By BUFFALODUDE44 9 Comments
Nintendo has a lot of things going for them. After the fall of video gaming in the early-80's, it was the Nintendo Entertainment System that practically resurrected it (don't quote me on that. :P) Over the years, they have captured the hearts of many a kid - and adults as well, I suppose - with their unforgettable characters, whimsical stories, and great games. Nearly everybody on the planet is aware of the Mario Bros. and Zelda. Their most recent console, the Wii, has a great variety of casual games to draw ordinarily non-gamers into the world of video games. Nintendo also has a few games that they almost seem to keep buried. Pikmin, Star Fox, and F-Zero are some examples of series that haven't seen a title on the Wii thus far, much less any decent titles within the past few years. The Mother series has only 3 games, the second of these being the only one released in North America, spanned over a period of almost 20 years. This is my favorite series from anything Nintendo has produced - and I have not legally played a single one of them (I hope I don't get arrested for this LOL.) Why? You are about to find out all of these things and more.
How did the Mother series come about? I'm so glad that you asked, kind sir! In 1989, Mother 1 was released in Japan on the Famicom (Japanese equivalent to the NES.) I was not fortunate enough to have played this because I have not found a decent translation anywhere (again, I will explain later.) Mother 2, released in 1995 on the Super Famicom, was not limited to Japan however - it saw an international release on the SNES called Earthbound. This game was not very popular. This game was not well-known and it did not sell very well. How could that be? Mother 2 sold well in Japan and it was exceedingly popular! What went wrong in North America and the rest of the world? Perhaps it had something to do with the advertising. Across every magazine page, flyer, and postcard read these words: "We're warning you... this game stinks." This advertising campaign was launched in an attempt at reverse psychology AND as a way to draw in its primary target audience - young male children (who, I suppose, stereotypically enjoy being dirty and smelly.) Did it work? I think not. The game flopped in the States and abroad, so Nintendo was discouraged from releasing its sequel - Mother 3 - in North America. Over 10 years later, in 2006, Mother 3 was released on the Gameboy Advance in Japan. While this game was exploding with popularity over in Asialand, the underground followers of Earthbound in North America were expecting an international release. It wasn't released, fans were disappointed, and something had to be done. The guys over at Starmen.net (an Earthbound fansite) got a team of over 30 people together to do a fan translation project of Mother 3 and make it available to the public outside of Japan. After a couple of years of development, the project was completed, and Mother 3 was brought to North America (on the condition that everyone who plays the ROM on an emulator promises to buy it if Nintendo actually releases it outside of Japan in English. :P) I have played Earthbound and Mother 3 on emulators on the computer, and I think that they are amazing games. I eagerly await the day that a re-release, of sorts, is conducted by Nintendo in order to please its neglected Mother fans.
So what makes these games so amazing? I mean, you've written two rather large paragraphs already, so why not just tell us? Well, alrighty, then! Let's start with Mother 1. As you know, I have not played this game (although, I REALLY want to.) However, from my knowledge, this game focuses in on the life of a seemingly average boy named Ninten who has been endowed with PSI powers. He works together with his friends that he meets along his path to accomplish some mission that I'm not fully aware of (I have kept this information hidden from myself because I don't like spoilers. XD) Anyway, on to the games that I have actually emulated -- errr... played. XD Earthbound. This game certainly does NOT stink. The premise behind Earthbound is basically the same as that of Mother 1, except it's more of an extension of the storyline of Mother 1. Ness, a normal suburban child in modern-day Eagleland (a parody of America), is asleep one night and a meteorite strikes in his hometown of Onett. He goes to investigate and meets a being from the future that tells him the fate that is awaiting him. Ness goes on his adventure, meeting new friends along the way, in order to stop an evil alien force named Giygas (whom... I really don't know that much about because he is explained in great detail in the plot of Mother 1... which I haven't played :\) Ness and his friends defeat Giygas, and the world is saved. I promise you, I cried at the end of this game. It is a beautiful story. Now here comes Mother 3. Holy crap. Earthbounds has a very quirky and upbeat plot - even through to the end - with some serious turns here and there. Mother 3 is just the opposite - it is a dark and emotional story with some quirky and upbeat turns thrown in here and there. I'm not going to type it all out, but here is the basic summary: a young boy named Lucas and his twin brother Claus are with their mother visiting their grandfather in the mountains. Flint, the father, is back home tending to the farm that they operate in their rural hometown of Tazmily. On the way back home, the twins and their mother have a serious accident, and, through a series of unfortunate events, the family is torn apart. The years pass by, and some mischevious people in pigmasks come to Tazmily and introduce modern conveniences such as cars, trains, and most importantly - money. These things were never in Tazmily before, so, as you can well imagine, the town changes dramatically. Lucas sets out to stop the pigmask army when he discovers that they have been altering local wildlife into mindless creatures called chimeras. His quest is an unforgettable journey that... made me cry at the end again. XD I hope I didn't give away too many spoilers, because this is just something that must be experienced to be fully enjoyed.
