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October 31st, 2012 | EarthBound, Images

I saw this posted on Reddit just now (link) and had to share it here:

This is more or less how I saw it for a long time when I first played EarthBound too (I think I saw the mustache as more of a mouth or something though). To this day I still sometime accidentally look at it that way, I think it was because of the slightly different perspective the ghost has compared to all the other NPCs that face directly in one direction or another.

Has anyone else seen it this way? Or mis-seen any other graphics in the series? I think Pokey’s sprite is an often-referenced instance, although I never had trouble with that one.


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48 Comments to Mis-seeing the EarthBound Ghost

Hickseey said on Oct. 31, 2012

I never had this misconception, but I did have one in Earthbound for a while. When you call your father and he replies, “I’m behind you 100% of the time”, I always thought it said 100.99! I needed glasses I guess haha. I think I figured out it was a percent sign around the 3rd or 4th time playing through.

Carl said on Oct. 31, 2012

In A Link to the Past, there’s a particular Ganon sprite where he’s holding his cape up. To me, that one pose always looked like a bulldog. I could never figure out why Ganon randomly changed into a dog every now and then during the battle. It’s only within the last couple of years that I was finally able to parse that image correctly and determine what it was really supposed to be.

Anonymous said on Oct. 31, 2012

I don’t see it. Like, at all.

Radiostorm said on Oct. 31, 2012

I had this problem with Geno’s sprite in Super Mario RPG. I interpreted the two yellow loops on his hat as eyes and his curly waft of hair as his nose. It wasn’t until I saw concept art of him years later that I realized my mistake.

Reficul said on Oct. 31, 2012

Can’t see the mustachioed one, Mato.
I don’t even get how somebody could get the mustachioed.

James said on Oct. 31, 2012

If the mouth is seen as an eye, what are the two conspicuous red dots supposed to be? I just can’t see it at all. I did (and still do), however, see the old man with a cane sprite as a woman.

Crav said on Oct. 31, 2012

I posted on starmen a while back, but I guess it wouldn’t hurt to bring it up again. My bro saw something funny and earthbound related a while back while play a Link to the Past. He drew some pictures to show the world.


Poe said on Oct. 31, 2012

James – me too! I always thought that old guy was an old woman.

LakituAl said on Oct. 31, 2012

Well, the first time I saw the Runaway Dog overworld sprite I thought it was a rabbit. Of course, as soon as I engaged in battle I was corrected. XDD

Slightly unrelated, but…


A friend of mine once saw me playing Adventure Island and asked me why on Earth I was playing as an elephant. I went ‘WUT’, and then he told me that the right side of the sprite looked like he had a trunk. Now I can’t unsee it. ;A;

16bitKaiju said on Oct. 31, 2012

I’ve always seen it the way it was intended to be seen.

PepsiMax said on Oct. 31, 2012

Crav, yes, omigoodness, yes. I ALWAYS, and still do see Aghanim as Pokey.

Mariominesonic said on Oct. 31, 2012

I used to see the guy in the end of time (chrono trigger) as a walking stick woth eyes and a mouth due to the way he blends in

Gaffer Tape said on Oct. 31, 2012

Radiostorm: I always saw Geno the same way too until I got my hands on the instruction manual/players guide!

BlueStone said on Oct. 31, 2012

To this day I have a very difficult time seeing Pokey’s nose as being his nose and not squinted up eyes due to his fatness.

Leeaux said on Oct. 31, 2012

@james @poe

I always saw it as a guy with a diamond in his head!

Carl said on Oct. 31, 2012

Wait, which “old man with a cane” sprite are you guys talking about? Do you mean the second person in row 14 on this image? http://local-static1.forum-files.fobby.net/forum_attachments/0012/3561/earthbound_people_sheet.gif

Because I’ve always thought that person was a woman, and even now can’t really see it as a man–isn’t that a ponytail on the back of his/her head? It looks kind of like a man from the front, but very feminine from the back & sides.

Poe said on Oct. 31, 2012

Carl: at the bottom here – http://www.videogamesprites.net/Earthbound/NPCs/Townsfolk/Men/

I always thought that one was a woman, heh.

Carl said on Oct. 31, 2012

Oh, that makes more sense. That guy does look pretty weird.

EmeraldWind said on Oct. 31, 2012

I always thought the dude was a dog in a shower cap.

I am not sure why I never questioned that though.

kal said on Oct. 31, 2012

I don’t know how you could see it as the thing on the right.
Also, this is a Halloween post.

The Man With No Name said on Oct. 31, 2012

Thats an old man not a lady? blowing my mind here

Esper said on Oct. 31, 2012

Yeah I see Pokey as a cyclops always.

Youkai said on Oct. 31, 2012

I cannot even see anything but what was intended. It always looked obvious to me. I mean, what else would those red things be?

Mato said on Oct. 31, 2012

As I said, I don’t see a mustache, I see more of just a beak-like mouth thing that partially sticks out.

After looking and thinking about it, I think the reason *I* mis-saw it was because it was on a tiny screen of a crappy TV. Nowadays it’s easy to tell with the clear pixels and the LCD monitors/TVs.

