Tips for Buying EarthBound

June 17th, 2015 | MOTHER 1, Uncommon Knowledge

EarthBound Beginnings was released a few days ago on Wii Us outside of Japan, and it appears to be the exact same as the NES ROM that leaked years and years ago, with no known changes. The Japanese version was also released on Japanese Wii Us… but it HAS had some changes.

There isn’t a full list of what changes exist in the Japanese version so far, but they seem to be in line with some (but not all) of the changes made during the MOTHER 1+2 GBA port.

Japanese Miiverse posters have shared some examples. The crow, which was smoking a cigarette in the original Famicom MOTHER game, is now cigarette-less in the Wii U version. This change was also present in the MOTHER 1+2 GBA release, and it’s suspected it has to do with Japan’s rating systems.

japanese-mother-earthbound-crow

A line in the elementary school was also changed – in the original MOTHER game, a kid asks if you’ve played Dragon Quest 4 and then says he’s still stuck on the third game. In the GBA release and in this Wii U release, he says, “Have you played that one game? I haven’t yet.”

japanese-mother-earthbound-dragon-quest

So it looks like some of the changes made during the GBA release have been made to the Japanese Wii U version as well. I wonder what else will turn up… If anyone finds anything out, let me know here in the comments or on Twitter!

Thanks to everyone who let me know about these things, and thanks to JBRC for digging them up on Miiverse!

 

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20 Comments to Japanese Wii U MOTHER Has Changes


Carl said on Jun. 17, 2015

Have any of the GBA version’s changes been specifically noted to have been reverted for the Wii U? Or have players just not necessarily confirmed all of them yet?

The lostlevels.org article on the English prototype quoted Phil Sandhop on how its changes found their way in to the GBA version: “In software development, each subsequent version is usually derivative of prior versions. Once the program was changed they would have continued to use the revised program and plugged in their old text modules.”

But it’s still interesting that the Wii U release is a “new” version incorporating those revisions, as opposed to a straight dump of the original ROM.

Anon said on Jun. 17, 2015

I wonder if the Magicant Dragon area is still the original or the easier GBA version

vince94 said on Jun. 17, 2015

I wonder if they got the extended ending with the remix of the Airplane Theme.

Covarr said on Jun. 17, 2015

This makes me wonder about the GBA version. I mean, as I understand, it’s a port, not emulated, so I’m rather curious what order things were done in. Did they change the Famicom ROM and then port it to GBA, or did they backport the GBA version’s changes? Was the original plan to emulate it a la Classic NES series?

Carl said on Jun. 17, 2015

Based on Phil Sandhop’s description of the process, it sounds like the changes were initially made to the original Famicom/NES version’s codebase (since we know they were originally made in that era). I don’t know anything about the process of porting it to the GBA, but I’m guessing they didn’t have to do anything special and the changes were ported along with everything else.

Franklin Badger said on Jun. 17, 2015

I wonder.

DJMankiewitz said on Jun. 17, 2015

That… is very strange indeed. It’s possibly a first, since up to now they’ve basically left the actual ROMs untouched when they put things up on the VC. (Some exceptions include the altered NES Zelda ROMs, which were taken from the Zelda collection disc on Gamecube.)

I did some research, it isn’t a first. They actually edited the Sin & Punishment ROM when they released it on VC in the west, translating menues into English (not much had to be changed, the dialog was all in english already). That one being a Treasure game, it’s very possible it was Treasure that made the changes rather than Nintendo, making the release possible. Nintendo themselves did release a ROM hack of NES Donkey Kong (called Donkey Kong Original Edition) with the formerly arcade-exclusive factory level put back in, among some other presentation changes.

From what I’ve read of Mato’s various log entries on translating Mother 1 on GBA, it really does look like that version was a port proper rather than emulated. However, that version’s development does implement all the changes to the formerly unreleased Earthbound NES ROM.

It makes me wonder if they had actually intended on rereleasing Mother in Japan with the U.S. changes implemented, but that was cancelled. In such a scenario, they’d have kept the code and ended up reusing it when they did the GBA port, and thus might have had a fully working Japan-to-US-to-Japan ROM sitting around all this time.

