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October 24th, 2010 | Images, MOTHER 3, Uncommon Knowledge

The MOTHER 3 ROM is absolutely huge – it’s the maximum size a GBA game can be, in fact. It’s so big that to this day we’re finding more and more things hiding inside it; if I had the time I’d love to try to dissect the ROM, map everything out, then go through all the unused/hidden data.

Anyway, good ol’ NESLuver recently dug up some unused graphics in the ROM that were compressed. The problem with these sorts of graphics is that they’re in no logical order, so it’s like trying to put a puzzle together while blind. But NESLuver managed to fully piece together some interesting stuff. For instance, we’ve found the weird, unused giant pig graphic in the past, but apparently we were missing some pieces to it. Here’s what the full thing looks like:

What was it for? No idea. Before we had the bottom part pieced together, I always thought it might’ve been some sort of prototype Thunder Tower thing, where it shot thunder (or some other projectile) out of its snout. But it looks like it was probably some sort of ship.

Anyway, there is a TON of unused, hidden graphical stuff in the ROM, here are just a few that NESLuver pieced together recently:

I really don’t know what some of these things might’ve been used for. Any theories?


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54 Comments to Some Unused MOTHER 3 Graphics

meleemario said on Oct. 24, 2010

I’m curious to know if it would be possible to… how do you call it… undummy these objects, and actually put them into the game where they’re supposed to be?

sg_06 said on Oct. 24, 2010

The kanji in dondeesta.png seems to be 彷, which means “wander” or “roam” according to the dictionary I’m using.

attempting to run kana on strang_writing.png through google translator:
とーだ マツト フロス
“Matsuto floss and it ー”
yeah that’s probably not right. I’m far from an expert in Japanese wordistry.
Mato, do you have any translations for the Japanese bits?

MG said on Oct. 24, 2010

Is there a reason why most of them are only in black and white?

Rhyselinn said on Oct. 24, 2010

That angular rock looks like something that would have gone in the plateau to me.

The boutique looks like a boutique- maybe they wanted to show the changing room when Kuma and Duster get dressed like Pigmasks, or something.

I swear I’ve seen that rooftop before, maybe in an EB64 demo or something?

Buddha-buddha looks like a Magypsy to me. Uncolored Locria? A statue of the “Magypsy ancestors” they mention? Or just some fountain statue?

@MG That’s a good question about the black and white. Are the other things gray because they’re supposed to be gray, or gray because they didn’t get around to coloring them? If they’re supposed to be gray, maybe some of this stuff would have been in a flashback or something.

My ideas on the unused content. 🙂

Masterge77 said on Oct. 25, 2010

I’m suprised that there are still things in the ROM we don’t know about, and I’m a ROM hacker for crying out loud!!!!!!

MikeReese said on Oct. 25, 2010

I think the graphics are monochrome because the sprite data and palette data are stored separately.

SmaMan said on Oct. 25, 2010

Wouldn’t it be interesting if Mother 2 was kept deep inside the rom? We did find a couple songs from it before, right?

JamesBond007 said on Oct. 25, 2010

Hotel, Saloon, Sheriff – is Mother 3 a western?

Random Guardian said on Oct. 25, 2010

Wow I was waiting for this day. The ROM was just to complicated for me to crack with no effort so I was wondering when a non lazy person would come along and do this. Man I love unused stuff hiding in games.

Random Guardian said on Oct. 25, 2010

Hate to double post but are there not games out there that use random compressed pictures to act as padding for data?(link to one such game: I wouldent be excited if someone found out that some of the pictures are just there and have no meaning what so ever. remeber that random yellow pigmask dude in the rom?

Random Guardian said on Oct. 25, 2010

damn accedenatly hit submit comment earlyer without adding the link!
no i feel like a low life newb…
any mods or something feel free to clean up my mess
i am greatly sorry for my inconvenience

PS: the link if you want it at all. (http://wiki.rustedlogic.net/Baldur%27s_Gate:_Dark_Alliance)

FuzzyPicklez said on Oct. 25, 2010

The pedestal looks like a Needle would be inside of it.

