Comic History: Why The First EarthBound Wasn't Released Outside Japan

Illustration for article titled Comic History: Why The First iEarthBound/i Wasnt Released Outside Japan
Illustration: Greg Melo

When Nintendo released it as Earthbound Beginnings on the Wii U, the innovative, beloved role-playing game Mother finally made it to the West. But back in the early 1990s, Nintendo had every intention of launching it for the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System in America. It just didn’t work out.

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Nintendo of America planned to give Mother, then titled Earth Bound, the same big marketing push that it had given to Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy before it. While circumstances prevented Nintendo of America from releasing the English version of the game for over 25 years, dedicated fans got their hands on the cult classic a bit earlier than that, thanks to the auction of a prototype copy.

July 27, 2019 is Mother’s 30th anniversary. To celebrate, we wanted to look back on how it almost got released on the NES at that time. (Okay, perhaps it didn’t happen quite like this.)

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Illustration for article titled Comic History: Why The First iEarthBound/i Wasnt Released Outside Japan
Illustration for article titled Comic History: Why The First iEarthBound/i Wasnt Released Outside Japan
Illustration for article titled Comic History: Why The First iEarthBound/i Wasnt Released Outside Japan
Illustration for article titled Comic History: Why The First iEarthBound/i Wasnt Released Outside Japan
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Illustration for article titled Comic History: Why The First iEarthBound/i Wasnt Released Outside Japan
Illustration for article titled Comic History: Why The First iEarthBound/i Wasnt Released Outside Japan
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Illustration for article titled Comic History: Why The First iEarthBound/i Wasnt Released Outside Japan
Illustration for article titled Comic History: Why The First iEarthBound/i Wasnt Released Outside Japan
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Greg Melo is an illustrator, animator, and comicer. He posts JPGs and bad jokes on Twitter @letitmelo.

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DISCUSSION

The thing that always struck me as weird about the Wii U Earthbound Beginnings is that they kept the name Giegue for the final boss, rather than change it to Giygas. I suppose it’s because they took the unreleased NES game, changed the title screen, and didn’t think too much about it.