EarthBoundUSA Documentary In The Works: How Fans Helped The Reemergence Of Cult RPG Classic

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For the last year Jeff Benson – director of gaming merchandise site Fangamer.net and one of the people behind EarthBound fansite Starmen.net has been documenting how EarthBound fans got together (in particular through the Starman site) to help popularise the RPG in North America since the 1990s.

Known in Japan as Mother, EarthBound was a series of RPGs released for Nintendo consoles and considered by many as one of the best games of all time. Unlike the majority of RPGs at the time, Mother stood out because of a setting that was a kitsch parody of modern America rather than in a traditional fantasy style.

Created and written by Shigesato Itoi and produced by Shigeru Miyamoto, the original Mother game on the NES did not see an official release outside of Japan. In fact, it only made it into the hands of English-speaking gamers thanks to a group of fans who purchased a protoype of the planned (but cancelled) translated version of the game and renamed it EarthBound Zero.

The popularity of this localised version meant that EarthBound (Mother 2) was released in North America for the SNES but was (at the time) a commercial flop. As a result, Mother 3 was a Japan only release for the Game Boy Advance, later to be translated into English by fans and distributed as a ROM, as EarthBound 2.

The documentary, called EarthboundUSA, was being kept under the radar for a more formal announcement and Kickstarter campaign to be set up but a Tweet by Shigesato Itoi himself excitedly revealing that he had been interviewed for a documentary prompted Benson to make an official reveal.

EarthboundUSA is hoping for a release in 2015. You can find out more at the website.