If it helps any, make the sprite really tiny, stand away from the screen, and try to think of the mouth as an eye (cover up the red parts if you have to). The red things above probably looked like random RGB pixel noise on my crappy TV and seemed more like weird eyebrow things or something that accentuated the “eye”.

It sounds weird (and it IS weird) but that’s probably how I and others mistook the sprite. Or at least that’s my best guess.

JRokujuushi said on Oct. 31, 2012

I never saw it like that, and I still don’t see it like that. However, I can see it as a face when looking at the sprites without all the lines telling me what to look for. (I was using this image zoomed in on the ghosts – http://www.spriters-resource.com/snes/earthbound/overworld.png )

The red is like an exposed brain. Below that is the eye. Nose is poking out on the left side. The sprite farthest left looks like it has a mouth below the nose. The other “arm” looks like a floppy earlobe. Then you get into battle with it and the whole illusion is ruined.

Jason said on Oct. 31, 2012

You’re right.. it’s much easier to see if you zoom out/step away (I just zoomed to 40% on my monitor and covered up the eyes). I never saw it that way personally, but once you see it that way, your mind kinda makes up how you’re gonna keep seeing it.

kenisu said on Oct. 31, 2012

You know Swooper, the bat enemy from Super Mario World? Yeah, for years I thought its red nose was one big, red eye, and its closed eyes were some sort of split unibrow.


Andydark said on Oct. 31, 2012

I used to see Emperor Gestahl as a rabbit and Kefka as a bug in final fantasy VI. No idea why really. 😛

flintlockdoorknob said on Oct. 31, 2012

I always see Pokey’s nose as a cyclops eye.

I kind of miss that about 8bit and 16bit videogames. There’s a lot less left up to interpretation.

CerealQueen said on Oct. 31, 2012

It’s pretty believable that a ghost in EB could have a mustache regardless. I think it would have been funny.

I always had a hard time making out Zubat from Pokemon. I could never be sure what his eyes or ears were. They make it much more obvious in recent games.

Apple Kid said on Oct. 31, 2012

As for me… it isn’t technically a sprite but in the final area of the Cave of the Past, as you enter Giygas’s lair as the light fades into his dark lair, it always reminds me of a humanoid cat (similar to the that cat from Alice in Wonderland)
As an actual sprite problem is that Locke from Final Fantasy III (American title) was wearing an Einstein wig. O-o

Pak-Man said on Nov. 1, 2012

I have the opposite problem with Tentacool/Tentacruel in Pokemon. I see the red dots as the face, and never notice the actual face down below.

BusterTheFox said on Nov. 1, 2012

I’ve had this problem with sprites before; I think every gamer has at some point. xD I never saw this one that way, but after covering the “real” eyes, I was able to sort-of see the strange mustache thing. But… Lol, this reminds me of the good ‘ol days playing SNES as a kid.

MrKoopan said on Nov. 1, 2012

never saw this whenever I played, but I can see why somebody would, it even looks cooler from that guy’s mind

Anonymous said on Nov. 1, 2012

It’s easier to see it when I put my thumb over the red eyes. The ghost the person is seeing is facing left, you only see the left part of its face.

I lose the image as soon as I see the red eyes again, though.

Kyosuke said on Nov. 1, 2012

Never saw it like that, but you know how the box art has a Starman with Ness reflected in his visor? I always thought it was a giant Starman with Ness riding inside the head looking out. Not until recently did I figure out it was just a reflection.

Opinionated Vector Chimera said on Nov. 1, 2012

Yeah, I did think Ness on the box art was actually piloting the Final Starman.

(Bonus trivia: you only encounter that enemy in the final area, when Ness is a robot and not a human.)

Mel said on Nov. 2, 2012

Spiteful crow!!
I used to think his sunglasses was a hat, and his eye was right next to his mouth, like where the corner of the mouth is.
Like he’s squinting his eyes and laughing really hard.

NickelDime said on Nov. 4, 2012

For me, it’s the Mook. Boy, took me a while to realize the third eye (the one NOT on a stalk…) wasn’t a nose… Still have that problem now. XD

Catterick said on Nov. 4, 2012

Energy Robot from Mother. Used ta think the nuclear symbol was its face…

bergum said on Nov. 4, 2012

I used to think that the faries in The Legend of Zelda NES (not the second one) were flying fish.
Even then, it’s still hard for me to see it.

357 said on Nov. 6, 2012

it’s more a beard if anything

Johnwalt said on Nov. 7, 2012

I really don’t see the mustache… lol

MrSaturn03 said on Nov. 7, 2012

I…I don’t see it. I must either have really good, or really bad vision. 😛

Radic said on Nov. 12, 2012

I don’t think I have ever had a problem misinterpreting the overworld sprite, however, for a long time, I thought that the ghost in the status affect (not sure if it’s the Japanese on or the American) was a hand casting a strange spell, it took me a while to see it correctly.

Anonymous said on Nov. 28, 2012

cannot unsee, thankyou mato

Anonymous said on Nov. 30, 2012

I thought the that was a bow on top oh their head.

Anonymous said on Jul. 25, 2013

I used to see Giygas’ roght eye as an eyebrow.


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