I wouldn’t quite call myself a hardcore gamer, but I can tell you that recently gaming has become a part of my life. It began last year when I first came across Steam, and after playing over 200 hours of Team Fortress 2 I became hooked to gaming again. Before that I hadn’t really touched a gaming console for over 10 years, with the last game I played being a game that will forever hold a place in my heart. Mother.
I remember that I always played the game whenever I had the chance after discovering it through the Internet, making myself the best I could become. I never owned an actual copy of the game, due to the fact it was never officially released outside of Japan and because of the high prices that circled the Mother series' games and merchandise on the web, so I made do with a ROM of the game. Regardless, I enjoyed the game to bits. Even after I defeated Giegue for the first time, I felt I had to fulfil something and get Ninten, Ana and Loid each to level 100. Needless to say, after over 40 hours of grinding on Mt. Itoi I had completed such task. When I played it for the last time in my childhood I remember kicking Giegue’s ass with my overpowered team. His attacks that used to mortally wound the trio wouldn’t even hurt. I felt like a true hero, having fully completed the game, and that’s all I remember of the last time I played that amazing game during my teenage years.
Having recently become bored of half the games I owned on Steam, I started hunting down something that would cure me of my boredom. I eventually came across a game called Starbound, and all the memories of playing Mother came flooding back to me due to how similar the name was to the English translation of Mother, Earthbound Zero. I bought the game after looking at the screenshots and reviews, and began to play it. While I can say I thoroughly enjoyed it to bits, as I was a large fan of Terraria and Minecraft, I longed to play some good old Japanese RPG after the memories Starbound gave to me.
The most obvious thing to do would have been to play the ROM I owned of the game, but I remember having always wanted to own an actual copy of the game in some form. I hunted online, but the prices were higher than I was willing to pay for some slight nostalgia. It then occurred to me that the local GAME was selling old SNES, NES and Gameboy games that someone had weirdly left by their door one night, so instead of binning or donating them they decided to sell them. I headed over straight away.
When I arrived there, I noticed the area where the games were being sold was looking fairly bare. It seemed I had been beaten to it by the other retro fans from around here. I decided to look anyways, hoping I may find some gem that the others missed. That was when I saw it, a copy of Mother 1 + 2 hidden behind a Super Mario Bros. box. I smiled, and grabbed the box. I had a quick check to make sure that the game was there, and it was, along with the instructions booklet and other bits of paper that normally came with Gameboy Advance games. I took it to the counter to purchase it and the woman who served me only asked £10 for it. That was a WHOLE lot cheaper than the £50+ they were going for on eBay and sites like it, so I paid up and took the game home, feeling happy to finally have a physical copy of Mother to love. Even better, I could play Earthbound, the sequel that I never got a chance to play, once I had finished my nostalgia trip. Even if the game was in Japanese, I had played the English ROM enough times to know what needed doing when, so I was assured I would be fine.
Upon arriving home, I looked for my Gameboy Advance so I could begin playing, but was unable to track it down. It was after I looked in my box of old game consoles that I found my GameCube with the Gameboy Player attached to the bottom. Feeling luckier than I already was, I assembled all the wires and a controller to play and plugged the GameCube in. After testing the old console with Metroid Prime to make sure it worked and then the Player with both Super Mario Land and Pokémon Sapphire to ensure it worked too, I took Mother 1 + 2 out of its box. As I did, the bits of paper that were in there slid out. One of the pieces immediately caught my eye.
It was a notepad piece of paper, something that you’d never find in new Gameboy Advanced games, with a whole paragraph of writing on it. The writing covered both sides of the paper, and when I found out which one was the beginning side I started to read.
If you are reading this, then it means that you are the new owner of this copy of Mother 1 + 2. This game is normally in Japanese, however I am a coder and I was easily able to translate what the game said into English, as I speak Japanese rather fluently myself. However, there is something I must stress. It will make no sense to you now, but if you play to the end you shall see. I uncovered something hidden in the coding. Something never meant to be found, the REAL reason why Mother and Earthbound are on the same cartridge. Whatever you do, don’t listen to him. Don’t follow his orders, no matter how he threatens you.
Don’t follow him. Do whatever you can to NOT follow him, even if you have to turn off the game.
Be safe, my friend, and I hope to god you are able to do what I couldn’t and destroy this awful thing.
Good luck, you'll need it.
I chuckled a bit after reading it, because I knew that this was someone trying to spook me into destroying a perfectly good and valuable game. I put all the paperwork back into the box, including the note, and inserted the cartridge into the Gameboy Player. Upon starting the game up, I did indeed see that the game was in English. The letter had been right about one thing, and I was grateful that I could fully enjoy the game. When it came to the game selection screen, I chose Mother and my nostalgia trip began.
