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Tips for Buying EarthBound

April 13th, 2010 | EarthBound 64, Images, Uncommon Knowledge

Ten years ago (dang, ten already?) I was studying in Japan. As an EarthBound fan, it was exciting that there was a whole lot of MOTHER series stuff to be had, though it turned out I didn’t have the money for most of it.

Anyway, sometimes I would write articles for Starmen.Net about my experiences. Here’s the one about where I reserved the Nintendo 64 version of MOTHER 3 the day they started taking preorders:

This is what I hope will be the first of a semi-regular series of articles relating to the site, EarthBound/Mother stuff, and me being in Japan.

Yesterday started out with a bang. Literally. At 6:30 in the morning, an earthquake rocked the outer-Tokyo area. It was my first earthquake ever, and it was pretty fun! But later in the day I was to be surprised even more.

First, thanks to countless people, including Giovanni, Yesman, and reidman, I bought a Nintendo 64 yesterday. Clear blue. I also bought a used copy of Smash Bros. But, as I picked up a copy of SSB to take to the counter, I glanced past something that I thought couldn’t be real. What was it?

I’ll tell you. Starting yesterday, the game store near my university has started taking pre-orders for Mother 3. As I spend about 30 minutes to an hour in that store everyday, I wondered if I was to be the first one to reserve a copy there. And when I asked, the clerk said that indeed I was.

The cool thing is this. By pre-ordering, I’ll save $10-$15. What’s more, I don’t pay until I pick up a copy.

Now, for the weird part. On the in-store advertisement, it said the game was to released in May. But, on the little reserve slip thing I got, it says December. However, the URL of the store’s homepage that they have printed on there is wrong, so I wouldn’t think it impossible that their release date is wrong as well. Also, next to December they have the equivalent of “To Be Announced”, so I don’t know exactly what to think anymore.

(Sorry for such a bad scan!)

But the main thing is, Mother 3 is real! People are able to pre-order them!

And when I got home, I was happy to find that I got a free memory pak with my N64 – the store forgot to take it out! Cool!

I’d like to get a scan of that adverstisement for you all, but I gotta work up my confidence. Having some goofy foreigner ask to borrow a store ad isn’t an everyday thing, you know.

Of course, the game was cancelled just a few months later.

Later on I managed to get a better scanner, so here’s a better scan:

At some point I gave it to Reid, I guess because he was the head honcho of the site and seemed like he was starting to work on a collection of his own. Then, many years later (just a few days ago), he posted on Twitter that he came across it again:

Man, it’s really beat up. But it still exists! He should frame it or store it better, maybe next to the GBA MOTHER 3 box or something 😛


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35 Comments to Reserving a Copy of EarthBound 64

JoeShmoe said on Apr. 13, 2010

Alas, the hall of abrupt cancellations… Frame it indeed.

Psi-Rockin said on Apr. 13, 2010

Wow what a piece of Mother lore! I would frame that immediately! Cool stuff as always Mato!

Poe said on Apr. 13, 2010

This makes me a little sad. But it’s still really awesome that you pre-ordered it. Sucks that digital cameras weren’t more common back then, otherwise getting a pic of that store ad would have been easier. Can you remember what it looked like?

Skulryk said on Apr. 13, 2010

So are you still out the $10 (or however much) for preordering it?

KingDarian said on Apr. 13, 2010

I instantly recognized the thing when Reid posted it on twitter. It was one of the highlights of the 3+ hour PAX recap Officecam show in which he presented a giant tub of site history he unearthed from his parents’ home during his drive back to Tuscon. It’s the awesome stories like the one tied to this preorder slip that make the online EB community so great.

Ninji said on Apr. 13, 2010

Hmmm….. first off, Reid has a Twitter account? Interesting, does he have Facebook too? 😛 Second off, someone really needs to translate the rest of Itoi’s Cancellation essay/article, there’s still 13 more pages to translate!!! >.< Third, that pre-order slip is awesome sauce, it reminds me of the sad failure of Duke Nukem Forever and how one guy had a pre-order slip like Mato's 🙁 It's some sad stuff

chris catfood said on Apr. 13, 2010

this is a cool piece of history tomato!

when they started taking pre-orders for mother 3, i reserved a deluxe box at sofmap in denden town (in osaka) since i was attending school in japan at the time. as it turns out, the release date was the same day as my band’s first (and only) live show. i had my priorities straight though – i rushed all the way to the store to get my mother 3 deluxe box, with my guitar case falling apart and my bandmates calling me, angrily asking why i wasn’t at rehearsal yet. i rushed across town with every possible thing going wrong, and i made it to the livehouse pretty late, but at least i got my deluxe box on release day 🙂

too bad your case didn’t turn out this way, tomato. did the store contact you to tell you the game wasn’t coming out?

starstormer said on Apr. 13, 2010

Funny. I dought at the time that you realized the game would be canceled, even more I dought you would ever even think that you’d be the one to translate the game some day.

resetsurvivor said on Apr. 13, 2010

Put it on eBay! It’s the only one that we know exists.. and with Mother stuff going for so much.

