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EarthBound/Regional Differences

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This is a sub-page of EarthBound.
This cactus is UNDER CONSTRUCTION
This article is a work in progress.
...Well, all the articles here are, in a way. But this one moreso, and the article may contain incomplete information and editor's notes.
Hmmm...
To do:
There's a lot more. See here.

Mother 2 is chock full of Japanese cultural references and seems to have a flagrant disregard for copyright law. That being the case, the differences between it and EarthBound are pretty vast. As little to no official information has ever been given from Nintendo of America for why the changes were made, the reasons listed here are largely educated guesses and should be taken as nothing more than conjecture.

Intro/Title Screen

Mother 2 EarthBound
The Gyiyg Empire Strikes Back! The War Against Giygas!

The intro wording changed completely in localization to reflect new name changes and because Mother wasn't released outside Japan (although it was intended to, and eventually was), and it would be rather odd for a never-before-seen enemy to "strike back". This change may also have been an overly-cautious attempt to avoid conflict with Lucasfilm over the title's similarity to The Empire Strikes Back.

Also, if you press Start to skip this introduction in Mother 2, it takes you straight to the file selection screen. In EarthBound, it takes you to the title screen instead.

Mother 2 EarthBound
MOTHER 2: Gyiyg Strikes Back EarthBound

The title screen was completely altered to fit the new title. In Mother 2, the iconic Earth logo appears at its place, then the rest of letters come together from both sides, and the background color turns red as it reveals the highlight effect, the "2", the phrase "Gyiyg Strikes Back", and the copyright text.

Hmmm...
To do:
Replace the video with a gif

In EarthBound, the letter 'B' gets into the center, the background color shifts into purple, and additional glowing effect was added to the title text. Also, the copyright text was updated to reflect the North American release. Check this video to watch both of them in action.

Overworld

Mother 2 EarthBound
Mother 2 Tonzura Sign.png EarthBound Runaway Sign.png

Outside the name change, the portrait next to the signboard was colored in EarthBound. Also, Runaway Brothers themself wear different clothes between two versions. More about that later.

Mother 2 EarthBound
ThrEEK! ThrEED! Still sounds like a scream to me.

Threek's name was changed to Threed, likely to avoid the possibility of misconstruing it as being a reference to the KKK (ThreeK, as in Three-K).

Mother 2 EarthBound
Two kids walk into a bar - ouch. Frothy mugs of... mocha?

Nintendo of America's strict censorship policy resulted in changing all bars in the game to cafes, resulting in the removal of the tilted letters.

Mother 2 EarthBound
OTCs, of course Random goodies, of course

NoA's puritanism is also the reason most drug stores became shops, although the one in Dusty Dunes Desert still has a prominent "Drug" sign in front of it.

Mother 2 EarthBound
FINALLY. A HOSPITAL. What was this building again?
Mother 2 Twoson Hospital.png EarthBound Twoson Hospital.png
Mother 2 threekhospital.png EarthBound threedhospital 2.png

The sign of the hospitals was changed to remove the Red Cross (as indicative use is reserved for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement). A bunch of illegible text was added in its place on the Onett hospital and the letters was re-organized on the Twoson's, while it was just removed completely on the Threed hospital. Despite this, one screenshot on the giant EarthBound game boxes shows the Red Cross symbol.

(Source: EarthBoundCentral.com)
Mother 2 EarthBound
The world-famous board game Something...Italian?

The Monotoly Building's name was changed to "Monotoli". This may have been an effort to prevent similarity to the Hasbro game Monopoly (although the actual word "monopoly" isn't trademarked).

Mother 2 EarthBound
Mother2topollo.png Earthboundtopolla.png

The Topollo Theater was changed to the Topolla Theater, likely to prevent conflict with New York's Apollo Theater.

Mother 2 EarthBound
Seems very office-y to me. It's a mall?

The department store's sign in Fourside got a textual overhaul, probably to make clear that this is, in fact, a store.

Mother 2 EarthBound
M2magicantCD.png EBmagicantATM.png

In Mother 2, the ATM in Magicant had a small moniker that read "CD", standing for cash dispenser. That's not what it's called in North America, so this was redrawn to look like a face in EarthBound.

