The Mother of all fan projects

EarthBound fans: The Mother 3 fan translation is done! BOING!

Everyone else: EarthBound was released on our shores in the summer of ’95, so it’s been over thirteen years since we got anything new from the mind of Shigesato Itoi. Fans were ecstatic, then, when Nintendo released the Game Boy Advance sequel, Mother 3, a couple years back. But Nintendo of America…seemed less so. There was no word on a domestic release, and slowly but surely, the GBA died off without seeing it brought over. Eventually, frustration gave way to determination, and the folks over at (yes, the ones single-handedly responsible for giving “being an EarthBound fan” that kind of stigma) assembled a team of hackers and writers to produce a professional, localized translation. Two years later, it’s finally been released, and based on some of the screenshots they’ve provided, the localization has fully captured the spirit of EarthBound:

[[image: ar_101708_mother_01.jpg:Insert ”mother” pun here.:center:0]]
So now we’re free to enjoy the fruits of their labor, but the fight is never over to show Nintendo that their beloved series can actually make some money, if only they’d give it a chance. I, for one, still plan to buy EarthBound the second it goes up on the Virtual Console, and yes, I’d buy Mother 3 and play it all over again if it ever saw some kind of official release here. (As it stands, a donation to and buying a cheap flash cartridge makes me feel a little better, though I’m guessing all they really want is an official release of by Nintendo.) Scruples, and all that.

And really, there isn’t much else to say. Go try it for yourself, even if you haven’t played EarthBound; I hear it’s not a direct sequel at all, and you can fully enjoy it on its own merits. EarthBound was an enamoring -– but decidedly weird –- RPG with enough charm to create a fan base dedicated enough to do something like this, and Mother 3 looks to be that and more. If nothing else, play it until the end of Act 1; I’ve been told that the game’s opening segment conclusively proves sprites can have as much emotional impact as anything else. It isn’t every day you’re given a chance to experience something you’d given up on because you were born in the wrong part of the world, so please, enjoy it.

10 thoughts on “The Mother of all fan projects

  1. I’ll save waxing poetic about EB for another time —

    But what strikes me most about this project is the sheer dedication of it’s main translator / hacker. Back when they first started, it was announced that many more were on board – yet by about only a month or so in, those others were nowhere to be seen.

    To think of how someone – who could fully understand and appreciate the game in the first place – would put in the absolute *insane* amount of work and hours toward allowing others to enjoy the game — it’s nothing short of pure altruism.

    I’m just stunned that this series inspires that sort of benevolence and generosity in people. And I think that right there, is the biggest statement that could ever be made about EarthBound.

  2. Oh…and they will have a FREE version online if you don’t want to spring $20 for the printed copy.

  3. I’m currently playing and loving it. It was so worth the wait…they’ve done an amazing job. Their dedication strikes me too, Mato and Jeffman are heroes in their own way as far as I’m concerned.

  4. Dumb question: Does Mother 3 work on U.S. GBAs?

    I know you need a flash cart for it to work on a U.S. Nintendo DS, but I thought the U.S. GBA could play it without needing any extras.

  5. Thanks for the response, Ninth Sage! I think there is a copy of Mother 3 locally, so I might just buy it up and make use of the walkthrough.

  6. Once the patch was released, I nearly forgot to finish my midterm. Just finished chapter 3 and loving every minute of it. How Earthbound never caught on in the US still amazes me, it’s a damn shame this game never got a US release. It’s the most charming game this side of Little Big Planet.

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