The entire experience was an amazing one, with memories flooding back to me as I ventured throughout the world. The gameplay was smooth, no glitches that I couldn’t myself cause intentionally, no out of place English text or untranslated Japanese text. It was all perfect. After playing for what felt like an hour, I arrived at Yucca Desert. I followed the plot that commenced there, getting the melody from the cactus and flying in the plane, until I got the tank from the man who owned the plane and the tank. Having the tank, I headed straight for the robot boss of the desert, R7037, but the encounter wouldn’t initiate. It was as if he wasn’t there. After ramming the spot a few times trying it activate the battle, a text box appeared on the screen.
The tank has become stuck in the sand. Ninten and co. continue on foot.
The tank disappeared, and the party was standing in the spot where the tank was. I paused the game and looked up on the Internet for glitches involving R7037, but aside from the option to completely skip him I found nothing. Perhaps it was a bug in programming. I wasn’t convinced though, because if that was so then why did the tank, “become stuck in the sand”? That never happened to me before, or in any walkthrough/video I had seen before. Nevertheless, I continued through the game.
Shortly, I arrived at Ellay. Knowing the plot like the back of my hand, I soon had Teddy defeated and ready to join my team. He was going to be an asset in grinding and making my way through Mt. Itoi more than Loid could have been, so I was happy to have him. It seemed the game had other plans for me, however, because instead of Teddy getting Loid to leave the party for him he simply joined in as a 4th character. Again, I looked this up and found out that this was possible through a glitch involving Pippi, however I hadn’t preformed this glitch at all. I didn’t even know it existed until now, so I was rather shocked by this. But if this meant a stronger team for the trials that lay ahead, I was content with it. I continued on with a full party, enemies standing no chance against us now. As would have happened through the Pippi glitch, Teddy’s stats never actually appeared on-screen while I was in a battle, so I would have to check him out of battle to ensure he wasn’t going to faint on me. I wasn't that worried about him, however, because his stats increased dramatically and at a quicker rate than my other party members.
Sooner that I thought, most likely due to the increase in power with Teddy in my team, we reached Mt. Itoi. Just like all the other enemies encountered, none really stood a chance against out full power team. It was before I went into the healer’s house that I wondered what would happen when R7038 attacked, as Loid was in my party. After I questioned this, I then realised that it wouldn’t have to happen, as I could go straight to the boat and fix it with Loid there. After doing just that and encountering EVE, my party then had 5 members in it, although EVE was a supporting character so it made no real difference to my battle plans. All it did was guarantee that my team was untouchable, with EVE taking all the hits for my team whilst Teddy, Ninten and EVE herself dealt major damage to enemies. I started to grind myself up to high levels after noticing the gap between my team’s power and level.
After about 30 minutes of levelling up, I headed towards the penultimate boss battle, R7038XX. I would be in for a last small surprise, as after reaching the point where the battle usually begins my party stopped moving. A text box popped up.
I can go no further than this. Good luck to you, children.
I was rather shocked at this, not simply due to the fact that my bodyguard had committed suicide on me, but due to the fact that I had fought none of the R703 series of robots. I guessed that I wasn't going to fight R7038XX, and I was right as he never appeared. EVE must have blown herself up in order for me to get the 7th melody from her wreckage, as I did after the text box had disappeared and I could move again. What had happened to robots was all I could think about as I headed towards the end of the game. I was in for some luck it seemed, because I encountered no enemies after EVE’s demise. I made it to the tombstone, got the last melody and then warped to Magicant where I sang it to Maria. Once warped back, the stones were removed from the final road, and I headed in.
Then it popped up on screen.
It was a completely black screen, with only 2 words in the centre in a blue text colour.
That was it, I thought, no one’s ever going to believe me about this. I grabbed my high-quality camera and took a picture of the screen with the words on it. I then pressed the start button, and the screen disappeared. I was in the cave leading up towards Giegue. For completions sake, I tried to go into the room where all the pods are with people in, but when I tried the black screen came up again.
I was warped back to the start of the small cave. No matter how many times I tried to go in, the same message kept coming up. Annoyed at this, I headed straight for Giegue to finish this. What was a tad chilling was the fact that when these text screens popped up, there was no sound whatsoever. I ignored it, however, and pressed onward.
As he usually does, Giegue rose up in his Mother Ship to face me, and the battle began. But this would be a battle I would never forget.
thumb|left|link=File:Boss_Battle_Encounter_-1.pngGiegue drew near.
R7037 drew near.
R7038 drew near.
R7038XX drew near.
