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Earthbound Beginnings (Mother) Discussion (Nintendo NES) [game]
7.75/10 from 8 user ratings

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Earthbound Beginnings (Mother) Review (Nintendo NES) (8.0)  by  


Finally, Mother 1 is released in North America.

I'm guessing most of us have never played this game before, but for those who have: any beginner's advice? For example, I'd tell someone playing Earthbound on SNES for the first time to keep the characters' default names. Are there any weird little tidbits we should know going into this one?

From what I hear, it's kinda like SNES Earthbound but not as good... but should still be worth playing! Personally, I'm really relieved that Nintendo localized this one before Mother 3, despite the demand being for Mother 3 first. Gotta play the first game before the third one!

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Posted: 06/15/15, 05:11:37  - Edited by 
 on: 06/15/15, 05:14:42
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How much is it? $6?

I'll be interested to hear how the battle music is. That's an important factor if there's a lot of grinding.
Posted: 06/15/15, 05:20:56
TriforceBun's EarthBound Beginnings (MOTHER 1) tips and info!

It's finally here! 26 years ago, Japan was introduced to the game Mother, and it's actually kind of a phenomenon over there. See, while EB (Mother 2) got its own cult following in the US, Mother 1 is actually very fondly remembered in Japan. I mean, Mother 2 was still a hit over there, but the culture's got quite a bit of nostalgia for the first game that's not really matched the its two sequels. It's the first game made by all-around renaissance man Shigesato Itoi, a very well-known Japanese author.

Going into EBB, you need to keep in mind that this is an NES RPG, which means there's going to be some clunkiness to it. There're frequent, occasionally relentless random battles, the difficulty can be brutal and may necessitate grinding at spots, and you'll have to go through a Dragon Quest-style submenu to talk to people. If those things sound too daunting, you may be better off elsewhere.

That said, this is an EarthBound game through and through. Once you get the hang of some of its archaic quirks, you'll find a game with a ton of heart put into it, lots of clever inversions of the genre, and a charming story all wrapped in one of the best NES soundtracks of them all. The game got its own CD vocal release in 1989 (which is very good)--all involving lyrical versions of its music, some of which is performed by a children's choir, and some of which is done by 14-year-old Catherine Warwick. Pollyanna (the main theme) is one of my all-time favorite pick-me-up songs, and it's ridiculously appropriate after today's events:

Like I said, Mother 1 is a bit of a Japanese phenomenon. And for good reason, it's a very appealing game. It's a bit upsetting that we don't have the nostalgia attached to it, but there's lots of stuff the game does really well regardless. Tons of EarthBound staples got their start here--modern suburban setting, ATMs and hotels, eating Hamburgers for health, bashing hippies, general quirky enemies and weird dialogue, etc. If EB was FF4, EBB is FF1. The spirit of the series is still there.

Either way, I recommend it as long as you have a stomach for NES-era RPGs! It just may be the best RPG on the system (it or DQ4, anyway). If you disliked EarthBound, you won't like this, but otherwise, you should give it a shot. It's $6.99--Nintendo gave it the ol' EarthBound tax.


-Here are the default names for the characters: Ninten (boy with hat), Loid (boy with glasses), Ana (girl in dress), Teddy (greaser guy). Pick whatever you want for your favorite food though!

-Death is like in EB, where you don't really lose progress but you do drop half the cash in your pocket and you start from your last phone with no PP. But still, better than having to reload a save.

-If you eat the item Bread, you'll regain some HP. It's much more useful when used though--use it and the item will turn into Crumbs. The Crumbs will set a warp point right where you initially used the Bread, so then you can later use the Crumbs to instantly warp to that point!

-The first drugstore sells slingshots, but keep in mind that--like EarthBound--they miss more often than bats. It's up to you if you want to pick one up, but I just saved money for the best bat they sell there.

-I like setting A and B to the shoulder buttons as well. Do both of them on L and ZL to play with one hand, EarthBound-style!

-Remember to choose your item you want to equip (like a bat) and hit "Use" to equip it. It doesn't take up inventory space when equipped.

The first bit is pretty straightforward, so you should be able to get an idea of what to do and what's effective against enemies. Remember--this is a tough game sometimes, so don't shy away from making some slight progress (like in the graveyard) and then running back to heal up! Best of luck!

There are multiple battle songs, like in EarthBound, including the Johnny B. Goode-style hippie theme. They're generally good, I think.
Posted: 06/15/15, 06:10:48  - Edited by 
 on: 06/26/15, 19:09:12
Well I bought it. I actually played a bit of this (like 10 minutes) a longgggg time ago on an emulator but I wasn't really going to dive into it back then. I'm a bit leery of an NES RPG (my first one ever!) but I'll give it a fair shake.

And I have to get this done so I can be prepared for when Earthbound 2 (what Nintendo will call Mother 3 here) releases!
Posted: 06/15/15, 06:14:18  - Edited by 
 on: 06/15/15, 06:32:58
Have fun! Don't be hesitant to pull up some maps, though, especially for some of the mid-to-later dungeon areas.

I'm about an hour in, just returned Pippi to Podunk.
Posted: 06/15/15, 06:24:35
Very cool thing. Nintendo's whole show was pretty awesome.