T_W_M said on Jun. 17, 2015

That’s a bit odd… Does that mean that there are 4 distinctly different versions of the same Mother game now? The Famicom version, the English version, the GBA version that was a retranslated version of the English version, and the Wii U version being Famicom version with things edited to make it more like the English version. Confusing much? XD

JBRC (aka BackbeatAnthem) said on Jun. 17, 2015

Wow, credited in an EBC article? That’s really cool and unexpected!
Anyways, I posted this on the forums, but I’m wondering if the Japanese VC version is some weird hybrid of the GBA port and the Famicom original.

While some changes from the GBA port (like the altered crow sprite and the school kid’s text) were carried over, other things Ninten’s altered sprite weren’t (his sprite in the Japanese VC version is from the original Famicom version.) Even crosses are still present in the Japanese VC version: https://miiverse.nintendo.net/posts/AYIHAAAEAAASVRTozrf6_Q.

Like others here, I’m very eager to see if other things like map layouts and the extended ending are carried over from the prototype/GBA port.

And now that I think about it… what have become of the changes exclusive to the GBA port like the IC chip? I have a sneaky feeling that they aren’t in the Japanese VC release, but who knows for sure right now.

Also found this just now while browsing Japan’s MiiVerse: https://miiverse.nintendo.net/posts/AYIHAAAEAAArVRTpKAQhhg
I can’t read it word-for-word, but it looks like the guy here is used to the GBA port where the old guy in Queen Mary’s fountain acts as an ATM, whereas the JPVC reverts this back to the original Famcicom version where he only cures poison or softens you (which is really useless, considering there’s a free hospital in the town area).

game4brains said on Jun. 17, 2015

I’ve always disliked the American version censorship. I can understand why it was put in place during the 1990 localization project and the Japanese re-releases, but in 2015 America it just seems unnecessary. Aside from the Dragon Quest line and a few bits of sexually explicit text, I think a majority of the Famicom original’s content could’ve remained uncensored in the Virtual Console release without affecting the game’s rating in North America.

KingOfSwords said on Jun. 17, 2015

So…Giegue is still Giegue? That’s weird…

Schlupi said on Jun. 17, 2015

Super funky. I really want to know all the changes that still carried over… Didn’t the original MOTHER also lack a run button? Does this VC version have it? So many questions.

Traiver said on Jun. 17, 2015

What about the time machine? Is it still in the JP VC Wii U version?

The Dragon Quest reference being removed is hardly surprising. Nintendo does edit lots of stuff like that out of VC releases to avoid copyright/rating issues. For example Tetris in Startropics, or German Secret of Mana referencing a soap opera.

Dragonwarriorquestsagain said on Jun. 18, 2015

Uh. That one game? Oh bother. Tomato, in 10 years, would you mind re-retranslating dq 7 for 3ds?

MysticalRecord said on Jun. 18, 2015

So does the JP Wii U release have the extended ending of the US/M1+M2 version?

TokoWH said on Jun. 18, 2015

From what I heard, the crow no longer smoking was because around that time (or earlier) Itoi himself had quit smoking. As a result, it was more so a personal choice on his part rather anything rating related why it was changed.

ClausTheCrow said on Jun. 18, 2015

The Bla-Blag Gang members also smoke cigarettes in their battle sprites. I presume this would also be removed in the Japanese Virtual Console release…?

It’s a shame a purist version with only the text translated doesn’t exist… Kinda hoped Nintendo would’ve just started over whenever they decided to release Mother worldwide, resulting in a final and definitive “best of both worlds” translation.

KaisaJesta said on Jun. 21, 2015

Is the original ending still present in the Japanese VC version? Personally I think that adding to it was the most crucial change made in the English version and I’m happy the GBA version adapted it because it really ties up the story and gives you a bit of a lump in your throat when seeing it all and feeling that talking to every NPC was worth it. I mean, the original ending is nice for the minimalist effect but I think it’s more complete with the American ending… Though I’d guess that they’d only make changes that were absolutely necessary like the copyright and rating system stuff.

Mattiac said on Jun. 26, 2015

Mato-san, did you change the text when you translated the GBA version so he says Dragon Quest 4? I think Nintendo should have left that in! I don’t like smoking, but I still don’t like the bird change.

Mato said on Jun. 26, 2015

Off the top of my head I can’t remember, but you can check my files here: http://mother12.earthboundcentral.com/


 

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