Gaming Icons: Earthbound
Posted by wastelander75 , 01 September 2011 · 137 views
Ness Mother Mother 2 Mother 3 cult classic Earthbound Ninten NES SNES Nintendo hippies
The EarthBound series, known as Mother in Japan, is a trilogy of role-playing games that began with a Japan-only release in 1989, and tells the story of Ninten, a young boy who travels the world to save the planet from an evil race of mind-controlling aliens. Along the way Ninten is joined by many of his friends and battles some rather unorthodox enemies such as aliens, possessed guitars, and even evil hippies. Ultimately Ninten and company must battle the evil alien leader, and save the world from it's many threats. The series is noted for deviation from the common sword and sorcery settings of previously noted RPG worlds in several ways. For one, it takes place in a more modern, suburban style environment and does away with the familiar weapon sets in favor of quirky and unconventional household items such as frying pans, yo-yos, baseball bats, and even a pop gun.
Mother quickly became a smash hit in Japan, with many critics stating that the title offered a refreshing and highly unusual take on a genre that was quickly becoming formulaic and predictable. Based on the initial sales success in Japan, Nintendo planned to bring Mother to North American stores for the Nintendo Entertainment System for a fall 1991 release, but with the impending arrival of the Super Nintendo, and rumors that the title might not fare well with western fans, the plans were quickly scrapped, even though the game's localization and translation was completed a full year ahead of the SNES's release.
Eventually however, the series finally made it's North American debut with Mother 2 (known in the U.S. as EarthBound), and followed the adventures of Ness, a psychically gifted boy who could alter the very course of time itself to affect future events. Commercially successful in Japan, Earthbound failed to meet western expectations and sold poorly. However, the title soon became a cult classic for many players, and would eventually see much higher praise by both fans and critics alike as being a game "well ahead of it's time."
The games was lauded for it's originality, unusual storyline, and humor, though some critics were divided on it's simplistically rendered graphics. Of all of the game's elements, however, the most widely regarded was its humor, being universally praised for its comedic, though at time confusing, depictions of American culture and somewhat scathing parody of the RPG genre.
A sequel was originally planned for the Nintendo 64 in 1997, however the game was plagued with both production and scheduling problems and was officially canceled on August 21, 2000. A Mother 3 did eventually make a Japan-only release on August 20, 2006, however, for the Gameboy Advance which included the original art style and general story and character list that was to be included in the N64's release. The game chronicles the story of Lucas and his friends as they fight against the "Pig Mask Army" on their home island of NoWhere as they fight against the unwanted industrialization and communist-esque police state they are forced to live under. Eventually however, a fan made translation finally made it's way to the internet on October 17, 2008.
Recent news hinted at a possible Earthbound/Mother trilogy for the Nintendo DS, though no real information or confirmation on any Earthbound project has come to light. At the moment it remains speculation and rumor. But if it happens, and it manages to retain its cult classic appeal to a much wider and much more understanding audience, then the Earthbound series might be the smash hit it always wanted to be.