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Mother 3 Fan Translation
October 17, 2008 3:35 PM   Subscribe

Mother 3 fan translation completed. Earthbound (known as Mother 2 in Japan) is one of the most highly regarded RPGs for the Super Nintendo. The game suffered disappointing sales in America, but has since gained the status of a cult classic. A sequel, Mother 3, was released for the Game Boy Advance, but it has never been officially translated into English. After a long development, a fan translation patch has just been released. Trailer.

You might recognize some of the settings and characters from Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

Cattlesnake!
posted by painquale (44 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is an amazing effort, possibly the most professional fan project I've ever seen.

Even their in-the-works original paperback guide looks stunning.

Hooray for these guys. Can't wait to finally play this game!

(Also, the Read Me kind of blew me away: "For the translation, we added a few extra features not found in the Japanese game. [...] In the game, there is an item called the Battle Memory. This keeps a record of every enemy you've fought." So they also added brand new features, without access to the original source code? How in the...)
posted by cabel at 3:41 PM on October 17, 2008


Too many things I want to play coming out and or otherwise becoming available, and not enough time to play in them.
posted by Caduceus at 4:19 PM on October 17, 2008


Hey, cool! I was just in the midst of writing a post about this.

I've been following the Mother 3 project for months, and when I heard that it had been finished at work today, I immediately started blocking out my free time for the next few months.

I just downloaded and patched the game not an hour ago, and from what I've seen so far this is quality stuff. (The translation was done by an actual professional translator.) I have high hopes for the game.

Here are some more links I was kicking around for my now-obviated post:

Tim Rogers on Mother 2 (aka EarthBound) and Mother 3. His style gets on my nerves occasionally, but in my opinion he comes the closest to elucidating why EarthBound is such an important and interesting game.

"EarthBotched: A History of Nintendo vs. Starmen," an article about the fan community's relentless efforts to make their presence known.

An explanation of the mentality that the translation project grew out of.
posted by danb at 4:21 PM on October 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


DAMNIT I HAVE WORK TO DO! *cries, installs*
posted by Benjy at 4:23 PM on October 17, 2008


This is wonderful! I played about halfway through in Japanese earlier this summer. (and my Japanese is rusty, it was a labor of love) Then one of my friends got the beta patch just very recently, and I was so jealous that it was almost done and I wouldn't presumably have it for a while, as fan translations aren't precisely known for their speed. Glad I was wrong, this makes my day!
posted by shirobara at 4:35 PM on October 17, 2008


Incidentally, worth pointing out that our own The White Hat (under his real name) is listed at mother3.fobby.net/or/ under "additional thanks to"

(he helped us out by helping with ideas for a name localization that works significantly better than the original Japanese would have in English)
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:40 PM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I am so, so happy this is done. I worked my way through this game with a translation guide and my mediocre Japanese skills and it was one of the most amazing gaming experiences I've ever had. I really, really hope you download and try this. Yes, you. Even if you don't play many games. It's worth it.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 4:53 PM on October 17, 2008


Excellent, just in time for the weekend!
posted by the dief at 5:02 PM on October 17, 2008


Oh god. Oh yes.
posted by The Whelk at 5:15 PM on October 17, 2008


I've been following the development of this patch for... jeez, I guess over a year now, and I've got to say this team is more dedicated, talented, and professional than many commercial development teams.

Reading through their regular development updates was a treat, even if I couldn't understand 3/4s of what they were working on.

If Nintendo doesn't shower these guys with cash and, at the very least, release the English patched version of this game on WiiWare, they are dumb. All that Mario and Zelda is nice and all, but yeah: dumb.

I imported a copy of Mother 3 a few months back, and now I finally, finally get to play it. Glee!
posted by Durhey at 5:58 PM on October 17, 2008


Huh. Neat. I played a little bit of Earthbound a few years back, and I (as someone who is NOT into RPGs at ALL) I found it very fun and engaging. Never finished it, but I rarely finish any game. I think in Earthbound's case I was drawn away by the siren call of Snood.

I'll have to check this out.
posted by brundlefly at 6:15 PM on October 17, 2008


OK, so someone tell me honestly: is Mother 3 that good a game? I liked Earthbound for the quirky story, the beautiful graphics, and the sheer sense of joy of the game. I also hated it for all the annoying JRPG turn based combat, the backtracking, and the sense of getting lost a bit. Still I loved playing Earthbound. Is Mother 3 the same quality, or is it more then kind of side project only a true fan will enjoy?
posted by Nelson at 6:38 PM on October 17, 2008


I actually own the Mother 3 GBA Micro box set <3 The Franklin Badge is the best.
posted by yeoz at 6:54 PM on October 17, 2008


Argh, I would have SO beaten painquale to the punch if I hadn't had to work at the horrible job.

