The ones that started it all
There was a time when the Earthbound/Mother franchise was pretty much unrecognizable to Nintendo fans around the world. When Ness was showcased in Super Smash Bros., plenty of people had no idea who the character was. Nowadays, the majority of Nintendo fans know who Ness is, even if they haven’t played his adventures. That knowledge, in no small part, comes from the Earthbound fan community.
Undertale creator Toby Fox has long since talked about how his game was hugely inspired by Earthbound. Fox even got his start working on Earthbound ROM hacks before he eventually tried creating his own game. Without Earthbound existing, who knows if Fox would have ever gotten around to making Undertale or Deltarune!
In an interview with the publication Lock-On, Fox comments on how the Earthbound fan community is very much responsible for spreading awareness of Earthbound to Nintendo fans around the world, and it’s an effort that continues to this very day. You can see Fox’s comments on the matter below.
[Mother gained relevance thanks to] the fan community staying active and aggressive for over fifteen years. From the time Smash Bros. 64 came around to the Brawl era, the Mother community was constantly doing campaigns and activities to try to keep the love of the game alive. So the people who were interested in Ness could search online and instantly not only find answers, but people espousing that the game he was from was great, and not just some Charlie Brown freak show that looks like crap compared to Mortal Kombat. That’s how people thought in 1995.
I actually ordered things through the interlibrary loan of Japan, their library has documented video game magazines all the way back to 1970. I don’t know if a lot of people know that. But I figured that out while I was in college, trying to find places to send me research about game design through interlibrary loans. And I was like, ‘oh, Japan has all of that.’ Japan has all these magazines documented. So I was able to get all that old EarthBound 64 information scanned and sent over here. And then I scanned it into a computer and posted it on the website. So that’s how it all began.