Adirondack said on Oct. 25, 2010

It seems to me that the last one in the first row is like the pig towers from the Earthbound 64 trailer. Maybe they originally had plans to make Mother 3 a lot more like the 64 version.

kalasad said on Oct. 25, 2010

Weren’t there helium airships in the game at one point? Maybe that pig ship thing would be one up close.

spartan 117 said on Oct. 25, 2010

cool so all this stuff was inside the rom. i think you could make cool stuff out of all this like a poster.

OKeijiDragon said on Oct. 25, 2010

I guess there was more to the GBA game’s origins then previously thought.

I hope we someday strike gold with an N64 or GBA prototype of the game!

MechaMutoh said on Oct. 25, 2010

Maybe that huge inflatable pig was some kind of Pigmask zeppelin, who knows?

And that ‘unknown.png’ looks like some kind of emblem, or a grave seen from a side view.

Anon2036 said on Oct. 25, 2010

An empty cardboard box, huh? Hmmm, maybe… No, nevermind, I’ve been playing too much Metal Gear Solid. That Dondeesta stuff reminds me of Dalaam for some reason, but that’s just me.

Just BTW, I wonder what’s up with your 1+2 translation? There hasn’t been any progress in a year, it seems…

Linkzcap said on Oct. 25, 2010

Aw man, it looks like they were planning some kind of Western-themed town. That would have been awesome!

The Commander said on Oct. 25, 2010

Judging by the “Pigmask Boutique” and some of the old masked man sprites, perhaps originally, you were going to see BOTH sides of the story.

fat kid said on Oct. 25, 2010

@The Commander that would be epic wish they did

Jungyin said on Oct. 25, 2010

Wasn’t there also a photo hidden in the data? I recall it was an old photo of an American restaurant that’s actually still around, but because there was no way of knowing the palette data for the picture it looked all weird in monochrome.

Foffano said on Oct. 25, 2010

I’ve found a bus stop sign (1837 in the unlz-gba) and something I believe is an Onett maquette (forgot the number).

I don’t know if they are unused, but I thought they would’ve been in the boatride, but they aren’t.

LakituAl said on Oct. 25, 2010

I’m surprised none of you hasn’t mentioned the Porky portrait. After all, it looks like a temporary party member one…

“Wandering” kanji in a picture called “Donde esta” (Spanish for Where is it?) Being multilingual really pays off around these parts!

Big A2 said on Oct. 26, 2010

It’s like Yellow Submarine meets Led Zeppelin meets Animals (Pink Floyd album).

Anonymous said on Oct. 26, 2010

I wonder why some of this stuff seems to be handwritten. And I seem to recall a picture of a kid in a yellow pig suit or something…It’s been awhile, though.

NESluver said on Oct. 26, 2010

Wow! I never thought this would make it to EB Central. This is so awesomely awesome. 😛

Regarding the monochrome-ness, the reason the graphics are in black and white is because I didn’t know the correct palette that went with those graphics (if there even is one). The tool I used gives you the option of using palettes or leaving it monochrome, so I left it black and white. However, for strange writing.png, the black-and-white-ness made the text hard to see, so I chose a palette that would make the text stand out and easier to read. 😛

Obviously there’s more unused stuff waiting to be found, but most of the stuff I plucked out is the major stuff that really stood out to me.

kyoo said on Oct. 26, 2010
rumikumatora said on Oct. 27, 2010

the giant pig was possibly used at the end, where the pigmasks try to scape but they can’t.

Tina said on Oct. 27, 2010

The giant pig ship reminds me of the giant ship at the end of Chapter 5… maybe that was an alternate design for it?

If Tazmily was supposed to be a western town, that would have been awesome. Especially with Flint and all. 😀

SilthCo. said on Oct. 27, 2010

I think that the big pig thing is the full porkship at the end of chapter 5.

Cubivore10 said on Oct. 27, 2010

Let the completely BS theories begin!

8BitWalugi said on Oct. 28, 2010

Huh. Maybe Mother 3 was meant to be more ‘wild western’. I do love my wild west games.