I had nothing to say. This was NEVER meant to happen, not in any form. Not even a glitch could have caused the 4 most powerful bosses to all appear at once. I then realised why the robots had never appeared at their encounter points (aside from R7038 who for all I know may very well have been waiting to ambush me at the healer’s house) and instantly knew this was I fight I couldn’t win. Sure, I could sing to defeat Giegue but with the three R703-class robots there I wouldn't get a chance. The following conversation ensued, and I took screenshots whenever I could:
Ninten! You fool, you really think you stand a chance against me?
R7037 attacked Ana and knocked her out instantly, regardless of her high level.
Trying to thwart the inevitable, just like your great-grandfather.
R7038 attacked Loid and also knocked him out instantly.
Nothing can stop us now, can’t you see it?
R7038XX attacked Teddy and knocked out my only other character, aside from Ninten.
thumb|left|link=File:Boss_Battle_Question_-2.pngNinten! You alone, I may save you. Just you alone. Board our Mother Ship with me.
The game then gave me a ‘yes or no’ option. I instantly recalled the note, and the warnings given. Don’t follow him. I wasn't sure if the note was referring to this or something else, so I was unsure of what to pick out of fear for what would happen. Eventually, I chose an option. I selected ‘no’ and R7037 attacked me for a third of my health.
You may wish to consider revising your choice of words.
Again, I selected ‘no’. R7038 attacked me and left me on my last third of health.
I wouldn’t be so sure, Ninten.
I selected ‘no’ for the last time, and R7038XX attacked me. His hit left me at 1 health.
There is no other option, Ninten.
When the choice box popped up again, the only option was ‘yes’. I pressed it.
Join me, Ninten. Together we shall rule the galaxy!
The battle then ended, with my 4 opponents disappearing. But there was no ‘You Win!’ music or notification of my victory, just a black screen for 5 seconds with the white boxes on. The game then cut back to the Mother Ship leaving Mt. Itoi, and my party was watching. I instantly noticed that Ninten was nowhere to be seen.
The game cut to black for a final time.
I sat there, waiting for something to happen. Nothing. I reset the GameCube, and the game started as normal. When it took me to the game selection screen, I couldn’t select Mother as it was blacked out. My only choice from there on was to quit or to play Earthbound. Being as naïve as I am, I selected Earthbound.
I had seen many Earthbound walkthroughs before, so I knew I wasn’t going through this completely blind. I was on the lookout for any other ‘glitches’ that would occur after what happened in Mother. The first thing that was extremely noticeable was during the first 10 minutes of the game, during Buzz-Buzz’s speech.
And, in the future, all is devastation… Giygas, the universal cosmic destroyer, sent all to the horror of eternal darkness... And, another was with him, called Ninten… Similar to you, Ness, he was only a child, yet he was capable of untold evil… However, you must listen!
I picked up the notepad paper that had the letter on it, and re-read it. “Something never meant to be found, the REAL reason why Mother and Earthbound are on the same cartridge.” Was this what he was on about, why the two games were bundled together? I mean, I’d already discovered that Ninten has been mentioned in Earthbound, but what else would he influence in it? I pressed on.
The rest of the game played out as normal even though I was sure there would be other odd occurrences throughout. He wasn't mentioned at all after Buzz-Buzz's Speech. Not even in the Cave of the Past did anything involving Ninten occur. When I was at the entrance to the hallway to the Devil’s Machine, however, the first of many things occurred. The music died upon me reaching the cave entrance. When I headed in, just like on Mt. Itoi in Mother, the screen went black and some blue text appeared in the centre.
As soon as I saw this, I knew I was going to get a repeat of the Giegue battle. After pressing start I headed onwards towards Giygas and Porky, the penultimate and final bosses of the game.
Nothing unusual happened during the pre-battle cut scene, or during the Porky/Devil’s Machine battle. It was only when Porky turned off the Devil’s Machine that things occurred differently.
Instead of it transitioning from black to the 2nd part of the Giygas battle, it instead showed a battle screen similar to the one used in Mother. However, there was no box to display my team stats, so I had a feeling that this was going to be more of a scene than a battle. The music that plays when you fight Giegue in Mother started playing, to add to the feeling of ambience. Two enemies emerged from the black background, and needless to say I was rather shocked to see one of them.
thumb|left|link=File:Boss_Battle_Encounter_-2.pngGiegue drew near.
Ninten drew near.
Ninten was working with Giegue? No, this wasn’t true. He couldn’t have been, could he? I pushed aside my questions and let the sequence commence.
Ah, it feels good to finally be free of that machine. I can breathe once again.
…Hmm? What is this? Ninten…? Oh no, you don’t know them either? Maybe Porky could have explained if he didn’t run away in fear.
thumb|left|link=File:Boss_Battle_Question_-3.pngAre you here to prevent what I tried to do oh- so long ago, children?
