Mother (video game)
|Japan||July 27, 1989|
Mother (Japanese: ＭＯＴＨＥＲ, sometimes rendered in katakana as マザー) is an RPG released on the Famicom in 1989, developed by Ape Inc. and published by Nintendo. It is somewhat well-known in Japan, spawning two sequels, though neither of them features the same protagonist as Mother.
The game was translated into English by Nintendo of America in 1990 and slated for a 1991 release, but marketing delays prevented the translated game, rebranded as Earth Bound, from ever seeing release. The fan group Demiforce, who had been working on a translation of the game at the time, discovered that a prototype cartridge had been sold to Kenny Brooks, a game collector, and made a deal with him to release a ROM of the game to the public in 1998. The ROM featured minor alterations to get around the copy protections Nintendo had placed on it, as well as the addition of "Zero" to the title screen to differentiate it from its sequel, which had received an English release in 1995. Since then, four other prototypes have been found, one of which resides in Nintendo of America's headquarters. 
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The First Three Melodies
Mother begins by telling the story of a young married couple named George and Maria who disappeared in the early 20th century. The game starts 80 years later in 1988 in the town of Podunk. A 12 year-old boy named Ninten experiences a poltergeist in his home, taking control of inanimate objects and attacking him and his sisters. After getting rid of the poltergeist, Ninten finds an old music box, playing a short melody. He remembers the melody, as it seems important to him. Ninten's father calls and tells him that his great grandfather studied PSI. Ninten decides to go out and solve the mystery of the poltergeists invading homes in Podunk.
Ninten soon comes to the home of a woman in panic. When he talks to her, she mentions that her daughter, Pippi is missing. Ninten, being the responsible boy he is, takes this up with the mayor of Podunk. The mayor insists that he is a very busy man and that Ninten go to the town's graveyard to look for the missing girl. Ninten does, and eventually finds Pippi in a coffin underground. He takes her back to the mayor, who bribes Ninten with the key to the zoo. When Ninten shows his modesty and bravery to Pippi, she gives him an item called the Franklin Badge. After, Ninten visits the department store in town to see if they have anything to offer. In the "Pets" section, he realizes that all the animals have run away, except for a small canary. After bartering with the owner, Ninten takes it into his care and brings it to its mother in the Canary Village just out of town. The mother sings a song, and Ninten then remembers it. He then continues to the zoo.
When Ninten arrives at the zoo, he learns that all the animals are running loose, uncontrollable. He goes to the Superintendent's office, fighting off wild animals on the way. Inside, he hears a high pitched noise, that must be causing the animals to act the way they are. Ninten makes his way to the top floor and finds a strange pill-shaped object in the middle of a room. He approaches it and from inside, comes out an alien called a Starman Jr.. The Starman Jr. proves to be a challenge for Ninten, but in the end, he succeeds in defeating it, and bringing peace to the zoo. On his way out, Ninten sees a sign that advertises a singing monkey, and Ninten checks out what the monkey has to sing. The monkey sings, and once again, he finds the need to remember what he heard. He then continues to investigate the poltergeist.
The Queen and the Mission
Eventually he finds a strange rock formation, marked "XX" in a cave just outside his hometown. Using his power of Telepathy, he is warped to a mystical place called Magicant, where seashells are homes and people wear strange attire. After exploring a bit he finds a castle. Inside he meets the queen of Magicant, Mary. She asks him to find the Eight Melodies hidden throughout the land. Ninten finds his way out of Magicant through Magicant Underground and begins his search.
After leaving Magicant Underground, Ninten finds himself on the hillside of a factory. He continues across the small mountain and eventually spots a town not far from him, so he, exhausted and tired, goes for the town. After resting and healing, Ninten goes to the local elementary school, Twinkle Elementary. Speaking to many of the schoolchildren, Ninten hears a lot of a weak boy who is very smart. Curious about the school, he has the janitor take him to the roof to see the seemingly impossible heights. He notices a moving trashcan to his left, and he decides to check it out. Inside he finds a boy named Lloyd who is revealed to be the same boy that the children pick on. He asks Ninten to get him a bottle rocket from Sweet's Little Factory. Ninten, being the kind boy he is, decides to go get him one, and journeys back south to the factory he saw on his way out of Magicant.
A New Friend
When Ninten gets to the factory, he traverses the maze-like layout of the building to find Lloyd a Bottle Rocket. Inside the abandoned factory, he encounters many Rats and strange creatures called Barbots. Near the end of the factory, Ninten, confused, has not found the bottle rocket his new found friend hopes for. He decides to look in the only place he hasn't checked yet: the trash can right next to him. To his relief, he finds the bottle rocket Lloyd has been seeking, and Ninten returns to Twinkle Elementary to return it to him. Lloyd comes out of his hiding place and brings Ninten to the science room with his bottle rocket. He fires it and destroys the room, and decides he wants to fire a bigger bottle rocket. Of course, he knows where to find it, and joins Ninten to go get it.
Lloyd tells Ninten that Duncan's Factory to the north has the bottle rocket he seeks, so the two follow the nearby train tracks until they have to turn due to a boulder in the path. On the way, Ninten finds an old pass, and decides to keep it in case it could be helpful. When they reach the factory, they are stopped by a guard dog. Ninten, using his Telepathy, learns that the pass was to the factory and that it had expired. The dog attacks Ninten and Lloyd, but easily falls to the hands of the youths. Inside the factory, Ninten and Lloyd find a gigantic labyrinth of a workplace. After a while, at the end of the factory, the duo find a room holding many rocket launchers, one holding a big bottle rocket. Lloyd fires it, and conveniently it destroys the boulder blocking the path to the Union Station, where they can continue to find more parts of Queen Mary's song.
Snow and Sun
The two boys then ride the train to Reindeer, and upon arriving, an old woman stops them and asks them to find the girl who's name was embroidered the hat that she found. The boys then travel to Snowman, and find the young girl in the chateau at the edge of the town. The girl introduces herself as Ana, and says that her mother had recently went missing. She then asks the boys to take her with them, and tells her father goodbye as she exits the chateau.
The children then travel to the town of Spookane, and a woman gives them the key to her house, saying it is haunted. Despite all of the ghosts and the maze-like appearance of the house, the group manages to traverse the house. In the westernmost room, they find a piano that plays by itself-- the fourth melody.
The group then travels back to the Union Station, planning to take the train to Youngtown, but they soon learn that the train tracks through Yucca Desert are broken, meaning they must make the trip on foot. In the center of the desert, the group finds a cactus with a face on it. Ninten's telepathy seems to reach the cactus, as it begins to sing the next melody.
|by Shigesato Itoi|
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