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Tips for Buying EarthBound

January 24th, 2013 | MOTHER 3, Uncommon Knowledge


For the past year or two I’ve been working on a project called Legends of Localization, which takes a look at different video games and how they were localized, what differences exist in different versions, where the translators messed up or did a great job, and all sorts of neat stuff.

My latest entry is one for the MOTHER 3 fan translation and serves as my translation notes. I just updated the notes with the start of Chapter 1, which you can see here:

As always, there’s a lot of stuff in there! I hope it’s interesting and educational. It’s pretty crazy looking back after all this time – sometimes it feels like it was just yesterday but other times it feels like it was a different lifetime altogether 😯


The tough part of doing these notes (and other Legends of Localization entries) is that each page takes so much time to create. I’d really like to be able to put more time into these LoL projects but can’t justify spending the time unless it can help pay the bills somehow. I’m hoping to turn some of them into books eventually… but I wonder if there’s any other way to monetize Legends of Localization somehow. Does anyone have any ideas?

Doing YouTube videos is one option, but I don’t know exactly what I’d be able to do videos of. Ads on the site itself probably wouldn’t make very much (especially since most readers here are savvy and have ad blockers 😛 ) If anyone has any ideas or suggestions, let me know! Legends of Localization is something I’m really passionate so I’d like to be able to focus on it more, you know?


While on the subject of Legends of Localization, this isn’t entirely EarthBound-related but it’s still relevant so: would it be better if I spin Legends of Localization off from my personal site and make it its own dedicated site?

That’s actually how EarthBound Central came about – I just used to post lots of EarthBound stuff on my personal blog but eventually just made an EarthBound-dedicated site. I don’t know if people would care enough for a LoL-dedicated site though. Let me know your thoughts!


I asked this elsewhere, but would it be a good or bad idea to allow people to comment on individual LoL pages? Should I make a forum or something instead? Let me know – it’s hard for me to tell what other people want.

New MOTHER 3 patches and stuff

After the recent announcement of what Shigesato Itoi’s “MOTHER revival” is, people have been asking if I’m going to release the new MOTHER 3 translation patch now. I’ve been thinking about it too but haven’t come up with a decision yet.

While working on the translation notes, I’ve noticed lots of little things that I’d like to improve on. So ideally I’d like to get through the notes first and then update the patch.

But at the same time, I’d like to release an already-updated patch and all the tools/files so that people can translate the game into other languages more easily and not have to rely on me or Jeff for things.

It’s a weird situation and I’ll probably take some more time to decide what to do. If you have any suggestions or recommendations for this MOTHER 3 patch/files thing though, let me know!


Other Related Posts:


39 Comments to MOTHER 3 Translation Notes: Chapter 1 Start

Esper said on Jan. 24, 2013

I don’t have much opinion on most of those questions but I do think it’d be cool if LoL became its own site, mainly for the fact that there really any site like it. It seems like it something that could really take off, as many good and original idea tend to.

JamesBond007 said on Jan. 24, 2013

You may still consider changing “BOM!” to “BOOM!” in the future. You can try to rip the sprite directly from EarthBound.

LucasPSI said on Jan. 24, 2013

YES I was waiting for this! ^^

EIO said on Jan. 24, 2013

You ever thought about asking other professional (and respected fan-)translators to write stuff on games they’ve localised/translated for LOL, Mato? It’d be fascinating to have a broad look at the translation business from a range of industry professionals

Animegame97 said on Jan. 24, 2013

I think that you should play through your patch and decide what changes to make after that. I’m just worried that if you finish your notes you will start questioning all your translation choices and we will end up with a new Mother 3. Even changing one word can make the game have a completely different feeling. What kind of things do you plan on changing?

Mato said on Jan. 24, 2013

EIO: Yeah, I’m considering it at some point, I feel like LoL is just starting to get off the ground though so not yet. There are a couple people I already wanna do interviews/articles with too 😀

Animegame97: Well, I point them out in the notes if you haven’t seen them yet. Mostly things that should be fixed that I didn’t notice before. I totally understand what you’re saying though.