And I was impressed with that new 3DS Soccer Shooter game. I wish that was Wii U! Looks like Splatoon style fun!
What was with the really weird similarities to Metroid Prime with that game?? Just look at the font and logo, gameplay, and even art. What the hell.
Posted: 06/15/15, 07:01:38

Thanks for the tips. I'm so thrilled to be able to jump into this game on the Wii U! Like Zero, I've never played an NES RPG, so this should be interesting!
Posted: 06/15/15, 07:16:27  - Edited by 
 on: 06/15/15, 07:16:57

Why shouldn't I just name them whatever I want like I did in Earthbound. Keep in mind I don't believe in "canon".
Posted: 06/15/15, 07:30:36

There's a good reason for not naming them whatever you want in Earthbound. Your own real life name comes into play later, and the game specifically asks you for it, so you don't want to have already named Ness after yourself. Aside from that, nah, you can name them whatever you want, but I'd think that most people would rename them after themselves and a few friends (like the strategy guide specifically tells you to!).
Posted: 06/15/15, 07:33:28

Somehow I don't remember that. I used a nickname for myself so I probably just used something closer to my real name at that point.
Posted: 06/15/15, 07:36:41
No real reason--you're free to name them what you want. But people might also be interested in the default names for RPGs, and EBB doesn't provide them in-game (unlike EB).
Posted: 06/15/15, 07:52:59
Just remember that this game is brutal. Even the earliest enemies will hand you a quick defeat. On top of that it is easy to run into enemies that way outclass you.
Posted: 06/15/15, 10:19:05
Finally downloaded it! I'm still ecstatic about the fact that Mother 1 is getting a worldwide release, but I can't help but feel it's a pity they seem to be using the old translation. It's a missed opportunity to keep the overall tone in line with Earthbound and the mythos confusion to a minimum.

Still -- it's friggin' MOTHER! I'm playing an official Mother 1 release in friggin' Europe on a friggin' Nintendo home console! If any gaming company deserves to have fans, it's Nintendo.
Posted: 06/15/15, 12:54:43
Hmm, shouldn't we do with this game the same thing we do with other VC games in the database? Yeah it had a new name but it is the same exact game as Mother NES right?!
Posted: 06/15/15, 13:25:37
Strange behavior, but I may buy this with the full intention of not playing it, just to register my enthusiasm for more Earthbound product. But my understanding is that Mother is an uber-grindfest and I just don't have time or inclination to actually put in the energy to complete it.

Why didn't they release Earthbound Zero? Isn't it basically the same game with some modernization?

BTW, to go along with T-Bun's music post up there, I came across the 8 Melodies from Earthbound many years ago and, even though I've never actually played the game, it's one of my favorite video game tunes of all time.

The vocal version takes a little while to get going, but I find it actually moving, if you consider it a kind of ultimate expression of a decent kid's idea of the meaning of life.

Posted: 06/15/15, 15:45:12
I've been waiting to really play this game since it was announced in Nintendo Power all those years ago. I've dabbled with an emulated version in the past, and I had an import copy of the GBA title...but I couldn't get full into it. Now I can, and I adore this game, even if it is brutal at the moment.
Posted: 06/15/15, 16:09:08
I think this is Earthbound Zero, pretty much. The leaked prototype ROM was hacked by fans in order to work properly in emulators, and was given the name EarthBound Zero. Don't think they made any big localization changes other than adjusting some grammar, but I may be mistaken. Either way, what we know as EarthBound Zero isn't Nintendo's doing, strictly speaking. I haven't looked into the matter in detail, and it's been a long time since I played it, but it seems that the translation we have right now is the one from '90 by Phil Sandhop, and the changes in content I've seen so far seems to point in that direction as well. Crows not smoking cigarettes, for instance.

The version on the Japanese GBA cart Mother 1+2 on the other hand is a bit different, and got a faaantastic translation as well as some balancing changes done by Tomato. Basically, if you want you can wear a ring that makes the game easier and less grindy. I would have loved to see Nintendo give that version an official release, or -- if I can dream a bit -- apply his changes to the original Famicom version so we wouldn't get the slightly inferior GBA sound, but I know I'm being unreasonable since that would require them to re-write tons of code.
Posted: 06/15/15, 16:19:02
"EarthBound Zero" is simply the fan name for the translated version of Mother (or "Earth Bound," as the game's title screen calls it). In fact, the official, translated version of Mother did actually make an improvement: the run button! Plus a longer ending, both of which made their way to the GBA double-pack, and are in the VC edition of the game too, thankfully.

The GBA version might be the one you're thinking of, which has a couple further tweaks--I'm actually not sure yet if this is the GBA version or just the (enhanced) US translation that got pulled at the last minute in the early '90s.
Posted: 06/15/15, 16:23:47
This about sums things up.

Posted: 06/15/15, 16:37:24

Oh, thanks guys. I think I misunderstood the nomenclature. I was thinking of the Mother 1+2 GBA version when I said Earthbound Zero. I'd heard that there was an item that made the game far less grindy, which would be the only way I'd be willing to play it.

My enthusiasm for the Mother series always dovetails with my lack of enthusiasm for playing long RPGs.
Posted: 06/15/15, 16:48:29
Started it late last night, only got out of the house, basically. Anyone else thinks the controls feel strangely laggy, when moving around?
Posted: 06/15/15, 17:27:18
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