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Tips for Buying EarthBound

May 21st, 2013 | Interviews, Itoi

In a recent discussion about a famous copywriter by the name of Koichi Tsuchiya, Shigesato Itoi quickly mentioned the MOTHER games and his own experience being the writer for them.

(The discussion so far has been about readers who have strong reactions to various instances of their writing)

Yeah, there’ve been people who’ve responded like that and thought, “I want to be the one saying these things sometime.” and then gone on to be like me.

Kids who play the old MOTHER games I worked on will sometimes send me e-mails that say, “I love this line the most.” They’ll say, “It really touched me.”

I’ve seen a lot of EarthBound fans get inspired by the game and eventually end up turning that passion into a career. The games have definitely had a big effect on my own career path, but how about you? Did the MOTHER games get you where you are now? Or maybe they’ve started you on a path? Share your own experiences in the comments!


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23 Comments to Shigesato Itoi Talks About Writing

hunter said on May. 21, 2013

Earthbound remains to this day one of my favorite games and if not for the Mother series I might not be going to school for game design. They’re definitely a big inspiration in everything I make!

Lotus_Blue said on May. 21, 2013

Well, your translation project of Mother 3 and the translation of Earthbound mangas has certainly inspired me to perhaps consider a career in the translation of video games or other media.

Acedio said on May. 21, 2013

I got into band because I thought the trumpet player in Onett was cool 😉

Chivi-chivik said on May. 21, 2013

No, ’cause I got to play them (for first f’ing time) the last year ;_; *sobs and cries*

Erikku8 said on May. 21, 2013

I drew a ton of EarthBound art as a kid, though I wouldn’t say EarthBound itself influenced my decision to pursue illustration. That said, I think EarthBound was a factor in my decision to study Japanese. I’ve said it before, but the Mother 2 vs. EB site was and is very interesting to me and now for funsies, I’m copying down the text in Pokemon Fire Red and translating it.

EBlover said on May. 21, 2013

earthbound inspired me to be a writer because of the witty writing

Darien said on May. 21, 2013

I’m too useless to be doing anything interesting, sadly. Though I wouldn’t be making dumb remarks in the comments on this blog were it not for Earthbound, so there’s that. 😉

Jason said on May. 21, 2013

Earthbound inspired me to chase mushrooms with a baseball bat. o_o

I actually did end up becoming a translator, but I’d credit that to other media and games, unfortunately. I didn’t actually learn about or pursue anything about the Japanese version until much later.

LakituAl said on May. 21, 2013

I have to say this: I may have learned English as a second language thanks to Spyro The Dragon, but Earthbound refined my composition skills with the language. My vocabulary may not have improved much because of it, but I definitely gained a way with words from reading the quirky dialogue. Knowing how to stuff so much emotion in a few lines is something to be grateful for.

Joe said on May. 21, 2013

The MOTHER series was one of my main influences to pursue music composition. When I played the MOTHER games, the music had a huge impact on me, and I decided that I wanted to be the person to write beautiful work like that to give other people the same feeling.

Permafry_42 said on May. 21, 2013

“The more you play, the more you grow” has become my motto, and was one of the main reasons why I decided I’m going to become a game designer and writer.

CrouchingMouse said on May. 21, 2013

Finding Starmen.net and your Mother 3 translation, Tomato (among some other advice you wrote about studying Japanese) certainly set me on course to study Japanese in college and aim to become a professional translator. Learning Japanese was something I’d always wanted to do, but somehow, finding the EarthBound/Mother community and playing the games gave me the extra push I needed. And I feel like this is definitely my calling. So, thanks! I’m gonna keep working hard until I’m a Translation Master.

Mato said on May. 21, 2013

Gotta catch ’em all!

(all the kanji I mean)

64RR said on May. 21, 2013

Mother actually inspired me to start learning more history and culture. I’ve come to know so much because of this one little game called Earthbound. :’)

MightyYT said on May. 22, 2013

Because of my wonderful experience playing EarthBound as a young boy in 199X, I eventually became part of the fan community at Starmen.net and later, an avid follower of Mato’s Mother 3 translation project. I’ve actually been meaning to thank you, Mato and your team (Jeffman, etc), for some time now and it seems this is the perfect opportunity to do so!