Flint said on Jan. 24, 2013

I think you should just release it. I guarantee Mother 3 won’t come to America while the Regginator is in office.

Mato said on Jan. 24, 2013

Oh, no, that’s not a worry I have anymore after the Itoi “Mother revival” thing was revealed. It’s more of a “should I wait until I’ve fixed everything I want” thing.

EarthBoundRules said on Jan. 24, 2013

Wow, this came up rather fast considering the Prologue was just uploaded weeks ago. How long does it take for you to write these?

Mato said on Jan. 24, 2013

Each page takes anywhere between 10 and 20 hours to put together. Which is why it’s so slow sometimes 🙁

Halloween said on Jan. 24, 2013

Maybe have a fundraiser/kickstarter for the book(s) when the time is right. Other than that might as well try ads.
I don’t really care if it’s a separate site, I’ll read it voraciously no matter where it is :D.
As for comments, I can see both sides. There are times I want to comment on what I read, but it might clutter the pretty pages, so maybe a forum or separate comments in a popup window or something would be good.
I think if there are obvious fixes and corrections to the new patch you should release it, but if there aren’t a lot of those and you want to wait to check for improvements then that’s fine too. Last time I played the game it was just great.
That’s my opinion!

shadowdeku said on Jan. 24, 2013

I’m really against comments on the individual LOL pages. It just seems like “BLARGH trololol” at the bottom of the page would ruin the work that you put into it. I do think the forum is a good idea, though.

Maybe you can see if one of the bajillion video game news websites would be interested in helping pay for LOL. It would have been interesting to see in Nintendo Power…wasn’t there some sort of Nintendo Power revival magazine that was just getting started? Anyway, some type of games magazine would be an decent place to put the LOL articles. I’m all for Kickstarter, too. Once your finished with them, maybe you can even get your Mother 3 notes attached to a new version of the Mother 3 handbook.

gBev said on Jan. 24, 2013

I think a dedicated Legends of Localization site would be the way to go, especially considering how much a dedicated page could help its popularity.

As for money, something like a donation button might work pretty well. I don’t think it will pay the bills, but it would certainly be better than nothing. And even though ads wouldn’t make much with all the ad blockers around, there’s no reason not to at least try them and see if it gets anything.

With comments, a forum would be better suited for that eventually, but I don’t know if there is enough buzz yet to need one. Comments for each page would probably work for now.

A new Mother 3 patch should probably wait until after the notes, that way you can see everything you need to fix and don’t have to release a 1.3 another couple months later. If 1.1 still had game breaking bugs that would be one thing, but it’s only some small fixes so it should be fine. I have no issues playing my yearly Mother 3 run on 1.1 one more time. 😛

The Man With No Name said on Jan. 24, 2013

I would *love* a LoL dedicated site with all the different translators giving their own insight on what they did, thought, and blunders. Ted Woosley for example? 😛 There is so little to find in regards to translations, atleast all in one dedicated spot. I could comb google for days and not even come close to what you did for these games

JeffMan said on Jan. 24, 2013
Midna said on Jan. 24, 2013

Hi Mato, I saw your alt text. No offense taken. 😀

TheBatFax said on Jan. 24, 2013

Always love reading these things. One in particular stuck with me though:

The left out to dry bit seems weird. It’s a phrase where you basically leave someone/something behind when you were supposed to go get it. Seems natural some people get pretty irritated if you do that to them.

I’m probably just not “getting” the business thing though.

Mato said on Jan. 24, 2013

Well by business I mean maybe it’s a laundry business? I don’t THINK that’s what that place is though…

TheBatFax said on Jan. 24, 2013

It just seemed to me when I read the original line the clothesline (or the laundry) was upset it had been left out overnight.

EbbeMan said on Jan. 24, 2013

Wow! You have been working hard on this :O Exelent work 😀

Mrs. Saturn said on Jan. 24, 2013

I love your Legends of Localization feature and think a dedicated site would be a great idea. I also think forums would be better than allowing comments for each page.

EBisumaru said on Jan. 24, 2013

Came here to suggest Kickstarter/IndieGoGo. At IndieGoGo you can keep the money even if you don’t hit your goal. I’d donate a few bucks, no rewards necessary. ($10 per game?)

