After over 15 years, Earthbound (or Mother 2 as it’s known in Japan) is finally getting a re-release on the Wii U’s Virtual Console!
… Yeah, I’ll admit it’s rather late for me to be weighing in on this. In truth I only found out about this last week, and I can’t believe that either considering how much I freaking love this game series! Earthbound is probably one of my favorite RPGs of all time. So, if you’ll indulge me, I’d like to spend a little time talking about my history with this under-appreciated classic.
Like many others, I first found out about it through the inclusion of Ness in Super Smash Brothers on the N64. I was just getting into Nintendo’s universe at the time, so I didn’t know many of those characters actually. (Boy was I shocked when I found out Samus was a chick and Kirby was a dude!) Years later, thanks to the “miracle” of emulation, I decided to download the game one night after randomly thinking about it, and tried it out. I really enjoyed it, though I never got to finish it despite starting it multiple times. (I’d have to start over if I got a new computer or something.)
Years later when I swore off emulation and began retro-collecting, Earthbound was one of those games I really wanted to get. Only problem was (and still is) it cost a whole lot on eBay, Amazon, and elsewhere. Even a loose cartridge was running about $80 then. (It’s similar now.) But one day I managed to find an auction where it was running for a lower price, and more importantly, it was ending on an evening I was free. (Meaning I could fend off those pesky auction snipers!) I ultimately snagged it for $75.
I played it off an on for a few months, got about half way through the game, and took a break for a while. Then one night some of my roommates and I were talking about it, and I decided to pick it up again. This time I played it every night for about two weeks straight. After a years of trying, I was going to finally beat this thing… not to mention the last few hours of this game are a beast… in a good way!
Sure enough, about a year ago today, after finishing my last college final, I beat the game, and what an ending! I won’t spoil it here, suffice to say you’d only get the full effect anyway if you go through the game yourself.
If you’re considering picking it up yourself when it hits the Wii U VC later this year, and I heartily recommend you do, (Heck, I’m probably going to get it again even though I have the original cartridge!) I urge you to give this game a good chance. A lot of people were turned off from its simple battle system, low quality graphics, and overall slow start, which led to poor reviews. That, and Nintendo’s “lovely” marketing campaign for it, is generally believed to be why this game didn’t sell very well back in the day. But the action really builds to an amazing conclusion. It’s a shame not many gamers got to experience it.
We have the Internet to thank for helping spread the word about this lost Nintendo classic. It, and it’s Japan-only prequel and sequel, are now huge cult classics. Said cult has been “sieging” Nintendo for years to finally get this game re-released. I think the final straw must’ve come from the hundreds of U.S. players who bought a Japanese Wii U just to get this game, who posted on their Miiverse… putting their comments right on Nintendo’s doorstep.
So save up $8 and grab this when it comes out. It’s totally worth it at that price. And when you’ve beaten it, check out some of the online communities.
Starmen.net has mostly been at the forefront of it all. They’ve organized the community through many different Nintendo petitions and the like over the years. You should definitely start here, especially if you want to learn about the other games in the series.
Earthbound Central is a bit of an off-shoot of that site. It’s a blog run by Japanese translator, Tomato, who’s always been a big fan of the series. He posts interesting insights, fan tributes, and the like on a regular basis. I definitely recommend adding this to your feed list.
So, a happy Mother’s Day to all, and to all a good night! If you’re still thinking of gift ideas for your mum, how about a trip to the luxurious Summers resort?
(yes, I changed the theme again. I was getting fed up with the Retro MacOS. It was wreaking havoc on this post, and many others. Like it? Don’t? Let me know.)