Maps

Mother 2 EarthBound
M2mapthreek.png EBmapthreed.png

As seen above, Threek's name was changed to Threed.

Mother 2 EarthBound
M2scrabi.png EBscaraba.png

Scaraba is known as Scarabi in Japan.

Mother 2 EarthBound
M2mapsign-drug.png EBmapsign-shop.png
M2mapsign-redcross.png EBmapsign-hospital.png
M2mapsign-threek.png EBmapsign-threed.png

All changes to overworld were applied to the logos as well. An oversight from this change is that the hospital sign gets hidden by the food store sign on Threed's map, which can be seen here.

Mother 2 EarthBound
M2mapsign-dept.png EBmapsign-deptstore.png

The sign of the department store became a bit more descriptive in EarthBound.

Mother 2 EarthBound
Food Food. ...Tabemono? F00d fOOd fOOOd

The letter 'O' got lengthened by one pixel.

People & Objects

Mother 2 EarthBound
Mother 2 Don Don.png EarthBound KnockKnock.png

When Pokey's pounding on Ness' house (or Picky at the post-credits scene), a little text bubble pops up. In Mother 2, it had "Don" written on it, which is Japanese onomatopoeia for loud pounding. In EarthBound, the localizers replaced it with an exclamation mark probably because it's impossible for any proper words to fit in there.

Mother 2 EarthBound
Mother 2 Hint Shop.png EarthBound Hint Shop.png

Hint Shop's signboard was slightly altered to obscure its price. It's likely because the hint guy charges well above 5$.

Mother 2 EarthBound
Come. Jump.

This truck sprite was changed to avoid possible connections with Coca-Cola.

(Source: http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2013/07/marcus-lindblom-earthbound/)
Mother 2 EarthBound
M2nursefront.png M2nurseside.png EBnursefront.png EBnurseside.png

The Red Cross was removed from the nurse's hat as well.

Mother 2 EarthBound
Mother 2 Nusutto Park.png EarthBound Burglin Park.png

Burglin Park is known as Nusutto Park in Japan.

Mother 2 EarthBound
Mother 2 Saturn CD.png EarthBound Saturn ATM.png

The ATM machine in Saturn Valley originally had "CD" (cash dispenser) written on it. Since that term isn't used in North America and the other acronym won't fit, it was redrawn to look like eyes.

Mother 2 EarthBound
Happier hippies have his hotel Santa says stuff so soon

Cultists of Happy Happyism have the letters HH on their forehead (for "Happy Happyism"). EarthBound added a pom pom to the end of their hoods to make them look less like members of the Ku Klux Klan, and removed the HH as it could be mistaken for KK.

(Source: http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2013/07/marcus-lindblom-earthbound/)
Mother 2 EarthBound
The Blues Brothers and Their Supporting 4 The Rainbow 5 Plus 1

The Tonzura Brothers became The Runaway Five. The name and colors of suits were changed to avoid connections with the Blues Brothers (which, incidentally, seems to have resulted in a subtle reference to Mario and Luigi), although "Runaway Five" is an odd name to pick considering that there are six people onstage (although the sixth person only ever appears onstage and can never be talked to).

Mother 2 EarthBound
Mother 2 Tonzura Van.png EarthBound Runaway Van.png

The band's name on the van was changed accordingly. Luckily, the new name seems to just about fit on the sprite.

Mother 2 EarthBound
tako tako EBpencilstatue.png

The octopus statue was changed to a pencil in localization, as the "pencil eraser" gag would be an easier-to-understand joke than an "octopus eraser" gag to a Western audience.

Mother 2 EarthBound
Eshi Eshi RAZOR ERAZOR

The eraser statue was originally a limbless Japanese statue called Kokeshi. This change was also to localize a gag: the Japanese word for "eraser" is "keshi", so Apple Kid's invention to remove it was literally called kokeshi keshi. The "Eraser Eraser" joke was a simple alternative.

Cutscenes

Mr. Minch's Beating

Hmmm...
To do:
Rip the sound effect.

After Ness brings them back home, Pokey and Picky get rebuked by their father for being out late. In EarthBound, the sound of his punishment sounds like a short cartoonish bonk implying angry yelling. In Mother 2, the sound effect is lengthier and closer to actual spanking.

Your Name, Please

Mother 2 EarthBound
THICK thin
Mother 2 EarthBound
WIDE pointy...?