Note: What you just read was a joke.

R7038XX said on Apr. 13, 2010

I want to see if he can still get the money back. That should be an interesting story.

blahmoomoo said on Apr. 13, 2010

It looks like Mato didn’t pay a thing…

“The cool thing is this. By pre-ordering, I’ll save $10-$15. What’s more, I don’t pay until I pick up a copy.”

So there is nothing to refund…

Halloween said on Apr. 14, 2010

I think that’s really cool, definitely something to hang onto.

MarioFan3 said on Apr. 14, 2010

Mother3 isn’t coming for the 64… and the Beta is long gone, if not hidden away for all eternity… there’s not much else for me to say, it just makes me sad… 🙁

neonix said on Apr. 14, 2010

I would totally frame it.

WallHack said on Apr. 14, 2010

Put that sucker up on eBay, i’ll buy it.

pez1349 said on Apr. 14, 2010

the only thing i want more than a mr satrun pez dispenser is to have any kind of earthbound 64 anything truly this remains the holy grail of all earthbound collection

PKSTARMAN said on Apr. 14, 2010

Totally Sad, man. You should demand a copy of the MOTHER 3 GBA version Box.

PKSTARMAN said on Apr. 14, 2010

I think this article will be in the “Most famous” section in days or hours.

kindafunky said on Apr. 14, 2010

I think the slip itself was worth 10 bucks

Mato said on Apr. 14, 2010

Poe: I know I have a better pic, but basically it looked like the page on the Nintendo site:


chris catfood: I dunno, I had moved to a different address between then and the cancellation so I wouldn’t have gotten the phone call.

PK Coffee said on Apr. 14, 2010

Oh, the days when you got to pick what color your console was. Why does everyone have to have a white Wii? When it was coming out, there were pictures of red, yellow, blue Wiis. Those see-through N64s and GBAs were great. Glacier, I think was the official name.

EBPyeah said on Apr. 15, 2010

Reminds me of those pictures of a pre order for Duke Nukem Forever..

WallHack said on Apr. 19, 2010

How hard is it to program for the N64? Someone should totally do Earthbound 64 on their own…. throw the rom on a flash cart and play it on a real N64?? Yes please!

Staarf said on Apr. 19, 2010

@ PK Coffee:

I would totally kill for a hot pink Wii.
And actually, I think I have one of those see-through Game Boys lying around…

Keiji Dragon / OKei said on Apr. 23, 2010

Man, you just can’t let go of sentiments such as that. I’d have lamenated it.

I hope you get more into EarthBound 64 in the future, Tomato.

Anonymous said on Apr. 30, 2010

oh wow

“After [eating], there was a movie I wanted to see.


I watched Avatar. It was pretty interesting. Funufunu (?).”

Anonymous said on Apr. 30, 2010
metroid-other-fan said on Sep. 17, 2010

you know… i believe that there is a mother 3 proto out there and that we will be able too play it… maby not now, but someday…

t4ash08g said on Mar. 9, 2011

THAT…………is the SINGLE….best thing ever.

TheMr.SaturnGuy said on Mar. 29, 2011

Someone has to invent a time machine sometime….. I have the whole plan worked out!
1.take time machine back to the mother 3 n64 e3
2.take the beta cartridges
3.take them back to the present for SCIENCE!!!!!
what do you think? 😀

pranavmeno said on Mar. 29, 2011


I’ll get Dr.Andonuts, Jeff, Apple Kid, and the other Mr. Saturns to whip us up a Phase Distorter IV. In the meantime, let’s all just play M3 on GBA again…

KingMike said on Jun. 29, 2011

What if the game was magically released tomorrow? Would you be obligated to fly out to Japan to buy it? 😀

Mato said on Jun. 29, 2011

Well, the store I ordered it from no longer exists, so I don’t know if it’d work or not if I took it to another one in the chain, if IT even still exists 😛

Zoom! said on Aug. 14, 2011

This is my goal:To finish this game and the expansion pack(with help of course)as a fan project for others to download(legal stuff might be a problem though 🙁 ) But I’m serious about this no matter how impossible or silly it seems


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