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Tips for Buying EarthBound

May 19th, 2011 | Images, Merchandise, MOTHER 1

I got a humongous package of MOTHER goods from LucasTizma and Onion today (super duper thanks!) that I’m planning on posting about soon, but first I thought I’d show off this. I absolutely love old 80s gaming guides, they’re so full of life and enthusiasm. Here are two random pics from one MOTHER 1 guide I like:

There’s a ton more pics and info here, definitely check them out when you get the chance. It’s incredible (and sad) to see how staler guides have become since then, here’s a pic from the official MOTHER 3 guide, for example – and that’s one of the better pages!

Basically, I love EarthBound / MOTHER merch, but the strategy guides are probably my favorite type of all. They somehow manage to capture the feel of the games that shirts and keychains can’t. I’m sure glad EarthBound’s guide got that same treatment before guides started to go bland!


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18 Comments to A Quick MOTHER 1 Guide Look

PSICrossX said on May. 19, 2011

It’s kinda funny that Ninten said “JESUS” on page 20. XD

What'sHerFace said on May. 19, 2011

I definitely agree that it’s sad how boring guide books are now; even the guidebooks that come with the games are pretty sterile these days (EX: Pokemon Red and Blue had a booklet that looked like a leather hand book; Black and White’s is just…a book. It’s just a book.)

These illustrations are so much fun to look at! They really help to add more personality to the guide and kind of help emphasize the feel of the game and the personalities of the characters.

JAMESGHOST said on May. 20, 2011

old Nintendo was so badass

Kafei2006 said on May. 20, 2011

The old guides added to the feel of the game by a massive use of artworks too because the graphics of the day alone couldn’t always convey all the aspects of the adventure.

Take a look at this one, you’ll see that most major plot elements have an artwork associated.

In later games, the graphics better represented all that so I guess such a huge amount of artworks wasn’t deemed necessary. Also, ecological concerns have grown since the 80’s so I guess the less ink they can use, they less they’ll effectively use.

All that being said, I miss the guides from the 80’s too.

Onion said on May. 20, 2011

Mmmm…I have to say that I’ve been feeling the same thing about gaming in general these days. It’s like as projects have gotten much bigger and scope and a lot more money is put at stake, there’s less time for people to put their personal touches on games. There’s no ‘love’ there anymore if that makes any sense.

Kuwanger said on May. 20, 2011

Funny, because this also reminds me a lot about the evolution of gaming magazines, especially Nintendo Power. Like Kafei2006 was saying, because of the graphics of the day, there was an almost need for a lot of nice artwork to convey the intent behind the tiny little sprites in games. Yet, my understanding is that Nintendo Power didn’t just take up the artwork for this reason but also because it tried to copy the design of things like doujnishi. That is, it didn’t strive so much for professional structure–ie, it went out of its way to not simply be a collection of rows and columns with regularly spaced information, like a newspaper. In comparison, as noted, most strategy guides have the consistent and rather drab color scheming, the command and mundane page numbering style, very little that’s off-center to a row or column, and as noted a lack of artwork.

Of course, all those things that make a game magazine or strategy guide look “amateurish” and “full of love” also make them a little less marketable to the average person who buys a strategy guide not because they love the game and want to get every ounce of enjoyment out of it but because they want to beat the game as quickly as possible, just to throw the strategy guide and the game in the corner to never be touched again. Of course, I think that’s merely the thinking of publishers; I don’t know if that really reflects the market or even if it does that justifies the shift towards a more bare-bones approach to such works. I would say, I do rather miss the old style. It means you’re left to buy pure artbooks if you want to see such things. That’s only really bad because one of the main points of more general gaming magazines was their inclusion of a large assortment of games that were it not for their inclusion you’d like never would think to look at some games. I mean, how else do many people find about great games like Earthbound? 🙂

Scalemate said on May. 20, 2011

Yeah, if I were 8eing chased 8y zom8ies I think I’d scream “JESUS!” too.
And to add to the whole ‘newer the guide 8ook, more 8oring it is’ thing, I 8ought a Pokemon Diamond and Pearl guide 8ook the other day and there was 8arely anything in it. To spruce it up I printed out stickers of Pokemon and just stuck them wherever there was free space [and 8oy, was there a lot of it]. I miss the old guides, when they were full of pictures [heck, even the Mother 1+2 instruction 8ook had more pictures than most of my newer guide 8ooks!].

Anon #413 said on May. 20, 2011

That you, Vriska?

DJMankiwitz said on May. 20, 2011

I love the Zelda Link to the Past original player’s guide. That thing had a ridiculous amount of “cultural info” just added in for flavor as well as amazing illustrations and everything. I looked at the guide they put in stores for the GBA version a few years ago and was really disappointed that that was all missing. It really does add a lot of personality to the game.