Now for the gameplay - story isn't everything, y'know! >:O Otherwise, I woulda gone to go see a movie. DUH. Okay, try to stick with me because this isn't going to sound nearly as cool as it actually is. XD The Mother games are RPGs - just like Final Fantasy or any other thing like that (we'll use Final Fantasy as a base for simplicity.) Take the characters from Final Fantasy - sword-wielding adults that fight goblins and zombies - and turn them into pre-teenaged American children wielding baseball bats and yo-yos with PSI powers. ... ...okay, for the time, that was unheard of. XD That's actually been redone a few times over by now. Now take Final Fantasy again, and you'll see the monsters you're fighting on the left and your party members on the right. You pick the attacks and watch them play out. You're going to get really turned off from the Mother series if you don't keep an open mind here, okay? XD In the Mother games, the enemies are in front of you accompanied by a trippy, moving background, and your characters are behind you - offscreen - or, if you prefer to think of it this way, you are in first-person view. Your attacks aren't exactly shown, but PSI abilities have a colorful light display. In Mother 3, attacks can be timed to the beat of the background music and you can pull off combos - up to 16 hits! I believe that by now, the Mother series just dropped in appeal to you. LOL Take heart! There are many things that make up for this. You know how in Final Fantasy, you attack, your enemy gets damaged. Then the enemy attacks, and you get damaged. Simple as that. If you die, you're dead. In the Mother series, there is a scrolling bar type HP system. If you got critically damaged, you have time to quickly select a healing spell and then your ally can be healed before they die and they are spared! This game involves not only the right weapons and techniques, but also good timing. The battles are exciting, and the insane enemies that you battle always keep you on your toes. Every character has unique abilities, strengths, and weaknesses so that you are required to utilize all of your party members in order to be successful in battle. You are given a variety of different items throughout the game that are good for a chuckle and can sometimes save your butt in a tight squeeze. The point is... on paper, this game sounds pretty stupid. It's just something that you have to play to appreciate.
You now know why I am such a Mother series fanatic... well... at least I hope you do. At any rate, now comes the most important part of this thing: WHY? WHY does Nintendo keep this to themselves? WHY is Nintendo making Super Mario Galaxy TWO instead of re-releasing the Mother series? Why does Nintendo continue adding Ness, and now Lucas, to the roster of Super Smash Bros. as well as items, stages, and trophies of the characters and still continue to ignore the series? Why has Nintendo said nothing in response to the petition constructed by Starmen.net with 80,000 signatures of fans who have promised to buy an English translation of Mother 3 or a re-release of Earthbound? I've concluded that it's a combination of two things. First, Earthbound didn't do well in North America. Producing a re-release of the series is a pretty big cost and there is no promise that it will do well here. That's a lot of money wasted on a series that seemed promising but didn't work out. Second, Earthbound takes place in modern-day America - that's a problem? How, BUFFALODUDE, how? Living in the United States, you see a billboard or advertisement at every turn for some name-brand product. Earthbound plays on this - and countless other references to pop-culture - a LOT. This causes some uneasiness with the attournies at Nintendo. They work hard to make sure that they avoid lawsuits - lawsuits are not fun. These two reasons make the perfect chemical balance to keep Earthbound out of the Virtual Console on the Wii (which was officially announced recently) or any possible re-releases. However, Earthbound is not the only game in the series. Brownie Brown, who were the main contributors in the development of Mother 3, have said in a recent press release that if Nintendo gives them the word, they will happily remake Mother 3 for the DS and release it internationally. Now it's up to Nintendo. The rest is a mystery. Hope you enjoyed this, even if it was rather long. XD