On June 14, just before this year’s highly anticipated E3 event, Shigesato Itoi of Mother series fame put out a brief message stating that Earthbound Beginnings, an English localization of the first Mother game would be released that same day. As fans of the series had likely already found a way to play the game prior to this announcement, I believe that the most important message came from what Itoi had to say about the series and how it affected him.
Earthbound is often remembered for how silly and pleasant it is. There is a particular sense of warmth and nostalgia that comes with the game, such as a remembrance of summers spent with friends and the adventures had with them. But rather than recognize how he may have affected others, Itoi instead turns it into an inward reflection as to how we have affected him.
“…Creating Mother, and creating the work that is Earthbound is somehow, for me personally, less about me making something that impacted the lives of others, and more about those playing the thing I made impacting me.”
To create truly good content in any medium is a challenge. Material that is more than just a message or an expression of an idea, but rather a part of the creator put in to their creation can be hard to find, but when it does occur, resonates with their fans in a way that is remarkable. Mother fans have proven time and again how dedicated they are to the goofy RPG series, whether through translation patches or petitions, and it’s great to see the creator offer some perspective on how they feel.
Itoi closes the video with a somber statement:
“When I think that perhaps, even after I have left this world, someone may still be playing the Mother series, I feel a little uneasy but also very… kind of happy.”
What I appreciate most about his choice of words is that they convey the weight of being a creator, being susceptible to criticism but also the joys of being behind something people grow with and share amongst others. Even now I recognize that being someone who digests entertainment and writes about it does not carry the same connotations as being the one who designs the product in question.
Every day we consume vast amounts of media, from the music we listen to on our daily commute to the books we read before we go to sleep. Video games are special in that sense because we are actively engaging ourselves with the work of others. We are the ones pressing the A button, reading the dialogue, and making the choices. In playing video games we are not only experiencing them, but preserving the thoughts and emotions of the people who created the entries in a past time we love.