With EarthBound tearing up the Wii U eShop and finding its way into some gamers' hearts for the very first time, those responsible for breathing life into that world can look back on their handiwork with pride. Series creator Shigesato Itoi recently shared his piece, and we all thank him for the memories, but English players have someone else to thank as well.
In an interview with Kotaku, localization editor Marcus Lindblom expressed joy that EarthBound has finally become such a beloved cult classic today, considering how reviews around the time of the game's original launch were less than kind. "It was pretty difficult in some ways for those of us that had been involved," he said. "I guess the feeling at that time was -- and this is not a lot different than today -- graphics were a big important component to pushing forward the game industry. And a lot of people looked at EarthBound and considered the graphics to be fairly simplistic."
Lindblom recalled how he originally joined Nintendo as a call center rep, later became a Software Analyst in charge of localizing various games like Wario's Woods, then was left in charge of a new RPG called Mother 2. Another Nintendo writer, Dan Owsen, had finished roughly 10% of the script before he moved on to other projects, leaving the task to Lindblom with some assistance from Japanese writer Masayuki Miura. He spent four months adapting the raw Japanese translation into readable English, working between 14 and 15 hours a day.
Working from an essentially context-free text file was, as he described, "like free-form jazz." But such freedom allowed him to whip up real magic -- the jokes and Easter eggs are basically all Lindblom. He named a character after his daughter Nico, used his wife's name as one of Paula's default names, and called Pokey's mom "Lardna" just because he felt like it.
He also confirmed and disproved popular myths. For example, the "BH" in Onett mayor BH Pirkle's name does indeed stand for "Bald Head." Also, the fact that Giygas sort of looks like a baby fetus is a complete coincidence.
There's more at the Kotaku link below, so do give it a read and show some love for the man who helped make one of your favorite games that much better.
The Man Who Wrote Earthbound [Kotaku]