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Tips for Buying EarthBound

November 19th, 2012 | EarthBound, Itoi, MOTHER 3, Q&A

Hurray, it’s time for another Q&A update 😀

I really hoped to have a new update sooner, but if you’ve ever had the fun of dealing with leasing agents, rental car companies, utility companies, moving companies, and all that good stuff, you probably know how much of a lost cause an update probably was. But now I got access to the webtubes again, so let’s get this show on the road!

Incidentally, this is literally the extent of the furnishings I currently own while all my stuff is being shipped across the country:

Indeed, you’re looking at EarthBound Central HQ!

Which reminds me, I stopped by the Fangamer office the other day and apparently Officecam was going to start soon. I wish I could’ve stuck around, but maybe some other time. Sounds like it was a lot of fun, I’ll have to check out the archive video later. Especially memorable was when MashySoup ran away immediately after meeting me.

Okay, now for the questions! And answers.

TheZunar123 asks:

Thanks for the response, Mato! I just have one question; what’s the “Feet” for? Is it something to do with portability?

“Feet” is the plural form of “foot”. Why I said it is a mystery to even me.

Mariominesonic asks:

What are your thoughts on the Claus backgound left in mother 3

I feel like Itoi had some rough ideas early on in the game’s development that would have involved Claus fighting against his robotic side while Lucas fought Claus too. As the battle would progress, Claus would slowly start to regain his human mind. The backgrounds might’ve been different stages of that battle, much like how there were multiple stages to the Giygas battle.

But, like a lot of things in the game, these were very early ideas that Itoi might’ve jotted down for the dev team, and when the time came for Itoi to really start working on the game (near the end of development), he decided to scrap a lot of his earlier ideas. I know that as a creator/translator, whenever I look back on something I’ve done after some period of time, I really want to change/remove things. That’s just my take on it, though.

Mobileopponent asks:

…Speaking of which, what’s the easiest way to get a English-translation-patched Mother 3 on a GBA, if possible?

I mentioned this in an earlier Q&A, but the easiest way is to use a GBA flash cart. I don’t know if anyone even makes them anymore – most flash cart/card providers have long since moved on to making things for the DS and newer. The best place to look for info and tips on this subject is this big forum thread.

Japanese Anonymous asks:

You said Japanese fans like to bash Mother 3. That seems strange to me, considering the general consensus I’ve seen among westerners is that it’s one of the best RPGs they’ve ever played. What exactly don’t they like about the game?

Halloween chimed in too:

I like the Japanese fanbase question. My guess as to why there are so many underage Earthbound fans is Super Smash Bros.

Bashing Mother 3 though… maybe just because it’s new? I’m super curious what their complaints are, because like you said I haven’t heard anything bad about it over here.

PSIcicle adds:

My next question also concerns the bashing it recieves in Japan:

Is it a majority of Japanese fans that bash the game, or is this just a specific bunch of people?

Okay, so I covered this in an update a little while back here, but I’ll try to briefly cover the topic of Japanese fans and MOTHER 3.

First, I guess I should say that the prevailing sentiment among Japanese fans online is that MOTHER 3 was a disappointment. And, given that 2ch is hardly the nicest of places, there’s a lot of hate for the game on Japanese message boards and elsewhere.

I think the reason for this is that MOTHER 1 was considered revolutionary or at least very original, as far as RPGs back then went. The sequel improved on it greatly and is often called “god-like” for lack of a better translation. These two games are revered among Japanese fans.

But the third game is so unlike the other two games that it’s seen as inferior – I’ve seen many commenters say it should never have been made and that Shigesato Itoi’s a washed-up hack now.

I could probably go and read huge message board posts on the subject and try to sum them up here, but sadly I don’t have the time right now. I’ll cover it in a future update though! It always felt to me like the negativity was basically just “it’s not the same so it sucks” sort of thing. There are, of course, many Japanese fans who loved the game, so it’s not fair to generalize it and say the game is depised in Japan or anything though.

In contrast, I think fans outside of Japan greeted the game with a feeling of, “Oh my god I can’t believe it we finally get to play a new game in the series after all these years of getting the cold shoulder from Nintend nom nom nom”

Opinionated Vector Chimera asks:

What do you think of the difficulty of the Mother games? EarthBound had its moments…ugh, Fourside’s department store. Mother 3 had unforgiving bosses. And don’t get me started on Mother 1/EarthBound Zero (everything outside of your house kills you in two hits).

I really liked EarthBound’s difficulty level – hard in some places but not insanely so. Easy in others. And if you hit a trouble spot, there’s always a way to get past the trouble through exploration or creativity (like stumbling upon the mushroom girl and/or finding the Hard Hat in Peaceful Rest Valley). I’m always kind of bewildered when I see new players claim that the game’s super hard and is really grindy. Maybe they’re just used to quicker-paced RPGs these days?

