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Tips for Buying EarthBound

June 27th, 2018 | EarthBound, MOTHER 3, Smash Bros. | 5 Comments

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate got a big feature during Nintendo’s E3 Direct. ALL Smash fighters, from all the games, are in Smash Ultimate. Ness and Lucas’ final smashes also got an upgrade:

Wowowow! Paula and Poo in Smash! Now the whole Chosen Four is there (with Jeff as an assist trophy). And the bigger surprise is Kumatora and Boney joining Lucas in his final smash. It’s the first time we’ve seen official 3D models for them and they look really good!

I’ve also seen people theorizing that Duster might be an assist trophy, given Jeff’s role in Smash. Seeing Duster make use of his thief tools would be really neat.

You can devour more Smash info, including crisp, high-res pics and videos, over on the official site.

– Poe


May 23rd, 2018 | Audio Stuff, EarthBound, MOTHER 1, MOTHER 3 | 4 Comments

The Super Soul Bros. band has done a lot of great game music covers over the years, and if you’ve been to any conventions or seen any Fangamer events, you’ve probably seen them in action. They’re a lot of fun and put lots of energy into their music.

They recently released an album dedicated to EarthBound/MOTHER series music that I absolutely love, so I wanted to make sure I shared it here.

You got your EarthBound stuff of course:

And a good amount of MOTHER 3 stuff:

And even some MOTHER 1 music:

If you like their stuff, you can buy the full album here or even just get individual tracks that you’re especially fond of. They’re cool dudes that went from EarthBound fans to an actual touring band like the Runaway Five! Except I don’t think they shut off robots.


April 26th, 2018 | Videos | 12 Comments

The Angry Video Game Nerd recently posted an episode about EarthBound – and it’s his longest episode yet at over 40 minutes. It’s got a nice mix of insightful commentary and valid criticism, along with a look at various series details and fan theories. But more than anything, it’s offers a neat view at how EarthBound looks to retro gamers who missed out on it 23 years ago:

It sounds like he originally had no plans to do an EarthBound review, but while playing it on the Super NES Mini last year he decided to do some sort of general video about the game. It then transformed into a giant project that spanned months of work. Here’s his description about it:

This video has been in the works since last October (2017), when I first started the playing Earthbound on the mini SNES Classic. It wasn’t originally meant to be an AVGN episode. It was for myself.

I never played much of Earthbound before, but it’s a game that always appealed to me. Yes, even when I saw the ads in Nintendo Power. The only reason I never played it much was because I was too busy with Final Fantasy 3 (6) and Chrono Trigger. SNES has so many amazing masterpieces, it’s almost impossible to play them all. But after more than 20 years, I owed it to myself to complete Earthbound.

The gameplay took me 45 and a half hours. After recording it all, I decided to put all those hours to good use, and make a video. At first, I didn’t think it would be an AVGN episode, but more of a casual “James review”. But I realized there were plenty of wacky moments in the game that the Nerd could react to.

If you’re wondering about the characters’ names such as “Milly” and “Lilly”, my 4 year old daughter named them.

To write the script, I had to search through 45+ hours of game footage, to confirm and describe accurately all the moments that I wanted to comment on. Then came a bunch of researching facts, and developing my own personal theories. It turned out, I had a ton to say. It became the longest single-part AVGN episode, by total accident (running nearly 40 minutes). On top of that, I couldn’t resist adding a dream scene with laborious green screen effects. In total, counting gameplay, writing, shooting, editing, the entire video took 137.5 hours to finish, making it the 2nd most time-consuming AVGN episode to date. (Episode 139: Mega Man still barely holds the record at 138.5 hours). Ironically Earthbound was meant to be a break for myself, but it turned into a major task, as all my other projects screeched to a halt.

I had fun with this video and am happy with it, but now that it’s finally done, I hope to get back to my personal long-term projects such as a film and a book I am trying to write. But I will always be jumping back and forth with AVGN episodes. I’m always trying to keep those coming.

Come to think of it, a lot of the info in the video came from research I did for Starmen.Net and EarthBound Central!


March 31st, 2018 | EarthBound, Images, Merchandise | 4 Comments

A longtime EarthBound fan and fan artist named Shane Hunt recently launched a Kickstarter for a book focused on his art creations:

Things are looking good for the book too: it’s already 200% funded and Shane reports that the hard work on the book has already been completed. Here are some samples it’ll feature:

It’s cool seeing fellow fans use their professional areas of expertise to celebrate the series even after all these years. So if this sounds like something you’d enjoy, check out the page here!


March 14th, 2018 | EarthBound, Videos | 13 Comments

A couple months back, Nintendo released a miniature Super NES box with a whole bunch of games on it, including EarthBound. I forget how many times EarthBound has been re-released by this point, but it’s actually quite common for re-released games to get minor changes that most people never notice.

Part of my job involves hunting for these changes though, so I was eager to see what might’ve changed with this latest release. After some technical hurdles, the PK Hack guys and I were able to find a handful of differences, two of which involved special cut-scene data. These two difference turned out to be minor animation changes that were also present in the Wii U Virtual Console release. You can see those tiny differences here:

Note that these were actual code/data changes – someone had to go into EarthBound’s programming and figure out the precise bytes to change, which probably wasn’t an easy feat. Nintendo’s custom emulator also tries to automatically reduce flashing on its own, but I guess these cut scenes needed to be fixed manually for some reason.

I don’t know if they other changes to the SNES Mini release have been figured out yet, but I assume they’re just as minor. If I find anything out though, I’ll be sure to share it here.

