Another one of the more well-known changes.
Threek, as it is known in MOTHER 2, is called Threed in EarthBound.
One theory is that it’s pretty likely that the localizers changed the town’s name for the same reason they changed Carpainter’s cultists. Threek = Three K = KKK. That makes more sense than anything else, and I could see the legal department or QA department or whatever being worried that moms would be offended by this otherwise harmless name.
If you have it, look closely at the signs in the map of Threed on page 40 of the EarthBound Player’s Guide. This is more proof that the player’s guide was made during translation.
In MOTHER 2, this sign says, “Grownups, kids, and even your sister.” This was the advertising slogan for MOTHER 2 in Japan.
In EarthBound, the sign says, “…Just play it!” This was never a Nintendo slogan, but it’s most likely a play on the Nike “Just do it!” slogan famous back in the day.
Yup, This Again
The town map for Threek/Threed also has changes found in the previous town maps. “DRUG” was changed to “SHOP”, the Os in “FOOD” were made bigger, and the red cross symbol was changed to “HOSPITAL”. Note that the hospital sprite is obscured by the food sprite in EarthBound. This didn’t happen in MOTHER 2. The game likely uses the same set of graphic sprites for these town map things, so the localizers probably just altered them once to fix ALL the town maps. But they didn’t realize that the hospital sprite gets covered up in this particularly case. Or they didn’t care.
Also, of course, the MOTHER 2 map says THREEK in big letters, while the EarthBound map says THREED.
Here’s more of the hospital goodness again. This time, they simply removed the red cross — no creative repositioning or editing here. This turns out to be one of the more important hospitals in the game too, thanks to the li’l ghosts and the Insignificant Item. Oh well.
BTW, if you have it, check your giant EarthBound box. On the back, you’ll see a pic that still has the red cross of this hospital intact! Here’s a crappy scan if you don’t have an EarthBound box handy:
Also, how ironic that they spent so much time trying to remove the red cross from the game, but then it still winds up on the box, which is possibly the most visible place to put it, and the easiest way to get in trouble with the Red Cross organization 😛
In MOTHER 2, this sign is posted by a ficticious parents organization telling young players it’s not a good idea to play the game over 2 hours straight.
In EarthBound, the sign says the same thing, except the group name is different. In EB, it’s “Parents Opposing Obsession Plan”. For those who never noticed, that name abbreviated is “P.O.O.P.”
The MOTHER 2 name doesn’t seem to be anything goofy like that. Though I’ve always been kind of bad at picking up more clever Japanese wordplay. But it appears to be wordplay-less, anyway.
Zombies Ate My Newspapers
In MOTHER 2, the Threed city newspaper is replaced by the “Zombie World” newspaper. In EarthBound, the zombie newspaper is called the “Zombie Herald”.
This change could be due to copyright stuff, or possibly due to a rushed translation, as “world” and “herald” are somewhat similar-looking in katakana. A translator rushing to meet a deadline might’ve seen it written one way when it was really the other.
As you can tell from the English version, this sign involves some word play. The only reason I’m putting this here, though, is because I’m awed by how well it works in both language, and how close the localized version managed to stay to the original. It’s VERY rare that jokes can stay that similar during localization. Good job, writers/editors/translators!
Literally Dead Poets Society
This might not be obvious to EarthBound players, so maybe this will be neat new info.
This sign in MOTHER 2 is written as a haiku. What’s cool is that the English version is a haiku, too!
Well, almost. The middle line only has six syllables instead of seven, it seems. Though, according to certain rules and other things, you’re still allowed to have an extra syllable or one syllable too less. I dunno, haiku is for hippies. Anyway, it’s at least cool how they tried to make it into haiku, just as the original was.
Did you know it was a poem all this time?
In MOTHER 2, this sign says, “Giving Hints for 40 years — Hint Shop ‘Naruhodo'” Naruhodo is something you say in Japanese when you learn something or when you realize something or if someone gives you information about something. (And yes, hello Phoenix Wright fans)
In EarthBound, the sign doesn’t even have the “Giving Hints for 40 Years” part. And the “Realization” part of this sign is the shop’s name. As a kid, I always thought it was some sort of fancy term businessy grownups used for certain stuff. Never realized it was the shop’s name itself. Had they put “Realization” in quotes, it would’ve been more clear. Oh well, no big deal.
In EarthBound, the two zombies that block the way to the underground path “stare into your soul” and “look you over”.
In MOTHER 2, they simply stare. Or, to be more precise, the game uses the onomatopiea for staring. In other words, a more literal version would be, “*stare*”. No mention of souls or anything at all in the original version.
The English version sounds cooler.
The Hottest Zombie Ever
Seriously, look at those two pixels she has for boobs. Woooo!
Anyway, this guy who’s sneaking a look at her says one thing in MOTHER 2 and some slightly made-up, different stuff in EarthBound.
|MOTHER 2 (literal)||EarthBound|
|The woman in front of that hotel…||Take a look at that chick in front of the hotel.|
|She’s looking pale, but man, she’s a hottie…!||Regardless of some of the people I’ve seen her hanging out with, I think I’d like to spend some time with her!|
The Japanese line makes it more clear that something’s wrong with her physically. The English line just makes it sound like she hangs out with scummy people.
This section of the EarthBound Legends of Localization book also includes:
- Further details about the change from “Threek” to “Threed”
- A look at an early review of EarthBound that still used the “Threek” spelling
- Some small, city-wide graphical changes that nobody noticed for 20+ years, until now!
- A closer look at the slogans involved in the text on the sign with graffiti
- Changes in the Japanese version of the “POOP” sign after MOTHER 2’s initial release, and how this ties in with Ness’ father’s regularly-scheduled phone call game mechanic
- A closer look at the haiku on the sign in Threed