EarthBound Zero’s difficulty was brutal for me. It (among other factors) ruined the game’s enjoyment for me, mostly because I wasn’t expecting it and wasn’t going into it with the right mindset. I thought it was going to be like EarthBound, I didn’t go into it expecting something closer to Dragon Warrior. But, after working on the MOTHER 1+2 patch last year, I came to realize that as long as you fight most of the enemies you run across (even if they are particularly frequent) and use the game’s map properly, the game isn’t that hard at all, except maybe for the end part of the game.

I found MOTHER 3’s difficulty to be between EarthBound and EarthBound Zero. I certainly had a hard time with a lot of the bosses – I could tell that the developers really worked hard to give the player a real challenge in some spots. To this day I still have problems on occasion with the various Fassad/Yokuba incarnations. I liked that the game never seemed especially grindy except for a few spots like the Titiboo attic and possibly places in Chapter 7 if you go out of the suggested Needle order.

So I’d rank the difficulty from highest to lowest like this:

  • EarthBound Zero
  • MOTHER 3
  • EarthBound

I know this is sometimes a controversial topic though – so share your thoughts in the comments if you agree or disagree!

Ninten asks:

How did you feel the video game industry actully liked you fan tranlating Mother 3? Do you think Nintendo knew about the fan tranlation?

Nintendo definitely knew about the fan translation. Reggie went on record at one point stating that he knew about it, in fact. I also included some stuff about the fan translation among a bunch of the stuff we sent Itoi a few years back. I might’ve included the same thing in similar packages we sent Iwata, Miyamoto, and a few others, but I can’t remember.

In any case, the high-ranking folks at Nintendo knew. The more rank-and-file people all knew about it too, and when Reid and company visited Nintendo and Nintendo Power some years back they were all excited to know when the patch would be released.

I *was* surprised that people at other game companies were keeping tabs on the project too. But now that I think about it it makes sense – for example, EVERY translator co-worker or colleague of mine originally started out doing unofficial translations of stuff they enjoyed. And many still do unofficial translations too, just as I do. So it sort of makes sense that there’s a kind of mutual admiration for the stuff we all work on unofficially. I know I keep tabs on stuff others work on, at least.

CerealQueen asks:

What exactly got you started in making EarthBound-related sites? First Earthbound.net and now EB Central. I don’t want to assume EarthBound is your favorite game, so why did you work so hard on these fan sites? Why the Mother series over any other you liked? Do you have any plans for other big game sites like this for the future?

Back in late 1998 I decided it was time to start learning what this fancy “CSS” thing was all about. Then I started learning about “server side includes”. Then I randomly stumbled upon reidman’s dinky EarthBound site one day and talked to him a bit. He was trying to help EarthBound.Net get off the ground, but no one really knew what they were doing, so that’s when I stepped in. In fact, I still have the initial e-mail where I was like, “Okay, this existing EarthBound.Net is poo so let’s change it this way.” You can read it here. And then began my journey into EarthBound site and project-mania. So, like it is for a lot of people, I wound up working on what I’m working on mostly because of a bunch of coincidences and just being in a certain place at a certain time.

I often think what I would’ve done had I not gotten into EarthBound stuff online – I probably would’ve done a bunch of Final Fantasy sites (which even then were a dime a dozen) and/or something related to StarTropics eventually. And lately I have been feeling the want to not be so completely associated with EarthBound/MOTHER stuff, because I genuinely do like a lot of other things and have all sorts of projects and goals and hopes I want to work toward. Like I said in a previous Q&A though, I really like working on EarthBound stuff so I doubt I’ll ever give it up. I can see myself still playing the games and doing related projects at the age of 70 😛

For the more immediate future, some projects I hope to get into include:

  • Putting more focus into my Legends of Localization stuff and getting started with possible print versions of each analysis too
  • Get back into game programming, making games that kid me would’ve liked or would’ve found memorable
  • Possibly finally start making a site teaching Japanese in a really bare-bones, simple way without any fluff. And while trying to avoid the pitfalls I encountered while I learned the language.

I think I have more, but those are what come to mind right now.

Ness asks:

I Want to fan translate. What tools do I need to fan translate games?

The best resource I can point you to is this page. Like any sort of specialty skill, there’s a learning curve and it will take time and practice to master, so don’t give up right away! It’s always disappointing to see people give up on stuff without even really trying. So hang in there!

edgethelucas asks:

Which reminds me. Tomato, do you know how hard it would be to put the English Mother 3 ROM on the supposed flash cart anyway? If I follow through on your suggestion, then would I be just fine? I just skimmed a tutorial on using one and it looks REALLY complicated. I plan on playing Mother 3 on my GameBoy Advance SP, not my DS, if that helps

I’ve only ever used one type of flash cart, and although it can be a bit finnicky it works pretty well most of the time and isn’t hard to use at all. It’s often the case that reading about something might make it seem complicated until you’re actually faced with it, at which point it’s pretty simple minus a few quirks. I’d recommend checking out that flash cart/card topic on Starmen.Net that I linked to.

