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GBA

Earthbound Fans Start Mother 3 Translation

by Steven Rodriguez - November 9, 2006, 10:49 am PST
Total comments: 16 Source: http://www.starmen.net

Enough is enough, proclaims long-running Earthbound fan site.

The Mother series has had a very loyal and dedicated fan base ever since the first—and only—American game in the series, Earthbound, was released on the SNES in 1995. The resurrection of the previously-canned Mother 3 and its eventual GBA release gave fans hope that Nintendo might finally come through after 11 years of waiting, and release a domestic version of their beloved game series.

That is, until, our recent interview with NOA Treehouse informed the Ness-heads to "not look forward to it in the immediate future." The Earthbound community turned all eyes to Starmen.net to see how they would react. Desperate times call for desperate measures, as they say.

Some of the Starmen folks have taken on the daunting task of translating every last bit of the game's Japanese text into English. This way, people who have imported the game and legally own the ROM can apply a language patch to understand what the heck is going on.

This is where things might start to get a bit sticky. Naturally, once people start talking about GBA ROMs, "piracy" is usually uttered in the same breath. The only way to use the patch is to obtain the game ROM, with no real way to guarantee that everyone who has it has imported the actual game cartridge.

Mother3.org stresses that they want to keep things as legal as possible, but Nintendo may decide at some point in the future that it's quite illegal. Previous fan projects like Ocarina of Time 2D and Chrono Trigger Resurrection got their plugs pulled for infringing on the original rights, but the Mother 3 project is a slightly different case. How will Nintendo react to people translating text files and using them to alter the original game ROM? It should be interesting to find out.

Correction: We previously stated that Starmen.net's efforts and the Mother 3 Fan Translation Project were jointly involved. As it turns out, the two are independent of one another. We apologize for the confusion.

Talkback

nitsu niflheimNovember 09, 2006

I want translation. Why should we suffer because Nintendo is too freaking selfish to do what so many people want.

Ian SaneNovember 09, 2006

I think this it's great the fans are taking the initiative here. The problem is that I doubt Nintendo is going to let it happen. Yeah the site wants people to import the game. That's great but the reality is that most people would probably just steal the ROM.

It sucks because in my mind if a company is just sitting on something they own with no interest in releasing it as a product then I think fans should be allowed to take things in their own hands provided that no one else makes a profit off it. In a case like this there's no competing product people aren't going to buy because a pirated version is available. I had no problem with people releasing pirated versions of the original Star Wars cut, prior to the official release's annoucement, for the same reason. If people want to buy something and you refuse to make that available in stores don't get all pissed off when they jump over your head and get what they want without you.

JonLeungNovember 09, 2006

Funny thing is that I was JUST thinking about Ocarina Of Time 2D a couple days ago, apparently out of the blue.

Cult classic games like Kid Icarus and EarthBound, if you could really call them "cult" classics, seem to have pretty big followings despite few games in their franchises. Kid Icarus seems slated for a Virtual Console release (as in that other topic where the ESRB has rated it), but I don't recall EarthBound being in the Virtual Console queue. If not, it should be too, it may even be the case that there are more EarthBound fans than Kid Icarus fans. Hard to say, but why the heck not?

If twenty billion people download EarthBound (and Kid Icarus and other somewhat obscure games), then how could they NOT bring possible sequels over? And supposedly Shigesato Itoi didn't want to make any more Mother games, but that shouldn't mean that they can't do an official translation of Mother and Mother 3 and bring them North American-side.

Ian SaneNovember 09, 2006

"And supposedly Shigesato Itoi didn't want to make any more Mother games, but that shouldn't mean that they can't do an official translation of Mother and Mother 3 and bring them North American-side."

Mother was translated for North American release. All they have to do is throw the ROM on the VC and TEH MONIES come rolling in. The work for it is already done.

UltimatePartyBearNovember 09, 2006

Quote

Originally posted by: Ian Sane
I think this it's great the fans are taking the initiative here. The problem is that I doubt Nintendo is going to let it happen. Yeah the site wants people to import the game. That's great but the reality is that most people would probably just steal the ROM.

Perhaps, but providing a product or service that is only of use to criminals isn't necessarily illegal, in a broad sense at least (It would be difficult to show that to be the case most of the time). Starmen.net can't be held responsible for other people seeking out the rom on their own. However, Nintendo could still probably shut this project down because it's a derivative work. Only Nintendo has the right to make derivative works, and translations are explicitly mentioned as examples of derivative works in U.S. copyright law. I don't know about the law in other countries, but it's probably similar.

nitsu niflheimNovember 09, 2006

Nintendo can't technically stop them from translating the game, just the part about rom hacking and all that Nintendo can bitch about. But seeing as they have no plans to translate and make it available to the majority of the world, I think they should just eat it and shut up.

Hostile CreationNovember 09, 2006

It can hardly be called piracy if the product isn't even available for purchase.

CericNovember 09, 2006

Yet another example of NoA incompetence.

NephilimNovember 09, 2006

I can understand why nintendo are not sure about the american release, after all the last one flopped, in a era were all its games sold pretty well

I think they should just release it and hope for the best, much like drill dozen

TJ SpykeNovember 09, 2006

Whoever posted the news story is wrong, even if you import the game you can't have a ROM of the game since that is still illegal.

What pisses me off is that Atlus asked if they could publish the game in North America (like they did with Polarium Advance) and Nintendo said no. So not only will Nintendo not release it here, but they won't let anyone else release it either.

DjunknownNovember 09, 2006

I'm surprised I haven't seen Bill jump in on this...

Sometimes, it takes the fans to get things started. I remember Final Fantasy V was fan-translated years before Square brought it stateside. Maybe it was just coincidence though.

I'd be careful messing with nintendo though. They've been victims of piracy from the NES all the way to GBA. If they're lucky, they'll just get a cease and desist order. The big N would go for the death penalty if it was possible.

But yeah, if the fans want it, give it to them.

I'd still abandon all hope for a local release

Smoke39November 09, 2006

If Nintendo takes any action against this it'll really show that they don't give one bit of a damn about the EB fan community. If the community's so puny and insignificant, and the game so unappealing to anyone who isn't a fan, that they don't think it's worthwhile to localize the game, then how much damage do they think will be done if a fan translation is made?

JonLeungNovember 09, 2006

Next thing you know, there will be reports saying Ness is nowhere to be seen in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

NephilimNovember 09, 2006

"Whoever posted the news story is wrong, even if you import the game you can't have a ROM of the game since that is still illegal."

No cart games roms are legal, remember there is a site that legally hires roms due to the fact they own the orginals... nintendo tried to sue them and lost

couchmonkeyNovember 10, 2006

Hey I didn't know Nintendo had tried to sue them. I knew about the site though.

Personally, I don't even care if people illegally obtain this game. I'm against piracy - when the product is readily available to the consumer. Mother 3 is definitely not readily available to consumers outside of Japan, so I say go ahead. I'm not a big fan of copyright and protecting big business's "rights". I am a big fan of doing the right thing, though, and I think the right thing is to buy a game when it's available to you instead of "stealing" it through emulation.

I say bravo to these guys! You know most of them would buy the official Nintendo translation anyway if Nintendo decided to do one later on.

q33November 10, 2006

OOT2D wasn't shut down by Nintendo. That was actually in one of last year's mailbags.

Downloading a rom is illegal, since you don't have the copyright owner's permission to transfer it that way. Nintendo's not about to grant that permission, either (outside of the Virtual Console, of course). Making a rom (ie dumping the game yourself) is legal.

Not that I have anything against downloading roms. Especially roms of games that were never released in the US.

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