A Hundred Colas Please
When you first get to the Dusty Dunes Desert (known as Doko Doko Desert in MOTHER 2), you’re greeted by a huge traffic jam.
This is being extra picky, but in MOTHER 2, this one guy talks about how both he and his girlfriend will wind up being 100 years old before he can get to Fourside to see her. In EarthBound, he only says that he’ll wind up 100.
But the main reason for this traffic jam entry is that again, we see another instance of the red Coca-Cola-like truck being replaced with something a little less logo-copying-ish. NOA’s legal department probably wanted to avoid any possible copyright/trademark issues, however little or unlikely they might’ve been.
Welcome to My Rear!
In EarthBound, this guy stuck in the traffic jam says, “Welcome to the very end of the world’s longest traffic jam!”
In MOTHER 2, it’s more like, “Welcome to the ass-end of this traffic jam!” The “end” part of the phrase got changed in the localization for obvious reasons, but the localizers also added the “world’s longest” part out of nowhere. Nothing major though. In fact, I always kind of liked this line in EarthBound. But the delivery of the MOTHER 2 line seems to fit that NPC’s character better.
We’ve seen the localizers change things like the “DRUG” text on the town maps, but for some reason they left the “DRUGS” sign in the Dusty Dunes Desert alone. Why the inconsistency? Is the word DRUG bad but DRUGS okay? Unrelated, but I think that everyone who ever played this game as a kid must’ve laughed at the sign too 😉
In EarthBound, a crazy hermit named Talah Rama lives with monkeys in a desert cave. In MOTHER 2, his name is Tarai Jabu. I know I’m missing something here.
Just Your Average Talking Bones
In EarthBound, you can talk to a pile of bones in the desert, and it’ll say, “I’m just a pile of bleached bones. I can’t talk.”
In MOTHER 2, this is actually kind of a pun. It literally says, “I’m just a pile of horse bones, so I can’t talk.” The thing is, in Japanese, the phrase “horse bones” can mean something like “just some random nobody”. So these bones are not also talking, but also telling an extra joke that isn’t really translatable. Sometimes, when localizing games, not every joke can be brought over 100%, and this is one example. Even without the extra word play though, it’s still an amusing line, so it’s still cool.
In EarthBound, this “sea monkey” messes up and uses the word dessert instead of desert. What’s interesting is that the MOTHER 2 line also does something similar, using the English words “desert” and “dessert”. The localizers had to do a tiny bit of reshuffling things so the joke would work in full English, but otherwise I’m amazed by this. I wouldn’t have thought a desert/dessert misspelling joke could work in both English AND Japanese.
Please Contact Me
In the desert you’ll find a sign put up by a guy who’s looking for a contact lens he dropped in the desert. In EarthBound, this guy’s name is Penetella Giovanni. In MOTHER 2, his name is Petenella Giovanni.
What’s that? They’re the same name? Nope, look closer at the first name. I wonder why this change was made. Maybe it was just a simple typo, I know I’ve done that kind of thing before. While working on the MOTHER 3 script, I remember mistyping “kiss” as “kill” one time. So Petenella becoming Penetella doesn’t seem that out of the question.
Supposedly, Itoi named this character after olympic cyclist Giovanni Pettenella, who impressed Itoi presumably during the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. So maybe NOA’s lawyers didn’t want to use the name of an actual person. Or maybe it was just a typo.
Me Llamo Many Things
In EarthBound, one of the slot machine guys is named Tomas Jefferson. Note that it’s “Tomas”, and not “Thomas”, a lot of people get that wrong or don’t realize it.
Anyway, in MOTHER 2, the character’s name is Ooshio Heihachirou. As you might expect, he was a Japanese personage of historical significance. You can read about him here. The localizers obviously couldn’t leave that in the game, as no one would get the joke, so they chose someone from a similar time period that a North American audience would be more apt to recognize. Then they changed Thomas to Tomas for some added flavor and humor. And now people reference him all the time, so it looks like the localization guys did good!
This section of the EarthBound Legends of Localization book also includes:
- The unexpected origin and meaning of the name “Doko Doko Desert”
- Some surprising background info on Dusty Dunes Desert – this info also connects with the gold mines and real-life Japanese history!
- The reason the “DRUGS” sign was left unchanged when all other DRUG signs in the game were
- The dialect the bus driver uses in MOTHER 2
- A little-seen line of text that had info removed from it in EarthBound
- More information on Pettenella Giovanni and why Itoi chose to reference him in MOTHER 2
- Two other Japanese idioms that sound unusual when translated literally
- Further details on the Tomas Jefferson localization choice, including more info on Oshio Heihachiro and his role in Japanese history
- A localization choice that added a name not found in MOTHER 2