Dunno how many people like me there are that would just give money away though.

SOUP said on Jan. 24, 2013

If i remember right, either Super Mario Bros 2 (original and remakes) or Mario and Luigi Superstar Saga had a “BOM” sprite. So the localization might not have altered it in the alternate ” successfully localized Mother series” universe.

Erikku8 said on Jan. 24, 2013

I think an LoL site would be cool. I find your translation notes very interesting and I even consider your M2 vs. EB page one of the reasons I took up studying Japanese.

skyrunner14 said on Jan. 24, 2013

LoL would make a great stand-alone site, I think. It’d also allow you to have a forum, which I think would be better than comments. You could have a little notice at the end of each segement saying something like “Discuss this on the forum” or something like that.

Mr. Tenda said on Jan. 24, 2013

I think if monetization is a serious goal of yours, you should think seriously about how to go about it. Have you considered the idea of something like a subscription where people could pay for regular content? Turning them into books is also possible, and it’s very do-able if you publish it as an eBook and sell it on Amazon or something.

Jason said on Jan. 24, 2013

For monetization, one way is you set up a tip jar for it, with a meter, and once the meter is full you put up the next post. It’s almost like a kickstarter for each post. Underneath you’d have a link that says something like “Why is there a money meter?” which would go to a page explaining how long it takes you to make each page etc, which most people would find very reasonable.

As an incentive you could also look at the donations and for every dollar someone donates they could be entered into a raffle to win something (if you still have your translation notebooks/cards that would be relevant).

The only thing with this is that you only get money once from each page, and ideally you’d be able to make some kind of passive income for as long as the pages are available. But if you did something like $250 per page and 10 pages you’d get $2,500 which is more than you’d ever get from ads. You’d also still have the printed book and ebook options available for later, and the content would still be free to everyone after it was unlocked, unlike subscriptions.

The other thing is that you’d need to have the pages ready so that once the meter is full (and imo it would fill up fast) you’d be able to update promptly.

spaanoft said on Jan. 25, 2013

Maybe do up a series of ‘learning to translate’ DVDs and use the LoL stuff as a kind of advertisement for it?

I dunno. …I’m really not very good with business ideas… I’m just wondering if there was some way to mix in your regular professional translations into it. You don’t get royalties on them do you?

Erwin said on Jan. 25, 2013

Really great article, sir. I love reading up on these little translation issues you come across. Finding the right word, formatting it perfectly, and trying to translate wordplay, it’s all so very interesting to me. I must say, though, whoever told you “snuck” isn’t a word is being picky to a silly extent. Colloquialisms that have been persistent for a century get a free pass, especially when they’re commonly accepted. It’s these same people who INSIST on never saying “dove” and only using “dived.” Anyway, I’m sure this comment got tedious to read long ago, but for sticking it out, I really liked many of your choices in translating, and I can’t wait to read more of these articles! And here’s a short, related video I was reminded of: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBplQmbqNmg

BusterTheFox said on Jan. 25, 2013

I’m still on the fence about the whole comment thing. I guess I’ll be fine with whatever you decide to do with that.

As far as monetizing LoL, I still enjoy the “book with extra goodies” idea most. That way I could still read it for free, but if I wanted some cool extras, I could go for the book (Or eBook).

And as for LoL getting its own site, I don’t really see any reason to do that. I feel it’s fine the way it is. Unless it would help you speed up the process or otherwise improve the experience, I think you might as well keep it at matotree.

linkdude20002001 said on Jan. 25, 2013

Haha. The BOM thing reminds me of Dragon Ball too. Gotta love Akira Toriyama’s “English” sound effects like “BOAA~~T!!” (you know, the sound a boat makes…). XD

Anyways, these site updates are exciting! I can’t wait for more! 😀

Mr. Nosy said on Jan. 25, 2013

Your entry about bad words is something that I was thinking one time. I mean, bad words are a “funny” sin: not only is the act of saying bad words far easier than doing other sins, but the sin of saying bad words is harder to distance than merely talking ABOUT the sin.

