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Tips for Buying EarthBound

February 23rd, 2016 | MOTHER 1

A while back I stumbled upon the old Famitsu review of MOTHER 1. The game scored a 31/40 at the time – in comparison, MOTHER 2 scored a 34/40 and MOTHER 3 scored a 35/40.

Here’s a look at the review for MOTHER 1:


And here’s a quick translation of the reviewers’ comments about MOTHER 1:

  • I’m sure there are many things you could criticize, from the game’s balance to it’s unfocused story, to its giant map that takes forever to traverse. But I also feel it’s fair to call this game a tour de force. The story does get quite exciting, and the music is amazing.
    Score: 8
  • I had great expectations when I played this game, but the first dozen hours or so filled me with disappointment. It offered nothing new and felt lacking as an RPG. But, however, even so, MOTHER demonstrates its true potential in the second half of the game. Save your expectations for the latter part of the game.
    Score: 8
  • The story takes place in a futuristic setting, which gives this game a very “modern” feel. For example, money you earn is automatically deposited into your bank account, and you use your ATM card to withdraw it. So many RPGs until now have been about olden times, so this is nice and fresh take on the genre. The monsters that appear in the game are really cute.
    Score: 8
  • This is one of those games where you’ll think to yourself, “This is it?” while playing it, but after you’ve finished it you’ll think, “That was great.” It has a touching story. I have some small gripes, but they’re all forgivable when I step back and look at the whole picture. I think the game is great. The music is a must-hear.
    Score: 7

Total Score: 31 / 40

Famitsu scores seem to fluctuate over the years, but from what I can tell this was a really respectable score at the time. And it’s cool to finally see how professional game reviewers felt about the game back in the day.

This reminds me that I need to write about MOTHER 2’s Famitsu stuff sometime too, so look forward to that in the new future!


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11 Comments to Famitsu’s Review of MOTHER 1

Matty said on Feb. 23, 2016

“I think this game is great!”

Gives lowest score.

Koan said on Feb. 23, 2016

“I think this game is great!”

Gives really good score

Koan said on Feb. 23, 2016

What a jerk, right

Justin said on Feb. 23, 2016

I think it’s fair what the one reviewer said, Mother’s definitely one of those games that one gains appreciation for after it’s done. I think the whole series is like that, actually.

AwelCruiz said on Feb. 23, 2016

So two of those reviewers thought that Mother was as good as that baseball game on the right.

Mato said on Feb. 23, 2016

Yeah, it’s from one of THE most beloved baseball series in Japan so I’m not surprised. I think one of the really early ones was released here as RBI Baseball.

vince94 said on Feb. 23, 2016

>Save your expectations for the latter part of the game.
This review here is really spot-on with what my first impression of EarthBound was, when I first played it around 2012-ish. It starts off slow (and you have to grind a bit in Onett to avoid getting rekt by the Sharks), but it really picks up once you get Paula and Jeff. The story gets better/makes more sense as it goes on, too.

Lily said on Feb. 24, 2016

This is really great game. The plot is so deep and unique. I love atmosphere of this game so much.

yellowyOshi398 said on Feb. 25, 2016

It’s interesting to hear them raise many of the same complaints and critiques that people make nowadays when looking back at Mother 1 – i.e. that it’s too traditional of an RPG, has an overwhelmingly large map and wonky balancing. Perhaps these complaints are not, as is often assumed, borne of a generational gap, but have been issues with the game since its release.

That being said, I think Mother is a great game. I may be in the minority for viewing it as favorably as I do. It has the most loveable plot of the Mother games and a very unique ambiance. It’s grindy, and sometimes frustrating to play – but fulfilling to beat.

As for the baseball game – Mato, I know from watching your and Poe’s streams that there are HUNDREDS of baseball games for the Famicom in Japan. So being the most beloved of all of them must be a really huge honor. 😛

AwelCruiz said on Feb. 25, 2016

I thought that baseball game looked like RBI.

Now what’s that mahjong game in the middle called?

DJMankiewitz said on Feb. 27, 2016

Those reviews seem pretty fair. Overall, they’re giving it positive scores (aside from a few middling 5’s here and there). I think modern reviewer scores have warped what readers expect from stuff like this, where 7 is basically the lowest score a game can get.

If I actually valued numerical reviews (much more interested in the text of the review myself), I’d probably put Mother 1 in the same range myself. It’s got amazing writing and a very nostalgic story, but the gameplay doesn’t come close to the later two games, sad to say.


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