What Earthbound Means To Creator Shigesato Itoi

By Sato . January 24, 2013 . 2:02pm


Earthbound creator, Shigesato Itoi, wrote his thoughts and feelings about his beloved series in poetic fashion.


“What Earthbound means to me.”


What exactly is the game known as Earthbound? It’s a question I still find quite difficult to answer.


Children can get dolls, no longer needed tableware, leftover bolts and nuts found in toolboxes, flowers and leaves found in gardens;

And come up with random songs about the said objects, while playing with them on the carpet. They can go on forever and create a world based on that. With those feelings, Earthbound was made.


Well, since I’m an adult, I thought about how to change certain perspectives, how to hide secrets here and there, and how to make things extra difficult, without thinking twice.


Then, I had my friends come to play. Each with their own unique ways of playing.

Starting with a simple story of roots and stems, followed by the the exciting addition of branches, leaves and flowers.

With all the people that came to play, before we knew it, Earthbound was created.


“I found out about you after playing a game called Earthbound!” is something I’ve heard through the walks of life.

Not only when the game was released, but also long afterwards.


A lot of people who’ve enjoyed the playground I call Earthbound, has come up to me and shared their memories of simple things such as safety pins, colored glass shards, dead leaves and so on.

I would tell them “Oh wow, you’ve remembered that well”

And they’d say “I loved every facet of that game,” with bright eyes.

I’d then reply with “Me too.”


Yeah, I believe that was it. I wanted to make a playground where people can appreciate the most insignificant things found within. Prior to making the game, it wasn’t actually my goal to come up with such a thing. It was discovered by my many friends who’ve enjoyed their time in the playground. Yeah, that’s what I really wanted to do.


When I was making Earthbound, I was already an adult, who’ve lived almost 30 years. I believe that I’ve become even more of an adult throughout the course of time, as I’ve begun to think of things I never would’ve before.


For example, “What kind of person would I like to be when I die?”

I didn’t have an answer to that before, but I do now: “Someone with a lively wake.”

Things such as my commitments, the times I was an idiot, the times we had fun, the occasional times I was kind, should all be left in the memories of people. And those are the things I’d like the people who are living to quarrel about while laughing, and looking forward to what’s ahead. I’d like to live a life which can end with such a party.


I’m not interested in honor, wealth, achievements or records. When people reminisce and say “That guy…”, I believe it’s the following words that makes the person.


No, I don’t mean all this to consider Earthbound as a dying person. It’s not actually a person, but I like to think of Earthbound as someone like that.


So, please enjoy the now even more readily available Earthbound, and consider sharing some new memories with your friends. It brings me great happiness that this day has come and I’m more than certain that the others who’ve helped me make the game also feel the same.


Thank you for everything.

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  • kupomogli

    Nintendo needs to develop Earthbound 4. Earthbound 4 and Xenoblade 2. Wii U will then be a must buy for a lot of people.

    • They need to make the first three easier to legally obtain in English first.

      • Hound

        A million times this. English speakers want to have non-illegal moments of nostalgia too ; o ;

    • Guest

      Earthbound 4 too

    • $29082171

      Itoi himself said (many times at that) he won’t make Mother 4, the story ends in 3 and doesn’t need a forced continuation.

      • Pyrotek85

        I can respect that, but I’d still like if they made the existing titles more readily available.

    • ThunderGod_Cid

      Xenoblade 2 huh?

      You mean this:

      Earthbound 4……I’d keep my expectations low.

      • kupomogli

        It doesn’t have a name and I doubt X is going to be its name. Rather than “MonolithSoft’s new game tentatively titled X, MonolithSoft’s next game, or Xenoblade developers next game, Xenoblade 2 is much more concise and people know what you’re talking about.

    • Xalsunwolf

      Mother 4. And that’s….. very possible:

      How? Fans. Enough said there.

  • Hyli

    wow, this is incredibly profound. I’m one of those folks who has never played Earthbound, but I think maybe I should make more of an effort to find it. It sounds like an amazing experience.

  • SirRichard

    He wants Earthbound to be something fondly remembered, something you can look back on and smile about, and tell people who’ve never heard of it what it’s like in your own way.

    And really, couldn’t be more fitting a sentiment for it.

  • Andrew A

    I think its kind of sad that in Japan this game will be fondly remembered but here in America it will be slowly forgotten.

    • Haseyo

      As long as they keep Ness in Smash Bros, people won’t forget it.

  • Junko Enoshima

    This is just….amazing.