I knew I loved video games and found game design intriguing, but I didn’t know exactly what avenue to take until I read your detailed blog entries about the (sometimes insane) programming you had to go through. I’m appreciative that you didn’t just gloss over that aspect, but instead gave us fans full reports on what you were doing (and even how you were doing it), because it really spoke to me. I always found it fascinating, even when I didn’t quite understand something. That’s when I knew I wanted to get into programming and become a game developer.

While I waited for a college in central Ohio to offer a degree for game development, I turned to PK Hack, where I learned a great deal about retro and modern day game design. I went on to make a handful of cool EB intro sequence hacks (which you so generously promoted here), helped map the differences in the Mother 2 ROM map on Data Crystal, and even delved into the Mother 2 debug menu (which at that time hadn’t been fully explored). Most importantly, my participation in PK Hack projects and observation of others REALLY helped prepare me for working in a team environment, giving me a head start for when I returned to college for my game dev degree.

Now, I’m a graduate with a degree in Computer Science, with a concentration in Game Development and I’m doing what I love working for two local indie game studios with cool projects in the pipeline! I’ve met some awesome people involved in the game industry and beyond and I’m helping others to make their dreams of getting into game development here in central Ohio a reality. As you can see, the indirect and direct experiences I’ve had through the Mother 3 translation and various PK Hacks have proved invaluable in my education and career. So a big thank you goes out to the Mother/EarthBound series, Shigesato Itoi and his teams, Mato and his team, and the PK Hack community!!

Anonymous said on May. 22, 2013

The Mother games have inspired me to become a musician.
Of course, since then, I’ve been branching into different things because the music world is huge, but eventually, I’ll let the world know about the Mother music.

EarthBoundnerd199X said on May. 22, 2013

The EarthBound/Mother series has inspired me to want to become a video game designer and writer. I want to write dialogue like Mr. Itoi does-the kind that touches you deep down.
I believe that what most kids at my school see as some unknown video game series that this one nerd is obsessed with is actually a masterpiece. A masterpiece that has and will continue to effect people in ways not many people think a video game can. And one last thing: “No crying until the end.”

Anonymouse said on May. 22, 2013

Well to be honest, I’m still in school and I haven’t really gotten a job yet. =P

But ah… the series has made me desire to be a writer/ illustrator for games etc. If I had the technical skills then I’d love to say “designer” or “programmer” or something but… heh.

PSIpunky said on May. 22, 2013

I took the daunting task of learning Japanese a few months ago due to wanting to read some Mother related things and Japan in general. It is not easy. All this kanji, romagi, hiragana stuff is beyond my skills. I’ve also dipped in the programming/design part of gaming also due to Earthbound being an influence. I remember designing my own courses when Super Mario Bros first came out.. Time flies! But quitting is the easy path. “If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything”.

BenjaminSmith said on May. 23, 2013

I went to school for game art because of this game and Graduate in September!! I always have been an artist but no other game made me want to become a game artist other than Earthbound, Thanks Itoi!!!

Vukadin said on May. 24, 2013

Now that I think of it, the Mother games haven’t really inspired me to do anything…

They did change my view of the world I guess. But that’s it…

I always wanted to do some Earthbound hacking, but I’m a complete newb and CoilSnake seems complicated while PK Hack is outdated. I also lack the patience needed.

I always wanted to learn how to draw and then proceed to make some awesome Mother fanart: except I don’t have the money or patience for art school.

I always wanted to learn Japanese to play Japanese games and even the Mother games in Japanese: except I lack the money and patience once again.

I always wanted to make music and do covers of Mother music: except I lack the resources and patience. I do know how to play the guitar though.

I always wanted to write a good story of my own and even make some Mother fanstory: I lack the patience.

I think somewhere near the future I’ll form a Visual Novel team: though that’s not really because of the Mother games.

Maybe I was born to be generic and boring.

I’m useless in the Mother community: people make awesome stuff while I make nothing like an outcast.

Screw me.

KingOfSwords said on May. 24, 2013

I feel just the same way, Vukadin.

Vukadin said on May. 25, 2013


Thank you good sir, at least I know that I’m not the only one.


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