More than a decade after Nintendo released the long-anticipated Mother 3 in Japan, the company's American arm shows no sign of offering the game in English. Fans have clamored for that sequel to make an appearance for such a long time now that I've grown numb to the anticipation, but Clyde Mandelin who worked on the unofficial translation of the game is still a believer. He's chronicled the long path of Nintendo not localizing Mother 3 on his Legends of Localizations website as Mother 3's Timeline of Hope in which he takes us from those innocent days of the announced EarthBound 64 for the Nintendo 64 through the Game Boy Advance years into Virtual Console territory and beyond.
I originally intended for this to be a simple article on my EarthBound Central site. It quickly grew so big that I was going to give it its own dedicated section on the site instead. But then it eventually grew so big that I decided to turn it into another of my Legends of Localization books. It was going to be titled “C’mon Nintendo, Give Us Mother 3”, and it even hit a bunch of news sites when I first announced it.
Unfortunately, due to schedule conflicts and other boring stuff, I had to drop the book plan. I’d rather share my findings than sit on it and do nothing, so I decided to package my raw notes and share them here in celebration of the 10th anniversary of of the MOTHER 3 fan translation.
I have no doubt the book version would’ve been far better, but hopefully these raw notes will still be interesting and useful in some way.
As I read through the timeline, I discovered something interesting about myself: reading it made me frustrated and even a little angry; not angry that the game never released officially in English, but angry that fans spent so much time and energy scouring supposedly secret images for Mother 3 clues that weren't there, dissecting documents that were later exposed as hoaxes, reading tea leaves to declare that the game was truly coming this time because the planets were in alignment... so much excitement wasted on what turned out to be nothing each and every time. Reading the entire Mother 3 non-release saga of fans searching for substance in the emptiness condensed down into just a few pages was like reading pure concentrated nonsense, and it triggered that part of my reactionary lizard brain that wants to cry out that we're all wasting our time looking for clues in the nothingness and it's not worth all the fuss. Either a game will be released or it won't be, and there's not a damn thing we can do about it. I think maybe I need to go outside for a while.