    *now waits for an Earthbound Eshop/Wii and Wii U VC release in America*

  • Ayaka

    This was really… I can’t come up with a word capable of describing it.

    I always thought the videogame-world (if we want to call it that way) can’t possibly be something specifically related to make money. It surely has a connection with it, due to people doing their job as employees, but it would be difficult to retain your status and ideas if you don’t love what you’re doing.

    That said, to find someone who is willing to tell you about how he/she feels regarding the product, that is the formidable present you can receive from a developer as a fan of their creation. I usually love to see the backstage, making of and such about the games I like… such an intriguing world it is. Hope that the Earthbound franchise as well as every possible future release can find its little place inside the heart of every pleased gamer (ow, we’re being romantic now!)

    • Norman Fong Ochoa

      I agree with you!!!

  • Oh god the emotional output in this article is off the bloody charts

  • Cameron Ward

    this was a really good thing to say. i loved every word and sentence. he really put a lot of thought in what he wanted Earthbound to be. Now then, can we have it here in the US please?

  • Farid Belkacemi

    Great read, thank you siliconera :)

  • Sam Park

    Itoi’s essays strikes again

  • Göran Isacson

    And thank YOU for the games, Itoi. I hope I can one day have created something as memorable as you did, and when the time for the wake comes… I’ll hope I’ll be strong enough to laugh like you want me to.

  • brian yep

    Nintendo needs to get on making these games available worldwide.

  • Yuriangels

    …no words…. just beauty!!!

  • Aoshi00

    Jpn is so lucky to be able to get this for 30 yen and be able to play it on the Wii U pad.. was hoping they would re-release it for the DS or maybe 3DS now.. hopefully they would put it on the 3DS e-shop later.

    I still haven’t finished Mother 3 yet, was playing on TV w/ Gamecube’s Gameboy Player, but the gamecube controller wasn’t that good and I missed getting the Hori Super Famicom pad.. it was fun playing on the GBA Micro too, such a quirky game :)

  • anarchy_panty

    “‘What kind of person would I like to be when I die?’

    I didn’t have an answer to that before, but I do now: ‘Someone with a lively wake.'”

    That was a lovely essay; really made me smile. As does Earthbound every time I replay it.

  • AJ

    I found a copy of Earthbound in a box with a strategy guide in a store for 900$.

    I’m probably never going to play Earthbound.

    • Permafry 42

      You can find it way cheaper ($60-$70) at used game stores. Its a bit of a journey, but that will only make the aquiring of the game all the more special.

      Or pirate it. Better that you steal an out of print game than using its rarity to excuse yourself from a masterpiece of gaming. This is the game that made me sure I will be a game developer when I grow up. I intend to have a copy of the game always on my desk when I make my own games in order to remind me to never give up on making the absolute best game I can make. It will remind me how touching and meaningful games can be when you put your heart and soul into them. The money is no where near worth as much as that masterpiece of a game is to me, and I’m sure once you’ll play it you’ll see what I mean.

      Also there is still a chance that, if us Earthbound fans rise up one more time, we will be able to ensure Nintendo of America rereleases the game on Wii U. If that does happen, do whatever it takes to buy this game. We will need everyone who loves Earthbound to buy it so as to ensure every game in the series will get rereleased in North America.

  • Satoes

    As a longtime Earthbound fan, it was really touching for me too. I enjoyed every bit I read and translated. Thanks for the good stuff, Itoi-san!

  • Pokahontas McGuigan

    is he talking about earthbound or mother 2 or the whole mother series?

  • Wow. This little mini-essay was so good it’s renewed my interest in finally playing Mother 3. (Still not sure I can muster up the patience to finish Earthbound, though.)

  • Leonard Norwood Jr.

    Earthbound means a lot to me as well. I don’t have much to say about Earthbound except how fun it was to play such a game that had simple things you would see in a video game, but was expanded into something else. Something that was far diffferent from any rpg game you played. And once you go through the whole Mother Trilogy as I liked the call it, you just feel positively happy that you had the opportunity to play the entire series from the creator who had a lot of heart put into this game, and not just him. He may be the creator of Mother/Earthbound, but the whole game was a team effort, so we don’t just have him to thank for. And we at least have to thank some of the people from Nintendo of America who brought over Earthbound in the first place, fan translators, emulators and such from Mother 3 Translation project, and people who brought Eartbound Zero/Mother 1, for bringing over all three games to be available for play one way or another.

    Itoi put it in a way that I most definitely agree, that Earthbound is a game to be remembered and told to all who haven’t heard of it so they can experience the game. And the same can be said of all games that has something that we can all be happy about.

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