List of regional differences in EarthBound Beginnings

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Example of a localization change
The Crow enemy in Mother...
...and the same Crow in EarthBound Beginnings with the cigarette removed.

It is not uncommon for changes to be made in any piece of media during their localization(s). These changes are often made to make it appeal to western or international audiences. EarthBound Beginnings was no exception, as it was subject to numerous changes during its transition from Mother to EarthBound Beginnings, whether for censorship purposes, stylistic choices, personal preferences, the American culture and audience, or for the game to be more appealing to all audiences.

It is worth noting that most the changes made in the localized version were carried over to the Mother portion of the Japan only Mother 1+2 game and Mother's Japanese Wii U Virtual Console port.

List of changes

  • The game's title screen changes the name from MOTHER to EARTH BOUND. Despite this, the original Mother title graphics are still present in the CHR bank used for the introductory text; this bank is swapped out and replaced with the Earth Bound CHR bank right before the title screen appears. [1]
  • The opening credits are rewritten to be clearer and more grammatically correct.
  • The game's setting is explicitly listed as 1988 in the Famicom version as well as Mother 1+2, but in the NES version, the year is left vague for unknown reasons, simply stating "80 years have passed since then" after explaining George and Maria's story.
  • Giygas, whose name was originally rendered in Japanese as 'Gyiyg', is translated as Giegue.
  • Several enemies are renamed for censorship purposes (i.e. changing "Devil Truck" to "Psycho Truck", "Violent Zombie" to "Nasty Zombie", and "Bloody Zombie" to "Shroudley").
  • Several of the game's graphics were censored:
    • Crows no longer hold smoking cigarettes in their wings.
    • B.B. Gang Members no longer smoke cigarettes. These changes were made in accordance to a Californian law that prevented tobacco from being shown in a video game. [3]
    • The B.B. Gang's leader no longer holds a knife, and his left elbow is changed for reasons unknown, likely a sprite error. His skin is also darkened for unknown reasons as well.
    • KellyNancy, and Juana's chests are altered to remove the nipple-like reflections on them. This change was made by Phil Sandhop: "I'll claim that one. While I personally have nothing against nipples, they are robots and carried no function other than to suggest female-ness. Smoothing down the ol' sheet metal sounded like it would be easier and look better than having them wear a top."
    • Kelly, Nancy, and Juana's names were also changed from their Famicom originals, Caroline, Jen, and Susie, to honor the translation team's assistant director, administrator, and licensing department director respectively.
    • Gang Zombies and Nasty Zombies have their gunshot wounds removed and replaced with large ties. Phil Sandhop was particularly impressed with the addition of the ties, as it showed the commitment of Nintendo's localizers, who could have just simply removed the blood from the zombies' shirts instead of adding the ties.
    • Shroudlies no longer drip blood from their hands.
    • A small, barely-noticeable bloodstain on Dr. Distorto's coat was removed.
  • In accordance with Nintendo's strict non-religious imagery in its game titles, crosses on gravestones were replaced with obelisks, crosses used to mark the gravesites of the fallen Flying Men were replaced with tombstones, crosses in churches (like the Snowman Chateau) were replaced with detailed stain-glass windows, and crosses on caskets, atop churches, and on priests' necks were removed entirely. Phil Sandhop's intention was to "remove the overt references and let the player draw their own conclusions." The steeple on top of the church is a simple graphics alteration, while the stained-glass windows were edited on the palette and CHR-ROM level, causing any attempts to paste the Famicom crosses back into the NES version to result in graphical glitches.
  • At the advice of Nintendo, several overworld characters are redesigned to remove resemblances to the 1950 comic strip Peanuts in order to avoid potential legal prosecution:
    • Carol's hair is straightened somewhat in order to bear less of a resemblance to Sally Brown. In particular, her hair was also possibly straightened out to give Carol a modern and/or an American look at the time.
    • The girl with glasses has her straight hair tied up in pigtails in order to bear less of a resemblance to Marcie.