Radic asks:

Anyways Mato, I have a question of my own, you spent a long two years doing really hard work on a proffsional fan translation (when I saw it, I thought it was officially made). You said that if Nintendo announced something about an official realease, you were willing to close down the Intire thing. My question to you is, would you really be willing to do this, and If so, why? Nintendo has a high chance of blowing it over and over censoring the game, making it less enjoyable, whereares, yours is the official, uncensored, original, and more enjoyable, do you really think Nintendo can do a better job than you did. Also, of Nintendo DID announce something, would you consider lending them your script to make things run smoother?

Yep, I was honestly willing to drop the project if Nintendo announced anything or if Nintendo had sent any sort of legal notice our way. Why? Because 1. that’s the kind of guy I am, 2. any sort of word from Nintendo would be a beacon of hope for the game and/or series, and 3. it would’ve meant getting time to sleep and work on other things 😛

But really, most of the ROM translators/hackers I’ve worked with in the past have that same sort of ethic – we don’t want to step on the IP owners’ toes or hurt an official release if one is on its way.

I think an official Nintendo localization would’ve had many benefits to it:

  • Smoother writing than mine
  • More actual localization – I sometimes feel I didn’t localize enough, or at least not as much as an official release would have
  • Fewer bugs in the game code – our project has several bugs that I’m embarrassed about, even if no one else really notices or cares. Things like if you scroll through item menus really fast when the item lists are really full of text, the stuttering after the naming screen, or how sometimes the game’s text suddenly slows down and speeds up. An official release wouldn’t have had this.
  • Actual physical stuff to go with the game, even if it was just a simple box and instruction manual, it would’ve been nice to have. I guess this is where the Fangamer MOTHER 3 Handbook fits into the equation though.

Some obvious cons to an official localization I can think of off the top of my head include:

  • Censoring of some content
  • A lot of little connections to the previous games would be lost – I’m talking stuff only the craziest of crazy fans would’ve picked up on
  • A lot of the coding improvements we made wouldn’t have been included – eight-letter names probably wouldn’t have happened, for example

There’s more I’m sure, but maybe I’ll write about it more in the future.

And yes, Nintendo is free to use my translated text at any time, no strings attached. I don’t expect the offer to be taken up because it might be seen as making a bad precedent for future unofficial projects. And it might be a legal minefield, similar to how companies refuse to accept ideas from outside individuals.

JesusLovesNess asks:

Have you ever discovered an Earthbound Easter Egg (intentional hidden message) or what appears to be an Easter Egg in something non-Earthbound related? I discovered one not too long ago in a children’s book. The title of the chapter says “Earth Bound” and the first paragraph reads “The world was silent. And most everyone was fast asleep. What seemed like a normal night, with the moon and the stars shining brightly overhead, would become a night like no other.” It reads like it could be the first chapter of the EB story but it actually is the first chapter of the Nativity story in the “Adventure Bible Storybook”. When I read it one of my first thoughts was “I wonder if this is an Earthbound Easter Egg put in by the author who might be an Earthbound fan?” Have you ever discovered anything like this?

I dunno, I’d have to see the book in question. I feel like a lot of the submissions I get for EB Central that focus on these sorts of similarities are a lot like seeing shapes in clouds – they’re neat to point out but probably not really based on any actual connection. Actually, if you check a few years back I regularly posted lots of things from readers who found EarthBound-esque stuff in completely unrelated things. I think I posted too many though so I’ve been trying to phase out those updates 😛

Crav notes:

You know, I just had a sudden humorous realization.
Isn’t it funny that Earthbound is often cited as a victim of poor marketing campaigns, when Itoi, the man responsible for the series, was famous for his ability to come up with successful slogans back in the day?

That’s not an actual question for Mato. Just a random thought that popped into my head.

Yeah, this thought has passed my mind in the past too. It’s funny because in a way it’s happening again – Chewy was showing a bunch of us at the Fangamer office how Itoi’s company has been hoping to sell English versions of his designer notebook thingies online but the marketing has been an absolute failure in every conceivable way (and more!) More on that another day though!

I guess it’s true that Japanese marketing and American marketing (or just Western marketing in general?) are very different beasts.

NecrosaroIII asks:

Do you ever regret getting so heavily involved in the EarthBound community? Looking back, is there other ways you would have rather spent your time? Other projects you wish you would have taken?

Not at all, although I do wish I had spent more time working on other things. I already discussed a few things in a previous question above. All in all I can’t complain – I have a lot of fun with what I’m doing, I just wish I had more time to do MORE things that would be fun to work on. Lately I’ve been trying to branch out to try different projects I’ve always said, “It’d be cool to someday do this…”, some of which I also listed above. I think, even if a project turns out to not be fun or not particularly successful, it’s worth trying, so I plan to keep working on more and more as time goes on.

mc925 asks:

In Earthbound Q&A #3, you said your biggest disappointment in the series was the dragon thing in Mother 3. Do you feel the same about the dragon in Mother 1? Do you think those two dragons are connected in any way? Maybe the dragon in Mother 3 is a reference to mother 1?

The dragon in MOTHER 1 was no problem for me at all – it exists in Magicant, a weird, magical place full of already goofy enemies. I do kind of wish there hadn’t been a dragon there – it really deflates the whole “hey this game’s different it has no dragons and knights, just hippies and burgers!” thing that fans like to cite. But I don’t mind it.