Anyway, is awesome, yah.
posted by JHarris at 6:58 PM on October 17, 2008


Steel Mechorilla? That is goddamn funny.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:20 PM on October 17, 2008


Yay! Christmas came early this year!
posted by Xere at 8:03 PM on October 17, 2008


OK, so someone tell me honestly: is Mother 3 that good a game? I liked Earthbound for the quirky story, the beautiful graphics, and the sheer sense of joy of the game. I also hated it for all the annoying JRPG turn based combat, the backtracking, and the sense of getting lost a bit. Still I loved playing Earthbound. Is Mother 3 the same quality, or is it more then kind of side project only a true fan will enjoy?

Yes. It's similar in gameplay to Earthbound, but it's much more narrative-driven. The game system and combat is more refined, and the music is as good as ever. During battle, you can score combos by tapping the attack button in time with the music. It's a really engaging way to liven up the turn-based fights, and moreso because the battle themes are so great. Tempo shifts and breakbeats are thrown at you after a while, too. The rolling HP system of EarthBound is still in and it still makes the harder battles intense.

The underlying themes of change and family are executed perhaps even better than the theme of friendship was in EarthBound - this time, the story is central, and it's a powerful one. The quirky humor of the first two games is still there in full force, and you'll laugh out loud on several occasions. The Japanese tagline of "Strange, funny, and heartrending" is accurate. This game has my highest recommendation.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 8:21 PM on October 17, 2008


From danb's Tim Rogers on Mother 2 link:

no player who reaches the end of the game will do so without feeling a deep, sickening, sinking lump of dread for the story's power, and it's for that one moment right at the end that the game becomes literature

Earthbound (Mother 2) was the only RPG that made me cry once I had finished it. Not even Final Fantasy II (FF IV) had that effect, and that's like, the best game evar!. I will definitely check out EB3...
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 9:08 PM on October 17, 2008


Incidentally, worth pointing out that our own The White Hat (under his real name) is listed at mother3.fobby.net/or/ under "additional thanks to"

Aw shucks. It should also be noted that our own DoctorFedora is listed a category above, under "Additional Help" on the same page.
posted by The White Hat at 9:24 PM on October 17, 2008


HELL YES. Thank you for posting this!
posted by Nattie at 12:26 AM on October 18, 2008


Have now played to somewhere in Chapter 3 in a marathon session....

One thing that needs to be noted is that the game is somewhat difficult. There are some fairly challenging bosses in there, especially if you don't have the rhythm battle system down. (Reconstituted Caribou and Mr. Passion are two I found myself close to dying during.)
posted by JHarris at 4:30 AM on October 18, 2008


It's been 13 years already?

The last week was big on translation announcements. Lennus II (the sequel to Paladin's Quest) and Persona 2: Innocent Sin have also been translated.
posted by ersatz at 6:42 AM on October 18, 2008


After a few hours with the game, I can emphatically second Earl the Polliwog.
posted by danb at 8:23 AM on October 18, 2008


I suggest we post our favorite lines so far.

The Oh-So-Snake attacks!
posted by JHarris at 12:02 PM on October 18, 2008


Awesome. Let's all play this game without paying for it and doubly ensure that Nintendo will never release it here.
posted by mkn at 12:49 PM on October 18, 2008


Nintendo has essentially said they never will release it here. If you've been paying attention to Starmen.net, you'll know that they are probably one of the game communities least likely to want to do something like this. They're the Mr. Rogers of the gaming world. If you visit the translation page, you'll see that even now they are encouraging us to get the game legitimately if at all possible, and they give a list of other ways to support the series. So play the game. Enjoy it. Their translation is better than anything Nintendo would have put out, I'm sure - this was a labor of love by probably the single person best qualified to translate it.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 1:06 PM on October 18, 2008


mkn, you should probably read the "EarthBotched" and "explanation" links in my comment above.
posted by danb at 1:14 PM on October 18, 2008


mkn: Awesome. Let's all play this game without paying for it and doubly ensure that Nintendo will never release it here.

Stop. Just... stop.

I like Nintendo quite a lot myself, and my Nintendo.com account informs me that I've registered nearly 30 products since they began the system in the Gamecube days, plus a handful of other games I haven't bothered to register. But I'll be damned if I'm going to pay them for NOT releasing the game. That's not how this works; it's not how it should work. The economics of it are screwed up, the way it works is, they invest in the translation, and we pay them as a result. If they don't pay for the translation, then they should get nothing. I'm angry about this, I admit it.