RandomGuardian said on May. 20, 2011

ehhh makes me want to cry now that you mention the whole evolution of gaming guides thing. I would not mind if say, nintendo power went back to maps and guides instead of reveiws and sneek peeks. Shure you could look it up on the internet but what fun would that be?
P.S. I love how NOA would never let ninten say jesus ^^ cultural rifts are fun!

LakituAl said on May. 20, 2011

I have a <i.Nintendo Power guide, don’t really know what year (Super Mario Bros. and Kid Icarus are there, but MegaMan was yet to be launched in America.). I guess it’s an intermediate point between what you people say: It does have a big amount of screenshots and pixel art, particularly Kid Icarus and Metroid, but it’s also heavily hand drawn. How much? The entire Legend of Zelda overworld map is drawn by hand, as are the maps for the Zelda 2 and Super Mario Bros. maps, which are for the most part rather detailed. Quite a nostalgia trip to see such transition.

I’d scream “Jesus!” too if I was being chased by Afro wearing Zombies! I mean, bald Zombies? Pfffft! They’re boring!

LucasTizma said on May. 20, 2011

Ooh, that’s one of my favorite guides! I was fishing through my entire collection to see what duplicates I had so I could send ’em all to Mato. The ones with the hand-drawn art are definitely the coolest.

Guides these days…

DJMankiwitz said on May. 20, 2011

Along similar lines, instruction manuals used to be a lot more expansive with a lot of concept art sprinkled in them. Not that I have a problem with other languages, but it is a little odd that a game that’s only in English has a manual that’s translated into 3 languages. If the game itself had 3 translations on one disk I’d understand it more.

Part of this was the simple fact that NES games would insert a large amount of backstory into the manual instead of needing to fit in a really long opening sequence, and even by the SNES this wasn’t needed any more (though still done).

When it comes to manuals though, the most extravagant ones go to old PC game makers. Partly I think it was due to the big boxes they packed them into. The King’s Quest games had great manuals with nice coloring and even some “old style” paper to really set the mood of those games. There were also the cloth maps and other weird stuff they’d put in there. Today, those things get put in the collector’s editions, which while limited, tend to be free to add in all sorts of crazy stuff. The guides may not be as nice, but they tend to include everything from “making of” DVDs to art books to figurines of various kinds, as well as durable tin cases instead of plastic.

I do get nostalgic for the old guides, but today’s collector’s editions probably go even farther with all the additional content. The big question is, how much of it really enhances the experience of playing the game? A cloth map is something you’ll go to throughout that old DOS RPG, but that figurine is probably going to sit on a shelf the whole game. An art book could probably really be enhanced if the concept art appeared in the same order the things drawn in them appear in the game, and had little descriptions of things like a monster’s life cycle or whatever else you just know the designers were coming up with when making the game.

One little detail. King’s Quest had great detail in the manuals that really added to the experience of playing the game, but the guides didn’t quite get to that degree. They were all basically nothing but text with some diagram style maps in the back. That said, they did get a little creative there. The guides were in the form of questions with answers hidden by red text. You used a little red filter to see the answers, which started out as subtle clues and got progressively obvious. There were also a number of fake-out questions about things that weren’t in the game, which were meant to “catch” people who were just reading the hint guide without trying to solve things on their own first and then make fun of them a little for it. The first part did have a lot of “making of” details about the game though, which was nice.

I’m glad that my two favorite “family friendly” game series full of nice guys (Mother and King’s Quest) had all the neat things they did.

steinmitz said on May. 21, 2011

I think that game boxes have gotten less interesting, too. However, maybe that’s a good thing in a way, because I bought Adventure Island and Milon’s secret castle for the NES mainly because how great the box graphics were, and both turned out to be quite bad. Now, since most games use in-game or FMV-type graphics for their covers, you can pretty much know what you’re investing in before even opening the box. I mean, Milon’s secret castle featured electrical storms around castle towers, but not nearly as fancy as what was on the box.

DJMankiwitz said on May. 22, 2011

Just about all American box art today has the same basic design, a few characters staring at you. It’s rather dull, but the marketing departments apparently “demand” this. There are exceptions, and those really stand out. Katamari for example. Some games suffer from “gritty fool staring at you”, like Ico. Compare the American and Japanese box art and it’s really stunning just how terrible the US art is.

Anon said on May. 30, 2011

Lol its RWJ Ninten!

Anonymous said on Jun. 27, 2011

Ash Ninten, Pokemon:Ness!


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