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Tips for Buying EarthBound

July 9th, 2015 | MOTHER 1, Uncommon Knowledge

A fellow named RandomAnon sent me an interesting e-mail recently – probably the earliest-known English review or mention of MOTHER 1 has been unearthed!

So, this might not be worthy of being featured on EBC, but I thought it was really cool nonetheless. So there was a thread on 4chan’s retro games board about old-video game related Usenet (now Google Groups) posts and one anon found this post dated May 18, 1990 (that’s a year before the internet itself was invented!)

And here’s the actual 1990 Usenet post itself:

”I’ll say something about the other games in a later post, as MOTHER deserves one of its own. Basically this is Nintendo’s “new wave” role-playing game, set in modern times. The game starts in 1988 on the outskirts of the town of Mothersday (in America!). You play a young boy, and it’s not at all clear what the object of the game is. There have been some strange goings on in the past, and also at the start of the game, when a poltergeist suddenly attacks your house. The opening scenes alone are fantastic.

The graphics of the game are extremely beautiful, along with SMB3 the best I’ve seen in any game for any system. The motion is excellent and cinematic effects are used well. The music too is wonderful, certainly the best Famicom/NES music I’ve heard. It sets the mood perfectly–different music is used for the different scenes and even monsters have different music when you fight them, depending upon their personality. I can’t tell how good the feel is, as I only watched it, but if it’s anything like their previous games it should be excellent. And most importantly that sense of wonder is there again….

And just from watching the small part of this game on Kyoko’s tape, I can tell it is one of the best games ever made. It will probably come out in the US next year under a different name, and is definitely something to look forward to. I can’t wait to play!”

RandomAnon continues:

I just thought you might find this post interesting given how old it is (one year after the game was released in Japan and almost a decade before the English prototype was found!)

I keep forgetting that Usenet was full of gems like this – I remember coming across some neat stuff about EarthBound many years ago. Thanks to everyone who helped dig this up!


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14 Comments to Ancient English Review of MOTHER Unearthed!

TragicManner said on Jul. 9, 2015

Reading this makes me really, really nostalgic and I find myself wanting to speculate about how things would have been different if Mother had been released stateside. If only the game had been developed a year earlier, it probably would have happened.

This response alone makes me wonder if the game would have done well enough to setup EarthBound for the SNES to really have been successful. At that point it would have been a sequel to a well-loved game, and some of the things that likely made people hesitate to pick it up in the mid 90s would have likely been less of an issue.

It’s great we’ve come full-circle now and it’s great we finally have Mother 1 and Mother 2 available.

Great review, thanks for sharing Mato.

Brandon said on Jul. 9, 2015

A year before the world wide web was invented, not the internet itself. Without the internet there couldn’t have been a Usenet.

Jason said on Jul. 9, 2015

Part of me wants to go back in time so that I could have an appreciation for the graphics that are “extremely beautiful” and the “best for any system”.

The music on the other hand is still timeless and I wish more of Mother 1’s songs had been included in Mother 2.

Autistic Pichu said on Jul. 9, 2015

Good find! I agree with TragicManner, What would of been different had we gotten 1 back in the day? Anyway. I personally don’t think the first game in the series looks bad for NES standards (and Famicom standards obviously.) the battle sprites are mainly what I’m talking about here. But the NPCs all look memorable.

Anyway, this review would of gotten me excited for the game back in the day had I been born in the 80s and saw this. But I’m just a generic 2000 kid so….. No nastalgia 4 me.

Huks said on Jul. 9, 2015

This John Leo guy seems to have written quite a few posts praising MOTHER back in the day. Makes me wonder if he ever played the later games and EB0 or EBB when they came out.

DJMankiewitz said on Jul. 9, 2015

Kids have had widely varying misunderstandings of when the internet was “invented. I’ve met plenty who SWEAR to me (someone who actually works with interwebs) that it was “invented in the year 2000” and “didn’t exist in the 90’s”.

The fun part is when I inform them, and show them the proof through youtube videos (generally their only accepted form of proof), that it was actually invented in the 60’s, though at the time it served entirely as a means to prevent the loss of military information in the event any single major military base was wiped off the map due to nuclear attack. In the 70’s, new standards allowed the internet to exist outside military installations for the first time, but generally these networks never talked to each other and were still just hobbyist stuff used in colleges. It was in the 1980s that these individual networks gained a protocol that actually let them communicate with each other, allowing one to “link” BBS systems to each other. It wasn’t until the 90s that HTTP and “web pages” (and hyper links) were developed, and it was at that point that the internet started being pushed to the average consumer. I was lucky in that my dad worked with networks so I had internet access growing up in the 80’s, but it wasn’t exactly completely rare, or the movie War Games wouldn’t have made sense to people at the time.

All of the major revolutionary protocols had already been developed by the 2000’s. The big “developments” after that were entirely service related, such as Google, Twitter, and the Facebooks. Big game changing services, but they are tied to individual companies and don’t represent something big to the underpinning functionality of the internet. HTML comes a lot closer to that, being a web standard, but even that is a steady evolution rather than anything particularly revolutionary. Basically, in terms of how most people interface with it, the internet hasn’t changed since the 90s, and in terms of how it functions on a world-wide nature, hasn’t changed since that protocol was developed in the 80’s to allow it. Though, I’d be foolish to say the modern internet isn’t vastly different from what came before, I’m just talking fundamentals.

Fact is though, it used to be a lot harder to FIND these groups you could talk with people about online. That itself required a good deal of luck back then and asking the right people who might know someone who knows someone who knows what you’re looking for. So, with that in mind, yes I had internet access, but no I didn’t see pretty much any of these online reviews back then.

YellowyOshi398 said on Jul. 9, 2015

As someone who is too lazy to search the Google Groups archives myself, I would love to see the EarthBound related things you uncovered on Usenet!

KingMike said on Jul. 9, 2015

So, the Internet was around in the ’60s…?
Al Gore was a very smart guy to have created it by his 20s!
(even that joke is probably too old for some 😀 )

NichoMania said on Jul. 9, 2015

I’m gonna be that ‘unassuming local guy’ who points out that Al Gore never said the words: I invented the internet. It’s all rumor blah blah blah …it’s always those tax evaders who blah blah it’s always the local whiners who make a fuss over meteorites blah blah blah…

if nobody gets what I’ve said above, may God help this site.

if anybody does get what I’ve said above, which I hope most of us do, I say we make as many subtle references to the source material quoted above in the next comments. Or dont.
It could just be fun…
I hope the internet hasn’t stopped being fun.

good said on Jul. 10, 2015

good wall of text

Linkzcap said on Jul. 11, 2015

Darn! I was hoping this would be a review in Old English like “Hark! Ye Urthe Boond farcical plaey – showe…”

Supersonic5812 said on Jul. 11, 2015

This man was very lucky to get this prototype, little did he know he was one of the lucky few!

DJMankiewitz said on Jul. 12, 2015


Indeed, they’ll call the game “fo good”.

Scotty said on Aug. 2, 2015

“4Chan” …..
That’s not cool..


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