But I agree they should be rewarded, proportionately, for making the game in Japanese in the first place. What I'm considering doing is buying something Mother 3 related for half the cost of the GBA cart, and sending the rest as a donation to the translators.
posted by JHarris at 4:58 PM on October 18, 2008


I knew this game was awesome when I got to the first boss and said aloud, "WTF is that, a flying mouse?!?"

Flying Mouse attacks!
posted by mek at 6:35 PM on October 18, 2008


I just played through the intro and am totally charmed. I sure wish more people would make sweet, sentimental games like this. There's few things like Mother or Harvest Moon.

BTW, on a modern Windows machine VisualBoyAdvance looks much better if you set frame skip to 0, turn on Vsync, and use a high end scaling filter like hq2x.
posted by Nelson at 9:03 AM on October 19, 2008


Playing it on VBAGX via Wii Homebrew Channel also works pretty well, although you'll have to apply the save patch (linked from the Mother 3 online readme) to save your game, and the music's speed is unstable during some fights, which can make it difficult to get/maintain combos.
posted by JHarris at 12:27 PM on October 19, 2008


I suggest we post our favorite lines so far.
There are way too many. I'm in the middle of Chapter 4 now and just blown away by how good this game is. I would never have guessed that it wasn't an official translation.
posted by revfitz at 11:29 PM on October 19, 2008


JHarris, for legal reasons, we can't accept donations for the translation (it may be considered bootlegging, and even if it isn't, it's long since been decided that it is simply a can of worms not worth opening.
posted by DoctorFedora at 12:38 AM on October 20, 2008


can anyone help me figure out what the best way to play Mother 2/Earthbound would be? I never played it on the snes. I do not have an snes. I have an snes emulator for my nintendo ds, but as I understand it, snes emulation on the ds is sketchy and many games don't play quite right. is earthbound one that would play well? has it been re-released for any systems? I don't want to play it on the computer because my desk chair is uncomfortable as shit.
posted by shmegegge at 10:14 AM on October 20, 2008


Sadly there are not too many options. You can use a PC or most consoles (with a little work) to get ZSNES or SNES9x running, which play the game very well. I'd recommend getting a wireless controller for the PC and playing from your bed/another comfy chair.

Nintendo hasn't released Earthbound for the Wii virtual console because they are a bucket of cocks, to borrow the phrase, so there is no "legit" way to play it without a good old SNES.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 1:20 PM on October 20, 2008


aw nuts. i was hoping for a gba re-release or something. i think what i'll do, then, is see about putting it on my r4ds and trying it out on snesds. hopefully the sprite glitches that chrono trigger normally suffers from (soon to be moot with the chrono trigger ds re-release! yay!) won't occur with earthbound. ever since I first heard about this game i've wanted to play it.
posted by shmegegge at 1:55 PM on October 20, 2008


In my experience, EarthBound emulated on the DS doesn't work very well at all. It's probably playable if you don't mind switching the sprite order manually every once in a while, but for me it wasn't worth it.
posted by revfitz at 4:58 PM on October 20, 2008


Oh, about the GBA thing: the only official GBA release of Mother and EarthBound is Japanese (it's called, uh, Mother 1 + 2), but the translation's project site hints that they might tackle that next.
posted by revfitz at 5:00 PM on October 20, 2008


Uh, "translation project's site."
posted by revfitz at 5:01 PM on October 20, 2008


For whatever reason, the sound for the Mother 2 part of Mother 1 + 2 doesn't seem up to par with the original SNES - I'd play that if possible, since the music is one of the game's biggest strengths.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 6:08 PM on October 21, 2008


DoctorFedora: Then what I'll probably do is buy a copy of the (just as awesome from preview) player's guide.
posted by JHarris at 8:14 AM on October 22, 2008


In my experience, EarthBound emulated on the DS doesn't work very well at all. It's probably playable if you don't mind switching the sprite order manually every once in a while, but for me it wasn't worth it.

this was precisely the problem with chrono trigger, too, which frustrated me to the point where I took it off my cart entirely. wtf, nintendo? support localization of good games!
posted by shmegegge at 8:21 AM on October 22, 2008


shmegegge, Chrono Trigger is getting rereleased as a DS title next month.
posted by danb at 5:43 PM on October 22, 2008


Not sure if anyone is still tracking this thread, but if anyone's interested I've been writing a lot about Mother 3 on my games/music blog. Spoilers abound, so if you're still playing do yourself a favor and hold off!

The road to Mother 3 - a bit about the history of the project, and some ideas on why it wasn't officially localized by Nintendo
Mother 3's backward glance - on the allusions, references, and appropriation of EarthBound's legacy
Mother 3's character disconnect - my main beef with the game; namely, that the main characters in the story and the main characters in the game don't match up

There are still another two or three posts on the way, including one all about the music. Hope you enjoy!
posted by danb at 7:34 PM on November 16, 2008


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