EarthBound's no-showing on the Virtual Console has been a sore subject for Mother fans for years now. It has been known for awhile that legal issues of some kind were what was keeping the game from being rereleased, but it was unknown what specifically was involved. Today, Mato of EarthBound Central has revealed the three key things in the game that Nintendo of America wanted to have changed, but that Nintendo Co., Ltd. refused to comply with:
Mato has stated that the main issue out of these three is the Sky Runner song, "which was made specifically for the Sky Runner scenes. They feel a new song would need to be made, and apparently NCL or someone else on the Japanese side of things isn’t happy with that or finds it too much of a bother, so the game has been in limbo for the past five years."
There's no indication that this standstill may cease anytime in the near future, but it is at least more clear today why EarthBound has yet to see release on the Virtual Console.
1. That song sounds like a parody of Won't Get Fooled again...it's not the same song. 2. This, also, just sounds like a generic Chuck Berry esque song. 3. I guess this makes sense.
Man. Such simple changes too. They can go into a game and take out ads (like in Wave Race 64), but they can't do this? I don't even really like Earthbound, but it's a shame if these are what's keeping the game from coming out on the VC.
@ploot Apparently they simply managed to slip by the legal team at Nintendo back in 1995.
I love EarthBound too I don't care about the Dali's Clock enemy name, but the two songs listed I'm fond of; particularly the Sky Runner theme. That part of the game felt absolutely magical in its whimsy.
If these are the only three issues then someone needs to punch NoA's lawyers in their wieners and just release the darn game already.
1.) Yes, it sounds like a parody of Won't Get Fooled Again (which is protected free speech, btw), but it isn't even the exact chord progression. It's distinct enough that there should be no problem. At worst, it sounds like someone diddling around with a Who patch on a synthesizer, another thing that is perfectly legal. Besides, if Farsight Studios can get away with their half-assed knockoff of Pinball Wizard, Nintendo can get away with this.
2.) Ha. If Chuck Berry sued every guitar player who ever stole a lick from him, there'd be like 4 guitar players left. And they'd all suck, because they didn't rip off Chuck Berry. Look, when people call Chuck the Father of Rock n' Roll, that's because his influence permeated an entire generation. 50s music just sounded like this. Despite the clear debt owed to his style, this isn't actually a MIDI version of Johnny B. Goode. It's about 3/4's of the opening riff and then it goes into its own generic rock n' roll direction. This happens all the time in rock music and there's no reason Nintendo should expect to get sued over it. Not when thousands of rockers have been trafficking in these same ideas for the last 50 years.
3.) This I'm not sure of the legality of, since they are using the man's name and everything. They aren't using his actual image, though. Still, worst comes to worst, take an hour, go into the code, change the name to Dafi's Clocks and be done with it. Do the Simpsons have to cut a check every time they mention Salvador Dali?
Seriously, if these are the only three issues, I think NoA is being lame. It's a nearly 20 year old game. If they were going to get sued, they'd have gotten sued. And I don't think any lawyer would have a particularly good case against them. And I'll go even farther - Earthbound is a classic. If Nintendo got sued over it, the press would be incredibly good for both the game and for Nintendo. I truly believe gamers everywhere would rally to Nintendo's side over this. It's Win-Win.
If The Who, Chuck Berry and Salvador Dali's Ghost want to sue someone, they should sue Google/YouTube for making their actual recordings and paintings available for free. As far as I'm concerned, this seems like some lawyer at NoA is just being overly cautious.
These are a bunch of stupid reasons that can be taken care of easily and quickly. In fact, DKC2 has a song that sounds like In the Air Tonight while Pilotwings Resort has a song that sounds like the Millenial Fair from Chrono Trigger. Here's many other examples. That didnt stop the release (and re-release) of these games. Sometimes I feel like Nintendo wants to succeed in the industry with as little cost and effort as possible and then it wonders why people complain about it.
@Scrawnton Yeah, but surely you have to admit that this is pretty ridiculous. I don't like Earthbound either (at all really...I think the game relies too much on its charm that seems to escape me), but it's pretty stupid if these are the reasons why it's not here.