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Marcus Lindblom - Writing the English Script for EarthBound Was a Giant Step

Posted by Tim Latshaw

But it was worthwhile

Writer and EarthBound designer Shigesato Itoi is a cultural icon in Japan and a name well known among longtime fanatics of the game. But the text from the English version of the game came from other, mostly unsung sources.

Marcus Lindblom, who chiefly shouldered EarthBound’s localization writing, has had a chance to shine on the media circuit with EarthBound’s release on the Wii U Virtual Console. He recently spoke with Kotaku about his experiences and what it means to him to see a new wave of attention towards the 1995 title.

Lindblom started at Nintendo as a call center representative before moving up to the position of software analyst. When he was placed on the EarthBound project, about one-tenth of the script had been completed by another writer who had picked up another game. Lindblom and a Japanese writer, Masayuki Miura, worked with roughly translated scripts on paper, Miura serving as a guide in terms of tone and context. According to Lindblom, it was a marathon of content:

It was a large amount of work in a really short amount of time. I know in the middle of it I went through a stretch of about 30 days when I didn't take a day off, and I was doing something like 14 or 15 hours a day. It was just lots of grinding-out time with the text in the game.

Even with the daunting task, Lindblom was able to add many personal touches to EarthBound’s final product. He’s the one behind naming Pokey’s mom Lardna, and the names of his wife and daughters appear as those of characters or default choices in the game.

There is plenty more in the full interview. It’s an encouraging read, knowing that someone who saw his hard work struggle in sales years ago is now able to witness a new generation enjoying it today. New technology makes it even better for Lindstrom:

Years ago, I only ever got to see what a reviewer thought of the game. Today, it’s fantastic because whether it’s Twitter, and people posting things they like about the game, or it’s TwitchTV, it’s nice to know that people laugh when I sort of hoped they would, or they smile at the stuff that I hoped would make them smile. That's what really makes this worthwhile, all these years later. Whereas 18 years ago it was kind of frustrating and disappointing.

What are your favourite quotes or text from EarthBound? Feel free to share below.

[via kotaku.com]

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User Comments (20)

GuSilverFlame

#1

GuSilverFlame said:

my favorite quote would be "Now on 3DS" but it doesn't exist :p
so in the end I didn't play it....
look at the top right corner of my comment :D

Shambo

#6

Shambo said:

'the crazy cultist turned back to normal', after SMAAAAASHing him with a baseball bat.
Or something like that.

Derperific

#7

Derperific said:

Writing the English Script for Earthbound was a "Giant Step" hehe..... i see what they did there...

NbaJunkie

#8

NbaJunkie said:

'New Age Retro Hippie becomes friendly and affectionate, Ness backs off...' Hilarious and instantly quotable

KingMike

#9

KingMike said:

Probably most of the Mr. Saturns' lines can be quoted.
"You want to sell things at me?" Yes, Nintendo has wanted to sell the game at us for a long time, and it only know seems to have a bit of success.
"Repair your body! BOING! You want me to operate on you?"

unrandomsam

#11

unrandomsam said:

Did he do the NES one that only 4 known copies (Presumably copied or stolen) exist outside Nintendo ?

DoodleJohn

#12

DoodleJohn said:

"You'll probably see the Kraken and experience getting seasick!
After all, it could only cost you your life, and you got that for free!" -Sailor at Summers
"It could only cost your your life, and you got that for free!" is my new motto! :D

element187

#13

element187 said:

@GuSilverFlame I believe they have Wii U's at the store near you. Why the delay? Go get one. It's the exact console I have been wanting Nintendo to make since my parents bought me an OG NES back in 1984. The ability to keep playing a console quality game when my wife wants the tv is genius. I think I would have s**t my pants if I had that capability in the 80's

AdanVC

#14

AdanVC said:

"You have taking the time to talk with a mouse, this mouse loves you" hahaha.

GuSilverFlame

#15

GuSilverFlame said:

@element187 it's because it's expensive in brazil.... can't vuy one now my family expended too much in this year(thank you guy that stole my previous smartphone you made my parents buy me a good new one instead of a WiiU :p ) jokes aside I'll buy one when I can only because of the Gamepad and the Nintendo exclusives(because if it wasn't for those I'd say PS4 looks better than WiiU and get one instead)

Emaan

#17

Emaan said:

Well done to the writer, this game wouldn't be what it is without the charm and love put into the script~

skjia

#18

skjia said:

"Ahhhhhh! A zombie!
...
...
Could you keep it down, I’m watching a zombie movie."

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