Starstormer said on Oct. 28, 2010

I think that the giant pig thing was meant to be a boss or something, it sure looks like some kind of enemy graphic to me. As for the signs I think that maybe they were alternate names or possibly some place, building, ect. that never was put in the game.

rumikumatora said on Oct. 30, 2010

those numbers are possibly a beta font for the game

uvoa said on Nov. 1, 2010

I always thought it was popular opinion that it was very western-y. It felt that the original was supposed to be more western-y, in my opinion. I think like someone here said, they were planning on keeping like they originally planned, but didn’t.

Maybe it had just been too long to remember exactly how they wanted something, so they ended up leaving it out.

clausman said on Nov. 2, 2010

some of it looks perfect for a cowboy(Flint).it could possibly be a whole different level where you play as Flint’s cousin or something, and you have to rescue Flint from some other evil character, for they had battled it out in the level where you play as Flint, Flint coming off worst.

Posiedien said on Nov. 6, 2010

Could this be from some of the chapters that were meant to be put into the game?

Foffano said on Nov. 13, 2010

The 123F thing is used in the Chimera Lab walls.

Gronush said on Nov. 22, 2010

The giant Pig looks like a cannon

Jackk said on Dec. 28, 2010

the writing on strang_writing.png is very sketchy, but it seems it says

とーだい マット クロス

The first word とーだい (toudai) I am not sure about, but my dictionary says “Tokyo University” or “Lighthouse”

The second one マット (matto) means a mat.

The third one クロス (kurosu) means cross.

Hope that helped! 🙂

Dark Kirby said on Mar. 11, 2011

-Shadow Pig Blimp (or is it just in black and white)
-Shadow Gate
And more

New UpDate to Mother News March 11,2011
um…Mother was a game
for the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System)
the 1-2(First Generation Second System)
type of thing. it was 8-pit but had color.
Okay,The main hero did not have any psi
that can attack and enemy.
he only had attacks that can raise your attack,speed
and defense. maybe HP. Definitly HP.
In the first town,there was a burger shop.

Now lets do the update for Earthbound Happenings.
Today we noticed that paula was in love with
Ness. I think that Ness loves her to.
They would be a good couple.
Moving Along!
Lots of people said there was going to be a game
called MOTHER 4.
Lets find out what other people says.
EB TEAM: Do you think that there would be
a mother 4?
EB TEAM: How about you Dark Kirby?
Dark Kirby: No. it is very unlikely.
The creatos said no.
There you have it.
That is the daily stuff.

Masterge77 said on May. 13, 2011

We should put everything we have found so far here: http://tcrf.net/Mother_3

pranavmeno said on Jun. 10, 2011

You know, I think that might’ve been the original Mother Porkship that Fassad talks about on top of Thunder Tower….

starwars890 said on Jun. 15, 2011

I think the little landmass thing in dondeesta.png may have been a sprite for the fabled “New Pork Island” in a line of unused text?

starwars890 said on Jun. 16, 2011


Perhaps you were to see the island of Tazmily from an aerial view, like in the beginning of Chrono Trigger?

starwars890 said on Jul. 23, 2011


sorry, i just recalled that that actually DID happen..

Matteomax said on Aug. 9, 2011

This reminds me of the unused cop battle sprite in earthbound, and the unused enemies in earthbound zero. 🙂

Anonymous said on Aug. 23, 2011

Maybe the Porky mugshot was for the cut ending?

His soldiers betray him and pretty much the whole story takes a HUGE turn

Dialga Thunderstar said on Jan. 5, 2012

Well, That’s definently a flying pig ship. I wonder why there is extra stuff in the ROM. Then again, I don’t know much about that kind of stuff. I just play the game.

PSIcicle said on Jul. 26, 2012

*Yay for old article response*

The Giant Pig ship thingy is most likely the Pigmask Mothership…you know that big ship that landed in the beginning of Chapter 3, and appeared in Chapter 7?

That’s what I think it is, the bottom section of that same ship. The Chapter 5 ship seems to be more like a helicopter.

SpashBanjo said on Sep. 4, 2012

The misccrap thing looks like it might of been some sort of prototype hud thing. Maybe it was something that played out like guitar hero for the tune bash command. Maybe it was a bet name selection when you start a new profile?

darien austin said on Aug. 15, 2013

there might of been a unused level wich they had to chase porky and that pig ship thing was his own ship?


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