News Article

EarthBound Celebrates 20 Very Strange Years of Existence

Posted by Tim Latshaw

Proving that fighting piles of puke only gets better with age

It's almost hard to believe that EarthBound (Mother 2) is 20 years old with the way it continues to pop up nowadays. The 27th of August marks the RPG's 1994 release in Japan, however, and paved the way for its strange journey through other parts of the world.

Brought to North America in 1995, EarthBound received a lukewarm reception from many critics and did not become as successful as Nintendo had hoped. This led to no subsequent release in Europe at the time, and otherwise this would have been a game swept under the rug of gaming history. And yet, EarthBound gained a following of fans charmed by its modern-setting story and trippy humour; very faithful fans who champion the game still to this day and helped make the cartridge a highly sought commodity in its rarity.

Luckily for many of us, Nintendo released EarthBound on the Virtual Console last year, giving those who never got a chance to play an easy way of experiencing that game the weird, psychic, bat-wielding kid in Super Smash Bros. is from.

Mother series creator Shigesato Itoi, a popular cultural figure in Japan who has recently been making news with peaches and underthings, posted a celebratory message you can see on his website, along with a nonsensical doodle of a Mr. Saturn. Translated by the good people at Siliconera, the message reads:

“It’s already been 20 years since the release of Mother 2.
… does that make you happy?

*Yes: me too.
*No: Then be happy.

Shigesato Itoi,
August 27th, 2014.

Will do, Mr. Itoi. Will do.

[via 1101.com, siliconera.com]

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User Comments (33)

Porky

#4

Porky said:

I am glad Ness is in the next Smash and his 3ds stage is Magicant.

Kirk

#6

Kirk said:

It's kinda shocking to think this game wasn't praised among critics when it first released because it's clearly a very well made, highly polished game with great pixel art, music, characters, charm, humor, depth, scope and more. I can't quite figure what they would have take issue with actually.

Personally, I actually think this game is a bit of a creative masterpiece that at times genuinely approaches the level of "art" imo.

Samurai_Goroh

#7

Samurai_Goroh said:

I only got to play it for the first time this year on Wii U but loved every bit of it. Almost reduced to tears when the end credits rolled... Say "Fuzzy Pickles"!

Sato

#9

Sato said:

@Kirk I think it was a mix of being overpriced (as it came bundled with a guide among other things) and not quite living up, visually and in scope, to other more advanced games out around the same time, like FF6.

Sato

#11

Sato said:

@TimLatshaw I think the ad campaign was funny, but I'm amazed they went with it considering how obviously ineffective it'd end up being.

Giygas_95

#12

Giygas_95 said:

So glad this came to the VC. I had never played if before that, but it was a huge hit with me.

Now, listen to this as you open that scrapbook and think back about all those Earthbound memories.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwHZwvTdnPI

Amazing thing about this game to me is that, even though I never played it before its VC release, it feels like it was right there with the games I played when I was very young: Super Mario World, Super Metroid, A Link to the Past, Super Mario RPG...

Arrrrgh, now I want to play through it for the fifth time.

@ricklongo Uhhh...Peaches? ;)

C-Olimar

#13

C-Olimar said:

How about Mother 3 for the West?
Or at least Ness in Smash with a NEW stage...

RinCartwright

#15

RinCartwright said:

I don't know, I think I'm still pretty mad that Itoi eats peaches (sarcasm).
Happy birthday, EarthBound!

rdrunner1178

#16

rdrunner1178 said:

@C-Olimar Surely they'll release Mother 3 after seeing the success of Earthbound on VC? Especially now that there are GBA games on there as well. 💵 💰

KryptoKrunch

#21

KryptoKrunch said:

I'm currently playing through Earthbound and it's such a fantastic RPG. Easily one of the funniest games I've ever played. I've lol'ed several times throughout so far.

TheWPCTraveler

#23

TheWPCTraveler said:

Obligatory Mother 3 Comment.

It's just nice that Itoi still recognizes the game that gave so many feels to so many people. Of course, it ought to be nice if he helps in translating Mother 3...

OracleOfTruth

#24

OracleOfTruth said:

Mr. Itoi's answers would be wrong if he were in Moonside. ;)

Anyways, I know I certainly enjoyed EarthBound. There's just nothing quite like it. I hope that everyone will continue to enjoy this game for years to come. It will always bring back the fondest of memories.

@TimLatshaw - I'd like to give you props for being one of the few writers/people to properly capitalize the 'B' in EarthBound. Enjoy a cup of Trout Yogurt on me! ;)

dkxcalibur

#25

dkxcalibur said:

I've never played this game before. I skipped over it when it was released like most of the population unfortunately. Every time I go to DL something on my Wii U, I grab something else. For some reason, I would rather play it on my 3DS. Oh well, maybe next eshop visit!

Fandabidozi

#26

Fandabidozi said:

I'd never even heard of EarthBound till about a year ago. Checked it out and love it. Deserves all the praise it gets. A real gem.

xerneas

#31

xerneas said:

I wish they'd release Mother 3 in english. It's got a perfect fan translation for a rom though, but still I'd definitely buy a real copy. <3

danjohnson141

#32

danjohnson141 said:

I got my when I last got reduced so I wont feel too hard done by if it does get a discount, even at full price its well worth it!!

Mario500

#33

Mario500 said:

I wish EarthBound was available through the original Virtual Console service for folks with Wii systems who do not have Wii U systems yet.

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