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Mother to Earth: The Untold Story of Earth Bound (Available Now)

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The documentary is available to stream at Vimeo.com.

For those of you who may not know about this project, it was Kickstarted four years ago. We covered the history behind the Nintendo cult classic, MOTHER, better known as EarthBound Beginnings. Learn how a prototype leaked out, was dumped online by teenage hackers in the late 90's, then released officially on the WiiU virtual console 25 years later as we talk to the employees that localized the game, the composer in Japan, and a lawyer to find out just how much trouble we're all in!

This film is rated PG for Language and Brief Smoking Images. The legacy of the smoking crow lives on!


Hope you guys all enjoy. Been a long time coming. Physical rewards to follow!

Edited by Ferris Bueller
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1 hour ago, Code Monkey said:

The last few messages you've posted have been black text on (with the dark theme) a dark background. The only way I could read it is to highlight it.

@Gloves How do I combat someone using a different theme? I think it is because I cut and paste.

Edited by Ferris Bueller
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26 minutes ago, Ferris Bueller said:

@Gloves How do I combat someone using a different theme? I think it is because I cut and paste.


20 minutes ago, Code Monkey said:

When you right click to paste, there are options for PASTE and also PASTE WITHOUT FORMATTING.

Use the latter.

That would be the answer. 

I can also turn off the formatting copying, but I think it'd also make copy pasting stuff like tables, etc., more difficult. 

I'll look into it and see if there's a better solution I can come up with. 

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16 minutes ago, Gloves said:

I'll look into it and see if there's a better solution I can come up with. 

I mean, I wish we were talking about the movie I spent four years making, but let's beta test the site. Here's what I know...

I use shortcuts, so cmnd+c or v. I tried the right click thing, and maybe because I use Mac, there is no option for me to paste without formatting.

Sometimes when I paste, the site does ask if I want to use plain text vs rich, which I usually ignore because I like my formatting for paragraphs and line spacing better.

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I purchased the digital version off Vimeo and finished watching it. As a big fan of Earth Bound for NES, I really enjoyed it. All the interviews were fantastic, especially Phil Sandhop, he is evidently a very spirited guy, the script in the game reflects that. I'm surprised so many people involved with the various prototype cartridges were found.

It makes me happy to see so many people who love specifically the unreleased NES game, not just the SNES sequel or the series as a whole. I've never agreed with the 20+ year consensus that this game is bad, anachronistic feeling and extremely hard. Yes, it does have a few ancient-feeling things like if Ninten and friends all attack one enemy and it dies early, everyone will continue to attack thin air instead of auto-targeting another enemy. It does have a lot of walking but honestly the giant open landscapes are what make it impressive, who cares if it takes a bit longer to get around.

Despite those things, I don't find the game hard. I suspect the instruction booklet / great grandfather's diary were meant to point out things that make the game much easier. For example, buying Ninten some AsthmaSpray in Marysville so he doesn't get destroyed by Maniac Trucks and Cars, it's not immediately obvious if you aren't always checking shops. It's also extremely important to buy Pendants, Gold Coins and Magic Rings in Magicant as soon as you can afford them, so your party's Defense can be buffed which is 100% necessary if you don't want to die or level grind a lot. It's also not fully clear you must keep Lloyd alive inside Duncan's Factory to complete the objective there. If these things were meant to be fully explained in the manual/guide, or Nintendo Power coverage, then that is a huge tragedy and it makes me sad the game suffered as a result, to the point someone felt the need to make an Easy patch for the rom.


Back to the documentary, I do have perhaps one constructive criticism. It leaves out some background information that I guess was too obvious to point out for longtime fans, like what exactly happened to the game post-cancellation. It was canned at NOA in 1991, then considered for a Canadian release by NOCL in 1994, then sadly was canned a second time. It's also really important to note that Nintendo did do bilingual English-French localization for other games in Canada during this time, the most notable being Kirby's Adventure. Both that game and Earth Bound used battery backed saving, MMC3 and fairly large ROM chips. Both pricey to manufacture, but one was an already successful platformer and the other was an untried RPG.

I also notice this documentary is actually more about the afterlife of Earth Bound as a series of prototype cartridges than the game itself. I can understand if that was the only goal, but often during the documentary everyone says it's a great game but hardly say why. After years and years of people saying it's a bad game, it would have been nice if some positives were mentioned, like the excellent graphics, creative enemies, fun writing and dialog, excellent sound effects and music work, along with the game featuring technical feats like massive 8-way scrolling world environments with no screen transitions at all, except for going inside buildings, or to Magicant or using PSI Teleport. I find that extremely impressive even today. Also, armed with better knowledge of the items, PSI powers and strategies, I feel the game offers a solid but not unfair challenge. It's only truly hard at the very beginning and end. It's still more accessible than the Dragon Quests and Final Fantasies of the day, in my opinion. Again, I bet the game being cryptic at times was meant to be filled in by the extra paper packaging the game was intended to come with, which we don't have. It would be like complaining Zelda 1 is too cryptic while ignoring the big paper map and Nintendo Power coverage.


All that said, I really enjoyed this documentary as a longtime fan of the game. It's great to see Earth Bound getting some recognition and love, a very much overlooked game that really should have been released. Maybe in another parallel universe, it could have happened. I'll still play it though, for the sake of everyone at NOA who worked hard to complete it and give it the polish of a future smash hit.

Also, thank you Phil Sandhop for the run button.

EDIT: One last thing, I'd love to see a documentary like this done for SimCity NES as well.

Edited by Koopa64
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