I don’t think the MOTHER 1 dragon is connected to the MOTHER 3 one in any way, though. But if anyone has any theories or thoughts on the matter, I’d love to hear them!

AppleKid asks:

Hey, Tomato can we expect to see pirated Mother 3 carts on ebay? I just found one with a white box and I believe that Mother 3 came in a red box.

The one in the white box was likely the one that came as part of the MOTHER 3 Deluxe Box set. And yes, there are already a small number of carts with the English translation on them floating around out there, so it’s very possible there could be pirated Japanese versions too. If you see one of the English carts though, you’ll know instantly that it’s not an official release.

Mat asks:

Waitaminute, you live in the U.S.? I assumed you were in Japan all this time! Have you lived in Japan at any point, or have you been translating from America all this time?

Yeah, I live in the U.S. I spent the last couple of years in Florida and now I’m in Arizona. I spent some time during college in Japan but haven’t been back for any great length of time since. It really sucks too – my speaking abilities are so, so rusty at this point that it’s embarrassing. I’d like to move there someday so I can knock that rust out of my brain, but for now I live and work in the land of hot dog machine guns and apple pie.

Ostricho asks:

Why did you decide to translate MOTHER 1+2’s Mother 1 section? Would you recommend your translation over the Earthbound Zero translation? And, is the gameplay more balanced?

Yeah, I actually do recommend it in my newcomer’s guide. The M1+2 patch features an optional Easy Ring (which works way better than the Easy Patch I made for the NES ROM), more natural-sounding text, intact connections with MOTHER 2 and 3, expanded text windows for better presentation and reading, and more. With the Easy Ring, you can breeze through the game without any trouble. Whether that makes it balanced or not is up to interpretation, but a lot of e-mails I get say that it made the game a lot more fun.

The main complaint I sometimes get about the M1+2 patch is that the music in the MOTHER 1 portion is a little different than the original NES music. This is true, but it never really bothered me. In fact, I don’t think I even noticed a difference until people pointed it out to me!

Mothermania points out:

I see what you mean about the Dark Dragon fitting more into the classic medieval RPG stereotype, but the idea of the Seven Needles seems too deep to consider it arbitrary. The game has such a unique musical element, considering the battle system, DCMC, and the Magypsy’s names. I suppose they could have chosen something besides a dragon and needles, but I think the number fits the concept of the game quite well. Do you think this was intentional from the very beginning of development, or just a coincidence after the selection of an arbitrary number?

Yeah, I think it’s the fact that it’s a dragon that gets me. If it had maybe been something else, like even just 7 power spots or what have you, I would’ve liked it better. I don’t HATE the fact that there’s a dragon in MOTHER 3, it just suddenly turned a game with a unique story and atmosphere into something more ordinary. At least in my eyes.

As I recall, it was actually the musician who decided to name the Magypsies after the musical modes, not Itoi. In which case, Itoi probably already had seven Magypsies as part of the story – meaning the musical connection was more of just an afterthought. One that worked really well with the existing content, though.

BusterTheFox asks:

What is one of your favorite quotes from Mother 3? For example, one of my favorites is, “Flint! I want you to go wherever your heart takes you. But not that way!!!”.

I loved the attic mice text! When I first played it in Japanese I was like, “Wait, did I just forget how to read Japanese or something?” but then realized it was just a heavy, heavy dialect that not even most natives could fully decipher. Working on the translation for that was a lot of fun.

I’m also fond of “OH MY PORK!” And although it’s been overdone by now, I really liked the sign about the tower of love and peace.

Another memorable line which might seem odd is an item description that says something like, “Gloves that fit… like a glove.” I’m pretty sure that was a Chewy translation/localization. It’s always stayed in my mind for whatever reason.

Bob0mb asks:

Thank you for answering my question in #2 of this Q&A series. I have a few questions for you. 1. Is this Q&A going to interfere with your other posts? 2. Is Earth Bound Central ever going to end when you run out of stuff to talk about? 3. Do you recommend any RPGs for the GBA and DS/3ds? Mother 3 won’t count. 4. Have you ever seen unused things that you wanted to, but couldn’t use in the Mother 3 Fan Translation?
Those are all my questions for now…

Well, the Q&A stuff is/was meant as temporary update material while I was in transit. I’ll be resuming normal updates shortly (but I won’t be back in full swing until the end of the month – I won’t have my main computer back until then) and I’ll probably be doing occasional Q&A updates in the future too.

I haven’t really thought about EarthBound Central ending, but I guess it’s going to end sometime, huh? If I ever run out of stuff to talk about I suppose it might just become an update-a-week sort of thing, but to be honest I’ve been doing this for years and there’s still plenty to talk about, show, share, analyze, and more. So I don’t think it’ll shut down anytime soon. I’ve actually been thinking of updating the site design, maybe making a mobile version, and even coding some stuff that would allow me to do mini-updates in addition to normal updates. Like all things, it costs time though.

jinxkatty7 asks:

I got a question…. I read this whole thing. May I have my gold star now. Please?