    • The tramp boy has the dust around his feet removed in order to bear less of a resemblance to Pig-Pen.
    • The stripe on Ninten's shirt is changed from black to beige, though this change is possibly to better reflect his official model, rather than to differentiate his design from Charlie Brown.
  • Some of the NPCs were stylistically altered, like some of the man with the blue hair and black mustache's sprites.
    • The red-clothed man with sunglasses now has his foot tilted diagonally towards the top right on his back side, whereas his Famicom sprite has his foot tilted diagonally towards the top left.
    • While Phil Sandhop didn't believe that Mother was intentionally copying Peanuts, he stated that Mother's designers "knew the typical Japanese game player would perceive to be a typical American boy growing up outside a small town. The game was designed as a Japanese telling of an American boy's tale." [4]
  • The map appears as an item in Ninten's basement in the Famicom version. In later versions, the map is now an option on the controller, and the item box that contained it in Ninten's basement in the Famicom version now contains a loaf of Bread. Phil Sandhop added this change, as he "played the game every day for months and there was a spare button. It only made sense." [5] It remains as an item in the NES version's coding, yet it is still unused. [6]
  • With the exception of Reindeer and Snowman, all of the game's towns were renamed to better suit English-speaking audiences:
    • Mother's Day was renamed Podunk.
    • Valentine's Day was renamed Ellay.
    • Holy Loly Mountain was renamed Mt. Itoi.
    • This change was made by Phil Sandhop, who considered Itoi's original town names "stupid" (when Itoi had meant them to sound friendly) and off-putting to older American audiences, as he wanted the game to be accessible "for all ages."
  • The Friendship Ring was completely removed, as it was useless and served no purpose in the game; the item was instead replaced with the Repel Ring.
  • The Time Machine (which, upon buying it, triggers a cutscene that uses it up immediately) was replaced with the more practical Super Bomb. Despite this, the event can still be restored through hacking to copy the NPC data from the Famicom version into the NES one.
  • In Twinkle Elementary School, one kid asks Ninten in the Famicom version "Have you played Dragon Quest IV? I'm still having trouble with Dragon Quest III." In the NES version, to avoid copyright issues (as the Dragon Quest franchise was the intellectual property of Enix Software, and is still owned by them today as Square Enix), Dragon Quest III and Dragon Quest IV were respectively replaced with Super Mario Bros. 3 and the nonexistent "Super Mario Bros. 7".
  • The following glitches were fixed:
    • A glitch involving Bread Crumbs commonly used to skip large portions of the game.
    • A glitch where the Flea Bag can be used to stall the R7038 and R7038XX fights to the point where the maximum limit of 255 turns is reached, causing the battles to end by default. This glitch can be utilized to avoid losing Teddy or EVE, though doing so would cause some minor graphical glitches.
  • Pressing and holding the B button on the overworld causes the game to run twice as fast, effectively functioning as a run feature. Originally added for the game's debug mode, Phil Sandhop later convinced his superiors to keep the function as part of the game.
  • Several portions of the game's map were altered:
    • The path to Mt. Itoi was simplified (by blocking off the misleading portions of the path).
    • The layout of Spookane was altered, most likely to improve clarity with the main road's layout.
    • An extra cavernous path was added at the summit of Mt. Itoi. This path forks between the crater where Giegue's mothership lies, and a room filled with Giegue's prisoners. The prison room was initially located lower on the mountain, where EVE can access it. The cavern to this room was completely removed in the NES version.
  • PSI powers are learned in a different order.
  • The overworld menu system has received two new options: State and Setup. The menu was also subject to formatting differences and the changed placement of the "Level" column within the status bar.
    • The NES's Setup screen adds several new options and improves some from the Famicom version. The State, Map, and Run options (both menu and controller) can be reconfigured to any of the three NES controller buttons, rather than the Famicom's automatic routing to the B button. In addition, five fight message speeds are selectable in the Setup screen, as opposed to the Famicom version only having three message speeds that have to be accessed when starting up a save file.