Take your example of the Nipponese who stabbed someone else with an umbrella for not being addressed with “-san.” My mentioning of stabbing someone with an umbrella does not mean that I am actually stabbing someone with an umbrella. In fact, I can write a detailed account of someone stabbing someone with an umbrella, draw a picture of someone stabbing an umbrella, record the sounds made of someone being stabbed by an umbrella, and even play a game that had someone stab someone else with an umbrella, but in none of those cases had I actually stabbed someone with an umbrella. All of these actions are distanced from the stabbing action itself. (This is the main argument given in retaliation against anti-video-game violence.) Another thing about this is that you would not need to actually stab someone with an umbrella to know why stabbing someone with an umbrella is bad… or again, how to cure umbrella stab wounds.

Bad words are different. Unless you are saying “beep,” “cuss,” or simply mouthing the bad word (or mouthing any other word), you can not actually pretend to say a bad word. You can describe about the bad word or even allude to the bad word itself, but, if you play a sound recording of the bad word, or again, type out a bad word, you said a bad word. There is far less verbal distancing from the sin there. This also gives trouble: what if your sibling said a word that your sibling is not supposed to say, yet you need to say this to your parents? Obviously, your parents are going to want to know the word (for what reason I do not really understand), so how is someone going to talk his way around that? Again, you can allude to the word, but there are going to be people who would feel obligated to say the bad word.

Either way, while I really-really dislike bad words, me feeling distress upon hearing even the “milder” words, I was too introverted to fight the bad words in the text. Then again, given how openly people say bad words to the point that they EXPECT them, especially in the contexts of Nipponese media, I would actually raise kehhei due to me speaking AGAINST bad words!

Jason said on Jan. 26, 2013

Bad words don’t have any inherent meaning, except that they’re a rude way of saying something. If a kid says “I have to go poo-poo” to his mother it means the exact same thing as “I have to go take a s#!@” but one is rude and is socially inappropriate to use. If he was older and with his friends, that would be an acceptable time and “excuse me, may I use your restroom?” would actually be inappropriate.

Anyway there’s a wide range of functions that swearing perform. This page does a good job of talking about them: http://neon.niederlandistik.fu-berlin.de/ss19/paper/102 At the top of the page there’s a link to “Papers belonging to this Thematic Session” where you can read the abstracts of specific papers.

joe said on Jan. 26, 2013

#laughing# the abreviation is lol #keeps laughing#

NorthofOnett said on Jan. 26, 2013

Minda 2.0

DJMankiwitz said on Jan. 26, 2013

I submit you should take your time to do it right to your satisfaction. I’m always happy to wait for a full patch to get things right. More to the point, there’s no game crippling bugs, except that frog save glitch that was already there to begin with, so there’s no rush.

Vanasto said on Jan. 26, 2013

Regarding your Legends of Localization, giving it its own site would just be a formality, right? No effect on search engine results? And it costs you money to acquire and keep the rights to the URL? If that’s so, then it would make sense to keep it at Matotree, especially for now while it isn’t bringing in any money to cover that yet.

Comments would be nice to have, and as long as they are hidden until you click something (maybe at the bottom of each section’s page), then there’s no clutter for folks who don’t want to participate. Personally, I’d like to hear what other people interested in critiques of the J>E localization process have to say!

Finally, I like and would second Jason’s idea of a donation gimmick to get money for your hard work on LoL. I’m not sure he suggested this exactly, but how about after each page you finish, you designate a certain window of time (2 weeks maybe?) where fans who contribute at least $5 (or some other reasonable amount) can see it in advance, before it’s free to all? You could let people sign up for an email list so you can let everyone know about the new preview-able content the day it’s put up?

Thanks for inviting input on this, that’s intelligently open-minded of you, ‘Mato!

mrmotherbound said on Mar. 3, 2013

if anybody can give me information about this, i got mother 3 (emulator) and i can’t save please some one tell me now!!!

Opinionated Vector Chimera said on Mar. 3, 2013

If you’re using VBA or VBA-M, go to Options > Emulator > Save Type > Flash Type 64 K. It’s probably already set at 128 K, which is too large for Mother 3’s save files.


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