Sure thing – send me an e-mail and I’ll hook you up with one on here.

flintlockdoorknob asks:

I have a simple question.

What on earth do the lyrics of the Dungeon Man (The song titled inside the dungeon) background music say? It sounds like they should be words but I can’t make it out.

It’s a really weird song…

I don’t think it actually has lyrics – from what I read in an interview one of the instruments in that song is actually a sample taken from Itoi humming without realizing he was being recorded. As far as I know there are no actual lyrics to the song.

flintlockdoorknob also says:

“The general feeling is that MOTHER series fans now are mostly limited to the late 20s to mid 30s demographics. The same is probably true outside of Japan, but by some strange quirk, it seems like the fanbase outside of Japan is also producing a constant stream of new fans in their early teens. I don’t know why this is the case, I’d love to hear people’s thoughts about it, though!”

Maybe it has something to do with Smash Brothers inclusion of Ness and Lucas?

You’d think so, but then wouldn’t Japanese kids have gotten into the series the same way too?

My guess is that the games are simply seen as a solid (and quirky) RPG series, while over here the series’ neglect has somehow granted it a more “legendary” status. I think that’s definitely overstating it, but something along those lines seems possible, right? I really don’t know how to answer this – it seems like something a socio-game-ologist might want to research for a doctorate degree or something though.

WheatThinEthan asks:

Thanks for answering my other question, but I have two more that have been bugging me for awhile.

1. Regarding the Super Smash Bros. series, who from the MOTHER series would make the best (or most likely) newcomer for the Wii U game? I’m not sure if you know a whole lot about the series, but personally, I’d guess Flint.

2. EarthBound was probably made in a “Golden Age” of RPG’s that went with a truly different formula and setting (modern day). What would a new Nintendo game (non-EarthBound related) have to do to be considered as unique as EarthBound was? Personally, I can’t imagine what hasn’t been done by now that has a chance at being successful.

Thanks (that is, if you do answer them)

1. I feel like Ness and Lucas already have the “MOTHER series character who uses a bashing weapon” thing all tied up, so having Flint in the next game seems like it would just be more of the same. I think Jeff might be an interesting character, while Poo might be interesting with his Mirror ability (and maybe eating certain types of Western food wouldn’t heal him much?) Teddy seems like he might be an interesting character to include too. But more than anything I think a Starman would be awesome!

2. Japanese RPGs definitely seem to have hit a stagnant period, minus a few exceptions here and there. I don’t think the whole “let’s do an RPG but in a modern setting!” thing would have the same, “Whoa!” effect to it these days. But I do think a modern-themed RPG (or just any RPG at all) with really well-crafted characters, settings, and text is what’s needed next. Unfortunately (at least due to my personal experience) it seems like Japanese game designers and creators are reusing the same ideas and formulas over and over. Can this be fixed? I don’t know, but I’d like to hear others’ opinions on the matter.

TheZunar123 asks another question:

Mato, I have one more question for you. In our patch, we’re using the system of the old Final Fantasy games to save room with weapon and armor names; instead of Cracked Bat, it would be |Cracked, with the | being the symbol for the bat. Do you think that’s a good way to save space, being that the limit for equipment is 9 letters?

Absolutely – if variable width fonts and long item names aren’t a possbility, using item icons is THE way to go. My problem is that I suck at art, so my icons always suck 😛

Lucas asks:

? Why havent you updated yet? It’s been two days.

I didn’t have Internet access for about two days there, and when I did get it I found myself overwhelmed with dealing with 1000 companies and various agents of all sorts. I’m sorry to have made you wait.

Darien pointed out to me via e-mail:

Just a quick note — we’ve moved recently, and we’re still getting to know the area, and we tried a local Japanese restaurant / sushi bar ( (link) — their web site is horribad, but it’s a good place), and I got to impress the wife by knowing what gyoza and tonkatsu are. Both of which I learned about from EB Central.

So there you go! You’re more educational than you realised. 😉

Cool, glad EarthBound Central could help your taste buds! Gyoza is one of my absolute favorite foods ever – I don’t think I’ve ever had TOO much gyoza in all my life! And tonkatsu is delicious~

Anonymous said via e-mail:

You say you are interested in the project / challenge of translating Mother 2, but can you do it as a promise for 2013? :3

I have no plans to translate the MOTHER 2 side. If I had the time, I totally would. But I don’t have the time. I’d rather spend what little time I have working on other endeavors. But if anyone wants to send me a ton of money for it, I wouldn’t mind 😛

EBrent asked via e-mail:

I’m not sure if you’re still answering questions. And, if I had thought about it, I probably would have put these in my previous message. But here goes:

1. I realize it’s a poor substitute for actually visiting the country, but do you know of a place where students of Japanese can listen to a significant amount of realistic, unscripted Japanese speech?

2. Have you been able to find Food Fight in any format other than those crappy Chinese VCD’s? Does NTV even put their Saturday drama serials out on home video?