    • The NES's State screen displays the party member's respective stats, equipped items, and number of melodies learned, which does the same for other party members in the game as well.
  • The "Look" option was added to the overworld command window. According to Phil Sandhop, this change was specifically done by NCL (Nintendo Co., Ltd.) to address concerns from the game's Japanese audience. Anything that Nintendo specifically requested, Phil Sandhop would type in the text.
    • The "Check" option in enemy encounters is also expanded to include the enemy's stats as well as a short description unique to that enemy; the change was once again requested by Nintendo and made by Phil Sandhop.
  • The placement of the critical condition and fainted status color backdrops were changed from the names of the party member to their HP number.
  • When Ninten learns a melody, the background now changes to a set of downward-scrolling black and pink lines, which emit pulsating flashes of light while alternating color, rather than the background remaining the same before learning the melody. For Mother 1+2, this was changed to simply a set of downward-scrolling series of jagged blue and black lines, most likely to reduce the risk of potential seizures.
  • The Benevolent Old Man in Magicant's Magic Fountain changes duties from a healer to an ATM. This was likely done to increase the man's usefulness, as the free healers in Magicant made the man's two healing options redundant.
  • If Ninten incorrectly answers one of the Forgotten Man's questions, the Forgotten Man will simply restart his prompt, instead of warping Ninten to the beginning of Magicant.
  • Enemies from the Yucca Desert now appear in the train tunnel between Union Station and Reindeer, likely to discourage players from skipping the Merrysville portion of the game.
  • The battle with R7038 has a more optimistic ending: In the Famicom version, R7038 would flee by tearing a hole through space. Lloyd will arrive in the Army Veteran's tank, having hoped to save his friends, and will express his dismay at his inability to assist them. In later versions, Lloyd successfully reaches R7038 in time and destroys him with a shot from the tank. However, Lloyd, not being the best shot in the world, hits his friends as well and doesn't completely destroy R7038, leaving room for the robot's improvement.
  • When Teddy lies in bed, recovering from the wounds received from R7038, he is aligned closer to the center of the bed. Due to the Famicom version's ambiguous ending, it is implied that Teddy dies in the 1989 release, rather than him fully recovering as in the NES version. In his Lost Levels interview, Phil Sandhop remembered the change, but could not remember the modification's "origination."
  • The rocks blocking Giegue's lair are redesigned.
  • The telephones in Mother were unchanged, but concerns were raised about the game's pay-phones, as they were the green pay-phones used in Japan and the development team for Mother was unsure if they were easily recognizable in America.
  • The final path leading to Giegue and the captive adults is no longer Starmen-infested.
  • The circumstances surrounding the Eighth Melody are heavily altered: In the Famicom version, Ninten and co. are instantly warped to Queen Mary after learning seven of the Eight Melodies. After hearing the parts of the song that the trio learned, Mary sings them back and remembers the eighth one on her own.In later versions, Ninten and co. learn the Eighth Melody from George's spirit, via his gravesite. Ninten and co. must then return to Magicant on their own (possibly done to encourage players to obtain the Onyx Hook earlier on in the game), and must manually reach Queen Mary. They then sing to her the Eight Melodies, which she then recites, remembering only the words. The dialogue associated with the Famicom version appears translated in the NES version's ROM, yet goes unused.
    • An unused Check description for the B.B. Gang's Boss reads "Maybe he's not really rotten to the core....".
  • The XX Stone is only cosmetic in the Famicom version. The revisions given to it in later versions effectively make it one of the most drastic changes in the game.
  • The ending was heavily revised (see "Story").
  • The Famicom version is more personal when it comes to names -- the player is asked for their own name for Ninten's name, their friend's name as Lloyd's name and another friend's name as Teddy's name. When asking for Ana's name, the game uses just "A girl's name". The NES version just uses generic "boy" and "girl" nouns when asking for all names.