s old Geocities site. I can probably safely take this Earthbound screen capture”, and away it went.

There have occasionally been other things around my site that got “memed” in the same way. Some of the Transformers animations, for example are all over ytmnd.

neonix said on Mar. 16, 2010

I guess you should be pretty proud of yourself Flying Omelette. I’m happy we have an answer now.

Flying Omelette said on Mar. 16, 2010

No problem. I’m glad to have helped solve the mystery. =)

Roo said on Mar. 16, 2010

Wow, that’s awesome Omelette. Thanks for shedding some light. Do you remember when that first review of yours came out, by chance?

Flying Omelette said on Mar. 16, 2010

The oldest archived copy that archive.org has is from April 20th, 2001, so it was almost 9 years ago.

ScottKO said on Mar. 21, 2010

Maybe they use it because it has alot of eye catching, friendly-looking colours in it

Mr. Saturn said on Apr. 4, 2010

If i’m honest, I kind of doubt that Flying Omelette took that picture.

neonix said on Jul. 3, 2010

Oh, this is really late, but I just stumbled across this image- http://starmen.net/mother2/publications/other/gameinformer03.jpg And I remembered this post.

Flying Omelette said on Aug. 23, 2010

“If i’m honest, I kind of doubt that Flying Omelette took that picture.”

I pretty much have zero reason to claim snapshotting a screen capture that I didn’t. It’s not even the only screenshot from my old site that’s gotten posted around a lot of places. There’s one from the Mega Man 2 review where Mega Man is jumping at the Angler Fish in Bubble Man’s stage that shows up on other websites every now and then and the one from TMNT4 where the Pizza Monster is jumping out of the sewers seems to turn up almost every time I’ve seen that game mentioned on another site.

One time a random YouTube video was posted on my forums by a forum member and I noticed that (coincidentally) a screenshot from my Donkey Kong 64 featurette was used in it.

Flying Omelette said on Aug. 23, 2010

@neonix – Lol! Thanks for that GI scan. I might make a site feature about this in the future and that’ll come in handy for it.

Hmm…something called oocities, which appears to be a backup of old Geocities sites, has Revision 2 of the old review archived, with all the screenshots here:


IIRC, I didn’t play through the whole game on ZSNES to get those screen captures, since I had just replayed it on my actual SNES console. It was a combination of using save states I downloaded from somewhere and the Debug Menu to jump around to various points in the game.

RadicOmega said on Mar. 17, 2012

Well it appears that Jeff’s eyes are a little more different.

Flying Omelette said on Nov. 4, 2012

It’s been called to my attention that my Drakkhen screenshot of the four party members facing off against the Shade of Doom in the Air Area keeps showing up different places, too, including IGN and Wikipedia.


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