3. Is finding a Japanese language teacher of your same gender really that important?

1. YouTube and Nico Nico are probably godsends for this. When I first started out learning the language, none of this fancy Internet stuff was really around, so the idea of playing Japanese games or watching Japanese ANYTHING wasn’t even an option. So I really envy you 😛 Basically, look for stuff that’s not subtitled and not really scripted. I wouldn’t even know what to suggest you start looking for – I guess just search for topics or words that interest you and hop around from there. Like, if you’re into science stuff, see if you can find any videos by science-knowing guys.

2. Sadly, no, I haven’t been able to find Food Fight on anything but VCD. I have a few episodes recorded on old VHS when I was in Japan so long ago, but only a couple. I think a kid died while trying to imitate the show, so the sequel series was canned and the original series was never rebroadcast or released on DVD 🙁

3. It’s not vital of course, but if you can do it, it could help a lot. I know there were a few instances where I was talking with someone and they said, “You know, you use sort of feminine speech, did you have female teachers?” That taught me right quick to drop all my “deshou”s and such unless absolutely critical. But the important thing is that you can understand them and they can understand you – any little nuances beyond that are just bonuses/minor concerns.

Although not really a question, Jason replied to the last Q&A with:

Not a question, comment, or anything of substance.. but I’m from Tucson!! I live in Japan now, but I just find it amazing to hear Tucson pop up here.

That is all!

Cool! Gimme suggestions on places to go, places to eat at, and stuff like that!

Holy Giygas that’s a lot of questions and answers 😯 I think this will end the current batch of Q&A stuff – I’ll start resuming normal updates soon, but if you DO have any questions you’d like me to tackle in a future Q&A update, post them in the comments here and I’ll get to them when the time comes! I’ll try to do a Q&A thing every few weeks.

I originally thought this Q&A stuff would just be a simple way to do updates while I was too busy and had limited Internet access, so it’s a nice surprise to see that it’s actually a pretty fun and interesting addition to the site. A lot more time intensive than I expected though 😛

Anyway, take care, and post any future questions in the comments or forever hold your peace.


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30 Comments to EarthBound Central Q&A #5

Radic said on Nov. 19, 2012

Thanks for answering my question btw, and thanks for doing this, it really is a major step up to answer our crazy questions :mrgreen: . Im sure this was all hard on you. Also improved my knowledge on the games a little bit.

Cranberry Tofu said on Nov. 19, 2012

Regarding the Dark Dragon stuff in Mother 3, it was a surprise when I first played through the game, but it didn’t seem that bad in the end. Even though dragons are very overused in video games, I felt that this was one of the less clichéd uses of a dragon.

It actually reminded me most of the movie Excalibur, where Merlin would refer to “the Dragon”. “The Dragon” was never an actual dragon, but more like a force of nature that possessed a great deal of power. You never really see it, but its power and influence are always there.

Mother 3 felt reminiscent of that, with the needles sealing an unimaginably powerful force of nature that happened to be called a Dragon. I could be wrong, though; that’s just my take on it.

superdupernessguy1995 said on Nov. 19, 2012

Dude! Mato lives in Twoson? I mean Tuscon? 🙂 Either way, watch out for Happy Happyists!

Apple Kid said on Nov. 19, 2012

Thanks, Mato. I sometimes forget about the deluxe set and other promotional stuff like that. Well, these have been fun, but I hope we get back to regular posts soon.

CerealQueen said on Nov. 19, 2012

I’m glad the move went okay and hope things situate for you guys soon.

Now, this isn’t so much having to do with EB, but more about you, Mato, so feel free not to add it to the Q&A.

I understand you work as a translator, but what is your favorite game/show/etc. that you’ve translated? What got you involved in that field and when did you first begin working for Funimation? Are you glad with your career choice? What shows/games do you wish to work on in the future?

Again, feel free not to answer.
By the way, thanks so much for taking the time to do all of these!

NorthofOnett said on Nov. 19, 2012

This has nothing to do with EarthBound, but it is important, nonetheless.

When is GameSwag going to be fixed? 🙁

edgethelucas said on Nov. 19, 2012

@ Cranberry Tofu Yeah, I felt the same playing through the game, I didn’t really feel that it was clichéd. I like to think that, when it came down to it, I was more worried about the context surrounding it (if the Masked Man gets more Needles than you then terrible things will happen) to really worry about thoughts like, “oh great, another dragon in another RPG. In a MOTHER game, for Pete’s sake!”

I don’t wanna gush too much about MOTHER 3, but most games (or even movies and books, for that matter) never did make me feel something like MOTHER 3 did, and I think its strength in delivering those feelings was enough to make me forgive the whole “the world depends on the dragon” trope. Not that tropes are bad–quite the opposite. I guess oversaturation and overreliance of tropes like saving the world and awakening a great supernatural force (the Dragon) and such in games made us desensitized to them. However, MOTHER 3 came along and said “hey, you’re not going to try to wake the Dragon up because we couldn’t really think of any other kind of endgame goal to reach before the bad guy does. You’re going to try to wake up the Dragon because you believe in a better future for last damn place in the world humanity can hope to survive, goddammit!”

