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Shigesato Itoi recalls his initial pitch for Mother/Earthbound Beginnings to Nintendo, and how it left him depressed and in tears

A fantastic story from the man himself

An absolutely fascinating interview with Shigesato Itoi, the creator of Mother/Earthbound has surfaced, and it includes a very detailed look at how the original Mother/Earthbound Beginnings game was pitched to Nintendo. Check out a summary straight from Itoi himself below, which is just a small snippet of the full interview.

“I owe a lot to Mario. I have asthma, and I start coughing when I lay down. I’ve always had a hard time sleeping, and for a while I had to sit up at all times or else I just couldn’t stop coughing. The only things I could really do while sitting up at night were read a book or play a game. So I’d wake up and grab a controller, and Mario would see me through my asthma at night. ...It’s more like I felt indebted to Nintendo.

...one day I finally started playing a copy of Dragon Quest that someone had given me. It’d been sitting around for a while, but it was raining and I had nothing better to do. ...I started it with pretty low expectations, and before I knew it, I was having a great time.

...It was fun. At first I was simply enjoying the game, but then it occurred to me that there’s someone out there who’s entertaining me through this game.

Yeah, it’s like laughing at a comedian’s joke and realizing, “Hey, that person on stage is the one making me laugh!” After a while I found myself thinking about what kind of things I’d do if I made the same sort of game. I wondered why all the role-playing games that were popular at the time had swords and magic.

Games were more unpopular back then. I was defending them on TV, saying something like, “Manga used to be taboo — you’d be scorned for having manga as a college student. Video games are in the same position today, and although it sounds a little extreme, I think games will eventually be an even bigger part of our culture than manga.”

People at Nintendo wondered who I was after that, and Yamauchi said he wanted to meet me. They invited me to their office to ask me what I thought of a game, and after that, we chatted for a while. That’s when (Shigeru) Miyamoto came in. We ended up becoming really close — we got along quite well from the start. I told him I actually had an idea of my own, and pulled out some copies of the notes I’d taken, asking him if he thought it would work as a game.

I pictured them jumping up from their chairs, saying, “Wow, what an idea! We must try it!” It was a dream of mine that they’d make a game using that idea, but instead the conversation just kind of stopped at Miyamoto asking me how serious I was about it. Itoi, how involved do you plan on being in it? Being totally involved in a project can be very demanding.” He sounded very solemn.

He probably assumed I wasn’t interested in being involved. Plus the extent to which he warned me ended up being on a totally different level than the extent to which I assumed it would be demanding. ...From Miyamoto’s perspective, it’s easy for someone to say they want to make a game. It’s the ‘making’ part that’s incredibly difficult. Just like it’s easy to say, “Some old guy in overalls is gonna jump around and save the princess.”

...I knew I wanted to make a game, but when my resolve was questioned, I was very sad about it. ...I went back to Tokyo totally crushed. I thought Miyamoto and I had hit it off well at first, but then I was like, “What a taskmaster.” (Laughs)

He did say to me, “Give me some time to figure this out and see how we can get a team together.” So he was earnest in making it happen. But from my perspective, since he didn’t say how interesting it looked, I’d assumed that meant he didn’t like it. ...I’d never made a game before, so I interpreted his response as, “Well, it’s not great, but if you’re going to keep insisting on it, I guess I’ll think about whether we should bother putting a team together. As someone without any experience, it was easy to get paranoid.

He was kind enough to take it seriously. I didn’t know anything, so I just mumbled a thank you and quickly headed home. They gave me a ride in a black car and treated me well, but I just got more and more depressed. I’d been expecting a torrent of praise, but by the time I got on the bullet train back to Tokyo, I was actually in tears.

...It turned out that it was all in my head. He put together a team for me. Their internal teams had their hands full, so he went to the trouble of reaching out to a company that would help me make the game. ...I met up with the development team at a tiny Japanese restaurant so that they could gauge how involved I’d actually be in all the hard work Miyamoto had warned me about, and so we could get to know each other.