The game gave me a ‘yes or no’ situation. After what happened with Ninten, I knew ‘yes’ would most likely lead to my defeat. Still, I pressed it.
Feeble minded creatures, as always.thumb|link=File:Boss_Battle_Attack_-2.png
thumb|left|link=File:Boss_Battle_Attack_-1.pngThe form of Giegue’s attack was inexplicable!
When the ‘Paula Fainted!’ text appeared, Paula’s ghost sprite appeared in the black box where my team stats would normally be. This occurred 3 times for each of my support characters, until I was left with only Ness.
Now do you see what happens to things that oppose me?
Ninten, finish him off.
I was expecting Ness to faint after that text appeared. Instead, the screen cut to the peak of Mt. Itoi, where you fight Giegue. Ana, Loid and Teddy were stood there, and I could hear the Eight Melodies playing softly in the background. This lasted for about 30 seconds and then the screen transitioned back to the fight.
Ninten, I said finish him.
What did you say to me?
They’ve freed me.
I followed you, and now they freed me. I’ll never do anything for you again, you twisted alien!
It was at this time that Ninten disappeared from Giegue’s side. The game then made the sound of when someone joins your party, and the sprites of Ninten and Ness replaced those of the unconscious characters in the bottom box.
I quickly realised that Giegue must have forced Ninten to do his bidding after abducting him, and that Ninten despised doing his orders. He must have only gone with him to save his friends from a worse fate than being left alone on Mt. Itoi. I also understood what the black screens with blue text on them represented. It was Giegue, trying to manipulate the player into doing what shouldn’t be done. By this point, however, that realisation came a little too late into the game. The sequence continued.
If that is what you want, then die like a fool!
The form of Giegue’s attack was inexplicable!
Ninten fainted, Ness fainted!
When they both fainted, the box that the set of sprites was in disappeared. I was expecting a ‘Game Over’ screen, but the sequence continued.
thumb|left|link=File:Boss_Battle_Final_Attack.pngAnd now you, the puppeteer controlling these meagre children. Feel pain!
The form of Giegue’s attack was inexplicable!
Suddenly, the entire screen went white and the speakers started emitting a low humming sound. As it did this, my ears began to hurt. Stubborn and ignoring the pain, I pressed every button trying to get the screen to change. It didn’t.
I wouldn’t even have noticed that my ears were bleeding if it wasn’t for the fact that blood was dripping down onto my controller and hands. Scared and shocked, I realised that the only thing that could have done this would have been the sound coming from the speakers. It was at that time I noticed the screen go dark, and a single, red word appear on a black background.
As soon as I took a screenshot of this, the sound instantly increased to the max volume and the humming emitted from the T.V. made it unbearable to hear. My ears bleeding like there was no tomorrow and my nose beginning to as well, I fell on my knees in pain. Crawling towards my GameCube, I tore as many cables out of it as I could until the screen and the sound died. Relieved, I lay my head down to rest and fell asleep.
When I woke up, it was late at night. I took Mother 1 + 2 out of the Player and stared at it for a bit before snapping the cartridge in half. I wasn’t going to make anyone else go through that, nor was I myself going to do that again. I picked up my camera and checked that my evidence was still there. Thankfully all the images were safe and sound. I then checked my ears and nose in the bathroom mirror, and they had stopped bleeding. The spot where I had fallen asleep had a puddle of dried blood around it, so I knew they had continued to bleed after I fell asleep. I cleaned myself up before scrubbing away the blood and throwing the two cartridge halves into the bin. I grabbed the box and all its contents, including the letter, and put them with my other games. Finally I put the GameCube and the Player away after quickly testing them both out again to ensure my frantic actions earlier hadn’t broken it, and luckily they were fine. Even though I had already rested after stopping the game, I went to bed.
The next day I headed to the hospital and told my doctor that my ears and nose had started to bleed due to a high-pitched sound my T.V. made the other day, and after he took a look at them I was told that I had slight ear damage and that my hearing wouldn’t be completely 100% for a few weeks. Aside from recommending not listening to things on a high volume, there wasn’t anything he could do to help. Grateful for the advice, I headed home.
Now, I’m sure you’re all saying things like ‘Well why hasn’t anyone on Starmen.Net found this yet and told us?’ or anything like that. I’m sure someone on there has discovered it, and I’m sure after going through what I (and I’m fairly sure the previous owner) suffered, they wouldn’t want to worry anyone or make them go through that situation.
While I can’t convince everyone on here to not dig into the Mother 1 + 2 files, I certainly can tell you to not try messing around with this alternate story. If you notice anything that shouldn’t happen, then you turn that game off their and then.
Don’t follow through until the end. Don’t try to beat it. And most importantly, don’t follow him or free him.
Heed my words. Be safe, friend.