So, for me at least, MOTHER 3 is excused from the whole Dragon thing because they gave it–and the rest of the game–a quite a bit of life most other RPGs (or most games, even) don’t really bother to strive for.

Er, so those are my thoughts. I guess I really did gush too much about MOTHER 3, huh? :/

CerealQueen said on Nov. 19, 2012

6 From what I know, GameSwag was shut down because of the whole “Ebay isn’t paying for advertising its wares anymore,” so it began to cost money with little to no income. WordPress continued confusing updates and the site began to lose popularity as time progressed and Tomato and Poe couldn’t update it due to their hectic work schedule.
Because of such, I do believe he decided to take it down until he could find a way to put it back up without it costing him so much money.

edgethelucas said on Nov. 19, 2012

Finally, I’d like to thank you, Tomato, for answering my questions. I never thought having you answer my questions would feel so COOL (it might be because I’m young, but I’ll savor the feeling anyhow).

It might be pushing it a little, but I wanna ask you a third question–how much do you think you would’ve enjoyed MOTHER 3 if someone else did an excellent translation on the game? I get the feeling that slogging through the game’s original Japanese script for over 2 years may have hurt a lot of the potential impact the game may have had on you. Would your opinion of the game really change, in other words, or would it be more or less the same?

Dogi said on Nov. 20, 2012

Not really a question, but related to your FFIV Legends of Localization page. Easy type and our FFII were basically being worked on concurrently. Easytype came out in Japan about a month before II came out over here, both made to streamline the game and with our version adding in the NoA censorship changes as well.

Also I’d suggest you play the DS version if you ever get a chance. It is a completely new localization and basically the definitive version of the game.

Lucas said on Nov. 20, 2012

How much money would you need to help translate Mother 2 and if you did, i’ve been playing the Mother 2 side of the Mother 1+2 patch and I would really rather there being a pencil insdead of an octapus and having The Runaway Five instead of The Tonzura Brothers and most of the different stuff is in Twoson so it wouldn’t take to much extra time. Thanks. From Lucas.

EarthBound Addict said on Nov. 20, 2012

This is my first time commenting on this site, but I’ve been following a long time now, I’m just a bit shy that’s all (Tenda fever?) But nonetheless, the EarthBound series rules. And I have to thank you for translating both the first, AND last game, I know it definately wasn’t easy! I wanted to ask what your favorite moments on each of the games where., And if EarthBound’s cancelled sequel for Nintendo 64 was released would it have had the same impact as Mother 3 on GBA? And further more, would it have been released on the U.S.? Also have you ever met Itoi?
Thanks for taking in questions we all love to hear your takes 🙂

Darien said on Nov. 20, 2012

Oh, hah, that e-mail I sent you. Good times. 🙂

No lie: that exact table is one third of the furniture we have in our new house too. Holding out for the weekend in hopes of getting good discounts.

More on-topic:

I agree that JRPGs are in a deep slump, and I’d say they have been for a long time. I’ve had many conversations with friends of the form “JRPGs were my favourites when I was a kid, and now I hardly play them anymore.” There’s still the odd game that I really enjoy — some of Monolith’s stuff, like the Baten Kaitos games and Xenoblade I was definitely into, and I love the DS reissues of the old Dragon Quest games — but for the most part the games seem to be mostly long, dull movies with completely derivative gameplay elements.

On a related note: how much money would I have to pay you to get you to fly to the UK and teach Square Enix’s DQ translators how to translate games without being obnoxious?

I thought Earthbound’s difficulty was pretty much spot-on until the very end; Ness becomes crazy powerful after Magicant, and it tends to make the rest of the game a bit of a walk. Mother 3 I didn’t find too difficult, but I did often find it difficult in an annoying way; the music-battle combo bit was relatively impossible to cope with in emulation, and gave me a constant nagging feeling that this shouldn’t be so hard. The only part of the game I found legitimately too hard, though, is the bit where Duster sneaks into the castle. I got my hat handed to me by those lobsters many a time.

BusterTheFox said on Nov. 20, 2012

@Lucas: A rather dedicated group of people are actually working on the Mother 2 side right now. Here’s a link to the forum topic: http://earthboundcentral.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=526

And it seems they will be making most of those localization changes, too. 🙂 I think they already have the statues changed.

The Great Morgil said on Nov. 20, 2012

“Gimme suggestions on places to go, places to eat at, and stuff like that!”

Well, if you like beer, cheese, and bratwurst you could always come to Wisconsin were i live.

I’ve been aching to ask a question for these Q&As, but i just can’t think of one. How do the rest of you question askers do it?

Vanasto said on Nov. 20, 2012

Glad you were able to come up with some infolicious tidbits about the Japanese fanbase in response to my question. It’s really a shame that there aren’t really any active Mother fansites, whereas we’re spoiled by Starmen.net and your own fine forum.

Since I’m aiming to be a translator myself, I’ve been curious: What resources you use when cranking out text? Which are your main go-tos, and then what do you use to look up more specialized or uncommon things? Do you use Computer-Assisted Translation programs with Translation Memory databases, or just tackle it the old-fashioned way? Any popular tools or methods that you feel are a waste of time?