In Mother 2, the game asks you for your name twice: in Summers, after getting the phone number for the Stoic Club, Tony calls you and asks you to type your name in English. Later in Tenda Village, after the Tenda overcome their shyness, the game asks you to register your name again, this time in hiragana/katakana. During this, it displays the English name you entered so that you can compare it to what you write now. These two names end up used in different places near the end of the game (more specifically, the hiragana/katakana name for dialogues in the final battle against Giygas, and the English name for the credits where the game thanks you).

This doesn't really make sense in EarthBound, since the game is already in English anyway. Hence in this version, the second call in Tenda Village was altered to allow you to change your name if you want to, and the game will use this re-confirmed name for the Giygas battle and credits.

Naked Ness

Mother 2 EarthBound
Why is he still wearing his hat? What a dream...

In Mother 2, Ness is naked in Magicant. (It's a common trope in Japan to depict a character as naked when in a metaphysical or otherwise "unreal" location.) This was changed outside Japan to him wearing the pajamas he wore during the opening scene.

Battle

Mother 2 EarthBound
Mother 2 Wins.png EarthBound Won.png

The win quote was changed from present tense to past tense, and uses a different, thinner font.

Mother 2 EarthBound
Mother 2 PK Kiai.png EarthBound PSI Rockin'.png

In Mother 2, the prefix for all offensive psychic powers is PK ("psychokinesis"), whereas in EarthBound, it's PSI ("psionics"). Super Smash Bros. and its sequels use Japanese variants, so Ness shouts out lines such as "PK Fire!" in all versions. (The usage of "PSI" still exists in Mother 2 for other moves, such as the status move PSI Magnet, which is retained in EarthBound and the Super Smash Bros. games.) Additionally, the Greek letters used for the differing levels of the moves were re-drawn to look more consistent with the English font.

Mother 2 EarthBound
Mother 2 Status Poison.png EarthBound Status Skeleton.png

In Mother 2, the status icon when you're poisoned is literally どく or "poison". Since there's no way you can cram any alphabet into that window, it was changed to a skull and crossbones in EarthBound.

Mother 2 EarthBound
Mother 2 Status Cold.png EarthBound Status Sneeze.png

Likewise, when one of your party members catches a cold, Mother 2 displays it as かぜ ("cold") while EarthBound switched it to an image.

Mother 2 EarthBound
Mother 2 Status Tear.png EarthBound Status Crying.png

The status icon for uncontrollable crying became a bit more elaborate in EarthBound. Probably because the original one wasn't clear enough?

Ending

Mother 2 EarthBound
M2cast.png EBcast.png

The "Cast" heading has different colors between versions.

Mother 2 EarthBound
NEXT TIME, ON MOTHER 3 Cliffhanger?

In Mother 2, after the post-credits scene, the screen fades out and shows this. In EarthBound, this was touched up a little bit: "THE END..." appears, then the question mark pops up a second later.

Credits

The localization of EarthBound was a huge deal to Nintendo at the time, and the credits of the North American version were heavily updated.

  • Many new names who participated in English localization were newly added in the credits of EarthBound. This includes:
    • Translation Directors: Marcus Lindblom & Masayuki Miura
    • English Text Writers: Marcus Lindblom & Dan Owsen
    • Translators: Keiko Tamura & Yuka Nakata
    • NOA Debug Coordinators: Sean O'Connor & Michael Kelbaugh
    • NOA Producer: Mike Fukuda
  • Second Director Kouji Malta was promoted to U.S. Conversion Director.
  • In Mother 2, Yasuo Futatsugi and Hiroyuki Sakiyama were credited as Font Designers. In EarthBound, they're replaced with Akihiko Miura and Kouichi Ooyama.
  • In Mother 2, it read "Dosei Font Designed by Shigesato Itoi". In EarthBound, this was changed to "Concept of Saturn Font by Shigesato Itoi".
  • "Graphic Data Supervisor" and "Message Data Supervisor" were changed to "Graphics Data Manager" and "Message Data Manager", respectively.
  • A whole bunch of names under Debuggers and Programmers were added and removed, probably due to extra programming to accommodate English text in the game.
  • Nancy Yoshitake was given a Special Thanks credit in EarthBound.