If you’re interested in these sorts of “quiet game changes that no one really notices”, here are a few other examples I’ve written about:

I try to document changes like these for my articles and books – my Zelda book covers every re-release of the game and how the game has quietly changed, for example, and my EarthBound book lists all kinds of easy-to-overlook changes that have appeared in MOTHER 2 over the years. Game changes are fun to document but are hard to keep up with!


December 12th, 2017 | EarthBound, Merchandise, MOTHER 1, MOTHER 3 | 13 Comments

Brian Connor (aka level 1 chef) and friends have been planning the ultimate MOTHER series cookbook for some time, and now it’s about to become a reality! They posted a Kickstarter for the project yesterday, and it’s already about to hit its initial goal.

Here are some sample pics:

The project has some stretch goals too:

I’m particularly looking forward to the Moonside recipes. I hope they involve black lights or glow in the dark frosting (if that even exists?)

This is definitely a passion project similar similar to to when I wanted to start my Legends of Localization books but couldn’t quite get them off the ground. I hope you’ll consider helping Brian and his pals get their dream off the ground too!


November 28th, 2017 | Images, MOTHER 1, Uncommon Knowledge | 16 Comments

A reader sent in an e-mail a few weeks back about something I’d never heard of before – there’s possibly a secret message near the end of the game, spelled out using a cave’s layout!

do want to make it clear that I did not make this discovery, but I know the person that did (KonekoFire) and they deserve full credit. I’m doing this as a favor for them.

Anywho, KonekoFire has taken all of the maps from the final Mt. Itoi area, and by moving and turning them around, he has discovered that they spell Gyiyg, as seen below. To many peoples knowledge, this has not been discovered by anyone.
The Reddit post he made on the matter today can be read here.

And here’s the picture:

Note that Giegue/Giygas is known as GYIYG in Japanese:

And for reference, here’s a full map of all the different cave pieces:

Given the bizarre letter combination involved, I feel rather confident this isn’t a coincidence. And if it was intentional, it meant the English spelling of Gyiyg’s name was already determined before MOTHER 2, which I’ve never found any evidence of until now.

Still, the fact that not every map piece is used to spell the name leaves me a tiny bit doubtful too. What do you think? Coincidence or intentional?


October 4th, 2017 | Audio Stuff, EarthBound, MOTHER 1 | 10 Comments

The New Japan BGM Philharmonic Orchestra always puts out some amazing music, and it’s always a treat when there’s new MOTHER series stuff. Here are a couple newer ones that I wasn’t aware of:

M2 – Smiles & Tears

M2 – Gray Hand Bus:

M2 – Hospital Theme:

M1 – All I Needed Was You:

M1 – Wisdom of the World

But wait! That’s not all! There are actually more MOTHER/EarthBound performances to enjoy – you can find them all here!


September 22nd, 2017 | EarthBound, Itoi, Merchandise | 12 Comments

Each year, there seems to be more and more EarthBound (well, MOTHER 2) merchandise in the Hobonichi Planner shop. This year there are four new covers for the original A6 planner, a new Weeks cover, and a Mr. Saturn card case:

All of the MOTHER 2 covers come with a bonus Mr. Saturn notepad:

All of these covers and more are for sale right now! Check out the whole cover lineup here.


July 27th, 2017 | EarthBound, Itoi, Merchandise, MOTHER 1 | 9 Comments

My busy schedule has kept me from EarthBound-related news lately, so here’s a bunch all at once!

Disney is for MOTHER 3

Last month there were two “Localize MOTHER 3” signs at wrestling events and then a plea to localize MOTHER 3 on TV via Adult Swim. This month one of Disney’s official Twitter accounts posted a similar request:

It looks like it’s a new-ish account for a new game-themed entertainment outlet, so I’m guessing that it was (in part) just done to drum up attention, but it’s getting weirder and weirder out there in MOTHER 3 localization land. I feel like something else happened similar to this in the past month too, but I can’t recall what it was…

MOTHER 2 Jacket Sold

One of the super-duper rare MOTHER 2 dragon jackets finally appeared on eBay the other day. Very few were made and they appear so rarely on auction sites that no one really knows how much they sell for on average. Well, this one turned out to go for $1625 USD… but it also came bundled with a complete copy of EarthBound. I’m actually shocked that it went for something so low! Whoever got it, please tell me how it smells so I can re-create it in scratch-n-sniff form someday.

EarthBound Zero Prototype Sold

Last month I posted about how another EarthBound Zero prototype cartridge was discovered at a garage sale. It was well documented and got lots of attention from collectors and gaming sites. A few weeks ago the owner put the cartridge on eBay, where it sold for $8276 USD. As far as all the known prototypes go, I think that might be one of the most expensive ones of all!

Itoi Learns About Toby Fox & Undertale

Toby Fox (aka Radiation from the old starmen.net days) did an interview for Famitsu recently, because his Undertale game is getting an official Japanese release soon. Shigesato Itoi recently discovered the interview and had this to say:

Which is roughly:

A young man from America who once visited me as a MOTHER series fan is now being interviewed as the creator of a huge hit game.
That makes me feel so happy!

I’m really grateful to hear that he especially liked MOTHER 3. MOTHER 3 hasn’t been released in America, so he’s experienced the game entirely in Japanese.

A year or two ago, Fangamer and Toby ran into Itoi for a few minutes during a trip to Japan. I don’t think Itoi knew who he was at the time, so it’s neat to see his realization now 😛 Hopefully he’ll get a kick out of some of the Japanese writing in the game!

MOTHER 1’s Anniversary

Today marks the 28th anniversary of MOTHER 1’s release! I didn’t plan anything for today, but here’s a thing I put together for the game’s anniversary a few years ago. Oh Giygas that’s from 8 years ago already? EB Central is that old now? Nooooo

I’m probably forgetting more recent big EarthBound series happenings, so if I’ve missed anything let me know in the comments!


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