Related to that, Darien mentioned SquareEnix’s DQ translations… I played through DQIX not long ago, and thought that it had the most interesting and complex translation jobs I’d ever seen, with all sorts of strange British English dialects and slang used. Have you played DQIX, and what are your thoughts on how it was translated/localized?

Felipe said on Nov. 20, 2012

‘Sup Tomato!
Do you think Itoi’s books will ever get translated? They seem interesting, but maybe they are too deeply rooted in Japanese culture to be enjoyed by a western audience. By the way, have you ever thought of translating them?

TheZunar123 said on Nov. 20, 2012

Thanks for replying, Mato!

@Lucas: We’re currently working on translating it. Buster gave the link to the topic up above. Some of the localization changes we will be doing (the Pencil and Eraser statues for one), but others we will keep. For example, the band will be called the Runaway Brothers, since Tonzura means “runaway” in Japanese. Another example is town names; Threed will be Threek, Scaraba will be Scarabi, and Dalaam will be Ranma.

FuzzyPicklez said on Nov. 20, 2012

EarthBound had an item naming system where instead of having Every Word Start With A Capital Letter, only the beginning of the item name did that except for proper nouns. Did you ever consider making it that way for the MOTHER fan translations?

I don’t think they would leave only five spaces for names in this day and age. Square Enix really went all out with the DQ translations. Items that weren’t proper nouns capitalized based on context, and even pluralized. So when you bought 5 of the item Holy Water, the shopkeeper would ask you (paraphrased, probably not the right sentence at all) “That’s 5 bottles of holy water, correct?” In other translations it would say “That’s 5 Holy Water, correct?”

Tourist said on Nov. 20, 2012

Ok, I’ve got a question for anyone familiar with One Piece.
I mean, this HAS to have been brought up before SOMEWHERE… but is there inspiration drawn from Frank Fly and the Sharks when Oda designed Franky and the Franky Family?

WheatThinEthan said on Nov. 20, 2012

Thanks for answering my RPG question. I asked this because while I’m making an RPG myself and want to know what people think, but also because I just find old games to be the best, if not better than today’s games. Of course good games come and go, but nothing has lead up into such a community like EarthBound has. Especially without a game in almost 10 years or so.

Now I have a few good plans for gameplay and the music for my own game. I feel though that with so many games coming and going, there has to be some element that those older games had that the newer games don’t have. This is just one topic that I feel there is no answer to, trial and error game making has to be the only answer to spark another age of gaming. Or at least finding something new, whatever that may be.

Shawn said on Nov. 20, 2012

Do you think Nintendos of America, and Japan shun the Mother series? Mainly NOA, because the only translation they RELEASED was for Mother 2, and we call it Earthbound.Why don’t they give Mother any love?

Mr. Tenda said on Nov. 21, 2012

Wow, a Food Fight copycat death? Knowing the logic of Food Fight, surely in the next episode Mitsuru will have to face off against the kid’s revenge-seeking parents

Onion said on Nov. 21, 2012

Do you load the toilet paper overhand or underhand?

gwalms said on Nov. 21, 2012

Is there any way you can hack Earthbound so you keep BuzzBuzz for longer?

Opinionated Vector Chimera said on Nov. 21, 2012

Thank you Mato for answering my question about your opinion on the difficulty of games in the Mother series. But I do have a few more questions. I hope you don’t mind answering them. I have a few open questions…*smirk*

1. What was your opinion on the stranger enemies in EarthBound? To this day, I find the Psychic Psychos still boggle my mind…I mean, a *man* with a suit of *fire*, with a…giant cheese grater for a helmet that covers below the forehead and eyes. What? Are their brains being shredded!? How did *men* manage to get in the underworld, of all things?

2. Do you think EarthBound would have had this big of a fanbase if it never saw release in North America? And, to a lesser extent, do you think Mother 3 would have been released if EarthBound’s release in the US was doomed, just like its predecessor?

3. There was an article on this site that said something about you wanting to hack EarthBound so that there was a bonus dungeon with tougher enemies and challenges. It then read on that you wouldn’t have any time in the world to do that. (http://earthboundcentral.com/2009/04/hidden-song-in-earthbound/) What would you have envisioned if you had the time?

Have a good day!

Esper said on Nov. 23, 2012

Wow that was a lot to read. But it was very insightful. Thanks for all of this. I was away from the internet for a while so catching up on three updates was quite a time eater, but an enjoyable one!

A question for the next Q&A:
Is PoeTrader your wifu?

Earthbounder said on Jan. 7, 2013

What was the biggest reason u make earthbound central? What is ur favorite earthbound moment and how old were you when u first played earthbound?

NessObssesed said on Jan. 9, 2013

Have you ever thought of ever doing a post on emulators for the Gameboy or DS like Supercard or EZ Flash? I just think more people would like to play Mother 3 like that to give it a better game feel. And the combo system works.

Apple Kid said on Jan. 9, 2013

@NessObsessed Mato said in a forum post he can’t leave links for stuff like that, just so you know.


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