This interview, conducted by Game Center CX, gives an extremely personal and interesting look at Itoi's work with Nintendo, as well as Itoi himself. Make sure to take some time and read the full thing.

Trials of Mana creator and artist share special tributes on the game's 24th anniversary

24 years in the making!

Trials of Mana, which originally released as Seiksen Densetsu 3 for the Super Famicom in 1995, is celebrating its 24th anniversary today. To mark the occasion, creator Koichi Ishii shared some kind words, and series artist Haccan shared a special drawing. You can see the art from Haccan above, as well as the words from Ishii below.

“When designing the six main characters, the very first one to have their image take shape was Lise. She moves forward without averting her eyes from the harsh trials. She’s a character who is the embodiment of such strong will. I believe growth comes from having such strong wills. And to you all, please do enjoy this ‘adventure of growing’ together with Lise.”

Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck spoofs almost appeared in Shin Megami Tensei

Don't mess with Disney

All the way back in 1992, Atlus released Shin Megami Tensei on the Super Famicom. That installment of the series took fans to a theme park called Tokyo Destiny Land, which had the player taking on demented theme park monsters. While there were plenty of baddies to take on, a very specific duo was planned at one point, but yanked before the game released.

As you can see from the sprite art above, Atlus was going to spoof Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck with twisted takes on the classic characters. It seems Atlus had second thoughts about taunting the House of Mouse with these designs, so they did away with them before launching. I'm thinking that was a smart idea!

Super Famicom's Majin Tensei gets a fan translation

The original Majin Tensei on Super Famicom is the title that gave birth to the entire sub-series of the Megami Tensei franchise, which makes it pretty damn important! That's why it's nice to see the game get an English fan translation courtesy of DDSTranslation. This now means that every Megami Tensei game to release on the Super Famicom has been translated in one way or another.

Super Robot Wars 3 gets an updated fan translation

Super Robot Wars 3, which released back on the Super Famicom, has actually gotten somewhat of a fan translation via Super Robot Wars EX. That was released all the way back in 2002, but a new fan translation has been shared recently, and it's pretty much a full rework. This translation fixes mistranslated names, fonts, chapter title displays, and more. That should help things make a lot more sense this time around!

Game Freak's latest video feature revisits Mario & Wario

In their latest video, Game Freak revisits Mario & Wario, a title they developed for the Super Famicom. The title never saw release outside of Japan, which is a real shame! For the time, it was a pretty unique side-scrolling puzzler! At least Game Freak hasn't forgotten it!

Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon: Another Story gets a second fan translation

Winning love by daylight

The first fan translation of Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon: Another Story came from Bishoujo Senshi Translations back in 1999, but that version unfortunately contained mistranslations and various bugs. 20 years later, another group of fans have come together to give Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon: Another Story a second chance with a revamped translation, and fixes for all the bugs that were presented in the first fan translation. This is yet another example of fans showing unwavering support for translating every legacy game that never got localized, no matter how big or small.

Super Famicom game Nishijin Pachinko 2 gets a fan translation

Pachinko 2: Electric Boogaloo

Now here's a fan translation for a game that never, ever had a chance at getting localized. TheMajinZenki, MrRichard999, and their team have wrapped translation on Nishijin Pachinko 2, which is about...Pachinko. The Pachinko industry in Japan is pretty big, but it's practically non-existent in NA/EU. Perhaps through this game, we can see what all the fuss is about!

Super Famicom game 'Undercover Cops' gets fan translation

You can usually play through a classic beat'em-up no matter what language you read/speak. You just go to the right and beat people up! Still, for the sake of completion, fans have translated the Super Famicom title Undercover Cops into English. Now you can understand the story and character profiles when you play!

Columbus Circle releasing Extension Converter, allows play of NES games on Super Famicom

Columbus Circle has announced the Extension Converter for the Super Famicom. The accessory is due out mid-April in Japan, and is priced at ¥3,218. The device lets players enjoy NES games on the Super Famicom. Those who own the 16bit Pocket HDMI console can also use this device to play NES games in HD on the TV.

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